There are subjectives, and then there are these. While you may believe a work fits here, and you might be right, people tend to have rather vocal, differing opinions about this subject. Please keep these off of the work's page.
Hopefully, someone in the quality-assurance divisions of several game companies got fired over letting these titles slip through the cracks. These probably wouldn't pass muster as coasters or clay pigeons.
Gaming humorists, take note — if you want to make a statement about how bad a game is, just say "I'd rather play [insert name of nearly any game from this list here]" for cheap, yet instant, laughs.
For good games that are best played with frequent use of the Mute Button, see Horrible.Voice Acting. See Porting Disaster for good games that embrace the crappiness as they change platform, though one can be in here if it's a horrible game on its own.
For more information, be sure to visit The Other Wiki.Important Note: Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not sufficient. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there is a market for all types of deviancy, no matter how small a niche it is. It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this.
Second Important Note: A game isn't horrible just because The Angry Video Game Nerd, Spoony, Yahtzee, or any other Caustic Criticreviewed it. Nor is it horrible just because it has a flood of negative reviews on Amazon.com (Diablo III is a prime example of a genuinely good game with a ridiculous number of negative Amazon.com reviews - at least 90% of which are nothing more than complaints about the game's DRM system). There needs to be independent evidence, such as actual, professional reviews, to list it. (Though once it is listed, they can provide the detailed review(s).)
Examples (more-or-less in order by generation, then name):
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Second Generation (1977-84)
Cascade's Cassette 50 - allegedly "50 fantastic games on one cassette" - remains notorious for its crap quality almost 30 years after its release - virtually all those "fantastic" games were very poor sub-type-in-quality affairs written in BASIC. In their defence, the games were solicited via newspaper ads and often written by teenagers paid ludicrously small amounts (e.g. £10 for a game that took 12 hours to write or £65 for 10). The tape itself sold for £10, around the cost of two regular games at the time, so it's likely the blame can be placed on overselling adverts meeting the unfairly raised expectations of penniless schoolkids for its unhappy reputation. Still, it's generally considered so bad that it has inspired present-day "crap game" competitions.
Voyage Into The Unknown on the ZX Spectrum. In the same year (1984) that Mike Singleton released the seminal The Lords Of Midnight, Ultimate Play the Game put out three classic arcade adventures (Saber Wulf, Knight Lore and Underwurlde) and Matthew Smith unleashed the epic Jet Set Willy showcasing just what the Spectrum was capable of, budget label Mastertronic crapped out this unbelievable turd of a game. Programmed in BASIC of all things, with risible graphics, worse sound, nonsensical references to "time warp chuck out"s and "buke"s and ludicrously hard space combat sequences that took place on about 10% of the screen. To add insult to injury, the game gave no clue as to how to even start playing; unless you guessed the correct sequence of keys ('E'ngine, 'P'ower, 'I'gnition) to take off you couldn't even start the game proper (such as it was). Contemporary magazines slammed the game, Crash giving it an overall score of 9% with 2% for playability.
Third Generation (1985-89)
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends for the NES. It has annoying music and the graphics are primitively designed, even for its era. Most enemies are Demonic Spiders and are capable of depleting your entire energy bar thanks to a lack of Mercy Invincibility. You'll spend more time fighting the unresponsive controls and navigating the terribly-designed levels (a good example of this is Level 4, where you have to cross a pond with the game's awful jump precision). Beat the game, and "YOU WIN!" is your only reward.
Castle Assault, an early Amstrad CPC game, is one of the most pathetically simpleminded Platform Games ever, with horrible jumping controls. The obstacles are limited to monsters that jump up and down from pits and platforms that move forward and backward, in a sequence that starts repeating midway through the first single-screen level, which repeats endlessly for anyone who cares to beat it.
Color a Dinosaur is an example of a "game" unlikely to have much appeal for its stated target audience of 3-to-6-year-olds. All it has is 16 static pictures of dinosaurs which can be colored with up to three colors. There's not even a save feature. Though the NES is not really a good platform for a virtual coloring book, comparing Color a Dinosaur to Kid Pix shows how little effort was put into the former.
Dian Shi Ma Li (aka Mario Lottery) is a Chinese bootleg game for the NES starring a Mario ripoff (nicknamed Fortran because of the "F" on his cap) with vague slot machine-ish gameplay. The aim of the game is to get as many credits as possible, but credits are a currency that can only be used for gambling, and the only way to end the game naturally is to run out of them. The minigames don't make any sense, which is unsurprising because the main game doesn't make much sense. The only reason to play it is to PUSH START TO RICH. The gameplay seems to be based on thesegamblingmachines and they're no less confusing. Oddly, they're only referred to as "Mario Slot Machines" or just "Mario", even if they aren't Mario-themed.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the NES has slow, plodding gameplay and controls; Everything Trying to Kill You to a ludicrous extent; a completely ineffective weapon as Jekyll and useful-if-you-could-hit-anything weapons as Hyde; and a gimmick whereby you can lose within seconds of turning into Hyde without a chance to save yourselfnote Hyde only gets overkilled instantly if he appears in the same tile/area/spot that Jekyll appears in prior to becoming Hyde (Never The Selves Shall Meet). More or less, Hyde gets killed by a Temporal Paradox... Good luck finding anyone who knows that kind of detail to warn you, Guide Dang It! — these all make for a game that no person can play without feeling like less of a person thereafter. The Angry Video Game Nerd considers it probably the worst game he's ever played (except for maybe Plumbers Don't Wear Ties), and the seriousness of his videos on the matter confirms it.
Human Killing Machine for the Atari ST was a rip-off of the first Street Fighter game made by Tiertex, the same company who did the Atari ST version of the original Street Fighter (itself a Porting Disaster), and the 8-bit porting disasters of Strider. The game lacks special moves, two-player mode (bad in a Fighting Game, a genre that thrives on one-on-one competition), and scrolling. There are miscellaneous god-awful ethnic stereotypes all around and occasional cruelty to animals. Also, if you start off badly, the game makes it harder for you to win the next fight. Furthermore, the developers made it so all of a given character's frames of animation could be shoehorned into a single screen's worth of space, which has the unfortunate consequence of the Final Boss having only six frames of animation (two walking, two falling, one punching, one kicking).
The adventure game Hydlide was a huge hit in Japan. It debuted on a microcomputer in 1984, was released on multiple systems there, and eventually landed on the Famicom/NES in 1989. Unfortunately, regardless of whether the game was any good on the earlier systems, it was borderline unplayable on the NES, complete with hints of Porting Disaster. The graphics were bland, and the music was an annoying loop that sounded like a dumbed-down Indiana Jones theme. The battle mechanics were practically non-existent — they amounted to just running into monsters while holding the "Attack" button. There were no clues anywhere of what to do or where to go. Choosing the Save option only saves the player's most recent password; since the cartridge had no battery, the password is wiped from its memory when the game is turned off. The Angry Video Game Nerd ripped apart Hydlidehere.
Ikari III: The Rescue was a nigh-unplayable mess in its original arcade form, as SNK de-emphasized the run-and-gun nature of the first two Ikari Warriors games (essentially turning the third game into a beat-em-up) but kept the rotary controls, making it extremely hard for attacks to connect. Oddly enough, the NES version of Ikari III was better than the NES Porting Disasters of the first two games, as it was a somewhat-decent game on its own. It helps that the NES port didn't bother to simulate the arcade games' rotary controls.
Scramble Eggs for the MSX is a cheap knockoff of Scramble where you can't move horizontally or drop bombs and the enemies and terrain are boringly designed. The graphics look primitive, but the sound and music are worse.
While Hummer Team usually avert this trope, Somari falls squarely in it. This game could have been So Bad, It's Good given that it's an unofficial Famicom port of Sonic the Hedgehog starring Mario for no discernible reason but the poor controls and physics, coupled with Fake Difficulty make it a barely playable mess and the soundtrack makes Sonic Genesis (See Fifth Generation for that game) sound good in comparison.
Super Monkey Daibouken is an RPG based on Journey to the West in which Son Goku and his party make an agonizingly slow journey from China to India through a confusingly designed overworld with blotchy graphics and invisible exits. It has side-scrolling combat sequences like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, but worse in practically every way.
Super Pitfall was an attempt to update Activision's classic hit Pitfall for the NES... but they didn't update the right things. The gameplay was sluggish and unenjoyable because of unforgiving amounts of Fake Difficulty stemming from terrible stage design, Trial-and-Error Gameplay that gives zero clue as to what to do, and logic-defying ways of getting to a different place (for example, at one point you must jump into a bird enemy that looks no different than any other bird mook in the game). Your character (who looks a bit too much like Luigi) remains a One Hit Point Wonder and, while he does have a gun, it's near useless until the final level because most of the enemies are waist-high in height and you can't shoot while you duck! The graphics were awful, full of sickening strobing, slowdown, flickering, and bland sprites (waterfalls look like avalanches of blue garbage). The music is the same annoying loop played over and over again until the final level. The company that anonymously developed the game, Micronics, was also responsible for the NES Porting Disasters of Athena and Ikari Warriors. The game was a failure when it was released and is considered among the worst games available for the NES. (The obscure PC 88 version of Super Pitfall was not so bad; it included a life bar, the ability to shoot while ducking, and Dungeon Shops that made gold useful besides for Scoring Points.) If you're still not convinced, check out Aqualung's full walkthrough of the game or The Angry Video Game Nerd's review.
A Week of Garfield, a piss-poor platformer developed by Mars and released by Towa Chiki. The graphics are ugly, with backgrounds often consisting of simple rectangles barely representing what they're supposed to and sprites that look like a failed attempt to capture the comic strip's style. The enemies are uninspired, consisting of things like mice, birds, baseballs, spiders, and worms. The sound effects are primitive. It's packed to the brim with Goddamned Bats and Demonic Spiders. There's no Mercy Invincibility, so the aformentioned goddamned bats and demonic spiders can take out all your health in less than a second, made even worse by the game only giving you one life and no continues. Topping all that, in a completely boneheaded move of game design all the items are invisible until you walk past them. This especially becomes a pain at several points when the gameplay grinds to a halt and you're left jumping around the screen like an idiot looking for a key to open the giant door in front of you. This happens multiple times throughout all the stages. It was only released in Japan, and it's a good thing it stayed there. See NecroVMX take a look at it here.
Where's Waldo? for the NES. The appalling graphics are inexcusable because the point of the game is to see where Waldo is. To add insult to injury, the real Waldo is sometimes wearing different colors. The levels that don't consist of finding Waldo are just as terrible, especially the subway level. In it, you had to reach Waldo by entering through tunnels. The board is randomly generated, meaning that sometimes, the whole level becomes Unwinnable by Mistake.
Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machinos Butt by Tengen is not only one of the most flaccid attempts at ripping offSonic the Hedgehog ever done, but also one of the worst Sega Genesis platformers. The presentation and design is awful; lousy controls, levels that are either bland or just sloppily designed, enemies and bosses with primitive AI and bad hit detection, combined with grainy sprites and garish color schemes, choppy animation and slowdown, bland music, and a trite environmental theme throughout the game, going as far as giving you pointless trivia questions in-between levels—and on top of all that is a completely unlikable, ugly attempt at a Mascot with Attitude who often spouts grating digitized catchphrases such as "I'm Awesome!".
Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball is an early SNES title with an interesting concept, but is undermined by sub-par AI, slow characters, and god-awful controls. You're more likely to spend time trying to figure out how to shoot rather than actually trying to win.
Divine Sealing is an unlicensed hentai shmup for the Genesis that's notable for being extremely ugly, generic, and easy. Heck, even its main gimmick (anime chicks stripping themselves for no reason after you beat each level) is too limited to be actually arousing. If you're not prone to motion sickness, check out this Longplay (NSFW).
