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Abstractism pulled from Steam for Cryptomining and Marketplace duping scheme

Abstractism, a “relaxing” platformer that’s been available on the Steam platform since March, was pulled from the store on July 30th after some investigative work by unsuspecting players revealed the developer’s nefarious subterfuge. As Polygon explained in their post on the situation:

“The game is called Abstractism, which was said to not only infiltrate players’ computers with [cryptocurrency] mining software, but also dupe them through falsified items on the Steam Marketplace. But not long after these accusations started circulating, it has been taken off Steam.”

Later in the day Polygon received a statement from Valve who said “we have removed Abstractism and banned its developer from Steam for shipping unauthorized code, trolling, and scamming customers with deceptive in-game items”. To dissuade this kind of item-duping deception, Valve then instituted a system of confirmation messages that players need to click through in order to confirm item trade offers for games that Steam has identified they have never played.

Valve’s Tony Paloma explained that the measure was only a temporary solution in a Reddit thread, stating that “we are hopeful that having to dismiss two warning dialogs will be sufficient to make people think twice about trades containing forged items, but this is not the end of our response, and we’ll continue to monitor, of course”.


1989 TMNT Arcade Game is (technically) still out there

After posting about some clearance priced copies of TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan that I spotted last week, someone pointed out that the long-delisted (and much loved) 1989 arcade game is technically still available out in the wild. Tracking down a copy of 2004’s TMNT: Battle Nexus 2 and finding a hidden collectible in that game’s 9th stage isn’t the easiest way to play the arcade original at home but it is the most legal.

While it’s leaps and bounds above the other home versions of the game — released on early 90’s computers and the NES — Wikipedia points out that the copy tucked into Battle Nexus 2 is missing almost all of the original voice samples and that the music has also been altered. It’s a shame to hear that it isn’t a totally faithful conversion but it’s great to know there’s a legal way to get at the game, and that it’s on a format that can’t be delisted.

I missed this detail when I wrote the game page in 2016 so I’ve updated the page on the site with links and details on the Battle Nexus 2 incarnation.


Xaviant Games shuts down The Culling 2 after dismal launch

In a fairly unprecedented move in the industry, Xaviant Games has announced they’ll be pulling The Culling 2 off of digital storefronts and returning the original title, The Culling, to its Day One form. Oh, and it’ll also be free-to-play now. A lot has happened (and not happened) as The Culling moved from its original Early Access form in 2016 to its final form in October of 2017.

While players were expecting improvements and updates to The Culling, the team were working, heads-down, on changes they wanted to see. Worse still, after just a few months of support, Xaviant announced they were moving on to the sequel, and the fan frustration turned into anger.

“One thing that has emerged very clearly for us is The Culling 2 was not a game that you asked for,” said Josh Van Veld, also Xaviant’s director of operations, “and it’s not the game you expect as the worthy successor to The Culling.”

In response today, Xaviant published the video below explaining their plans to retire The Culling 2 from Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and orchestrate issuing refunds for those who had purchased it. Polygon has one of many summations of the video’s content.

For the purposes of Delisted Games we still don’t know when The Culling 2 will be completely pulled from sale. As of this writing it remains available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for $19.99 but has already been shut off on Steam. With refunds being offered it’s likely that the game will be completely removed from console platforms, and once Xaviant is done with it there probably won’t be any client or servers to connect to even if you were to purchase and download it today.

I’ll have a game page added to the site soon for this peculiar situation.


All my handy links and tips for researching delisted games

Have you ever wondered how I dig up the details about all the delisted titles on the site? Rather than make a news post and watch it slowly scroll off the homepage, I created a sub-forum called Research Tools and Links. It’s got separate threads for each major platform where I’ve housed all my favorite and indispensable links for doing delisted research.

And I’m not saying this is a definitive or all-inclusive edict, I want your help too! If there’s a subreddit, another forum, or even a general news site that you see delistings posted on, hop over and make a post!

Delistings happen far too quickly and quietly. The more resources we have, and the easier they are to check, the more accurate and complete we can be.


Avatar: The Burning Earth returns on Xbox 360, Spongebob soon?

I never did get to post this, but back in March THQ Nordic announced that they would be revisiting several of the former THQ’s titles based on Nickelodeon properties. The list that was announced in March is below but it only includes a few IPs that saw digital releases.

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Back At The Barnyard
  • Catscratch
  • Danny Phantom
  • El Tigre
  • Invader Zim
  • Jimmy Neutron
  • My Life As A Teenage Robot
  • Rocket Power
  • Rocko’s Modern Life
  • Rugrats
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Tak And The Power Of JUJU
  • The Fairly OddParents (U.S. only)
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show
  • The Wild Thornberrys

Nevertheless, one of the most notorious titles just recently made its return. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth was an early Xbox 360 release known for its quick and easy 1,000 Gamerscore. It was originally released on disc and was offered as a Games on Demand download in 2010 but was delisted just a few years later.

