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Trapped - Games Only Available on a Single System

These games deserve a much larger audience.

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Games have probably never been more accessible than now. The wall of exclusivity previously separating major releases on PlayStation and Xbox has gradually broken down, and while titles are still released exclusively for each respective platform, they often end up on PC anyway - always in the case of Microsoft. Nintendo on the other hand still keeps their first party games restricted to a single system, but even they have been exceptionally active lately in bringing older titles to the Nintendo Switch.

At the same time, remasters and remakes are doing their part making past gems accessible for a whole new generation, and the same is true of backwards compatibility for the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X. Even in cases where physical copies of older games are scarce or expensive, a digital version is often readily available for a cheap price.

However, sometimes even big games or groundbreaking titles are for various reasons not converted to new platforms. These games are, so to speak, trapped on older consoles, inaccessible to anyone but the most dedicated collectors. Here we present some of those trapped games, and, at the same time, cross our fingers that they are again allowed to reach a wide audience.

Trapped - Games Only Available on a Single System
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Metal Gear Solid 4 - PlayStation 3
The Metal Gear series has also appeared on a number of platforms since the original Metal Gear was released 35 years ago on the home computer MSX. However, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots remains an exception. The chronologically last chapter in Hideo Kojima's legendary series is only available on PlayStation 3 and, to make matters worse, was recently removed from PS Now (now known as PS Plus Extra).

Still, we recommend that you dust off the ageing console, as Metal Gear Solid 4 still stands of one of the best - or perhaps - the best chapter in the entire series. Be warned though: The game might test your patience as it contains more than 8 hours of cutscenes!

Trapped - Games Only Available on a Single System

Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Nintendo Wii
The Japanese are known as a respectful and humble people. Perhaps that is why Super Mario Galaxy 2 was not included in the recent collection Super Mario 3D All-Stars, which was released for the Nintendo Switch in 2020 - to release the game twice would simply be showing off.

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Now, nobody likes a showoff, yet we are willing to make an exception with Super Mario Galaxy 2. The adventure is perhaps Mario's finest, and every single level feels almost like a whole game in itself, the game bubbles over with so many creative mechanics, however, only on the Nintendo Wii.

Trapped - Games Only Available on a Single System

Eternal Darkness - Nintendo GameCube
The Nintendo GameCube never achieved much commercial success, and many of the console's biggest titles (such as Resident Evil 4 and Luigi's Mansion) were later converted to other platforms. Unfortunately, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem remains forever trapped on the purple cube, and thus new generations of players are robbed of a truly groundbreaking horror experience.

The controversial game creator Denis Dyack filled the game to the brim with clever innovations in terms of gameplay and storytelling. Most notable was the so-called "sanity meter," which causes your character's growing madness to spill over onto the game itself, suddenly turning down the volume, threatening to delete your saved files, or filling the screen with error messages. It creates an incredibly immersive experience, long before Virtual Reality, and the mechanics were so innovative that Nintendo patented the idea.

Trapped - Games Only Available on a Single System

Michigan: Report from Hell - PlayStation 2
Bonkers story, conventional game play. That bill fits most of the games springing from the twisted mind of Goichi Suda (better known as Suda51). However, this cannot be said about the horror game Michigan: Report from Hell, as you play as an unusual character - the camera.

Or rather, you play as an unnamed cameraman, but in practice the difference is negligible. This makes for a rather unique experience, as, depending on where you point the camera, you also direct the experience, which might change the games tone and even lead to different endings.

Unfortunately, the unique game is virtually impossible to find outside of Japan as it didn't release in America, and only got an extremely limited European release thanks to the, back then, small Italian publisher 505 Games. That being the case, it comes as no surprise, that the game was never released on other platforms than the PS2.

Trapped - Games Only Available on a Single System

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Nintendo 3DS
Professor Layton and Ace Attorney were among the most popular series for the Nintendo DS. However, it was not until the Nintendo 3DS had released that Level-5 and Capcom thought of putting the two bright heads together.

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney maintained the usual high quality from their respective series and even introduced a few new mechanics that were later included in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles such as trials with multiple witnesses. That particular game finally got localised last year after an agonising wait so there might still be hope of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on modern platforms. However, for the time being, they remain trapped on the Nintendo 3DS.

Trapped - Games Only Available on a Single System

Xenoblade Chronicles X - Nintendo WiiU
The third chapter in the Xenoblade Chronicles series is just weeks away. When it releases, you will be able to play the entire trilogy on the same system, as the two previous chapters are also available on the hybrid console, after the Wii original received a remaster back in 2020.

Since these are massive games with more than 100 hours of playing time - per entry - you will hardly be lacking in content. But if you want to experience everything the series got to offer, you'd better buy yourself a Nintendo WiiU, as the odd one out, Xenoblade Chronicles X, only released on Nintendo's least successful home console.

Trapped - Games Only Available on a Single System

Snatcher - Sega CD
We opened the list with a Hideo Kojima game, and we'll end it with one. Metal Gear Solid from 1998 might have been Kojima's big breakthrough in the West, but by then he was already an established name in his native Japan, thanks to the impressive visual novel Snatcher. The game takes inspiration from films such as Terminator and Blade Runner while also wrestling with philosophical topics and was a pretty big hit when it released in 1988.

Six years later Snatcher came to the West when the game hit European store shelves just before Christmas of 1994. However, the Sega CD version was neither a success in Europe or the US, and since then many fans have waited in vain for a remaster or re-release of the iconic cyberpunk adventure.

Trapped - Games Only Available on a Single System

Can you think of any other games that doesn't deserve to be trapped on one platform?

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