Dragon Bowl, a sprite hack of the arcade Ninja Gaiden allegedly based on Dragon Ball. It is notable for atrocious music, sound effects stolen from various sources (most notably Street Fighter II), graphics that look like they were drawn by retarded children, game breaking bugs that weren't in the original game and broken hit detection. It is pathetic when put up against the game it rips off, never mind other brawlers released the same year.
Fight Fever (aka Wang Jung Wang) is a Korean-made Street Fighter II ripoff for the Neo Geo with ugly graphics, special moves that are impossible to pull off, and several assets stolen from the first Fatal Fury and Art Of Fighting games. (The sounds were mostly stolen from Art Of Fighting, and the continue counter noise and end-of-round score screen graphics were stolen from Fatal Fury.)
Fighting Masters promised "65 Devastating Attacks" on its back cover, but the game reserved one of the Sega Genesis controller's three buttons for jumping, so each character ended up with three attacks, two of which would likely be nearly identical. In addition, the collision detection was pathetic, and basic punches and kicks were nearly useless, leaving grapple attacks as the only viable method of dealing damage. The character sprites had too few frames of animation, and the generic stage backgrounds made it impossible to appreciate their supposedly gigantic size.
Hard Drivin for the Sega Genesis. While the original arcade game was a popular, technically impressive driving simulator, the Sega Genesis port simply could not do it justice, be it technically or in fun factor. While the real time polygon graphics were for their time impressive, especially for an early Genesis game (and no extra chips or processors used) the single-digit framerate, combined with very delayed controls, make it immediately clear that the Genesis was in way over its head trying to accomplish such a game as this. Due to the aforementioned control problems and super slow framerate, combined with lousy physics (just try to clear the loop de loop ramp), handling akin to sliding on ice, which only enhances the games Fake Difficulty stemming from how easy it is to crash into other cars or scenery and a car so fragile that one hit will total your car and send you back to the start or a checkpoint (and with the strict time limit, you cannot waste any time), as well as when the car is sent flying in the air via ramp that it can crash just from not being in the precise position you are supposed to land the car on, and the game is nearly unplayable.
Heavy Nova, a futuristic mecha action game for the Sega Genesis. The single-player campaign is mostly based around boss fights; the levels preceding them use the same game engine and controls as the fighting sections, and their brevity is perhaps for the better because they have some of the worst platforming ever committed to a 2D console. All of the on-screen enemies are a fraction the size of your character and are nearly impossible to hit because your moves are designed to strike enemies your own height. This means that you have one move that can strike anything in the single-player campaign - an awkward kick that requires you to be within pixels of whatever you're trying to strike as they rain Beam Spam down on you from all sides. The game's one-on-one fighting sections were no better - when you jump, all attacks pass through you, meaning you can make yourself completely invincible at will. This has implications for the multiplayer mode and some of the boss battles, with matches consisting of players...jumping. A lot. Even without this stupid oversight, the different characters you can choose to fight with are completely imbalanced. Some have so few moves that they have unmapped buttons (on a Sega Genesis controller), while others can spam distance attacks and have full suites of super moves. To top it all off, the game is hideous; the graphics would have been a disappointment on the Sega Master System.
Heavy Shreddin' is a terrible snowboarding game for the NES, with slow controls, bland graphics, music and sound effects that cause your ears to bleed, frustrating difficulty and your "reward" for completing a level is more Nightmare Fuel than a reward. Watch Aqualung's review of it here.
Isle of the Dead is a strong contender for the worst FPS of all time. Coming out the same year as Doom, its engine is more on the level of Wolfenstein 3D. Right from the start, the game offers enemies which can tear you to pieces in seconds and respawn right after you leave the room. The graphics and sound are horrible—with nothing to tell parts of the map apart, navigation becomes far too difficult. There are some static screens where you interact (similar to adventure games), but in these you are often clueless about what you are supposed to do, and can easily miss crucial items. To top it all off, quitting the game is referred to as "the coward's way out," and is greeted with a graphic depiction of a shotgun suicide.
While It Came From The Desert is generally considered a Cult Classic on other systems, the version released for the Turbo Grafx CD is infamously bad, no thanks to the addition of FM Vs that have little to do with the actual plot, changes to the story, and the system's own graphical limitations forcing a change in certain gameplay aspects and making it more repetitive and boring. There are frequent moments where the gameplay segments don't match up with the story at all note (in one cutscene, the doctor tells you to collect three transponders to break through the ant queen's force field. You never have to do this, and the game almost instantly forgets about it). The cutscenes feel like they're out of order, as there are points where back-to-back cutscenes will contradict each other. Not even traveling in the game works right; you'll sometimes pick a location to go to and end up in a completely different area. Watch Retsupurae riff it to pieces here.
Legend Of Success Joe, a horrible excuse of a boxing game based on the manga/anime Ashita No Joe. The gameplay alternates between very primitive Beat 'em Up segments in which Joe fights a few wimpy enemies that die in one punch before fighting a very long boss, and boxing matches based on famous battles of the series. The controls are clunky and unresponsive, and the music sounds like something out of an early NES game even though this game was produced for one of the most powerful systems of the early 1990s. The graphics are not much better — an ugly, overly-bright color palette, non-existent animation, and hunchbacked character sprites. It was one of the few early Neo Geo titles that stayed in Japan, for good reason.
It doesn't end there. Cutscenes, even ones that are supposed to take place in castles, are composed of Walls of Text between people standing in some field. Sprites are poorly made — only cloak color differentiates the hobbits from each other, and no one but Gimli and Gandalf looks any different from the generic NPCs. The cities look like any other part of the world, except they have lazily-designed houses in them. And at the end? You fight the Balrog, using the horrendous control scheme which causes you to either control every member of your party at once or let them wander around and die — not that it matters, as the fight is more or less Unwinnable anyway. There are noticeable loading times between areas despite this game being on the SNES. The game's sole redeeming point is its beautiful music...but it only has three tracks, and one of them is reserved for the title screen.
The Make My Video series on the Sega CD. All three games involved "editing" three videos with filters and silly stock clips. That's the entire game. Even for the time, it was ridiculously limited. Since the Sega CD had limited video capabilities, the resulting videos were grainy, had a limited color palette, and were displayed on a very small portion of the screen (especially bad since all three videos are played at the same time). The "Kris Kross" release is often cited as the single worst Sega CD game which, considering the amount of crap in the U.S. library for the Sega CD, is saying something.
The Mario franchise was unfortunately prey to a bevy of educational games, many of which were mediocre at best. The absolute nadir, however, would be Mario's Early Years: Preschool Fun. It's ridiculously simplistic, beyond the point of enjoyability, with all the gameplay built around preschool-level teachings...It's clear every word of the voice acting is an individual clip, as each word is emphasized and separated by a brief pause, to unsettling effect. Framerate issues occasionally cause the music to randomly change tempo, and the graphics make everyone look ...off.note Yoshi, for one, seems to have the width of a two-by-four.Proton Jon and Kelekin play through the entirety of the game here, as well as its other incarnation (Mario's Early Years: Fun With Letters) here.
The DOS Mega Man and Mega Man 3 (there was never aMega Man 2 for DOS for some reason) had horrible controls and graphics (just look at the Robot Master/stage-select screen◊ from the first game), non-existent music (to go with the frequently non-existent sound cards), and terrible level design (the introduction level in the first game is a flat line where you fight the same Goddamned Wolfover and over). In Mega Man 3, the Robot Masters are obvious edits of the bosses of the NES Mega Man 2 and 3. It makes you wonder why Capcom outsourced their mascot to an unknown Shovelware studio.
If you played it on a fast-for-the-time PC, then the first DOS Mega Man would run at uncontrollably-fast speeds. Yes, many DOS games were programmed to use the PC's processor clock cycles as an internal timer without an upper limit; the faster the processor ran, the faster the game ran. Games like this that were programmed for an 80286 processor are unplayably-fast on modern computers (which are 500 times faster than a baseline 286). But still, that's really not supposed to happen while the game is still on the shelves.
Whereas the first Mega ManGame Boy game was well received, Capcom outsourced Mega Man II to a different company than the one that made the previous game (according to series creator Keiji Inafune). This resulted in sloppy stage design, pathetically low difficulty (save for the insanely hard final boss), and music that includes notes that will make your ears bleed. Capcom wisely decided to not hire that company again for the next Game Boy installments of Mega Man.
Mortal Kombat 3 for the original Game Boy was a cheap bastardization of its console game counterparts, rendered nearly unplayable due to the limitations of the Game Boy, and had poor graphics even by that system's standards (especially when compared to the GB version of Mortal Kombat II). Also, the developers screwed up some of the fatalities - notable offenders are Sindel, whose scream somehow sets the opponent on fire, and Smoke, whose Fatality made absolutely no sense.
Rise of the Robots promised a soundtrack by Brian May of Queen... which consisted of a short title tune; the rest of the music was written in-house at Mirage because May didn't get his music in by the deadline. (To be fair, it was an impressive techno soundtrack by Richard Joseph — it just wasn't what was advertised.) The graphics looked utterly astounding, but because the animations were so detailed that they were practically Full Motion Video there was little wiggle room for gameplay and only a few moves possible per character. Worse, you could plow through literally the entire game by spamming the same attack over and over again, completely eliminating the need for any strategy or even learning much beyond the basic controls. One of the first games, and one of the few from the 2D era, that got excellent reviews on its graphics but poor ratings on everything else.
The SNES version of Space Ace meant to translate every single level from the Laserdisc original into a platformer, and succeeded...somewhat. The controls are sluggish and unresponsive; combined with poorly-placed hit boxes and fast-scrolling screens, that makes for a frustrating time. It is almost impossible to land your jumps, and missing jumps kills you in most levels. If you want to shoot someone, good luck — there are two buttons to draw your gun, one for each direction. Then there's the Space Maze, painful padding sandwiched between every level; in these sections, you have to steer your impossibly-fast ship through a bunch of narrow alleys while shooting obstacles. The graphics are ugly at times - the developers did include a few of the FMVs, but they're so grainy and disjointed that you have to wonder why they bothered. The result is a long, frustrating, poorly-designed game.
Batman and Robin, released in 1998 by Acclaim as a tie-in to the movie, is admittedly a neat concept for it's time. A sandbox style game where you could drive around a large recreation of Gotham City, choose between 3 characters and develop those characters skills independently, and be on a time limit to complete various tasks and missions. What could be bad about it? THE CONTROLS. Driving in this game is horrendous because your car is too big and the road is too narrow, meaning you'll either crash into traffic or just hit a wall because the car handles for crap. The fighting mechanics are sluggish and monotonous, consisting of repetitive combos or unintuitively deploying gadgets like batarangs (which take forever to aim). You have the ability to switch from a fighting mode to a detective mode, but unlike the later Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, you can't fight in detective mode, meaning trying to gather clues while there are enemies around is beyond annoying. This game had potential, it followed the story of the movie closely and had pretty good graphics for the time, but the controls just utterly killed it.
Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead's Revenge. The music is monotonous, and the graphics are heavily pixellated despite being Full Motion Video. The steps to move forward in the game seem completely random, and the game doesn't give you any clues on how to progress. Even the directions do no more than explain a few basics. Then there's the ending — some outtakes from filming the monster Pumpkinhead and footage of the guy in the suit dancing around with asinine doo-wop playing over it. The game was never meant to be "won"; if it is won, then it thumbs its nose at you. If you get the good ending, that is; if you don't beat the game the way you're "supposed" to, the ending video is Pumpkinhead literallygiving you the finger.
