[Sticky] General Research Resources (ALL Platforms)
Here it is, my little toolbox of links that I’ve used most frequently to help track down delisting dates and details. Honestly, the top four are what I use 99% of the time. Check out the rest of the Research Forum for more useful links and resources that are specific to each platform.
The #1 most useful research tool is Archive.org’s WayBack Machine! You can see frequent captures of sites and pages that have long since disappeared from the internet and hopefully catch when a game was removed. I use it constantly to help hone in on delisted dates and time frames.
- TIP: Archive.org can’t capture the way the PlayStation Store was built. Sadly, there are no archival captures of the PSN at all!
You might go there for cheat codes but the site also has a gargantuan database of release dates both physically and digitally across numerous territories. MobyGames, IGN, GameSpot, and Giant Bomb all have good data as well but I have personally stuck to GameFAQs while working on the site so far.
Obviously, Wikipedia has an incredible amount of data and details on tons of games. They also have lists of releases for platforms and some of them detail if a game was delisted or is unavailable.
This is one I’ve come to rely on more and more lately. Say, for example, you want to find references to Dreamworks’ Penguins of Madagascar on Nintendo.com but the game doesn’t show up on their site anymore. Go to Google.com and enter site:nintendo.com “penguins of madagascar”. Suddenly, there are results! Good ol’ Google bypasses a lot of restrictions that a site might place on its own search results.
- Note: the modifier will search all domains under the “.com” that you enter. In the above example it returns results from Nintendo Canada, Nintendo USA, Nintendo Italy, and so on. Keep in mind which territory you’re looking at.
- PRO TIP: You can click through Google’s search results to find Image and Video links that can be hard to find just navigating the site itself.
Another handy Google tip! Go search for something like, say, Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Just below the blue link and all the way to the right of the URL is a little down arrow ▼. Click that and then click on “Cache” to view a recent copy of the site. It’s like a mini-WayBack Machine that’s good for catching changes to a site in the moment. In the case of Scott Pilgirm it’s not going to show any changes but for a game that’s just been delisted it may catch some details before a game got pulled or shut down.
You can use the vast number of criteria to search just about anything from anyone. Warning: “delisted” is a term used in the stocks and sports worlds so you’ll see a lot of irrelevant stuff unless you’re very specific.
Obviously they don’t post about every single game but there are some great details to be found among their investigative posts and interviews. Also good for wider data that might impact a number of titles, like when a publisher shut down or an IP was acquired by a company.
I’m still not sure how reliable this IP/brand/trademark search is when it comes to delistings but it’s fascinating stuff! I’ve found that some of the expiration dates can point towards a delisting but most of the time one entry will be expired or cancelled and superseded by another one that didn’t turn up in my search. Warning: you could fall down a rabbit hole here!
Intellectual Property Rights Search (North America)
Like the WIPO database, I’m not sure how concrete these IP listings are when it comes to delisted games but they can definitely narrow down a timeframe. The IPRS is also specific to North America.
I have the USPTO bookmarked but I’ve never found it too useful. It was redesigned at some point though and looks a lot easier to use. Like the WIPO database and IPRA, listings here might help narrow down a delisting timeframe.