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Above: Grand Theft Auto II. No, really.

Basically when a series is rolling along, and doing... decent, if a bit obscure. Then one installment is released, and that installment takes over the series. Occasionally, a fan might go back and look at the obscure earlier entries, but within the general fanbase, this entry is the series from the moment of its release.

Often caused by a Surprisingly Improved Sequel, and related to Adaptation Displacement, More Popular Spinoff, and Older Than They Think. The aforementioned hardcores sometimes declare that It's Popular, Now It Sucks. Usually happens with video games, but can apply to series in other media.

This does not count series which simply avert First Installment Wins by having a non-iconic first installment that was never displaced from popular consciousness.

Exceptionally likely in video games when an old series, well-loved by those who remember it but well vanished from the public consciousness, gets a new installment. See Metal Gear Solid and Street Fighter II.

Obligatory Tropes Are Not Bad note: Don't call people stupid for finding out late and starting with a Sequel in the middle of the series, therefore not knowing the previous ones. If they refuse to acknowledge what came before, then you have a case of Fan Dumb. Starting with a sequel might lead to Early Installment Weirdness.

Contrast It's Popular, Now It Sucks. The exact opposite of this trope is First Installment Wins.

Examples of Sequel Displacement include:

Media in General

  • Any franchise released Sequel First in some part of the world.

Anime and Manga

  • GaoGaiGar is well-known amongst anime fans for restarting the Super Robot genre to the Hot-Blooded days of yore and is one of the most popular Humongous Mecha series out there. It also happens to be the eighth and last (not counting GaoGaiGar FINAL or the Vaporware Baan Gaan) installment of the Brave series, the first seven of which few people have even heard of.
  • The parts of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure everyone remembers are from the third part onward. The first two parts are a lot more like Fist of the North Star than what the series later became.
    • To the point that in America at the least, the series was localized with Chapter Three first, half of four next, and the rest ignored. This leads to a lot of Marth Debuted in Smash Bros in some discussion forums.
    • The video game adaptations have it even worse: First a Dreamcast fighting game based on 3, then a cel-shaded Play Station 2 3D action game based on 5, and a beat'em up based on 1.
    • Also notable on Jump Super Stars: The first game had Jôtarô and Dio (The Hero and Big Bad of chapter 3) as playable and nobody else. The sequel promised including all the chapters, and they delivered... by making the other mains Assist Characters, but Dio and Jôtarô still as the only playables.
      • While Dio is also the Big Bad of Chapter One, it is his Chapter Three incarnation that is most... iconic. In fact, every one of his panels and almost all of his moves come from Part 3.
  • In Detective Conan, what many don't know is that Kaito Kid originally appeared in a short-lived manga, Magic Kaito, written by Aoyama. His appearance was just a mere Crossover. He was so popular, that he eventually became a main character and reccuring nemesis of Conan.
  • Dragon Ball Z: The original series had several false starts in the U.S. - Harmony Gold took a crack at it with a drastically altered dub in the late 80s, though this was quickly canceled. Later U.S. licensee FUNimation actually bought the rights to the entire animated canon at once with plans of selling the entire thing to syndication, starting with the first series. It flopped so hard, they stopped production after only 13 episodes and skipped ahead to the more action-oriented sequel series. The rest, as they say, is history.
    • This isn't exclusive to the USA, Z is more popular everywhere, no matter what some say. Even on Japan, where most memes and Shout Outs come from Z.
  • Sailor Moon: Was actually a spinoff of an earlier manga titled Codename: Sailor V, which starred Minako during her days as Sailor V. The creator was asked to expand it into a team format which created Sailor Moon which was much more popular and well known. Codename: Sailor V has only been released in a handful of countries outside of Japan, and never in parts of North America that are not Quebec.
    • Codename Sailor V is getting an official English released in September 2011 alongside a new translation of Sailor Moon; though it is doubtful it will become more popular, at least people will know it exists.
  • Tekkaman Blade (aka Teknoman): Many people are not aware that it was a sequel of an earlier Tatsunoko anime, Tekkaman. It doesn't help that Tekkaman Blade is barely a sequel, much less a remake.
    • The presence of both in Tatsunokovs Capcom should help remedy this. Blade is still more popular, but the original now has SPACE LANCE for people to remember him for...
  • Not as apparent as other series, but the Umineko no Naku Koro ni part of the When They Cry series has become more popular then the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni part..Which isn't saying much, because Higurashi is a borderline Cash Cow Franchise.
    • Only in the west, and only in some communities. Higurashi is definitely bigger than Umineko in Japan.


  • When most people think of Rambo, they picture the character shirtless in the jungle, slaying hundreds of Mooks with machineguns and explosive arrows. In fact, in Rambo's first film, First Blood, he's fighting American lawmen and only kills one in self-defense with a rock (and the man's death wasn't even intentional, or even really directly caused by Rambo). And it's also a relatively anti-war movie, though not nearly so much as the original book. The film ends with Rambo crying his heart out over the injustice of war and those who wage it. The sequels are pure war porn.
  • Partially because of its title and partially because it came out literally months after the first, only die-hard Pink Panther fans realize that the first sequel was not Return of The Pink Panther, but the less well-known A Shot In The Dark. Ironically, it's Shot that brought in many of the elements (Clouseau's karate "prowess", the increasing tomfoolery of his accent) and characters (Dreyfus and Cato) that were key to the later films; it's also commonly regarded as the best film of the series.
    • Most people also think of the series as centering around the humorous slapstick misadventures of Inspector Clouseau, which started with A Shot in the Dark. The original Pink Panther film actually had the Phantom as the main character with Clouseau as an antagonist. It's just that it was so hard not to relate to him...
  • Mad Max is not set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and is about a psycho cop who goes after a biker gang that murdered his family before driving off into the desert. On the other hand, its sequels, The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome became highly influential visions of an After the End world.
  • While all James Bond films have recognition, the most famous is the third, Goldfinger (Dr. No is the first, and even that was preceded by a TV adaptation of Casino Royale 1954). And others haven't seen any before Goldeneye, the 17th.
  • Many people have no idea that Robert Rodriguez's film Desperado is actually the second film of a trilogy, the first being El Mariachi, which was made on a shoestring budget and never received a wide release.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the third installment of Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy, is even more famous than A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More.
  • In the Evil Dead series, most people remember the ass-kicking character of Ash, toting a shotgun and sporting a chainsaw for a hand. The first film of the series, however, is a more straight horror film with an ensemble cast. Ash is just a regular college kid who happens to make it to the end. Producers were even reluctant to call the second film Evil Dead II out of the belief that few people had even heard of the first film.
  • This is what The Dark Knight has done to Batman Begins