An attempt at reinvigorating the ill-fated Bubsy franchise, Bubsy 3D for the Sony PlayStation is considered one of the worst games ever made. The primitive graphics, ranging from jittery models to patchwork surroundings (most of which were made of flat polygonal surfaces with a single shade), were pathetic even by the standards of the day. The gameplay was abominable: it was difficult to move Bubsy in any direction other than straight forward, and jumping on platforms was a chore because of the bad camera angles. To add insult to injury, Bubsy was given one of the most grating voices known to man and shrieked dialogue every five seconds to explain every nook and cranny of the game. Bubsy's 2D games are often considered a Love It or Hate It affair and have their fans, but Bubsy 3D effectively put the bobcat out of his misery. Its failure was compounded by the release of Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot 1996 mere months before.
Catfight's sole redeeming quality was featuring an all-female cast in a Fighting Game (although, contrary to what its developers claimed on the game box, it wasn't the first - a year prior, there was Japan onlySega Saturn game called "Pretty Fighter X" that also featured an all-female cast). Never mind that the controls didn't work, the game (for the PC only) ran at a framerate measurable in the single digits, and the AI didn't know how to do anything but block.
Chronicles Of The Sword was a two-disc PlayStation game that wasn't worth the $5 you probably paid for it. It had a horrible to non-existent plot about a nameless Arthurian knight who's trying to earn his armor (or something like that). It's a standard Pixel HuntingAdventure Game that was mostly "find a large number of useless items and trade themrepeatedly", but it was impossible to know their purpose, as your inventory only showed a large 3D-rendered video of the object with no description. (A particularly bad example: the character at one point obtains a broken clay pot which has to be given to a perfume-making monk. Why? Because the pot has ambergris in it. But there's no way to know that without randomly attempting to give the thing to the monk.) Then there was the battle system, which consisted of Full Motion Video battles. Unfortunately, whoever programmed it made the timing of the battle independent of the load time on the disc. By the time you could tell you were being attacked, you were dead. (Thankfully, there was an "Easy" option which turned the videos into cutscenes, making it the game's single redeeming feature.) Oh, and inspecting certain items in your inventory would crash the Playstation.
Club Drive for the Atari Jaguar. For most of your missions in this game, you have to go in an RC car and pick up glowing balls of string - something which has nothing to do with clubs and little to do with driving. The graphics are shoddy and the physics are so eccentric to the point where it borders on Artificial Stupidity. In some instances, your car can levitate into the air and fly briefly. There's even an instance of Fake Difficulty to be found. In his review, where he names it the second worst game of all time (behind only the E.T. game), Seanbaby speculates that the programmers of Club Drive "might have stole their programming code from Dolphin Adventures in Tuna Nets".
Cosmic Race for the Playstation is an awful "racing" "game" with ugly graphics (some were ripped straight from devkits), stupid characters (a caveman who pilots a flying bus/pineapple hybrid?!), forgettable music, random collision detection, an unnecessarily-convoluted control scheme (R1 is to accelerate, and you need to push the D-Pad and the corresponding face button just to turn), and long, boring levels. It's no wonder Game Players Magazine gave it a 0% and named that rating after this game; to put this into perspective, 1-9% is known as "Shoot Me".
Yet another poorly done licensed title from Acclaim is The Crow City Of Angels. What's wrong with this game? What, other than the horrific collision detection or the brainfart in using Resident Evil style tank controls for a beat-em-up? It's just so boring and unfun that it doesn't even deserve further embellishment. It was just another movie game that Acclaim churned out by the truckload which had you do nothing but go around and beat people up. The company lasted through 4 generations of systems and yet they were so creatively bankrupt that they couldn't innovate in anyway beyond going around and beating people up.
The original Daikatana for the PC is known in Spanish as "Daikagadatana" ("Daicraptana"), and for good reason. Your sidekicks are so stupid they not only can't find their way through an open door but also often got killed by collision damage on the sides of doors. And when they died, you died. The titular sword filled a diagonal third of the screen and, when you killed things with it, "leveled up" and gained sparkling and lightning effects that filled even more of the screen. Since the game is an FPS, this is a bad thing... the Daikatana swung wildly, missing whatever you were swinging at (which included walls) as often as hitting; and it would always stop when the beastie had one hit's worth of life left to allow it to hit you one more time. When you acquire the sword, you are "treated" to a view of the Big Bad in horribly-rendered mustard yellow and ketchup red "Samurai" armor and told that you can't attack him because the sword he has is the same one from a different time, and so it would destroy the universe...even though you're carrying around tons of other weapons and have two similarly-armed (if woefully-inaccurate) sidekicks who are likely to kill you and themselves more than anything else.
The version of Daikatana for the Nintendo 64 is no better. It does not let you use the Daikatana, which is a mixed curse.
Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout for the PlayStation is one of a group of infamous Dragon Ball-themed games. The characters look and move like glaciers, attacks come slowly, and the one effective melee attack is easily spammable. The US version of this game was once available for over $200 on eBay because only a few thousand were made. The funniest part? You'd think it would've been a rushed effort to cash in on the series, but nope — the powers that be dragged out GT to keep interest in Dragon Ball high enough to justify purchasing the game!
The opening (Possibly the only good thing about this shlock-fest) just magnifies this, you think you're going to play a badass fighting game. But upon playing the damn thing, it becomes hell.
It must be said that despite the fact that Ultimate Battle 22 was simply a bad game and shamefully resurrected to maintain Western interest in the franchise with minimal effort, it did have a great (if somewhat repetitive) soundtrack. The music heard in the above-mentioned ad is the Ear Wormcharacter select screen music.
Extreme Paintbrawl for the PC. Among many other mistakes, it has one of the worst examples of The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard that one could ever find. What's funny about this is that it was originally shipped without any AI at all! If you wanted to play against any bots that would do anything more than run into a wall, then you had to download the patch when it came out a month later.
According to a letter to the editors of PC Gamer (which gave it 6%, the worst score up to that time), the game itself was produced in two weeks on a rushed schedule.
As for the music, one YouTube commenter described it roughly as power metal for people with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Atari tried to ride the 3D Fighting wave by hiring a programmer who worked with Sega AM2 on Virtua Fighter to produce Fight For Life for the Jaguar. He programmed the game alone (which says a lot about the company's available budget); it took him 19 months, and the result was inferior to its inspirations in every possible way. It was the final nail on the Jaguar's coffin, literally — it's the last game released for the system, and a fitting title to go out on. There is a persistent rumor that the programmer deliberately gave Atari an inferior early version once finished just to personally spite them.
Fighting Force 2 shows what happens when you hand a sequel to a focus test group, and it may be the game that marked Core Design's decline. Hawk Mason, the only returning character from the original game, moves and controls like a tank. While watching Hawk punch the often brain-dead enemies into submission and making inanimate objects explode with just his fists can be amusing at times, it quickly becomes tedious due to camera-clipping problems, extremely-long levels, lack of save points (you can only save after completing a level), and repetitive Copy And Paste Environments.
Fuck Quest, designed by one Richard Eter, is one of the saddest cases of self insertion this side of Sonichu, sadder still for being one of the most blatant Parody Retcons. Your goal is to get your character, also named Richard, laid, and that's pretty much it. Where do we start... It was made in 1998, but resembles the text-and-graphic based games of the 1980s—and it fails at being one of those, too. The plagiarized, monophonic score is the least of its issues; It's unbelievably crass in its execution—more than half of the 11(!) overworld maps feature references to sex and/or naughty bits, all of them Fetish Retardant due to either the tremendously outdated graphics or Eter's horrid drawing skills. The text is crude at best and obscene at worst. The art? Well... What few things weren't taken directly from Leisure Suit Larry would barely (if ever) pass in middle-school art class—many things were clearly done with whatever Paint function Eter had on hand, and what isn't a simple shape or executed using the "fill" function is very sloppily drawn and/or scribbled in an even sloppier fashion.
To capitalize on an attempt to revitalize sales for the Atari Jaguar, the Jaguar CD was released with some interesting titles to come out of it. One of which involves a Highlander video game in Highlander: The Last of the MacLeods. The saddest thing about this game is that the few scenes from the Highlander animated cartoon (not the actual Highlander movie) were one of the very few, if any, positives involved with this game. The Last of the MacLeods display the worst possible looking graphics to highlight the capabilities of the Atari Jaguar CD, has a very weird and annoying system that ricochets the screen to various different camera angles despite not leaving the screen, and other important factors like attacking and saving your progress are also clunky to go through. Both James Rolfe & his friend give their two cents on the game, and The Spoony One gives out a wonderful review of the game here.
Juggernaut: The New Story For Quake II, an unofficial expansion pack for Quake II, adds little more than a few monsters, most of them lazy reskins of enemies from the real Quake II, and eye-searing reskins of some weapons. What little new content there was turned out to be terrible. The level-design is half-assed; the challenge came mainly from there being tons of enemies thrown in each room without any thoughtful design. Despite reusing many enemies and environments from Quake II, the story has nothing to do with it.
Kasumi Ninja for the Jaguar was a shameless Mortal Kombat clone with horrible gameplay (and that bad controller didn't help), some frankly ridiculous characters (including the infamous Angus and his fireball-spouting crotch), and a 3D selection screen that was cool in concept but clunky and annoying in practice.
LEGO Racers for the Game Boy Color. The PC and console versions are very well-liked, but the GBC version suffers from extremely monotonous and repetitive gameplay. You play on an over-the-shoulder view, with you on a rather straight track being unable to see anything except for things two feet in front of you. Because you build up so much speed, this makes it impossible to tell if a power-up is coming up, and it's pretty much a chance if you're going to get one or not. The problems don't end there; the turbo boost is incredibly overpowered and will send you leaps and bounds ahead of everyone, and the cannonball is overpowered too. You never know if one is on your tail, and if it hits you, you stop dead in your tracks and have to build up speed again, which takes forever. As if that weren't enough, the music is ear-bleeding. It seems that whoever did the music conversions had no clue how the GBC's sound chip worked, which can make the already sometimes annoying soundtrack downright unbearable. The monotony will probably prevent you from being interested enough in playing anything beyond the first circuit.
Lego Stunt Rally for the Game Boy Color is a good companion for the above. The original game wasn't that well regarded to begin with, but the GBC version took the already Easier Than Easy difficulty and toned it down even more — entire courses can be won by doing nothing but holding the A button down the entire time. The only time this ever changes is when there are obstacles that require a lane switch, like a road block. The sound is also extremely lacking, as are the graphics.
Mortal Kombat 4 for the Game Boy Color was a disastrous attempt at a stripped-down port of MK4. Even with the transition to color, the graphics still manage to be worse than the Game Boy version of MK3 in some ways, with some characters looking downright unrecognizable. Worse were the Fatalities, which were a laughably bad attempt to emulate the arcade game(!), and they all basically amounted to either "loser explodes into a pile of blood" or "all the loser's blood goes out of a wound at once."
Planet Joker, one of the many shmups on the Saturn and tied with the aforementioned Divine Sealing and Galactic Crusaders as one of the worst games in the genre. It is notable for spectacularly-horrible graphics even after taking the Saturn's handicap with 3D graphics into account, a strange isometric view that makes dodging bullets harder than it should be, bad collision detection, unresponsive controls, being ridiculously easy at even the harder difficulties, the huge size of the player characters, and several unskippable cutscenes involving babbling heads (especially bad in a shmup).
Robocop for the PC, by Titus Games, suffers from broken controls, crappy AI, and horrid voice actors.
