7 Famous Franchises We Can't Believe Got Past the First Game

Published 8 months ago by Andy Farrant

Sequel rights

When you play the latest game in a popular series, it's hard to imagine previous instalments were ever less than this immersive, technically impressive, and beautiful to look at. Unless it's Duke Nukem Forever. But then you go back and look at the very first entry in that famous videogame series, and you wonder how the heck these flawed first games managed to get even one sequel, let alone an entire franchise. Consider these long-running and much-loved series that we can't believe made it past their shaky first starts.

For example, looking at the incredible artistic and technical achievement that is Super Mario Odyssey, it's easy to forget that Mario games weren't always like this.

Heck, even if you can remember further back, it's easy to forget that Super Mario brothers with its side-scrolling worlds and satisfying action wasn't the first game in the venerable franchise.

That honour belongs to the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros, in which Mario and Luigi in their familiar role as plumbers, must investigate the New York sewers and kill a bunch of turtles who are living down there.

This game featured very little of the charm of later Mario games, and it was a single screen game with no music, annoying sound effects, and a core gameplay loop in which you headbutted a turtle then kicked it to death, in a manoeuvre that became tediously repetitive by the third time you did it.

Let's just say our money wouldn't have been on the guy who smelled like sewage and was always kicking turtles to death becoming the universally beloved mascot of the company. Still, you do you, Nintendo.

Previously on Outside Xbox: 8 Bizarre Origin Stories of Famous Videogame Characters

About the author

Andy Farrant
Andy is co-editor at Outside Xbox, enjoys difficult moral decisions and fights like a cow. You might remember him from such defunct Xbox video channels as Inside Xbox.

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