  • James Branch Cabell wrote 20-odd books set in his "Poictesme" universe. They were little-read until the 7th one, Jurgen, appeared in 1919: that one inspired the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice to attempt to prosecute Cabell for obscenity, naturally giving the book great publicity. Afterwards Cabell went right back to obscurity. Jurgen is still by far the best known book in the series, although, in the author's own opinion and that of some fans, it's not the best.
  • Dan Brown's runaway success The Da Vinci Code was a sequel to the much less known Angels and Demons. This was retroactively countered by publishers and filmmakers, who hoped to take advantage of lingering Dan Brown fever by snapping up Angels and Demons and marketing it aggressively. Most people probably think Angels and Demons is the sequel; certainly this is the case for the movie.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (and after Red Dragon got a proper adaptation, many don't care about Manhunter)
  • Last of the Mohicans is far more well known than The Pioneers, to which it was written as a prequel.
  • Although not a Real Life example, in Dune, Duke Leto, who was a charismatic and powerful leader that purchased one of the most important planets in the political system and created the second-best army in the universe, was completely overshadowed by his son, Paul.
  • The Lord of the Rings completely displaced The Hobbit in the eyes of many, even before the film trilogy became immensely successful. But then, The Hobbit wasn't originally part of the same 'verse.
  • H. G. Wells' The Crystal Egg, a short story about an alien artifact sent to Earth to spy on it in preparation for a coming invasion isn't remembered very well by most, especially compared to the story of said invasion.
  • Little House in the Big Woods was Laura Ingalls Wilder's first book, but it is the second in the series, Little House On the Prairie, that is better known, to the extent that it is the name by which the whole series is now known.

Live Action TV

  • In-universe example: In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, it's revealed that the aliens favorite film is Arthur 2: On The Rocks. One day, Harry discovers the original Arthur:

 Harry: There's a prequel!

Sally: Well, who knew? This is going to answer so many questions about Arthur 2.

Harry: Yeah, like the "2".