Ronde is infamous for killing off the Majin Tensei branch of the Megami Tensei franchise. Its Video Game 3D Leap resulted in some of the ugliest graphics of the 32-bit era, and its preview demo alone caused such a negative reaction that thousands of Japanese gamers cancelled their preorders for the game on a scale that was virtually unprecedented in Japanese game industry history up to that point. It would take another 12 years for Mega Ten fans to see a Strategy RPG in the franchise with the release of Devil Survivor. A video of the first mission can be seen here.
Rugrats: Time Travelers for the Game Boy Color is a good demonstration of why knowing your audience is mandatory. Despite having a surprisingly good presentation (the graphics and mood stays true to the actual cartoon, while many little details ensure it stays above the level of shovelware), the Nintendo Hard aestheic scares away its target crowd (younger players) while frustraing even older players, including this IGN reviewer. First of all, the babies can't attack, leaving them defenseless against enemies such as mice, birds, and Little Red Riding Hood. Many of these enemies are too big to jump over. The game gives no indication of how to progress, leaving players to go through Trial-and-Error Gameplay before they get the idea (having to collect a certain number of bottles along with a golden token). Even then, the sprawling labyrinths of levels require more memorization and patience than a younger player can stand...and there's a time limit ticking away. Even fans of the cartoon aren't likely going to enjoy this experience, and it definitely isn't able to get past the Nostalgia Filter.
Shadow War Of Succession (aka Shadow Warriors) on the 3DO at first glance looks like just one of the many Fighting Games that tried to piggy-ride in the success of Mortal Kombat. But once you look beyond the cover, and actually get to play the "game", everything changes. Shadow: War of Succession might be one of the most poorly programmed games ever released commercially, up to the point of making it virtually unplayable. Just to give something to compare with, the infamous Mortal Kombat Advance actually plays better. Horribly drab backgrounds, horrendous Digitized Sprites (one of the characters is supposed to be a woman but looks like a man) with animation frames in the single digits, the screen shaking every time a fighter lands after jumping, awful opening Full Motion Video, laughable voice clips, controls based on just two buttons, and nonexistent collision detection are just a sampling of the long list of Shadow Warriors' flaws. Watch it in all its glory here.
The Spice World video game (not to be confused with the So Bad, It's Goodmovie of the same name) is exactly what you'd imagine a game starring the Spice Girls to be like — thoughtless rushed-out-of-the-door tripe padded with archive footage from interviews with the group. The ultimate goal is to set up a Spice Girls concert (or something), and you guide your hideous Super-Deformed polygonal Spice Girl of choice (despite having left the group by the time the game came out, Geri Halliwell is playable) through mixing your own version of a Spice Girls song from a pathetically small library of samples which don't even cover the entire song, learning your dance moves through an asinine rhythm-based minigame with a blatantly-racist black stereotype for a dance instructor and awkward timing for the button presses, and planning your choreography — which is exactly as exciting as copy-pasting the same moveset four times sounds. In the end, you will get to see the girls dance for you...and that's it. The whole game can be finished in ten minutes. The only gaming media outlet to have given this game a positive review was Gaming In The Clinton Years — and they couldn't even pass Stage 2.
Sniper: Path of Vengeance is a cheap, shoddy game made by City Interactive - the same company who later released the much better, but still underwhelming Sniper: Ghost Warrior. What's so special about Path of Vengeance? Let's see: its engine (Lithtech Jupiter, cutting-edge for the time) is horribly optimized, causing the game to stutter in medium details on a computer that could run No One Lives Forever 2 (better-looking game on the same engine) on high details without any problems, the graphics look monstrously outdated, despite the title there aren't many opportunities to actually use a sniper rifle, the gameplay is atrocious, the acting and script are downright horrible, and Booze-Based Buff seems to be inserted only in a juvenile attempt at making the game "cool and mature".
Spirit of Speed 1937, or at least its Sega Dreamcast version. Meant to simulate 30's roadsters race, the game was routinely trashed for its atrocious loading times, bad controls, lack of multiplayer mode (bad in a racing game), mediocre production values and boring, drawn out tracks. Quite fittingly, Acclaim briefly resurrected the much-reviled LJN label for this game only.
Star Trek: New Worlds, an RTS game for the PC (a Dreamcast port was planned but cancelled). The game's tutorial is very unhelpful, and does little to explain how to utilize the confusing resources system. Mission objectives themselves are generic and basic, and you're not allowed to pause or save and pick them up later. This, coupled with bad AI, little differentiation between units, and battlefields so large that they take forever to traverse, makes for a very boring Trek game. Arguably the only exciting aspect was setting all your buildings to self destruct, which would blow up and collapse in an over-the-top and drawn out manner.
"It would have been more fun if they made a game about Superman window shopping with Aquaman."
The rings, in which Lex Luthor tasks you to "Solve My Maze" (of linear ring formations, mind you), became a Running Gag in N64 Magazine and got promoted to a regular feature when it became NGC magazine.
Virtuoso was a hilariously bad shooter...or something. It's hard to figure out what kind of game it was, mainly since the combination of shitty graphics and the terrifyingly-bad camera made seeing the game something of a Bragging Rights Reward. Maybe that was a good thing, since the game was terrible on its face. Apparently, you play a "famous rock and roll music star" in the future who "escapes from the rigors of stardom" by logging onto the future version of a VR MMORPG, which is one meta level too many. The enemies were also terrifyingly generic. You fight spiders, bats, giant spiders, more bats, and the boss (are you sitting down?) is another spider. But bigger this time! Yay.
Released in 1998 and 1999, WCW Nitro and WCW/nWo Thunder for the PS1 are probably the worst wrestling games ever made. The presentation's decent — the intro's kick-ass, and the taunt option (where a FMV of the wrestler plays to urge you to pick him) is a neat idea...but everything else sucks:
The point of the game is to whittle your opponent's life bar down until you can pin them. Each wrestler only has about 3-4 moves; most are easy to spam. This was pre-SmackDown vs. Raw, so pressing X-X-X pretty much won you the match. Wrestlers with top rope moves are useless because you can't pin them when you're off the ground (no small cradles, no roll ups), and wrestlers with submission moves instantly win the match. There aren't any match options beside toggling weapons on and off, and the game is basically a cake walk if you use weapons. The controls are horribly stiff and don't let you attack while running — you can't pull off any clotheslines or dropkicks. Striking and grappling are slow and pointless processes that simply don't work. Multiplayer is a joke.
The music sounds like a lame garage band, all the wrestlers sound the same (even the women sound like men), and the crowd noise sounds like a slaughterhouse. To top it all off, the game is ugly. The character models are blocky with a low-polygon count, the crowd is a three-looping-frames-per-second cardboard cutout, and there is little detail in general. The framerate slows to a crawl any time more than two wrestlers are present.
To make it even worse, the very same company released the mind-blowingly good World Tour series on the Nintendo 64, which later switched licenses and became the nexus for all post-1999 WWE games. These games were just boring, simplistic, and unenjoyable.
Zusar Vasar is a racing game with a stupidly awesome premise — a racing competition where floating chariots are carried by giant animal-shaped Humongous Mecha. Unfortunately, the game itself is terrible. The graphics are horrendously pixelated and full of clipping, looking worse than many comparable 32-bit games...even though this thing ran on the Sega Dreamcast. The controls are bad because of ridiculous inertia and a complete inability to stop (your vehicle is always moving) or slow down. The single-player mode features one of the most blatant and ridiculous cases of Fake Difficulty ever devised: the racetracks have laser turrets which are expressly designed to fire on you and only you for no adequately-explained reason. It's not hard to see why it didn't leave Japan.
Sixth Generation (2001-05)
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis, for the GameCube and Xbox, is generally considered to be one of the worst games of all time, inspiring the "Golden Mullet Awards", X-Play's ranking of the worst games of each year. The graphics are very reminiscent to the Nintendo 64 as the city of Atlantis has mostly bland grey buildings and everyone looks somewhat lifeless. Only Aquaman's hair has any graphical effort. The missions have little variation, as you either beat up enemies (easily done by Button Mashing) or pilot an underwater ship to blow up other ships. As Jon Tron put it, the game is basically a spiritual successor to Superman64. A boring experience from beginning to end.
Bad Boys: Miami Takedown, which was released to coincide with Bad Boys II for the GameCube, PS2, Xbox, and PC. It has two untalented expies of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith that manage to be worse, spouting horrible dialogue. The controls on this game are broken, and when you shoot, you are expected to have humiliating aiming. GameTrailers named this #4 in its "Worst Movie Games of All Time".
American McGee's Bad Day L.A. manages to combine everything people dislike about video games with inappropriate Toilet Humor disguised as "social commentary". It's hard to believe that it came from the same mind that made the creepy-but-cool Alice a decade earlier, but it somehow did and some game company decided to release it.
Cartoon Network Speedway for the Game Boy Advance. The game has horrible graphics even for the GBA. The race tracks are very generic (they don't even look like they are from the Cartoon Network shows themselves). The AI cars are all very close together (the game was made in 2003, when racing games were diverging from this trend), which means you can go from first to last in almost no time by just getting stuck in a puddle, and since the handling of all the cars are poor (no matter what the stats say), this is very common. The game is also incredibly glitchy; when you are far ahead in 1st place, many times the screen will change to say you are in 6th (last) place instead, and often there will be a "Wrong Way" banner even when you are going in the right direction. Finally, the game has no cartridge memory and instead uses a password system (which most people don't use anyway because the game is short).
The Catwoman game, based on an already atrocious movie, released for the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox. A shaky camera angle and confusing controls do not make this a good game where you have to look for bling fragments. The only apparently good thing about this game is a visual animation that shows every detail of Halle Berry's character as seen in the poster.
Charlie's Angels, released to tie in with Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, for the GameCube and PS2. The camera angles and controls are busted on this game, and players must spend minutes moving their characters up ladders. Not to mention the graphics are terrible, with the women looking more like living blow-up dolls than the characters they represent. Surprisingly, it beat the E.T. game to be #1 on GameTrailers' list of the "Top 10 Worst Movie Games". Really. They describe Charlie's Angels as being "degrading, not to women, not even to video games, but to humanity itself". It was named a "horrific display of ineptitude" by GameSpot and is the lowest rated video game reviewed on GameRankings with more than 20 featured reviews, having a score of 24.57%. To make matters worse, the Gamecube version even features a Game-Breaking Bug, where playing the game without a memory card causes one of the game's missions to repeat endlessly every time you complete it!
Crazy Bus, a South American homebrew game for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive made in 2004 in which you drive a bus across the screen. Impossible to lose or win, barely even a game, extremely boring, and music so bad it sounds like someone trying to eat a Game Boy while it's still on. The sound effects sound like they were taken from an Atari 2600 game, and the graphics look no better than an Atari 7800 game.
Dangerous Vaults was a pornographic rip-off of the Tomb Raider games. It somehow had worse graphics than the original Tomb Raider despite being released around the time Angel of Darkness hit the stores. Its play mechanics were beyond broken, and the sexual content tended to be laughable rather than erotic.
Dragon Ball Z Sagas for the Gamecube tried to recapture the beat-em-up charm of last two Legacy of Goku titles and add a co-op mode. Didn't work, thanks to depressingly-linear levels, ridiculously-high difficulty, and no checkpoints. You can watch ProJared's review of it here.
