Generally speaking, if a game is forgotten, it's because it wasn't very good.
There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Some games achieve critical success but fail to make a mark commercially. That said, on average, good games are remembered by a lot of people because they did a good job at being memorable.
Every so often, though, a game falls through the cracks.
The Bouncer is one such game.
In case you're not familiar with this game -- and, chances are, you probably aren't -- it's a beat 'em up action game designed by Square. This, however, is like describing Star Wars as a sci-fi flick with ray guns; it's simply a gross oversimplification.
The Bouncer was one of the launch titles for the PS2. Remember those heady days? For many, the PS2 was their first DVD player; and there was a genuine excitement over what sorts of games such an advanced machine could deliver. The Bouncer was particularly exciting: a "playable action movie" created by one of the industry's most lauded development houses, with graphics that looked truly stunning for the time, characters designed by Tetsuya Nomura himself, outstanding voice acting, and Dolby 5.1 sound (a first for a PS2 title). It looked like a guaranteed smash hit from the beginning.
And when the game was finally released...it fizzled.
No one is quite sure why it didn't take off the way it was supposed to. Even today, if you revisit this game, it holds up remarkably well. But what sets this game apart is the Rashomon-esque storytelling device it uses. Each of the three protagonists, in addition to having completely different fighting styles, all has a unique story. Elements of the plot which only glancingly affect one character have a dramatic effect on another. So in order to truly uncover what's going on, you have to play through the game at least three times, seeing the same events from three different characters' points of view.
As a storytelling device, this isn't used in video games very often. But it's absolutely brilliant. The concept of a playable action movie may have been somewhat ahead of its time, but I challenge you to rediscover The Bouncer. You'll enjoy one of the best PlayStation titles from yesteryear that nobody remembers.