  • Felix Mendelssohn's first violin concerto is relatively obscure. His second is one of the most recognizable pieces from the early Romantic period. Most people think he only wrote one.
  • Did you know that that famous piece Liebestraum by Franz Liszt is actually Liebestraum No. 3? Now you do.
  • Similarly, Fryderyk Chopin's first piano sonata, in C minor, is often overlooked and rarely performed. The second, in B-flat minor, is much more famous, as it contains a well-known Funeral March as the third movement. The third, in B minor, is also better-known and much better-received than the first.
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff is perhaps best known for the virtuoso piano writing and lush romantic melodies of his second (C minor) and third (D minor) piano concertos, the latter of which was featured in The Shining. The first concerto, in F-sharp minor, is rarely heard, as is the fourth, in G major.
  • Grammy awards for Best New Artist are often given to new stars whether or not they have released any albums prior to their break-out success.
    • Paula Cole received a Best New Artist Grammy for her second album.
    • Kenny Chesney won a Best New Male Vocalist award shortly before the release of his fourth album.
    • Shelby Lynne won this award in 2001, and in her very irritated acceptance speech reminded everyone that she had been recording and releasing albums for over 10 years.
    • Welcome Interstate Managers was the third album by Fountains of Wayne, released seven years after their first, self-titled, album. But the breakaway hit "Stacy's Mom" from Managers led to Fountains of Wayne getting nominations for Best New Artist.
    • Amy Winehouse. Won Best New Artist although she already had a best-selling album in Britain beforehand. Back to Black is her second album.
    • The Jonas Brothers. Nominated after being discovered by Disney.
    • The Backstreet Boys. First album? 1996. Grammy Best New Artist nod? 1999.
    • Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill was her third album; she'd released two albums of cheesy synth-pop in her native Canada as just "Alanis".
  • Similarly, Suzy Bogguss had been recording since 1981, but won the Country Music Association's Horizon award in 1992. The fact that said award is now called the New Artist Award should clue you in as to how her win fits this trope.
  • Bob Dylan's first album was not The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan but a self-titled album containing only two original songs.
  • Anything an artist records before they score a major studio deal is usually ignored. For example:
    • Only hardcore Eminem fans even know of his first album, which was not The Slim Shady LP. Only 250 copies of Infinite were sold.
    • Good News For People Who Love Bad News was the fourth Modest Mouse album and their second album on a major label. Their first being The Moon & Antartica in 2000.
    • It would seem that no tracks from Green Day's International Superhits! precede Dookie. Until you realize one of the Dookie's songs, "Welcome to Paradise", is a re-recording from the previous album.
    • Fall Out Boy's From Under the Cork Tree, often listed as their debut by even music writers, is their third album. To be fair, they've stated that they don't acknowledge Evening Out With Your Girlfriend.
    • Yes, Nirvana made an album before Nevermind.
    • Switchfoot's three albums prior to The Beautiful Letdown, featuring "Meant to Live" and "Dare You to Move", are largely unknown outside the Christian Rock fandom.
      • Actually, "Dare You to Move" was from their third album.
    • Good Charlotte made a self-titled album with a different drummer before they achieved worldwide success with The Young and The Hopeless. At concerts they'll sometimes say they were going to play a song "off our first album", and everyone would cheer thinking it was from The Young and the Hopeless... Then they'd play "Festival Song" and half the audience would get really quiet... and the other half would scream even louder!
      • In the UK, this is in place even more so than America - the self-titled album was only released after The Young and The Hopeless, and the music videos have never seen any airplay in the country.
    • Wiz Khalifa's Rolling Papers is his third album, but his first on a major label, and his first with a major hit in "Black and Yellow".
    • Drake released his first mixtape, Room for Improvement, in 2006 but didn't get a record deal until 2009. Only hard core fans really know about that and the other mixtape he made. A weird version with this, because his first hit single, "Best I Ever Had", was actually released on a mixtape made before he had a record deal.
  • Tears for Fears's second album, Songs From the Big Chair was far more popular than their first and contains their best-known songs, including "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and "Shout".
    • Your Mileage May Vary. "Mad World" and "Pale Shelter" are from their first album.
    • "Mad World" was not popular because of Tears for Fears, but rather for its cover by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules.
      • Not really. At least in Germany, it was a major dancefloor filler in its time.
  • Despite the title track being one of their best known singles, The Who's My Generation album was out of print in the UK for decades, and prior to 2005 only an altered US release was available on CD.
  • Six years before his breakout album Bat Out Of Hell, Meat Loaf recorded a duets album with Stoney Murphy. Even the record's producers forgot about it in the intervening six years, reissuing it with Edwin Starr's vocals in place of Meat Loaf's. After Meat Loaf became a household name, the album was reissued again, with his lyrics restored, but Stoney's removed.
  • Japan's first two albums 'Adolescent Sex' and 'Obscure Alternatives'. David Sylvian has even gone on record saying they should never have released their first album. This isn't surprising because the album is a So Bad It's Good attempt at jazz influenced glam rock. They did however perform tracks from 'Obscure Alternatives' up until they broke up, but it divides fans due to Sylvian's completely different vocal style and the occasionally banal lyrics. The compilation 'Assemblage', which features a couple of tracks from their first album is much better remembered, and some people believed it was their first album until the remasters came out, which contains an image on the spine which can only be completed by buying all the albums in the set.
  • Many people are unaware that Bob Marley And The Wailers released many singles and four albums in Jamaica before signing with Island in 1973. This happened 11 years after Bob released his first single.
  • Many people think that New Gold Dream was Simple Minds' first album, despite the fact it was their sixth (or fifth if you count Sons And Fascination and Sister Feelings Call as a double album).
  • The Offspring's Greatest Hits Album include nothing before their third/breakthrough album, Smash.
  • Hardly anybody knows Supertramp's first two albums, which preceded a revamp in line-up (only the two bandleaders stayed) and sound.
  • David Bowie had recorded 2 entire albums and released one before Space Oddity (titled Man of Words, Man of Music until a 1972 reissue) made him famous and codified his style. His 2nd album in recording order, Love You Till Tuesday, was a casualty of Deram Records' financial problems, and received no authorized release until recently (although the lead single was released, complete with an ad for the thought-to-be-upcoming album on the sleeve).
  • Journey released 3 albums, with 2 different frontmen, in a weird experimental style that drifted between jazz and techno, before Steve Perry and an arena rock sound made them superstars.
  • Queen's first (self-titled) album is largely forgotten or unknown by all but the most hardcore Queen fans. Their popularity began to pick up with Queen II, spiked with Sheer Heart Attack and probably peaked with A Night At The Opera, but Queen has (almost) never had a single song featured on any collection albums. This is a shame, because it's a strong debut.