Drake Of The 99 Dragons for the Xbox. Its attempt at creating a comic book-style action shooter is undermined rather quickly by horrid collision detection, an auto-targeting system that forces Drake to flail his arms about like a drowning swimmer, and controls that showed nothing but scorn and contempt at the player's desire to move in a given direction. The game supposedly adapts a "comic book" feel complete with SFX bubbles whenever a gun is fired or a character jumps, but this has the unintended effect of making the graphics look even worse — it highlights the similarities the graphics have to a Rob Liefeld comic. Jumping is useless, as are any platforming elements, unless one could will collision detection into being from thin air, assuming one gets past the enemies by way of precognition first. There's no hints of what to do at any point, and only by pure chance can one figure out how to clear the levels. To simply call the game "bad" would be a gross understatement (although Gamespot, X-Play, and Pro Jared have tried).
Godai Elemental Force, a 3D Beat 'em Up made by 3DO for the PlayStation 2, is a complete technical disaster. Despite featuring muddy textures, small environements and few models displayed at any given time, the game chugs at a pathetically low framerate that can't even stay consistent. The game design isn't much better - while the main character has an handful of projectile attacks and moves, his main form of offense is a short Button Mashing combo that can't be changed or mixed up in any way, and while weapons can be collected throughout the levels, most of them simply hit harder and do not change his fighting style. The fixed camera angles are screwed up, enemy variety is low and the main character's gliding ability allows one to skip large chunks of the game with impunity. The game was eviscerated by players and critics alike and 3DO went bankrupt within one year of releasing it. With games like this, it's not hard to see why.
Inspector Gadget: Mad Robots Invasion for the PS2 is a simple side-scrolling platformer, but executed terribly. The graphics probably wouldn't pass muster on the Nintendo 64 - the opening cutscene is horrible, with extremely limited animation, and capped off with a voice actor for Dr. Claw who sounds nothing like him (there is one funny thing about the graphics, though - the bizarrely disturbing faces Gadget makes whenever he dies). The music is just the same annoying loop repeating over and over again, and the sound effects are weird (Gadget makes an extremely annoying "boing" sound when he jumps, they sometimes use the wrong sound effects for the scene, and Gadget says "By my gadgets!" whenever he picks up a health powerup). But what really kills it is the gameplay. The game is both extremely easy and extremely hard - easy because extra lives and health powerups respawn when you die, the enemies are very easy to kill (despite occasionally spawning out of nowhere), and there are almost no tricky jumps. However, it's still difficult, because of the awkward jumping and slippery control. On top of all this, the plot makes no sense. OK, so Dr. Claw makes a bomb that neutralizes all of Gadget's gadgets... but he still has two (a hammer used for attacking, and a tennis racket which reflects projectiles), and can get more for a limited time through "gadget batteries" conveniently found throughout the levels. This game was obviously intended for small children, but there's no excuse for giving them a shoddy product like this.
The Xbox 3D fighting game Kabuki Warriors was described by Gamespot as "... one of the worst games to be released this year or any year, on the Xbox or any other platform." Characters that are only differentiated by palette swaps of identical graphics, stages that differ only by backgrounds, terrible character animation, and a "fighting" system that is just as effective as closing one's eyes and mashing buttons make it one of the worst 3D fighters ever. It holds the dubious honor of being the first game Edge magazine — infamous for its refusal to adhere to the Four Point Scale and stinginess with giving a 10/10 rating — has given a 1/10 to, and remained the only game with that rating until Flatout 3 (see below) 10 years later.
The Game Boy Advance adaptation of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring came out after the movies but (to keep Electronic Arts off the developer's back) was touted as being based on the books. If a player wasn't careful, then by the midpoint of the game items essential to progress would simply vanish. There were glitches that rendered the game impossible unless one knew how to get around them. There's even a spot where you need to save during a transition between scenes to keep the game from becoming Unwinnable.
Lunar Dragon Song recycled many characters and plot elements from Lunar The Silver Star, and wrapped them up in a ridiculously awful battle system, where running on the world map hurts you and you can't select your targets. The beginning enemies are way overpowered, or seem so because you only have 20 hit points and weak attacks to start with. You can choose to receive experience orVendor Trash for the battles you win, but not both. Enemies attacking you can randomly break your equipment, and God help you if you don't have a spare. Your main healer's lost early on, and in her place comes the Level 1 replacement healer in a location that makes it near impossible to train her without a ridiculous amount of luck. The only redeeming features about the game are the music and the R button, which lets you speed up battle animations. It's not a stretch to say that it almost killed the franchise for good. Thank the good lord for Lunar: Silver Star Harmony.
Master Of Orion 3 is probably one of the worst strategy sequels of all time, and reviews of the game have compared it to doing one's taxes. At release, the AI would only build troop ships, yet still fails to put up any kind of a fight even when fully patched. It doesn't help that Infogrames (the current Atari) fired the developers of the previous two games and hired some neophytes on the cheap. This game fails in every way — horrible music, ugly UI, dated graphics, and incomplete gameplay. The previous game is better in every way than this one, despite being released five years and one console generation earlier.
McFarlane's Evil Prophecy, a game based on a toy line by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, seems to have very little actual work put into it aside from getting Todd's name on the cover. The audio barely exists, the AI and controls seem to conspire against you despite the mindlessness of combat, and the muddy and bloody environments make for an experience just as horrifying as the monsters themselves.
Mortal Kombat Advance is quite possibly the worst adaptation of a Mortal Kombat game on a handheld system known to man — it's a cheap bastardization of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. As the two ports of Deadly Alliance proved, Mortal Kombat can work on the Gameboy Advance. But Mortal Kombat Advance fails — tinny music, primitive-looking sprites, AI that's either too easy or too diabolical depending on the opponent (which sometimes resulted in getting That One Boss as your first opponent), collision detection that can't tell if you're next to the opponent or on the other side of the arena...you get the drill. Infamously, it was the first game that EGM gave the dishonor of earning a 0 out of 10. Watch AllieRX87's hilarious review of it here.
Here's just one example of how poor this game's programming is: if you play as Shang Tsung and do a Fatality while shapeshifted, the game not only announces "(your altered form) wins" instead of "Shang Tsung wins", but your shapeshifted form's portrait is shown on the ladder. They couldn't even get something THAT simple right!
Midway outsourced the MK port to a third-party with no input or communication with Ed Boon's team, and gave the team three months to turn something out; Midway was only looking to turn a quick profit off the MK name while spending very little in development. With practices like that, it's a mystery how Midway wound up bankrupt and defunct.
Operation: Matriarchy may very well be one of the worst FPS ever made. Nevermind the nonsensical and vaguely misogynistic premise (dealing with a virus that turns all women on some space colony into an hive mind of men-enslaving monsters), the game is atrocious: enemies are dumb as bricks, ridiculously resistant and gang up on the player mercilessly - all that made much worse by the extremely cramped level design and the puny armament given to the player early in the game. The sound effects are unfitting and annoying, and there's no music. The graphic engine is actually surprisingly good for such a small release, but its relative competence in turn highlights the horrible art direction and poor animation.
It's so bad, that the offical description of the game on PSN points out how horrible it is.
Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis for GBA is one of the most infamous Porting Disasters in modern gaming history. The screen was cropped to the point where you could only see ten feet per direction, bits of terrain would flash on and off-screen at random, the soundtrack consisted of cheap MIDI versions of the synthesized original game songs, the sounds are all off, and the physics engine was replaced with one that posed many problemsnote The big two? Sonic didn't stop when he hit things and bounced with under half his usual force, making boss rounds quite easy and the already badly-coded special stages a near-impossible feat.. The game was bugged to failure, with an extreme case of Fake Difficulty, and sparse, pointless bonus features: "Anniversary Mode," which gave Sonic his Spin Dash ability from Sonic 2, but couldn't be charged; a save function that was either a must or made the game impossible; a level select screen that was rendered pointless since the game could only be won by starting from Green Hill Zone; and a sound test mode you had to clear the game to unlock. All of this was made worse by the game's jerking, dragging framerate and the celebration - Sonic's 15th anniversary - it was clearly rushed to commemorate. The game would eventually be outdone by a bootleg with a one-man staff.
Strike Fighters: Project One was a lesson on why releasing unfinished games is a bad idea. Clicking on the briefing screen caused the game to freeze. Not that there was much to do — enemy planes would fly into the ground when they weren't shooting each other down. Adding insult to injury were the featureless barren landscapes. The magazine Computer Games (formerly known as Computer Games Strategy Plus) gave it a rare zero star out of five review; in contrast, it gave Daikatana (see above) 1.5 stars.
Even worse, you can't play this game in a LCD or high-res monitor. You're forced to play the game with a CRT monitor, and good luck trying to find one nowadays.
Win Back 2: Project Poseidon. Nice job killing this franchise, Koei, with this shovelware sequel. None of the original survivors are present, the general gameplay is uninspired and unfun, and they added that half-assed character-switching system where you play the same mission from two different characters' points of view, like a poor man's version of Resident Evil 2's swapping system.
Winx Club: Quest For The Codex for Game Boy Advance is mostly a Shoot 'em Up which follows the Season 2 plot very loosely, with some minigames thrown in. The Shoot 'em Up sections are boring, repetitive (there are only a small sample of enemies and no boss battles), and hard to control. Of the five minigames, only one is worth playing at all; the other four are either too easy or too annoying. The icing on the cake? The game forces you to play all the minigames multiple times during the story mode, regardless of relevance to the plot. Yes, helping Stella to choose a skirt that matches her shirt is going to be helpful in a fight against Darkar...and we don't even know why. Fortunately, the creators did learn from this train wreck, because its sequel Mission Enchantix for Nintendo DS is pretty good.
1968 Tunnel Rats. In a bizarre reversal, a Uwe Boll movie was given a tie-in video game. The film is one of Uwe's best to date, but the game "makes up for it" by being simply bad. Not only is it infested with bugs, the story is also ruined by the protagonist's erratic characterization.note It tries to portray Sanity Slippage by having him make angrier and more sadistic comments as the game goes on, but since the game is unfinished, the comments often play at inappropriate times, so, for example, he'll show remorse after one kill and then mock his slain enemy after the next.Gamespot, whose reviewers usually have at least one good thing to say about some of the worst games, couldn't even find a good point to fill in the summary.
The Backyard Sports games from Backyard Baseball 2007 onward. With their blocky graphics, stoic voice acting (except in some cases), and awful controls, these games have been hated by every major video game review website.
Bomberman: Act Zero is considered one of the dumbest series reboots in recent memory. Title and a threadbare resemblance to gameplay are all that ties this game to the franchise; the kid-friendly, cartoony atmosphere was ditched in lieu of a grimdark post-apocalyptic mood. Its graphics are barely on par with the original Xbox, let alone Xbox Live Arcade. There's no offline multiplayer, one of the series' biggest selling points. The only challenge in any of the 99 sluggish, repetitive levels (all of which are set on the same FPS beta reject of a map with little variation) is Fake Difficulty - you have to play through all 99 levels in one sitting, and you only get one life and no save points. Everything else is just generic - the forgettable music, the characters (of which there are only two), the barely-present voice acting, even the story. Add to this a fistful of bugs and some downright audience-insulting moments, and you've got a game that all parties involved still crack jokes about to this day.
Damnationshows that basing a commercial release on a popular mod is not alway a good idea. Though everyone agreed the premise (involving a Alternate History where steampunk weaponery severely extended the length of the American Civil War) and the concept of an "acrobatic" third person shooter could have been cool in a better game, it was bashed for its insanely idiotic friendly and enemy AI, inconsistent game design (for example, being killed by gunfire boots you back to a checkpoint but falling to your death respawn you immediatly on the spot for some reason), laggy aiming, boring weapons and an insane number of bugs. Developer Blue Omega Entertainement went bust immediately after releasing the game.