The download has been unavailable ever since but seemingly thanks to this new deal, it’s finally back! You can download it on Xbox 360 now in Australia, Europe, and North America. But before you ask, no, none of the delisted Spongebob Squarepants titles have returned yet.

As for the rest of the list, the majority of the associated games were released on platforms that didn’t offer full game downloads like Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and PlayStation 2. So it seems that THQ Nordic might be planning several compilation releases for later in the year, although they didn’t make any announcements about it at E3 this week.


ModNation Racers & LittleBigPlanet Karting lose online play in July

Sony Europe’s Decommissioned Servers page was updated recently and confirmed the end of online play for a pair of first-party kart racers. The original ModNation Racers on PlayStation 3 and its DLC have already been delisted from sale in North America and Europe but its online features will hold out a little longer. Unfortunately, there are conflicting dates at the moment with PlayStation.com (North America) indicating July 10th as the last day to play online while Sony Europe is now saying October 10th. These may be regional differences but if you plan to play, do it before July just in case.

Multi-player and all online features for this product will be terminated and will no longer be available on 07/02/2018. You will still be able to create content but will not be able to share it with other LBPK players.

Online play for LittleBigPlanet Karting has received the same fate — the plug will be pulled on July 2nd, worldwide — but the game has yet to be removed from sale on the PlayStation Store. Fortunately, being first-party titles, both games are readily available on physical media (ModNation, LBP Karting) and if you hurry, GameStop still has download codes for the games and a lot of their DLC (ModNation, LBP Karting).

Dates will be added to the Watch List calendar soon. Thanks to LotsaNintendo on Twitter for pointing out the news and this Destructoid post for a few additional details.


2K Games shutting down Evolve servers September 3rd

On June 1st, 2018 “2K Mike” from publisher 2K Games announced via a support page update that servers for Evolve and Evolve Stage 2 will be shut down on September 3rd, 2018. This news comes over a year after 2K halted active development of Evolve and reallocated the game’s developer, Turtle Rock Studios, onto other projects. 2K has maintained the game’s servers ever since but stated in October 2016 that there would be no new content. The announcement follows:

Evolve’s dedicated servers will be shutting down on September 3, 2018. This means several game features will no longer be available, such as Hunt (Ranked), leaderboards, and the in-game store. Stage 2 will no longer be available on PC, and players will have plenty of opportunity to spend their in-game and virtual currency before the store is removed. Peer-to-peer multiplayer will still be available in Legacy Evolve on PC and console, and we’d like to stress that all players will retain all purchased DLC content, such as Hunters, Monsters, and skins.

Here’s a timeline of the planned server shutdown

July 2, 2018: Virtual currency bundles removed from Evolve Stage 2 and will no longer be available for purchase

September 3, 2018: Dedicated servers shut down, Evolve Stage 2 no longer available, in-game store no longer available

The 2K support page includes a helpful FAQ that outlines what modes and features will become unavailable after each date. Unsurprisingly, the ranked “Hunt” mode will be removed, as will player profiles, leaderboards, in-game purchases, the newsfeed, and player badges. I’ll have the dates added to the Watch List calendar and a page ready for the site soon.


Activision shutting down Guitar Hero Live's 'GHTV' mode December 1st

It was one of the first Watch List posts I ever made on Delisted Games and sadly, it has finally come to pass. Guitar Hero Live’s innovative 24/7, always-on, music streaming “GHTV” mode will be shut down on December 1st, 2018. I’ve been expecting this news for years after Activision disbanded the developer, FreeStyle Games, but it was submitter supreme, GamerFirebird90, who first shared the news with the site. The official announcement which was made on June 1st on an Activision Support page follows:

We want to thank you for being valued fans and let you know that as of December 1, 2018, the GHTV mode within Guitar Hero Live will no longer be available to play. On that date, we will terminate the service for GHTV and servers will be shut down. Console versions of the GH Live mode will continue to operate as usual.

As of June 1, 2018, iOS versions of the Guitar Hero Live game for mobile will no longer be available for download via the app store. However, if you currently own the app and have it installed on your device, you can continue to play the GH Live mode on your installed device. Please note: if you update your iOS software, the app may no longer be supported.

Additionally, on June 1, 2018, all GHTV in-game purchases will be turned off. Players can continue to use their Hero Cash and items on hand until the GHTV sunset date of December 1, 2018.

Thank you for playing GHTV, and head to GH Live mode on console to continue to play.

I will definitely be recording video of my last few months with GHTV but I’m not sure where I can post it. Since licensed songs and music videos are constantly playing, I’m sure YouTube would strike any uploads from my channel immediately. Twitch is a possibility as well but whatever I wind up doing I’ll post about it here (in advance too, if it turns out to be a live stream). In the meantime I’ll have the deadline date added to the Watch List calendar and get a page ready for the site.


I think I technically missed the window to call it “Spring cleaning” but over the last several week’s I’ve been working on some subtle (and not so subtle) changes to the site.