    • In fairness, the band only included Top 20 hits on Greatest Hits, thus several later period singles don't appear on it either. The band remained proud of "Keep Yourself Alive" and performed it constantly later on, however, so this is simply a case of too many hits.
    • Possibly because Queen II was where the "classic" sound came together. One can argue the merits of their debut, but it had a noticeably different sound to their later work, with a more pronounced early-70s Zeppelin-influenced hard rock feel and some religious themes.
  • Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon was either their sixth or eighth album, depending on whether or not you include two albums the band made as soundtracks for obscure French hippie films. Either way, you'd be surprised by how many casual/new fans earnestly believe the band's debut album was Dark Side.
  • Elton John made an album before his self-titled one. But almost no one has even heard of it, except for Americans who think it's his tenth album (it was released there six years after it was released in Britain).
  • Wicked Lester, founded by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Nobody remembers it. Kiss, however, is quite well known.
  • No one remembers a Fleetwood Mac without Stevie Nicks, even though she didn't join the band until 1975, a full eight years after the band was formed. Not even Fleetwood Mac.
  • Mobb Deep's first album, Juvenile Hell, is mostly forgotten. Its follow up, The Infamous is what really made the duo stars of the New York Hardcore Hip Hop scene.
  • Genesis' first album, 1969's From Genesis To Revelation, was recorded by a lineup which featured Anthony Phillips on guitar and John Silver on drums. It was marred by Johnathan King's string-laden overproduction and Decca Records' Executive Meddling. The group do not own the rights to the album and appear to have disowned it. The more Progressive Rock -based Trespass, from 1970, featured more of the band's trademark sound and style, but was, like FGTR, a commercial failure. The first major Genesis success was 1971's Nursery Cryme, featuring the cult hit, "The Musical Box". By then, the classic line-up of Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, and new members Steve Hackett and Phil Collins was established, and the group's sound better defined and produced.
    • Genesis have indeed disowned FGTR, and stopped performing numbers from it very early on. The majority of the fans agree with this and discount FGTR from the canon discography or treat it like an outtake or bootleg. Lineup and style aside, Trespass still has a firm place in the fandom's hearts, however, and numbers from it have made regular appearances at gigs, especially "The Knife".
  • Shania Twain released an unsuccessful self-titled debut album in 1993 featuring a more traditional country-pop sound and style, before making it big with the Robert John "Mutt" Lange-produced, more rock-flavored hit style the introduced on its followup, The Woman In Me.
  • Carole King's Tapestry was a huge hit in part because of the perception that after a successful songwriting career she was finally stepping out to make a statement as a performer. But she'd already released a smattering of singles in the 60s, including one ("It Might as Well Rain Until September") that became a fairly big hit in both the US and the UK. Then in 1968 she released an album with her band The City (Now That Everything's Been Said) that was basically a Carole King solo album, since she wrote all the songs and sang lead on all but one. Then a year before Tapestry she released her first official solo album, Writer.
  • Most people are introduced to They Might Be Giants via Flood, which was their third album.
  • Jimmy Buffett's 1973 album A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean marked the debut of the style that would make him famous, but it was actually his second released album and third recorded album (after his folk-pop debut album flopped his former label refused to release the similar-sounding second album, claiming they lost the master tape. After his later success they miraculously found the tape and released it).
  • Warren Zevon's debut album was not his self-titled 1975 set, but 1969's ultra-obscure Wanted Dead or Alive. And before then he recorded a couple singles as a member of the duo Lyme & Cybelle.
  • Nickelback's debut album was released in the late 90s, and it was not' Silver Side Up, the album that got them popular even in their own homeland of Canada. Even though the group previously had hits in "Leader of Men" and "Worthy To Say", most people don't appear to remember anything before Silver Side Ups "How You Remind Me".
  • Jean Michel Jarre released a couple of albums before his international breakthrough Oxygène (one intended as library music and the other a film soundtrack), though both remained obscure and the former is still out of print.
  • Michael Jackson's solo debut isn't Off The Wall - his fifth album (but like the rap examples above, the first after a label change).
    • His little sister also falls into this. Most people tend to think Janet's first album was Control. It is actually her third. In all fairness, however, Janet stated herself that she sees Control as the official start of her music career.
  • Iron Maiden's first two albums have their fans, and the first has the self-titled song that closes all concerts. But the albums are easily overshadowed by The Number Of The Beast, which introduced charismatic front-man Bruce Dickinson.
  • Remember those 2 albums MC Hammer made in the '80s? No, you don't, because you'd never heard of him back then, because it was his third album, "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em" that he finally had his first hit with "U Can't Touch This".
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers started their breakout with their fourth album, Mother's Milk... and after a label change became superstars with the fifth, Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
    • Luckily, their third album The Uplift Mofo Party Plan will always be remembered because it's the only one they made with guitarist Hillel Slovak, whose death a year after its release affected the band so much that they constantly reference it in their music.
  • Though Split Enz had a few hits with their third and fourth albums Dizrythmia and Frenzy, it wasn't until their fifth album True Colours that their success really took off.
  • No Doubt was endlessly amused when they were nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy for the wildly popular Tragic Kingdom album. It was actually their third album, and they had been performing for nearly a decade. David Letterman even referred to Tragic Kingdom as their first album when No Doubt made their first appearance on his show.
  • Finger Eleven is a very strange Canadian example. Most people first heard of them during the release of their self-titled album (which spawned a couple of big hits), which was released in 2003. However, the band (minus one member who left in the mid-90's) previously played as a group called Rainbow Butt Monkeys, which had already produced a debut album before they changed their name to Finger Eleven. Furthermore, their self-titled disc was their third studio release - the band had already released two albums in 1997 and 2000.
    • Not only that, but their most famous song never came until their fourth album, "Them vs. You vs. Me". That song? A little ditty called "Paralyzer."
  • Kardinal Offishall signed to Akon's Konvict Muzik Records in 2007, and promptly released his (to date) best-selling single "Dangerous" on his first album with the label, Not 4 Sale. However, many people who bought the album and enjoyed it in the U.S. apparently didn't realize that Offishall had been a household rap name in Canada for a good 9 years beforehand. Not 4 Sale was Kardinal's fourth studio album, and he had already received critical acclaim and Canadian awards for several chart-topping hits.