Dimension Witches, a free game that at one point was apparently for sale at a price, plays off the Touhou Project style of playing but fails horribly. The gameplay's botched and the designs of all the characters are even worse, not to mention cliched. It was taken down from the Indie City site and would have been forgotten if it weren't for MikeNnemonic posting a somewhat NSFW video of him playing it on a live stream on his Youtube channel, which can be watched here.
Elf Bowling 1 & 2 for the Nintendo DS. To begin with, you're spending $20 on two games you can already get as freeware on your PC, and the DS version has even been slightly downgraded from the PC versions by removing some animations and sounds and the coin toss from the beginning of Elf Bowling 2, which is unacceptable since the games were so minimalist in the first place, so the game has already commited the crime of shamelessly ripping you off! But even then, everything about it is awful—the graphics are pathetic and don't remotely take advantage of the DS's capabilities, the music is all but non-existent, the occasional quips from the elves are embarrassingly juvenile ("Those all the balls you got, Santa?") and the gameplay is as bare-bones as you can get with a bowling game.
European Street Racing, one in a series of budget racing titles by Dutch developer Team 6, fails in many ways - blocky-looking cars that neither drive nor sound like high-powered vehicles, laughably stupid computer driver AI, and a physics engine that causes cars and other objects to bounce off walls like pinballs. Someone went so far as to explain the "ESR" acronym as Extremely Shitty Racing.
Flat Out 3: Chaos and Destruction. Not helmed by series creator Bugbear Entertainement (it was instead made by Team 6, a developer of Wii and PC shovelware, including the entry above) and stealthily released during the 2011 holidays season, the few that played it were treated to a mess of broken physics, missing features, overdone bloom effects (later toned down in a patch) and other inept oversights, such as an online mode that wouldn't end a game if one of the players got disconnected (which happens often) or a reset function which would make the car face the wrong way. Yogscast's video on the game should give you an idea.
Fireplacing for the Wii. Not a game as much as a not particularly interactive screensaver. It's a virtual fireplace. You can choose about three themes (aka graphics for the fireplace/room) and whether to manually kindle the thing, but it doesn't provide anything of interest at all. Heck, even the sound effect for the crackling logs is glitched and sometimes goes silent, and there's no music. Nintendo Life gave it one out of ten, while N Gamer gave it about 0.1 out of 10 due to the complete lack of entertainment value.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was rushed to come out with the new film to make a fast buck. Its controls are awful, the graphics (if you can call them that) look like they were programmed 15 years ago, and the sound and music are annoying. (German computer games magazine CBS said it was "[...]the first game which is better WITHOUT sound.") If you try to aim at anything, the weapon will most probably fire at the enemy...then the bullet rethinks this and flies straight to any random object but the enemy. Oh, and if you die (which happens easily), then you land right at the beginning because no save points exist. This is an unwelcome throwback.
By the way, you get to play as Cobra in it for one mission...fighting other Cobra troops as they say "GI Joe is HERE!" (thud)
Hour of Victory was a bizarre and terrible mishmash of the Call of Duty and Wolfenstein games, starting out as another historical World War II shooting game, but then taking a jump off the deep end and turning into a game about the Nazis developing nuclear weaponry. As if that weren't bad enough, the graphics were barely even of PlayStation 2 standard (despite the game proudly boasting on the box that it was the first World War II shooter to use the Unreal Engine 3), the gameplay mechanics were screwed up beyond belief, the heavily-promoted destructible scenery and vehicular combat barely even featured, and the multiplayer mode somehow managed to have fewer options than games released ten years previously. It was perhaps the worst-reviewed Xbox 360 game to have been released until that point, and arguably even a Genre Killer for the World War II shooter, with only Call of Duty: World at War having met with any real success since Hour of Victory's release.
Hulk Hogan's Main Event for the Xbox Kinect was an absolute joke. Meant to showcase the Kinect's capabilities, it was horribly unresponsive, with the menus nearly impossible to navigate through due to its poor motion capture. The wrestlers were just plain ugly, as was the gameplay. Cutscenes were done in a semi-animated comic book style with speech balloons that didn't quite line up with the characters. While it had the creative concept of having Hype gain you points, it wound up being something of a Golden Snitch (though not unlike actual wrestling, little fun to do). Ultimately, it failed to even show off Kinect, as matches boiled down to flailing one's arms to do nothing but punches. Game Informer gave it the "prestigious" honor of a 1/10, the first of its kind in years.
Jumper: Griffin's Story is an Obvious Beta if there ever was one, with too many Game Breaking Bugs to count. It hurts all the more because of how promising it was—Jamie Bell voiced the cutscenes quite well, and the teleporting mechanic came within hairs-breadth of being fun. Being rushed to market to meet the movie's opening date ruined it.
How bad is the writing? Half the characters are an offensive stereotype of some sort, and the rest are just vilely disgusting and superfluous to the so-called plot. The plot is barely even a generic fantasy story, but mostly consists of the main character wandering from one scene to the next and generally either acting like a dick for no reason, or getting forced to do something. One chapter has you collect 50 items, but you only use about four of them before a troll comes up and removes your items (no lie; a random troll barges in at the end of the chapter and shakes the guy down).
Polish video game magazine CD-Action gave Limbo of the Lost-1 out of ten possible points (giving the game a negative score for plagiarism alone) for the first time in their history.
M&Ms Kart Racing is a textbook example of how even a concept as simple as "Make a Mario Kartknockoffwith mascot stars" can be completely botched, and examplifies just about everything that can go wrong with a licensed video game. Everything about it is rushed and uninspired: the core racing has no substance, challenge or strategy—there are no weapons, no shortcuts, and no techniques to exploit. They don't even try to instill a sense of speed beyond having a voice periodically shout "Approaching sound barrier!" The race tracks are so poorly designed that they often trap or bottleneck players—the fact that the vehicles have little to no grip just makes it worse. The unlockables that do exist are nowhere near worth it. The graphics are bland, owe more to older consoles, and have a very obvious draw distance. The sounds are obnoxious, and the soundtrack, levels, and bonus characters are all completely generic. On top of that, it still takes as many as ten seconds to load a single screen. See it here and here, the latter to give a sample of how awful the tracks are.
This Gamespot review says it best in a screenshot caption: "If you think this looks bad, just wait until you see the game moving."
The latter half of the Painkiller series was already notorious for basing Overdose on a fan-made game mod. Painkiller: Resurrection does the same thing, but not as well. Everything but a single monster (which looks like an orc made of raw hamburger and has three different sizes) and a single weapon (a re-skinned "Battle Out Of Hell" weapon) are taken pixel-for-pixel from earlier installments. The levels are the largest the franchise has ever seen, but are usually either too cramped to comfortably accomodate the sort of monsters found in them or so huge that the player must backtrack constantly to find a new monster spawn point. The clumsy storyline is shoehorned into the game with comic-style cutscenes à laMax Payne and mood-killing voice acting à laResident Evil (case in point). It's loaded with bugs that no patch effort has successfully deterred — it crashes to desktop frequently, the weather effects slow the dated engine to a crawl, enemy AI tends to get hung up on the scenery, online co-op (a major selling point) was inaccessible at launch, the game crashed if a certain weapon was fired in multiplayer, and glitching out the final checkpoint was common and made hour-long levels Unwinnable by Mistake. If that won't make you quit playing Painkiller, put on "Painkiller", and down some painkillers, then nothing will.
Postal III, released several years after Postal II, was released by a Russian team with little input from original developers Running with Scissors, taking several giant steps backward from its predecessor. Gone is the free-roaming mayhem of Postal II, replaced with a linear mission structure that plays like a "me-too" version of many first- and third-person shooters of its generation. On top of that, the game sports terrible AI for enemies and NPC escorts alike, it glitches up and crashes constantly, the actual shooting is a mess (though you still get to play around with a lot of "unconventional" weapons), and a lot of the series' typical off-color humor is hampered by bad writing and flat, uninspired voicework. RWS has no kind words to say about the project, and refuses to recognize it as a "true sequel" to Postal II (derisively referring to it as "Russian Postal" on its message board).
Power Gig Rise Of The Six String is considered not only one of the worst Guitar Hero clones ever made, but also one of the worst rhythm games in recent memory. Its mission statement was ambitious: get players to "rock for real" by replacing the standard guitar controllers, with their coloured buttons and strum bars, with a proper six-string guitar that works both in and out of the game. They went so far as to make Take Thats for this reason. Now, one of their competitors did this — Rock Band 3 can be played with a real six-string — but the real guitar for this game barely works in the game and sounds like you'd expect a $150 guitar to sound in Real Life. Worse, this game barely encourages players to learn to play real guitar. Aside from the "power chords," which can be turned off, the gameplay is identical to the game's chief competitors, only there are only six-string guitar charts — no bass guitars. The notes you play in the game aren't even close to how you would play the song in real life, eliminating the reason to have a real six-string as a controller. The track list does have some decent songs in it (including artists who have never appeared in any previous music game, such as Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews), but very few songs are available from the get-go. Players will have to slog through the game's story mode, which has an idiotic plotline centered around collecting "mojo" from different bands to defeat the evil Headliner who has outlawed playing music in public.
Speaking of outlawing playing in public, this game's drum controller seems designed for it. It is four pads sitting on the floor, and you have to air drum over them. It is quieter, but it misses the point of playing drums. You also have to be absurdly precise to know which pad you're "hitting"; you get no touch feedback from air drumming, and keeping an eye on the screen and another on the ground won't let you watch your hands to be sure where they are.
Prisoner Of Power (not to be confused with the 4X strategy game) is a Russian FPS released in 2008. It's notable for having horrible modelling and textures work for its time, complete with eye-searing orange textures. It is obviously unfinished: the human enemies had no AI at launch, the physics are broken (hitting single empty wood crate can somehow makes a buggy fall over) and it featured a plethora of other bugs, mostly involving clipping through physical objects. The level design is atrocious, with the maps being littered with one-hit kill mines that are impossible to see until it's too late. Its promotional material also had the balls to call it "The Genesis to Stalker" despite having absolutely nothing to do with it beyond being a FPS based on a novel by the same authors as Roadside Picnic. This video (or this review, if you understand French) should give you an idea.
Revelations 2012, a blatant ripoff of Left 4 Dead, only instead of zombies, the player characters must fight Mayan demons of some sort (one can guess the theme of the game by looking at the game's title). The game mechanic isn't the only thing to be ripped off; the menu, the game engine, and a bit of coding is pretty much stolen from Left 4 Dead 2. The game itself costs $10 on steam, even though publishing such content with lack of quality is questionable (likely due to the fact that this game runs on the Source Engine, and that's it). One look at the developers' website (Dark Artz Entertainment) can suggest how unprofessional and pretentious this group is. Here's a video of some of the quirks this game has to provide.
Rogue Warrior is a FPS/stealth action hybrid title based on the exploits and autobiography of real-life Navy SEAL Dick Marcinko (voiced by Mickey Rourke), with a multiplayer mode that was supposed to revolutionize online play with its randomized maps. This was supposed to be Bethesda's big game for the 2009 holiday season. Instead, it was roundly trashed for its completely broken enemy AI, hit detection, and stealth mechanics; a single-player campaign runtime of under two hours; and a script so foul-mouthed that it was more annoying than hardcore. The only redeeming factor was the So Bad, It's Goodrapping that Mickey Rourke does over the credits. Here'sGiant Bomb having their fun with it.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the Nintendo Wii, based on the Rankin/Bass special of the same name. It was sold as a full Wii title but wouldn't even be passable as WiiWare. The game is just four minigames, none of which require much effort, and the entire game can be beaten in less than 15 minutes. The voice acting is extremely annoying (for example, every few seconds Hermey the elf will shout "I'm a dentist!" if you play as him) and the music is just generic muzak that has nothing to do with Rudolph or Christmas.
