You expect the less-good games to do bad... but what about those great games which never got a fair shout? How many of those have there been? Well now... according to this list, there have been at least ten of these so-called "Flaccid Fenstons". Maybe more - who knows?
This list is what truly matters right now.
There's a reason why there has been a gap of 15 years between instalments in this uncommonly well-reviewed series... and that reason is this reason; it got inhumed beneath a mass of noisy sequel releases in the run-up to Christmas 2003.
Ubisoft later blamed poor sales on the game's quirky setting, the number of franchise titles it had to compete with, and having been cursed by something it described as a "magical fantasy horse".
Everybody who played it loved it. Alas, very few people played it. Indeed, the 2010 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition cussed it thusly: "the least commercially successful winner of a game of the year award".
Depressingly, even subsequent re-releases on more powerful systems - hoping to capitalise on some of the goodwill built up over the years - have failed to meet expectations. Alas, it seems that too few players want to become a painted dog.
The game broke new ground and was a technical milestone, but it had been released on the Dreamcast - a system that, due to its own depressing sales figures, wasn't particularly conducive to hosting massive hits.
You can make the best, most expensive, film of all time, but if you only ever show it in your garden shed, and only ever invite the dirty local park drunks to watch it, chances are you won't make your money back.
Furthermore, the quirkiness of Shenmue did little to encourage more people to pick up a Dreamcast. Admittedly, Shenmue 2 was a lot cheaper to develop, but achieved a mere fraction of its predecessor's sales.
Some critics felt it was rushed compared to other Shiny games. Others praised its originality (you played a cherub called Bob, who flew around a Blade Runner-esque city, possessing people and animals... on a mission from God to eradicate sin and that). It had all the makings of a cult classic - and cult it did indeed remain... selling less than 10,000 copies in its first three months.
Even the most bouyant observer would struggle to paint that as anything other than a contemptible inadequacy.
Unfortunately, such things tend to be the hallmarks of many a commercial catastrophe - and, indeed, Psychonauts was a massive bomb, which led to publisher Majesco posting an $18 million loss for the year, and the company's CEO Carl Yankowski tendering his resignation.
But wait! This one has a happy finish! Double Fine later brought back the rights, and the game has gone on to be a surprisingly steady seller on Steam and other digital platforms.
It led to LucasArts cancelling all future adventure game development - ending its involvement in the genre with which it was most closely associated.
Well done, Schafer... you massive bellend.
This might be why Nintendo's marketing for the title was decidedly low-key, and most aimed at an adult audience. This no doubt confused said adults, who clearly didn't understand why Nintendo was trying to sell them a game starring a cute cartoon squirrel. Even if he was armed with a chainsaw, the edgy little rodent.
Unfortunately, it's stylistic idiosyncrasy, coupled to the gore being so at odds with almost everything else on the Wii, might've been why it crashed and burned. Indeed, the violence became the focus of much criticism from moral watchdogs.
John Beyer of Medawatch-UK wheezed at the time: "We need to ensure that modern and civilized values take priority rather than killing and maiming people."
Get a life, Beyer.
Jet Set Radio Future - released on the Xbox - was every bit as great as its forebear. Unfortunately, Future never quite managed to escape being labelled a cult classic, and - despite plans for a further sequel - Sega has shelved the franchise rather than risk another disaster.
After all, why go to such effort when idiots keep buying Sonic games?
It mixed vehicle-based combat with the first-person shooting the company was known for, all wrapped up in some properly lush visuals. On consoles at least; the PC release was beset with graphical issues, requiring hefty patches, and generating a ton of criticism... which ultimately tainted the game's reputation.
Indeed, initial plans for Rage 2 were cancelled in favour of the Doom reboot, as fans of id's output began expressing their disappointment with Rage with increasing fervour. With hindsight, many now feel that Rage was simply out of step with the increasingly narrative-heavy FPS conventions of 2010.
Since the release of the new Doom, such classic, mindless, run-and-shoot gameplay is back in fashion - and id is undoubtedly hoping that this time around its punters will welcome it with parted calves.
PLEASE... SEND AN EMAIL TO THE DIGITISER FRIDAY LETTERS PAGE