  • Many people haven't heard any of The Human League's material prior to their third album Dare, which included the breakout single "Don't You Want Me?".
  • Deep Purple's first three albums, while fairly popular in the United States (like their cover of "Hush"), are generally overshadowed by their fourth album Deep Purple in Rock, which set them on the road to pioneering Heavy Metal.
  • Many My Chemical Romance fans are unaware the band made music before Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and are typically surprised upon discovering 'I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.
  • ABBA's first album Ring Ring wasn't widely known until the band became big later in the 70s. Most people think that their Eurovision entry "Waterloo" was their first single, when it was on their second album.
  • KMFDM's debut, Opium, was initially only released as a limited run of 200 casettes, and due to the tapes being lost for a long time, didn't see a rerelease until 2003. Thus, to most fans, What Do You Know Deutschland was their first album.
  • You've Come A Long Way Baby was Fatboy Slim's mainstream debut. Before that, he had Better Living Through Chemistry.
  • The original lineup of The Moody Blues was an R&B-influenced British Invasion quintet with Denny Laine (later to join Wings) on vocals and guitar, and Clint Warwick on bass. They had a minor hit with a cover of Bessie Banks' Go Now", and an album called "The Magnificent Moodies" in 1965. Laine and Warwick were replaced by Justin Hayward and John Lodge, respectively, who created the progressive sound the Moodies are known for with their second album, 1967's Days Of Future Passed" (which featured "Nights In White Satin").
  • Franz Ferdinand's video for "Take Me Out" was the one that shot them to fame, no doubt due to the rather avant garde style used in the video. It was actually their second video, their first was "Darts of Pleasure", which was a more typical video.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • The Metal Gear series didn't achieve much in the way of mainstream popularity until Metal Gear Solid was released for the Play Station. This is mainly because the original MSX2 version of Metal Gear 1987 only saw an official English release for the European market, while Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake was released exclusively in Japan. The series did have some prior exposure in North America in the form of a Nintendo Entertainment System port of the first game (which is drastically different from its MSX counterpart), as well as an NES-exclusive sequel titled Snakes Revenge that does not form part of the series' continuity.
  • Bungie's Marathon introduced a lot of things to the First Person Shooter genre and the video game industry as a whole, but everybody just remembers Halo.
  • Averted with The Legend of Zelda where, after fans play one of the later versions, they usually try out the earlier versions as well and it is hard to find a fan that doesn't know of the earlier games.
    • However, considering Ocarina of Time's success, a few who started with that game call Majoras Mask "Zelda 2" (something that if said, will get someone into trouble).
    • A Link to The Past gets some of this, too. It's considered up there with Ocarina as one of the series' high points and more or less right behind it in terms of awareness; where the two NES titles before it, while not forgotten by any stretch, are much more obscure than any of their sequels.
  • Summer Carnival shoot-'em-ups has a really weird case of this. First of all, Recca might be mistakenly considered a sequel displacement because there was a game that was released year earlier, Spriggan, which kept the same Summer Carnival brand name. Moreover, the latter games from this series, Alzadick and Nexzr, may also be mistakenly considered follow-ups, but in reality... Not only Recca and the remaining SC games were released on different platforms and developed by different teams, they have absolutely nothing shared in general, save for the genre, the setting and belonging to the same somewhat forgotten gaming event, which is arguably the real example of this trope.
    • Also, have you ever heard about Alzadick having its' own sequel on Play Station 2?
  • Triangle Heart 3. What little attention that gets over the other two is only because of the poster child for More Popular Spinoff, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and the only reason it gets any attention is due to its sequel OVA - which, unlike the TH2 anime, was suitable for all audiences, although it still doesn't make any sense unless you play the game first.
  • The very first Street Fighter arcade game, released in 1987, introduced many of the same concepts later used by its sequel Street Fighter II, namely a six-button configuration and command-based special moves, but the game was merely a cult hit due to its stiff controls and lack of any playable character other than Ryu and Ken. The six-button configuration was actually an afterthought, created as a cheaper alternative for arcade owners who couldn't afford the deluxe cabinet that used two large mechatronic punching pads for each player that determined the strength of the player's attacks based on how hard they were pushed. Street Fighter II refined all the play mechanics from the original game, keeping the six-button configuration, while adding multiple player characters, essentially giving birth to the fighting game boom of The Nineties.
    • Keep in mind, too, that things like "stiff controls" and "lack of playable characters" weren't a ginormous honking deal in 1987. Back then, arcade games were simple affairs, and the very concept of one-on-one was little more than a novelty. Capcom at the time was a young company trying out lots of ideas to see what would stick. If Ghouls 'n Ghosts had sparked a global video game sea change and made intense platformers the white-hot genre of the '90s...well, cool.
    • Everyone knew about the player's special moves in Street Fighter II from the get go because the commands were printed on the instruction card. Because of this, people often forget that Ryu and Ken's three special attacks in the original were literally secret techniques that the player needed to discover for themselves. The (subsequently unchanged) control sequence was devised so it could be hit on by accident, provoking players to spend lots of time (and credits) trying to find out how the hell they'd done it.
    • Interestingly enough, the exact same thing has happened to II. Ask any really hardcore player for his opinion of The World Warrior, and you'll most likely get a litany of gripes. Horribly unbalanced, tons of cheap tricks (including the infamous "tick throws"), tons of glitches, Guile rules the universe, way too easy to do ridiculous damage, redizzies, infinites, etc. Anyone who just started picking up Street Fighter II would find The World Warrior just about unrecognizable. (And don't even start on IV's influence...)
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Try telling fans that Duke Nukem was originally a pink sweater-wearing Oprah fan...they would probably just laugh at you.
  • The Mario series is an unusual example. Most people are cognizant of Mario's adventures in the original Donkey Kong, but the first game where he was billed as a star, Mario Bros. (without the "Super"), was comparatively obscure, though a redone version ended up as "that minigame from Super Mario Bros 3." However, Mario Bros is likely more well known these days, especially since Nintendo put a remake of the game in multiple Game Boy Advance Mario games and, unlike the minigame in Super Mario Bros. 3, referred to said remake using the original's name, with the games it is packaged with including the Super Mario Advance games and Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga. Until then, the Mario series really didn't take off until Super Mario Bros.
    • Super Smash Bros Brawl seems to make an effort towards its recognition, by including a "Mario Bros." stage.