Stalin Vs Martians aimed for the So Bad, It's Good camp...and missed by a country mile. It's supposed to be a real-time strategy game, but instead is a buggy, unplayable mess of bad design decisions — bad AI, bad enemy placement, bad mission structure, and bad attempts at humor. Fortunately, a series of music videos were produced for the game, and they remain firmly in the So Bad, It's Good category. The best part? They're all available online, meaning you don't have to play the game!
What happens when you try to replicate the complexity of piloting a Humongous Mecha with a control experience that contains none of that? The result is a game like Capcom's Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, developed by From Software (of Armored Core fame). The most damning strike against Heavy Armor is that instead of the bulky and expensive-yet-nominally-reliable controller built especially for the first two games, it uses a hybrid setup of traditional controller and Kinect device. For a game that requires precise movements all throughout every battle, cheap deaths are far too commonplace as you try to execute one maneuver and Kinect thinks you're trying to do another. To its credit, Heavy Armor tried to make a game that was more demanding than your standard Mini Game GameWaggle-fest to prove that Kinect can work for the so-called "hardcore gamer" set, but the nearly-broken motion controls kill the experience. Angry Joehas this to say about the game.
Terrawars: NY Invasion, a PC game released in 2006 by Tri Synergy and developed by Philippines-based Ladyluck Digital Media. The game purports to be a budget-priced quality shooter inspired by The War of the Worlds. Instead, the game is just about as shoddy if not much worse than its price tag. Level designs are either incredibly bland or painful to the eyes. Most enemies are generic aliens with different colors. The story doesn't make much sense apart from "aliens invade New York," with phoned-in voice acting done by people who barely even pretendto give an American accent. Graphics-wise, it uses the dated Lithtech Jupiter engine (the same one used in No One Lives Forever) but manages to look even worse. While gameplay itself is repetitive, dragging and plain un-engagingly boring. Gamespot described the game as a rip-off that has to be avoided. And the sad part of all this: not only did the developers go through the trouble of making a scale recreation of NYC, but the game was also intended to be a showcase of a burgeoning Filipino gaming industry.
Thor: God of Thunder is a towering symbol of every problem with licensed games. The last-gen graphics and phoned-in voice acting should be warning signs, but if you soldier on, you will find yourself confronted by a combat system that can't even get button-mashing right due to laggy controls and broken hit detection. Throw on tedious, mind-numbingly repetitive combat and more Fake Difficulty than you can shake an LJN cartridge at, and you've got Exhibit A for why not every game should cost $60. Now prepare to be convinced to buy it anyway...
Following a drop in sales and review scores, not to mention competitor EA'sSkate series, Activision attempted to bring back the Tony Hawk's Pro Skaterfranchise with Tony Hawk: Ride — a game built around a board peripheral that, in theory, would accurately simulate skateboarding. Said peripheral barely worked as it was overly sensitive note lowering your arm, tilting too far, or objects moving near the board would register an attempted grab, lagged, couldn't distinguish between movements, and its curved bottom (perhaps intended to help simulate turns) made it damn near impossible to stay atop. The gameplay proper was far too linear (even steering for you on Easy difficulty), and it was built around the same combo-score system most fans had grown tired of seeing from previous installments. Worst of all, the skateboard was the only way to play as it had no controller support. All of this ran for more than the price of an average skateboard.
Despite Ride being a commercial failure, Activision pressed on with Tony Hawk: Shred, including a sturdier peripheral and a snowboarding mode. Despite this, most of the same problems that plagued the original peripheral are still there. The gameplay itself hasn't changed for the better, as jumping over gaps and doing correct tricks are still difficult to perform. Shred managed to sell even less than Ride and almost killed off the franchise.
Vampire Rain is a piss-poor stealth-action survival horror game that features among other things: a thinly-written plot with wooden voice acting, dreadful dialogue, lousy gameplay that shamelessly rips off both Splinter Cell and Metal Gear (and doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as either), laughable enemy A.I. and wildly inconsistent difficulty. You know a game is terrible when the most innovative thing about it is that your knife (a melee weapon) actually requires ammo to use! (they do justify it by making the knife explode inside the victim, but this doesn't make things less frustrating).
Windy X Windam has been derided by fighting game enthusiasts for its choppy animation, bland music and repetitive sound effects, a small roster of characters (half of whom are Guilty Gear knockoffs), and a bug-riddled fighting engine coupled with extreme Artificial Stupidity that discourages any strategy beyond Button Mashing. The threadbare plot is done no favors by U.S. publisher Graffiti Entertainment's weak translation (misspellings and dropped commas and periods are commonplace), and even the game's main draw - the chance to play as Izuna and Shino from Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja - is short-lived, as they can only be unlocked for play by finishing the game on the higher difficulty levels.
Yaris, an advergame on XBLA which, despite being free, somehow managed to make the customers feel ripped off. It received a score of 17 from Metacritic, citing bad gameplay, painful audio and no replay value. It was pulled from the service after a while due to bad reception, and thank God for that.
You Are Empty, a Russian game released by 1C Games in 2006. The plot reads like a mishmash of The Butterfly Effect, The Red Star and Command & Conquer: Red Alert, the game is bugged to death, and it uses flat textures. That's right, folks — in 2006, someone released a game with no lighting effects whatsoever. Gamespot's reviewer apologized for wasting the reader's time with the review. One of the game's greatest moments is when a monster jumps out at you from a higher level...and dies on impact with the floor.
Eighth Generation (2012-Present)
Whilst App stores on smartphones do offer plenty of good titles, unfortunately Sturgeon's Law very much applies.
Square Enix has proven that it can publish good smartphone games, as shown by the excellent Chaos Rings and the respectable Final Fantasy Dimensions...which makes it incredibly baffling that they'd release a game as terrible and shallow as Final Fantasy: All the Bravest to the Apple App Store. It was hit with a barrage of negative reviews from the moment of its release, comparing it to a colorful slot machine littered with Final Fantasy sprites, due to both the complete randomness of the battles and the game's excessive and abusive reliance on microtransactionsreason the base game only costs $3.99 USD, but everything else, from quick-revive items to extra scenarios to "premium" Final Fantasy characters, also costs money, and it adds up quickly to extract any sort of fun out of a game that's barely more interactive than the average screensaver.
Final Fantasy: All the Bravestmicrotransactions is so bad that "players must spend over $50 in total to see everything the mobile game has to offer." -Gameinformer #241 Yeah, it's that bad.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, probably the lowest of attempts at sapping money off of unaware parents. Don't be fooled by the title of this bootleg product; it's not even a Mockbuster, it's some poorly-coded Cabal clone that happens to bear the Ninja Turtles name. The background is ripped off from Contra, with two spots very badly filtered over to mask the source material. The screen is filled to the brim with numbers with indecipherable meaning, and the score fails to reset when you die. Hardcore Gaming 101 takes a look at it here.
Super Monster Bros from Adventure Time Pocket is an obvious rip-off of Super Mario Bros with graphics heavily designed after Pokémon. It suffered from plagiarized game play and designs and sound, occasional inconsistent physics, a limited projectile button, and micro-transactions in which are rather expensive for its quality, with few costing at least $100 each, making this game a monstrous cash grabber. Fortunately, it is removed from the iOS App Store.
Doesn't help that the multiplayer maps are extremely tiny. You know Nuketown, that extremely popular Black Ops 1 map that eventually got remade in Black Ops 2 and was known for being extremely tiny? Well, it also got remade in Declassified, except it's been cut in half and renamed to Nukehouse. They took a map known for being small and somehow made it evensmaller.
Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons is a laughably inept attempt at remaking the arcade version of Double Dragon II for Xbox Live Arcade. The four stages from the arcade are stretched out over the course of 15 boring and ugly levels, with the action occasionally broken up by set pieces that do nothing to make the game exciting. Controls are needlessly complicated, the graphics are quality- and personality-free, the background music plays on an annoying short loop, and the few special moves added to add variety to combat are worthless (as actually using them at any point in the game automatically gives you the bad ending). Wander does a disservice to its inspiration in every way imaginable, and is a sharp contrast to the quality of Double Dragon Neon (an '80s-ed up remake of the original game), or even the NES home version of Double Dragon II, released more than two decades ago.
The War Z, a blatant knockoff of DayZ theorized to have been made to trick people into mistaking it for the official standalone version of DayZ (despite the developer's dubious claim that it was in development for two years), is an awful game that barely deserves being called a "foundation release", let alone an early beta. What made it truly Horrible, however, was the blatant disregard for the customers shown by the publishing company, with a real money store where you can purchase in-game weapons and items that remove themselves from your inventory upon death, a Steam page that featured outright lies about the features present, people getting banned at random to counteract hacking (the logic being that people won't bother hacking a game where you can get randomly banned without any given justification), and customers asking for refunds getting threatened with blacklisting. The complaints got so venomous that Valve not only removed it from Steam (albeit temporarily), but also offered refunds, one of the very few times this has happened. Here'sTB giving a breakdown. It's only the icing on the cake that one of the people behind Big Rigs Over The Road Racing was one of the game's developers.
It gets a lot worse. The official forums is apparently a place where you can only say good things about the game because the developer and his moderators will instantly ban you if you even dare to say anything bad about the game. The developer even goes as far as openly trashing both gamers and critics whenever they criticize his game, claiming that they don't get it and have no idea what they're talking about.
Active Enterprises is mostly infamous for creating Action 52, a compilation of 52 different "games" — but only if you use a loose definition of the word. These games have a lot of bugs, sloppy controls, bad level designs, etc. You couldn't tell that to the guys at Active; not only did they expect to make $200 a pop off of this garbage, but they also had plans to make one of the games (Cheetahmen, perhaps the most mind-wrenchingly terrible side-scrolling Beat 'em Up ever burned to an EEPROM) into a merchandising empire rivaling the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, including a line of action figures and a Saturday-morning cartoon. Well, they weren't "plans" so much as "pie-in-the-sky dreaming with absolutely no grounding in what we call reality" but, much like the legless boy who dreams of being an Olympic sprinter, it's somewhat endearing in a way to see somebody hoping to make so much out of such a crappy game. (Note that the former has almost been accomplished.)
In the game's defense, it did bring us hillbilly ninjas in Ninja Assault, and the so-weird-it's-hilariousNon Human. The Cheetahmen background music has been well received, achieving a cult status amongst gamers and the Japanese. It's played in clubs. Seriously. Unfortunately, Action 52 is the worst possible place to try to listen to that background music because the game can't play the music and the sound effects at the same time.
Cheetahmen 2, the planned-but-unreleased sequel, was programmed into cartridges while still unfinished (presumably they were prototypes). It had the same clunky Action 52 jumping, waves of nigh-undodgeable Goddamned Bats and Demonic Spiders, the inability to crouch or shoot while jumping, and a game-breaking glitch which makes Level 4 unbeatable. Even if you use a Game Genie or hacked ROM (or you do what the AVGN did and slightly tilt the Cheetahmen 2 cartridge a little bit) to skip to the last two levels, there's No Ending programmed.
Color Dreams. Many of their beat-em-up games share the same gameplay, with unresponsive controls, near-zero attack range, etc. They eventually changed their name to Bunch Games because of the poor reputation of their video games, and later on became a Christian company known as Wisdom Tree. However, it should be noted that while they had some of their best-selling games as Wisdom Tree and was the only company to have an unlicensed SNES game that works (but in a weird manner), they no longer sell video games in their current market and are no longer associated with Color Dreams. A FITTING PUNISHMENT!!
