Unsuccessful (But Influential) Xbox Games

These Games Had Great Ideas That Inspired Other Games

Some video games end up being as great as they look, while others are mediocre or are canceled. However, there are those that jump out from time to time with the promise of something new, vowing to offer an experience that can’t be matched. Regrettably, many end up failing in some way to live up to expectations, but their ideas live on to influence other games. Check out some of them below.

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Steel Battalion (Xbox, Capcom, 2002)

Boy playing portable video game
Getty Images/Photodisc/Roderick Chen

Mech simulators were at their pinnacle in the late-‘90s and early 2000s. Capcom introduced Steel Battalion, a game that promised be the mech simulator. It wasn’t meant to be played with any mere gamepad, but a custom controller featuring 40 buttons, 2 joysticks, and 3 pedals. Unfortunately, the game itself was much too unforgiving for mainstream audiences, and with little replay value, it couldn’t justify a $200 price tag. The only other game to use the controller was the sequel, Steel Battalion: Line of Contact, an online-only endeavor that has since gone defunct.

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Blinx: The Time Sweeper (Xbox, Microsoft Game Studios, 2002)

Billed as “the world’s first 4D game,” Blinx: The Time Sweeper’s gameplay centered on the manipulation of time. Blinx, an anthropomorphic cat, had the power to rewind, fast-forward, record, pause, and slow time with his trusty TS-1000 vacuum cleaner. Controls were overly complex and loose, and the game ended up being too difficult for its target audience. Thinking they had a hit on their hands, Microsoft was close to choosing Blinx to be the Xbox’s mascot, but due to underwhelming sales this idea was rejected and Blinx was been relegated to gaming history with the likes of Bubsy and Aero the Acrobat.

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Too Human (Xbox 360, Microsoft Game Studios, 2008)

Too Human’s spotty development history did it no favors, ambitious as it was, with its striking combination of Norse mythology and science fiction. What made it shine in the eyes of the players who appreciated it was its use of cinematic theory to tell its story, making it one of the first games to take on game design with the seriousness that had been reserved for movies and television shows to that point. Unfortunately, after lackluster reviews and the closing of Silicon Knights in 2014, it’s unlikely the trilogy will ever continue.

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Infinite Undiscovery (Xbox 360, Square Enix, 2008)

The Xbox library has always been lacking when it comes to traditional Japanese RPGs, so the announcement of Infinite Undiscovery drew a ton of excitement from enthusiasts. The game attempted to innovate with its use of real-time combat, and the discovery system that meant anytime or anywhere in the game players could discover information that would, in turn, affect other encounters later on. However, the game was plagued by inconsistencies in design and the end product was a mediocre amalgam of RPG cliches and frustrating combat that simply didn’t know where it wanted to go. 

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You’re in the Movies (Xbox 360, Codemasters, 2008)

Before the Kinect, there was the Xbox Live Vision Camera, and one of the first games to utilize it exclusively for gameplay was You’re in the Movies. Gameplay consisted of mini-games involving players watching a trailer and mimicking the specified action on camera. The game was a bit before its time though, as the Xbox Live Vision Camera simply lacked the fidelity and features to translate to this type of game. However, You’re in the Movies would go on to inspire a host of party games that would be released with the advent of the much more robust Kinect.

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Kinect Star Wars (Xbox 360, Lucasarts, 2012)

Since video games have been around, developers have attempted, with success and failure, to translate the Star Wars experience to game design. With the advent of motion sensing input devices, gamers everywhere have been clamoring to finally get the tactile experience of swinging their very own lightsaber. Kinect Star Wars aimed to mix the aesthetic of Star Wars with a party game, and the results were mediocre at best, falling short of the expectations of what a party game or a Star Wars game should be.

Never forget....

These games may not have been the best, or the funnest. However, their originality paved the way for later titles to shine.
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