Has a random video game you haven’t played in years ever suddenly popped into your head?

Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Remembering a game you last thought about when you were 13 can fill you with sentimentality. It could be fondly recalling how much simpler life used to be, lamenting the world of modern gaming, or simply reminiscing about the hours and hours of fun you used to have playing Mafia Wars, GoldenEye 007, or Crash Bandicoot. When reminded of one of those games you used to love, it often brings a powerful urge to play the game once again—or at least, to find out whatever happened to it!

Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

So, what happens to a popular video game once its popularity begins to fade or it gets replaced by newer editions? The truth is, it can vary quite a bit. Sometimes, a game you haven’t thought about in a decade may have never really gone anywhere.

You may have forgotten about MVP Baseball 2005, but that doesn’t mean that your neighbor isn’t playing it on their GameCube as we speak, hitting bombs with Manny Ramirez and jamming out to that iconic soundtrack. These classic, quality console games develop loyal enough followings that they never truly disappear. They may have lost their popularity with the next generation of gamers, but copies still exist, and there are plenty of 30 to 40-year-olds who still own Nintendo 64 and SNES systems purely for nostalgia’s sake. And if you’ve got the money to spend, you can almost always find them online or from a vintage gaming store or collector.

Mob Wars cinematic game trailer

However, with online games, it typically isn’t so simple. Sometimes, a once-popular online game will stay up indefinitely after people have stopped playing it, remaining partially or fully functional despite the lack of users, like an online ghost town. In other cases, a game’s developers might decide they’re tired of spending money to keep their game running, and it will abruptly disappear from the internet. Unfortunately, that game you obsessed over as a teenager may, at this point, only exist in your mind and your heart. Now and then, an online game that has been relatively quiet for years will receive a sudden resurgence, allowing past players to relive that nostalgia. 

Here, we’ll look at a few popular MMORPG games from years past and examine what exactly happened to them. So, get ready to reminisce.

Table of Contents

What Happened to Mafia Wars?

Mafia Wars game cover

Mafia Wars was a text-based multiplayer mafia game created by Zynga. Why did it shut down?

Learn more about Mafia Wars

What Happened to Dawn of the Dragons?

Dawn of the Dragons game cover

You’ve found yourself in the shoes of a young hero. It was up to you to overcome challenges and save your homeland from disaster.

Learn more about Dawn of the Dragons

What Happened to iMobsters?

iMobsters game cover

iMobsters was taken offline on October 26th, 2015. What happened? Can you still play iMobsters?

Learn more about iMobsters

Person playing computer games
Photo by Sean Do on Unsplash

What Happened to Crime Inc?

“Anything can be achieved with enough money in your pockets and the right bodies in the morgue. You don’t play Crime Inc, you live it.” Does this sound familiar?

Learn more about Crime Inc

What Happened to Original Gangstaz?

The Original Gangstaz was the first mobile game Machine Zone, Inc. created in 2010, and it had been successful for a number of years until its recent shutdown.

Learn more about Original Gangstaz

Keeping Them Alive in Our Memories

As you can see, it isn’t always possible to relive your youth by jumping back into games you used to love. Titles like Mafia Wars, Original Gangstaz, and Dawn of the Dragons had their servers removed, and the opportunity to play them was gone in the blink of an eye.

Some people wouldn’t understand why this feels like such a bummer. After all, there are an infinite number of awesome modern video games to play in almost every genre imaginable. Why would you ever want to go back and play an online game from 2009?

Ultimately, you either get the nostalgia or you don’t. While Mario Party 2 or iMobsters may not have the incredible depth, complexity, or visuals of Elden Ring, that isn’t the point. The fact is, no modern game will ever be able to replace or replicate the impression that a game can make on you when you’re growing up and discovering your love for video games.

What game do you miss from the past?

As sad as it is to see classic games fade from popularity or disappear entirely, there’s a lesson to be taken from it. It shows us how important it is to appreciate our favorite video games as much as possible at the moment.

Not only is gaming fun, but it also provides us with a temporary escape from the stresses and anxieties of day-to-day life. However, the game you love this year may not be available to play years later when that familiar wave of nostalgia hits you. So, it’s crucial to enjoy playing it now while you can. That way, if it’s eventually gone, you’ll at least know you enjoyed it as much as possible when you have the chance. And frankly, that lesson applies to far more than just video games.

While your favorite online games of the past may no longer exist, you can still relive your earlier gaming days through reimagined browser games like Mob Wars.

If you’re feeling some game nostalgia, consider buying an original Xbox or a PlayStation 2. You should still be able to get just about every console game you used to enjoy, and sometimes, taking a break from today’s complex titles in favor of simpler games from the past can be a nice change of pace. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to travel back in time to relive those happy moments with your favorite games.

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