  • While many people are aware of Soul Calibur, even though it was the sequel that had greater prominence and sales, there are a handful that have even heard of Soul Edge/Soul Blade, an arcade/Playstation game that preceded the first Soul Calibur.
    • The Playstation version actually sold well at the time of release (garnering a platinum release), but became overlooked upon the release of Tekken 3.
    • Not only that, but the official name of the series is the "Soul series," yet 99% of all video gamers know the series as the "Soulcalibur Series".
    • And 99% of those people know it as the "Soul Calibur" series.
  • Who hasn't heard of Rayman: Raving Rabbids? Yet, not many people realize it was part of a platforming series called Rayman, the first installment of which was released in...1995! For the Atari Jaguar and Sony Play Station! (also, the PS1 version was one of the best-selling PS 1 games ever, especially in Europe)
  • Secret of Mana, aka Seiken Densetsu II from the World of Mana series. Even in Japan, the first game was released with the subtitle of Final Fantasy Gaiden and was presented as more of a Final Fantasy game than its own entity. In America, it was only released as Final Fantasy Adventure, leaving many Americans unaware that it was even a Mana game at all. In both cases, Secret of Mana greatly overshadowed it and came to define the series worldwide. A later remake of the first game even redid several key mechanics and the entire aesthetic to look more like Seiken Densetsu II and its sequel.
  • Shadow Hearts. Koudelka, the first game of the series that was released on the original PlayStation, tends to be described just as "The prequel of Shadow Hearts".
  • While the Fallout series of PC games is still critically acclaimed and has a loyal (if loud and critical of everything) following, Fallout 3 is a far more mainstream success, and most modern fans were probably introduced to the series through it.
    • This fact itself is a Berserk Button for loyal fans of the first two, who try their damnedest to treat Fallout 3 as never existing.
    • Only a section of the fanbase. There are plenty of fans who can handle the Elder Scrolls meets Fallout system and love it.
  • Time Splitters 2. Timesplitters 1 was not as well known and only saw a PS2 release.
  • Dune II. Yes folks, there was another Dune video game. And not even a bad one at that. Just of a completely different genre than Dune 2.
  • The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall single-handedly invented and refined the Elder Scrolls trademark roleplaying system, introduced the open sandbox game world, and defined the non-linearity characteristic to the series. Arena, by comparison, was quickly forgotten, only brought up ten years later, when it was released for free to promote Oblivion...
    • Each subsequent Elder Scrolls game does this to previous games in the series.
  • Wolfenstein 3D, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and Wolfenstein have numerous fans, few of whom recall (or even know about) the original Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein games.
  • By four games in to the Tales (series), only Tales of Destiny and Tales of Destiny II Eternia had ever crossed the Pacific, and those were totally under the radar. Then Namco of America trotted out Tales of Symphonia. Now some people don't even realize the series started before the PS, let alone back when the Super Famicom was middle-age.
    • This is also prequel first. Symphonia is a sort of origin story to Tales of Phantasia, the first game in the series.
  • Herzog Zwei for Herzog. The fact that the original Herzog was only released in Japan for the MSX didn't help with its recognition. Most people who don't know German probably weren't even aware that it was a sequel, and even German-speakers might be confused.
    • Even EGM didn't realize it was a sequel — on a list of games they felt needed sequels, they referred to a hypothetical Herzog Zwei sequel as Herzog Zwei 2, rather than Herzog Drei.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series suffers terribly from this thanks to the vast majority of the franchise never leaving Japan. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is in fact SMT3, the first two being released only in Japan on the SNES. Its spinoff series, Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army was also in fact the third Devil Summoner game, the first two also never getting officially translated. Add in the fact that events in DS3 reference events in SMT1 and 2, and that the sequel to DS3 is called Devil Summoner 2 in the U.S. and you have a gigantic mess.
    • Not to mention the original Megami Tensei games on the Famicom, the original being based on a novel from an unrelated trilogy.
      • And the novel series is called Digital Devil Story. Then there's the other Megaten spin-off series called Digital Devil Saga that has nothing to do with the book.
    • Spinoff series Persona has this with Persona 3, which introduced Dating Sim elements, generally reworked the series, and became hugely popular. Persona 4 continues with this template by being extremely similar to Persona 3, and the popularity of the changes seems to ensure that any future Persona 5 release will do the same.
    • The first Megami Tensei game released in North America was the obscure Jack Bros., for the even more obscure Virtual Boy. In fact, the game is so rare, it's the only Virtual Boy game The Angry Video Game Nerd doesn't own, out of his whole North American library of VB games. Apparently it isn't worth Jack shit, either.
  • Most fans of the Touhou series are only marginally aware of the first five games before the jump to Windows. It doesn't help that the PC-98 is long dead.
  • Team Fortress 2 is a perfect example, given that the original game was a Quake mod subsequently tweaked by the creators of Half-Life (see Team Fortress Classic). It also came out many years after the original, it's a complete change of tone from the original (the original had a realistic artstyle and a serious tone), and the classes all look completely different than they did in the original.
  • Glider PRO displaced Glider 4.0 and the original Glider.
  • In a mix of this and First Installment Wins, many less-hardcore fans of the Gradius series don't seem to know that Gradius II exists, instead thinking that Life Force is the sequel to the first Gradius. It doesn't help that Gradius II was originally released in Japan and Europe in 1988, but didn't get an official North American release until 2006, eighteen years after the other two major regions.
    • Just to make things even more confusing, Salamander (Life Force) got a 1996 sequel in Japan, which, of course, never got an American release and has not been ported to any console.
    • Additionally Parodius Da! for the arcade is actually a sequel to the original Parodius for the MSX2.
  • The original Darius and its sequel, Darius II, are not too well-known; many fans of the Darius series were introduced to it via Darius Twin.
  • The Ganbare Goemon series originally began with a Japan-only arcade game called Mr. Goemon, from which the original Famicom game Ganbare Goemon was loosely based on as well. Some gamers even assume that the first SNES game in the series, the one that came out in America as Legend of the Mystical Ninja, was actually the first game in the series period. It doesn't help that the Goemon sequels for the Super Famicom in Japan are numbered in a way that they ignore the early Famicom games.
  • While the original Twinbee was released for the arcades in 1985 and had a few straight-to-Famicom sequels, the arcade sequel Deta na!! Twinbee was actually the first one to feature the series' iconic character designs of Shuzilow Ha.
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces got displaced by Dark Forces: Jedi Knight, to the point where the sequel to Jedi Knight became known as Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.
    • Which, in turn, has led to many unfunny Colon Cancer jokes about full titles.
    • And some people aren't even aware of Jedi Knight.
  • Unreal Tournament has become somewhat better known than Unreal.
