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So, what’s the deal with this?  Why are there so many critically acclaimed game franchises, ingenious ideas that carved out their own niche in their hay-day, that have waned from mistreatment or out and out negligence?  Whatever leads creative individuals to drive their babies into the ground, these are usually franchises that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Harvest Moon was one of the first surprisingly new ideas that I got strongly attached to.  The franchise wasn’t left out to die, but it has certainly waned.  After the Nintendo 64 sequel, we’ve seen recycled ideas, assets, and even characters.  New ideas have been in short supply and the most successful version, the Rune Factory series, has an RPG system attached.  The base concept of an immersive farming life has long gone uncultivated, with small additions being the best fans have been able to hope for.

Monster Rancher combined a few existing genres, including the virtual-pet phenomenon, simulation, and action-RPG battles, with robust inter-species combining and the eye catching system that made your CD collection come alive with beasts.  While the first two or three games arguably stayed on track, as the series continued onward new features became less cohesive and interfered with the basics.  The latest core iteration, the PS2 Monster Rancher EVO, combined the established monster raising gameplay with circus life mini-games.  No major sequels are planned as-of-now.

Animal Crossing is a surprisingly successful franchise, but it’s not hard to see it in the same category: When the franchise first hit American shores on the Nintendo Gamecube, an immersive and friendly country-life “simulator” was a welcome and refreshing new idea.  It was professional, well written, and fun.  But with every subsequent iteration, Animal Crossing is becoming more and more tired and neglected.  The series has stalled when it comes to real expansion of the base concept, and even real graphical updating, beyond small extraneous features.

These are just a few of the franchises close to me that are disappointing in their lack of devotion.  It’s a disappointing trend, especially for long time gamers.  But at least we can get it out in the open.  Look forward to more in this vein in the future.

These are just some franchises that have been important to me, but if there’s anything big you’d like to see covered in the future, or something I missed, feel free to leave me a comment.

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The Other Castle is a blog by video games, for video games. Wait, let me try that again. The Other Castle is a blog by a few nerd friends, about video games. As long as we're entertaining ourselves, there's a good chance somewhere out there, you might be getting a little kick out of reading this, too!

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