GDPR, Privacy Policy, and SSL Security
One that I think every visitor has run into is our new privacy pop-up message; yes, we also “updated our privacy policy” just like everyone else. I spent a few weeks finally digging into the GDPR and hope that I’ve covered any visitor concerns over privacy and tracking on the site via the new Privacy Policy page. You can find it under the About menu up top or via the link at the bottom of every page. This also led to Delisted Games acquiring SSL security across the domain for everyone’s added protection.

SITE NEWS: Delisted Games Community forums are live, plus more!

Grand Opening! The Delisted Games Community forums
The GDPR stuff fell in line with the creation of the Delisted Games Community forums! You might’ve seen some links pop up here and there but it’s finally ready for the grand opening at https://delistedgames.com/community. I’ve already made a post over there to explain the major sub-forums so please take a look and sign up for an account if you’d like to discuss, collaborate, or just reminisce about your favorite delisted games.

With the new community features I’ve begun the process of updating every game on the site to link to its own forum. You can still leave a quick comment at the bottom of each game page but you can also use the forums if you’ve got more to say. Look for the new bar at the bottom of the details grid on any game page to quickly jump to its forum. Conversely, the same details are featured in each forum page so you can easily jump back and forth.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an automated process that looked or flowed how I wanted so updating each game page and forum is a manual process. It’s going to take some time to update the hundreds of games already on the site but I started with the most popular ones and the latest additions. In the meantime you can always start a discussion about any title under the Every Game on the Site forum and we’ll get it moved to the appropriate page once it’s created.

SITE NEWS: Delisted Games Community forums are live, plus more!

The Search Bar
The site-wide search bar now has a more uniform display, cropping down cover images so the pictures and titles all align. I’ve also added synonyms so you can simply type “TMNT” instead of “Teenage. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles”. All variations of “X-Men” should also return the appropriate results. Another handy tip is to type the word “relisted” to see the games we’ve confirmed have returned from the dead.

Finally, the search options have been rearranged to make selections a little easier. Click the ▼ arrow to the right of the search bar to see all delisted games on any assortment of platforms. Just click ‘Toggle All’ to turn everything off, then make your selections. At the bottom you can get even more specific and select individual developers or publishers. If you want to search only our front page news stories then select “News” for the platform.

Even More Changes
The “Latest Game Page Updates & Additions” at the top of the homepage has been reduced to show just the last 6 updates, instead of 8. This brings the featured news story further into view and I’m hoping to shore up the sidebar so more of the delisted calendar events are on screen right when the page loads too.

On game pages that have related titles in the sidebar, I felt like the list was getting lost above the “Latest Game Page Updates & Additions” section. I added some more space between the two to make the separation a little more visible.

Still To Do
There are loads of tweaks and refinements I have in mind but I think the site is in better shape than it’s ever been. If you’ve got some suggestions of your own drop a comment on this post or, hey, use the Site News forum to discuss. Thanks for continuing to visit Delisted Games!


RuneScape Classic shutting down August 6th

In a news post on the game’s official site, mod_ayiza announced the end of the line for RuneScape Classic on behalf of the Jagex team. The full post is below but to summarize: advancements in the day-to-day technology to support the newer versions of RuneScape, combined with an increase in bots and hacks, on top of the locked community of players for Classic have made it too costly to continue to support. But to give fans as much time as possible to play, Jagex made the announcement today, well ahead of the August 6th deadline when the servers will be shut down.

“RuneScape Classic was the first version of RuneScape, released in 2001.

For many years we’ve left all of the content from the original game available to play. Whilst it’s seemingly been happily plodding along since then, it is with great sadness that we have taken the difficult decision to say goodbye to RuneScape Classic, which we will be winding down over the next 3 months.

It has been amazing to see such dedication amongst those of you who have kept playing RuneScape Classic over the last few years, some of you have even managed to reach max total! However, it’s not all fun and games.

With advancements in technology helping to further support both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, our tools are no longer compatible with Classic. This is particularly a problem with our community safety and macro detection tools. The game is now easily abused with the use of 3rd party macro tools, and botting has become an increasing issue.

We’ve not fully supported RuneScape Classic for years, so why are we suddenly seeing it as a problem now? The truth is that bots and lack of community safety tools are serious problems, however, we also feel that we can no longer offer long term service reliability due to the growing risk of unrecoverable game breaking bugs.

The number of bugs is getting worse, and we’re gradually seeing the game breaking. It’s important to highlight that these are bugs which we can’t fix due to the unsupported nature of the game.

As such, rather than have the game break indefinitely without any warning, we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to have their last goodbyes.

The RuneScape Classic servers will be taken offline at 8:00am BST on the 6th of August 2018. After such date, it will no longer be possible to log in to the Classic game. You will, of course, be able to continue playing as normal up until that date.

Thank you for your support over the years.”

I’ve added the date to the Watch List calendar and a page will be up for RuneScape Classic soon.