  • Warcraft has always been well-known among gamers, but not that many World of Warcraft players seem to know about the series or the fairly complex back-story... Or notice the game has a story, for that matter.
  • Do Don Pachi is more well-remembered than its predecessor, DonPachi.
  • Thunder Force II is far more well-known than the original Thunder Force. It doesn't help that the original Thunder Force was released in Japan only on some now-obscure computer platforms, and was never ported to any console system.
  • While the Call of Duty FPS series was fairly well-known (perhaps even very well-known) and acclaimed from the start, it didn't turn into the household name we know today until Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
    • It came to the point where developer Infinity Ward simpy titled the sequel Modern Warfare 2 and considered it a new intellectual property. Activision added Call of Duty back into the title, however, for name recognition. An alarming number of people seem to think the series started with Call of Duty 4, despite it having "4" in the title.
  • Crystal Quest thoroughly displaced Crystal Raider, a Shareware prototype so primitive that it didn't even have a Quit command. (You actually had to reboot the computer to escape it.)
  • Although the Final Fantasy series was already somewhat popular prior to 1997, Final Fantasy VII brought in an overwhelming wave of new fans, making a rather large amount of people think that it was the first title in the series despite the number "VII" in it. In fairness to Europeans, it was the first Final Fantasy to be released there.
  • The full title of Dwarf Fortress is Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress. The original Slaves to Armok is an actual game, and is more like an adventure game.
  • While Wild Gunman was Nintendo's first game for the NES Zapper, most American players tend to associate the light gun peripheral with Duck Hunt, thanks in part to its inclusion with Super Mario Bros. in most console bundles.
  • Bioshock for System Shock, although it is more of a Spiritual Sequel Displacement.
    • For that matter, System Shock 2 to the original System Shock.
  • Another example of a Spiritual Successor eclipsing the originator in popularity would be Dragon Age, which followed in the footsteps of BioWare's own Baldur's Gate saga. Of course, a lot of gamers became acquainted with BioWare following their console debut and Star Wars franchise based megahit, Knights of the Old Republic.
  • Most fans of the Dynasty Warriors series only know the more recent games in the Hack and Slash genre and are unaware that the series started as a one-on-one fighting game.
  • The Goonies II was a relatively popular NES game, somewhat based on the movie. There was an earlier Goonies game for the Famicom, which wasn't even released outside Japan except for the Vs. System arcade cabinet, which in turn many people never really noticed.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla has had this effect on the Red Faction series. Not many people know about the first two games.
  • Resident Evil 4, so very much. Despite the "4" in the title, some new fans are suprised to learn that not only were there other Resident Evil games before it, it's actually not even the fourth game!
  • The Silent Hill franchise now spans seven main games, but the second game is by far the most famous, with memes and parodies based on it frequently showing up in news coverage of later titles to which it has no connection. This even extends to the UFO Endings of Silent Hill 3 and Shattered Memories, both of which feature a cameo appearance from the protagonist of Silent Hill 2 for no real reason.
  • While Metroid is still a notable game and even included as an Embedded Precursor in two of its sequels, it's vastly overshadowed by Super Metroid (third game) and Metroid Prime (fourth/fifth depending on POV, first 3D game).
  • Earthbound is a bit of a cult classic, but it's less well known that it's in fact the 2nd game in the Mother series. Justified though, in that it was the only one released in the US, the other two launching in Japan only.
    • The main reason people know of "Earthbound" but not "Mother" is because of Ness's appearance in the "Super Smash Bros." series.
  • How many people remember the 1989 Mechwarrior?
  • This applies to Harvest Moon, depending on who you're asking. Few fans in total remember the original game, and if they do it's because of the Virtual Console release. Likewise, Harvest Moon 64 is not well-recalled but displaces the original, and any of the Game Boy games before Friends Of Mineral Town. Back to Nature displaces 64, which in turn is largely displaced by its Game Boy Advance port.
  • Few people have heard of Earth 2140, the first game in the the Earth 21XX RTS series. To be fair, it's not as unique as its successors, but it's still a fairly solid game.
    • This game also puts the Eurasian Dynasty in a much darker light, showing people being forcibly turned into cyborgs. 2150 doesn't have any infantry due to Germany's restrictions on video game violence, and 2160 just has them use regular soldiers as infantry with cyborgs forgotten.
  • Few people remember Kingdom Under Fire: A War Of Heroes for PC... despite it actually being more unique than its sequels. It was one of the first RTS titles to have RPG-style upgradeable hero units — years before Warcraft III — as well as making the odd choice to combine RTS and Diablo-style stages.
  • Very few Legacy of Kain fans played "Blood Omen 1" and "Blood Omen 2." In fact, many assumed "Soul Reaver" was the first game in the series and never even knew that the SR games were spin-offs of the original "Blood Omen."
    • To be honest, if few people played Blood Omen 2 (which came AFTER Soul Reaver, mind you) was because it was severely lacking in many of the aspects that made Soul Reaver famous.
  • Taiyou no Shinden Asteka II was released Sequel First in America as Tombs & Treasure, but even in Japan only the second Asteka game was remade, and it was remade twice.
  • Need for Speed became excessively popular with the release of Underground in 2003, and spawned an even more popular sequel in 2004. Then another in 2005...and another in 2006...and 2007...and 2008...after 5 years, the series became stale however, and each game was significantly less well received, before finally shifting back to its roots with Hot Pursuit 2k10. Due to a split fanbase, EA knew there would be still some of the newer fans who yearned for the Most Wanted/Carbon style gameplay and customization, hence the NFS: World MMORG was released along side Hot Pursuit.
  • After Burner II was more of an Updated Rerelease than a sequel to the original After Burner, and so displaced it quite easily.
  • The first Clock Tower was only released in Japan, so most Westerners have only heard of the 5th and 6th-gen games.
  • Galaga surpassed its predecessor Galaxian in popularity.
  • The Sims 2 is more popular than the original, and can sometimes be this. This is despite the glaring "2" on the box and multiple references to the original game.
    • Nowadays there are The Sims 3 players who are totally unaware of the first two...
  • The eight-year gap between Invisible War and Human Revolution has led to those who were massively excited about the latter asking, "What? There are other Deus Ex games?"
  • Quake was a hugely influential game (it almost single-handedly invented Tournament Play, for instance) but was later overshadowed by the multiplayer-oriented Quake III Arena. It wasn't until Quake 4 was released years later that the series got back to its roots with a single-player campaign.
  • The Korean SRPG The War Of Genesis II not only displaced, but also outright replaced the first game, as it repeated most of the story, embedded into a greater narrative.
  • The old Minecraft Classic — the one where there's an unlimited number of blocks, simple shading, no monsters or items, and no day/night cycle — seems to suffer from it when compared to the regular Minecraft. The comments on this video show that some people aren't even aware of Classic:

