Game Franchises Everyone Loves Despite Major Flaws

Sorry, bud, but your favorite video game series probably kind of sucks. Even the world's most popular video game franchises have significant weaknesses, but you can only overlook a series' flaws for so long before you have to face the cold, digital truth. Sonic the Hedgehog may have been totally rad once, way back in the glorious '90s, when flannel was king and The Smashing Pumpkins were still listenable, but it's time to move on. Here are a few fractured franchises that we should either fix or delete.

Rock Band

Once, the idea of rhythmically hitting a few plastic buttons on a small, fake guitar was an awesome novelty, and that appeal grew even greater once vocals, drums, and keyboards were added to the mix, because pretending to be in a popular band is every lonely nerd's dream. Ultimately, though, you're still just a geek tapping buttons to a limited selection of pre-recorded tracks that never even included Led Zeppelin. Once Rocksmith came along and started teaching actual guitar, Rock Band was dead in the water, even after Rock Band 3's valiant attempt at using real-ish instruments. So just go learn the stupid guitar already.


There are at least 28 core Pokemon games, and they're all the same; many of them are remakes of previous games, and at least half of them are literally the same game with slightly different monsters. There are even more spin-off games that leverage the popularity of the game's monsters, like Pokemon Art Academy and Pokemon Snap, where you sit in a car and take pictures at a Pokemon zoo, because real life doesn't suck enough. The whole premise of every game is to beat animals up with other animals, deprive them of their natural habitat, and hope that they get Stockholm syndrome. Just cut it out, guys. And the TV show is terrible.

The Sims

The Sims is a game for people who like to pretend they play video games, but have such a lack of a real life that they need to simulate one. While there's something philosophically interesting about running a medium-scale simulation of the mundane, like making dinner without burning down the house or making it to the bathroom on time, these are all things that you can be doing in real life with an actual sense of accomplishment. While you clean your sim-living room, newspapers and Taco Bell wrappers pile up in your actual living room. The Sims presents a fantasy of achievable domesticity, so just get up and, like, do it.


As a single, solitary game, Tetris can't be beat. The problem with the franchise is every single game that came after the original dilutes the whole series into a mess of barely-playable offshoots, leeching off of its success. Tetrisphere is an exercise in futility, Wordtris is an impossible novelty, and the addition of "infinite spin" to certain versions of the game just dumbs it down to an Elementary school level. Tetris is the chess of the video game world—well, if you don't count Virtual Chess, and everyone knows that you don't mess with chess.

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy took a simple and immersive turn-based RPG system and turned it into an overcomplicated series of games focusing on teenage-level drama, inconsistent mechanics, failed launches, and a story that only the most obsessive weirdo can follow. If the games in the Final Fantasy series were inherently enjoyable without trying to figure out where all of the narrative threads come together, that would be one thing, but when Final Fantasy XIII is followed by Final Fantasy XIV, but the actual sequels are Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, we've already checked out.

Mario Party

If you and your friends regularly get together to see who can hit buttons the fastest, you probably have boring friends. The Mario Party format is interesting in that is provides very accessible mini-games to multiple people at once, but the series' ratings have dropped slowly and consistently since the first release. Consistency between franchise games is a great thing, but by the time you reach the tenth incredibly consistent game, there's only so much light cartoon mischief that you can take before you need to find more interesting friends, and a better game.

Super Smash Bros.

It takes a very highly-trained eye to keep track of your own character during a round of Smash Bros., since the Michael Bay-like action can get pretty intense and distracting. But if making cute cartoon characters clobber each other off of precarious platforms using adorable attacks is your thing, Smash has it all. Unfortunately, the competitiveness of Smash players is off the scale and the learning curve is steep, so if you haven't memorized all of the surreal twists that each stage can take to instantly kill you, the frantic action still takes a long time to get used to. And if you don't buy that new, powerful DLC character, you just might never win again.

Super Mario Bros.

Everything was going great until the stupid Invincibility Leaf in Super Mario 3D Land. Real old-school gamers know that brutal difficulty was pretty standard for most NES games, and fighting that robot dragon in Mega Man with only a few platforms between you and death was an enormous challenge. But you played until you got it, because you were a champ. Now, if you die a few times in a level, 3D Land gives you an item that allows you to simply beat the level. Just five measly deaths, compared to the thousands necessary to beat Bayou Billy... Nintendo once taught us persistence and dedication, but now, everyone gets a trophy for just showing up.