 Why do the blocks destroy so easily???

how do you break the blocks so fast and how do you do the unlimited block thing

  • The Ultima series started with Akalabeth, a game which is remembered mainly because it established many tropes that were made far more famous by its sequels.
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day. How many people know much about the game that starred Conker that came out between it and Diddy Kong Racing? Very few people know about the E rated Conker's Pocket Tales which came out on the Game Boy Color a few years before Bad Fur Day, or that his more well known Nintendo 64 game was originally meant to be a light hearted Banjo-Kazooie like 3D platformer.

Web Comics

  • Ciem: The Human Centipede, is known by at least a small number of online viewers. It is, however, a spin-off/sequel to The Battle for Gerosha, whom nobody remembers.
    • And the version of Ciem online now is actually a complete reboot of the Gerosha universe. A much less-sensical version existed in 2005 before the 2007-2009 incarnation. Yet, who really remembers the 2005 version?
      • Or, for that matter, the canceled 2006 version?
  • MS Paint Adventures offers an internal example with Homestuck compared to its immediate predecessor Problem Sleuth. Homestuck is a megahit and one of the webcomics popular today. Problem Sleuth had a popular run but nowhere near the insane popularity of Homestuck. And that's to say nothing of how both far eclipsed Jail Break and Bard Quest, not to mention all of the above eclipsing Andrew Hussie's sizable library of earlier webcomic work...

Western Animation

  • In universe example: in one episode of The Simpsons, Millhouse comments that the present situation is, "like Speed 2, but with a bus instead of a boat."
    • He later refers to the new girl with no friends as being Babe Pig In The City.

Real Life

  • The Third Reich. You would have never heard of the 1st or 2nd without it.
    • The First and Second Reichs aren't known as such, of course. The First Reich was better known as the Holy Roman Empire, which endured (in various forms) for a thousand years, and included such luminaries as Otton (the founder), Frederick Barbarossa, Charles V, Maria Theresa, and many others. The Second Reich is today called Imperial Germany, and was the first incarnation of the modern state of Germany. It lasted from 1871 to 1918 (four times as long as Nazi Germany). The latter half of Otto von Bismarck's career took place here, and Kaiser Wilhelm, the man often blamed for starting World War One, was the last Emperor.
    • More of a retcon than this trope, since it was the Nazis and associated groups that came up with those names for them after the fact. The first two are actually reasonably well known, though the Third Reich is still more so among people who aren't students of history.
  • The Apple II compared to its predecessor the Apple I, and the Apple Macintosh compared to its predecessor the Apple Lisa.
    • Try finding someone who knows that there were Apple handheld computers before the iPhone, let alone knows when Apple came out with their first handheld computer [1]
    • For the unaware, the Apple I was literally just a circuitboard. You had to build the actual computer yourself, including the keyboard. This was actually not unreasonable at the time; many computers were sold as kits at the time. In fact, the Apple II is often credited with sparking the microcomputer revolution.
  • Okay, so people know there was a World War I, but what do they actually know about it? Incredibly little compared to WWII. At the time, it was simply called "The Great War", because it was the largest conflict the world had ever seen up to that point (over ten million people died in it, remember).
    • Depends on the country. In Australia, much focus is given to the events of the Gallipoli Campaign and the Somme in WWI. The Dawn Service at Gallipoli regularly exceeds 10,000 attendees, which doesn't sound like much but bear in mind this is people travelling to the other side of the world to commemorate lives lost in a war fought almost a whole century ago.
    • British knowledge of it fluctuates a fair bit, but most will know something about it. The Remembrance Day ceremonies and Poppy Appeals were, after all, originally created to remember the war in the 20s, and are seen as sacrosanct by many.
    • There is at least one reasonably popular American history book series that effectively skips WWI. Somewhat justified given the USA's somewhat tangential role in it.
  • The United States Constitution, which was a literal Sequel Displacement, meant to displace the previous constitution. Most people are dimly aware of the Articles of Confederation, which formed the basis of a very different United States of America, and almost nobody remembers that there were a number of chief executives before George Washington (though they were nowhere near as powerful or central to the government as the current President is.)
    • They weren't executives at all, actually, any more than the Speaker of the House is an executive. It was such an unimportant post that at least one appointee never bothered to show up for work. The office of President of Congress is justifiably forgotten.
  • Ramses II is much more famous than Ramses I, his grandfather.
  • Henry VIII is the most famous out of all the kings called Henry
  1. 1993