Wisdom Tree put some of their NES games up on the site as playable Java games. If you want to take a dive in their infamy, help yourself. (The Zelda-clone Spiritual Warfare is actually not half bad, if you don't want to waste time clicking.)
Data Design Interactive is an infamous shovelware developer whose games were released on the Wii in North America, with very few differences between them. Most of their games started as PS2 games from low-budget European companies that Sony Computer Entertainment America prevented from crossing overseas. Due to the Wii's nature, Nintendo decided to be more lax with third-parties... which backfired, as the gate was now open for shovelers to dump their crap upon America, much like the pirated NES multi-game cartridges and the flood of cloned Atari games that sparked the video game crash in the U.S. Some examples of DDI's "handiwork" include:
Action Girlz Racing, one of DDI's countless made-in-five-seconds racing games, became only the third game in IGN's history to get a rating of less than 1.0 (it got a 0.8) and was called the worst game of 2008.
Two of the most infamous examples (listed together because they're the exact same game minus a main character model swap) are Ninjabread Man and Anubis II. Horrible controls, a bad camera that you can't control, and a near-useless (and difficult to activate) melee attack. The games also contain only four levels, one of which is a "training" stage.
The "bonus" materials give the impression that the people responsible for this abomination were actively trolling the players: the "Making Of" feature is just a bunch of goofy photos of the crew with terrible jokes and the "hidden features" are a bunch of trailers for future games (many of which were thankfully never made, like the sequel to the game below) in which twoouttakes of the announcer are left in (one has the announcer coughing and then repeating his line, and in another, you can hear him turn the pages of the script). You can watch how messed up it is right here.
Our second game from these two is considered worse than the game above. Psycho Killer is a point-and-click horror adventure game where you "move" by clicking on three arrow keys on the bottom left side of the screen. While The Town With No Name had comedy to lessen the horrible effect, this takes itself seriously with a boring and annoying British monologuer, terrible sounds, and filtered pictures and scenes (which, admittedly, isn't as insane as Plumbers Dont Wear Ties) that don't even take up the entire disk memory! Sure, there might not have been enough memory needed in 1992 for some companies to truly take advantage of CD technology, but other companies at least knew that they had to try to fill it up by at least 100 MB. Like The Town With No Name, Psycho Killer has also be Retsupuraed here.
Dragon Co. were a Chinese developer who mostly developed games for the Famicom and Mega Drive, and most of their games fit this trope quite well.
Starting with their Famicom titles, their Felix the Cat game was essentially a Porting Disaster of the Hudson Soft game of the same name, which was released on the same console 6 years before. The physics are shoddily programmed, the controls are poor and choppy, the story makes no sense and the music is a beepy mess. It's also worth noting that all of their Famicom games use the same engine.
One of their games is based off the Russian cartoon Nu, Pogodi! but features Bugs Bunny on the title screen for no discernible reason. The levels are badly designed (the second one is nearly impossible without save states) and the game over screen features the main character getting eaten by the wolf.
Continuing with their licensed games which aren't actually licensed, Tom & Jerry 3 is yet another awful platformer based off a cartoon. The only notable feature about this one is that it features Tom smoking weed on the title screen.
As stated above, they also made games for the Mega Drive. One of them is Iraq War 2003, which is a really boring lightgun shooter without the lightgun. One of the sound effects is stolen from Microsoft Powerpoint, and there's no way to avoid enemy fire.
In the late-90's, Activision had a subsidiary called Head Games, who was responsible for the aforementioned Extreme Paintbrawl. They released several other games under the "Extreme" label (including two sequels to Extreme Paintbrawl) that were equally horrible.
Ludia is a Canadian company whose goal is to make video games on the Wii based on every popular American game show (except Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, both which have their games made by parent company Sony). They distribute through Ubisoft, which also ports the games to other consoles and iOS devices. One problem: they don't know anything about the game shows they're trying to emulate. Also, these games use their own proprietary avatar system, not Miis; had they taken advantage of the existing infrastructure, maybe the rest of the games would've been better. They also have a serious case of bad timing, releasing their Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? game (with the Clock format) the week before the show's current Shuffle format was introduced. Partially owned by Fremantle Media.
The $1,000,000 Pyramid uses the classic (1982-91) logo, but the game itself is based directly on the Donny Osmond-hosted 2002-04 series. The opponent AI is almost nonexistent, maybe scoring more than one point per subject. Gameplay is slow, which is bad since on-air Pyramid is traditionally very fast-paced. The Winner's Circle has no shots of the big pyramid while you're playing, and gives you $1,000,000 every time you clear it. Riffed on by Giant Bomb; however, since most of the video is spent playing the tacked-on two-player mode, it's not reliable in the single-player department.
Hollywood Squares was another victim. There are only four actual celebrities in the grid (Martin Mull, Kathy Griffin, Brad Garrett, and Jeffrey Tambor), and they all take center square which means you only play with one at a time. This leaves the rest of the squares filled with generic people, which removes half the point of the original game show. But most of the magic of the original show was in the celebrities giving joke answers, aka "zingers", and then responding with their actual answer. In the video game, you're only given straight answers — no zingers at all. With neither celebs nor zingers, you're simply crossing trivia with Tic Tac Toe and might as well play Tic-Tac-Dough at this rate. Here's a Quick Look by Giant Bomb.
Press Your Luck 2010. The avatars all look like they have some form of mental retardation; the Big Board cycles between three static formats, one of which has no Whammies; there's no prizes but a generic "trip" that Big Bucks will direct to in Round 1 and massively breaks Move One Space; the AI routinely answers questions wrong, which is Fake Balance; and both the music and sound effects are inaccurate. What makes this game truly belong here is that a Ludia representative asked the fans for input and "Dismantle" (as some call it) forced C&D orders on superior fan games. Giant Bombtook a look at it.
The DS version was worse, with unskippable Whammy animations and a Big Board that was horrendous in layout (all over the place) and appearance (the cash values are plain white text on ever-changing colors).
The PS3 version fixed the music and sounds, plus added a bunch of actual prizes.
The Price Is Right (2008 and 2010, for every console) has a simple Game Breaker — a limited prize pool, about fifty Showcases, and a bad randomizer, along with a rather poor Showcase Showdown wheel. It turns the game show game into "Memory"; just play the game for three hours, write down every prize's price, and memorize the list (or Google for said list) and remember when that prize or Showcase comes up in any game. Other TPIR games at least randomize prizes so they don't appear in one sole game every time with some digit randomization to throw off memorizers. The games can't even be arsed to use the then-current set, with the first game giving the overwhelming impression of having been delayed for two years. Giant Bomb has a Quick Look at the 2010 version.
One major problem with the 2010 version is that Three Strikes Mode no longer gives a strike for losing the Showcase Showdown (a big criticism with the first game), which means that you can literally go on forever by having a price list.
The Price Is Right Decades was an attempt to apologize for the second game's transgressions, but managed to screw up doing that as well: the graphics stink to high heaven no matter which console you use, pricing games are still played for cash, the Carey-era theme is used in all years, Hurdles is completely botched (rather than the three hurdles being sets of two products where you must guess which is lower than the Hurdler's price, it's a higher/lower game), the prize descriptions use still shots instead of clips (with the models airbrushed out), and the Showcase Showdown...well, remember how it was in the first two games? Well, here you have to beat a preset "leader" and are forced to go again if you tie on the first spin; the first two games might have skewed toward the computer, but at least they followed the traditional Showcase Showdown format! Yet another Quick Look by Giant Bomb.
Family Feud 2012. The fictional host, "Sparky Whitmore", makes Louie Anderson look good; the on-screen keyboard practically gives you the correct answers with its predictive text (if it doesn't show up in the choices after two letters, it's not going to be correct); there's long gaps between every action; the avatar animations look wooden; and the parser is stupider than the broken one in the SNES version (it somehow interprets "Bike" as "Horseback")! Once again, Giant Bomb riffs on it.
Media Service 2000. Among its transgressions are The Moscow Apocalypse, a Cliché Storm with corny visuals, cornier artwork, even cornier gameplay, no jumping, and various other issues.
Micro Genius. They have three known games under their belts:
Aladdin II, which is worse than the official NES port ofAladdin, which was already bad to begin with. (Thankfully, there was a half decent, if cut down, port by Super Game) The Game Over screen makes this game look even worse.
Thunder Warrior. Repetitive level design, low enemy variety, clunky controls, and a difficult-to-aim projectile attack doesn't help with the large amount of Goddamned Bats and Demonic Spiders you face. It seems to pirate some of its content from other games, such as the map screen from Castlevania and the HUD from Super Mario Bros.. 3. Catchy music, though.
Mystique, a company specializing in pornographic video games for the Atari 2600. Only three games were made by the company, which were all horribly exploitative, and have all been hugely controversial. Mystique went bankrupt following The Great Video Game Crash of 1983.
Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em, a game where you control two nude women who move back and forth across the bottom of a building on screen, catching semen from a masturbating man who is hiding on top for points. Every time you get 69 points, you will get an extra life.
Mystique also released Philly Flasher, which is Beat 'Em & Eat 'EmWITH GENDERS REVERSED! The only thing different about it is that besides playing two nude men moving across the building, instead of catching semen, the player will catch breast milk from a witch. Once the breast milk is caught, the two men will then engage in masturbation.
The plot of Custer's Revenge is as follows — General George Armstrong Custer, depicted as a man wearing nothing but a cavalry hat, boots, and a bandanna while sporting a visible erection, must dodge falling arrows and randomly appearing cacti in order to reach the other side of the screen, where he intends to rape a naked, well-endowed Native American woman named "Revenge", who is bound to a post. The only "noteworthy" part of the game (its early use of nudity) is done in by its extremely-low resolution and color depth, and the publishers picked this game to use the real graphics on the packaging. Arguably, the poor graphics are the only thing that keep it palatable — high-def would reveal it as the Snuff Film foreplay scene it is.
Ignoring the Unfortunate Implications of General Custer raping a Native American woman, or that you shouldn't bother with graphics this blocky for this purpose, for a second...note that she's tied to a cactus. Her ass is rubbing against a cactus! As Seanbaby put it:
Custer: Gentlemen, you are the bravest squadron of men it has ever been this Southerner's privilege to serve with. And you will need that bravery today, as your orders are to remove my pants and underpants. I will then attempt to force sex on an Indian girl under heavy enemy fire. Are there any questions?
Mythicon, an English company that dealt in budget-priced Atari 2600 games. While most other publishers set price points of $40-50 per cart, Mythicon's games only sold for $10...and the results show all too well. Their catalog consists of only three games, all of them horrible — Star Fox (notthe famous one), Sorcerer, and Fire Fly. All three share the same problems — sparse and ugly graphics, jerky animation, monotonous music, and repetitive gameplay. Star Fox is generally seen as the worst of the lot.
What's particularly sad about Star Fox is that Mythicon's copyright hold on that title lasted long enough to force Nintendo's UK branch to change their titles to Starwing and Lylat Wars (for the SNES and N64 titles, respectively). Which means that in Britain, for a time, the title Star Fox was associated more with the crappy 2600 game than the better Nintendo games!
One of their works was Fighting Hero, a horrible knockoff of the already dubious Street Fighter. The game has some of the worst controls in any fighting game, as they're incredibly unresponsive and button mashing is rendered useless because the player will constantly interrupt his attacks while doing so. The computer opponents are also ridiculously hard as they'll block most of your attacks.
They also ended up making the games on the Caltron 6 in 1 (Caltron being an alias for NTDEC) and while the games on it aren't awful, they're mostly just mediocre clones of other games.
Phenomedia Publishing GMBH was a German company, specialising in (often rather bizzare) low-budget games. In addition to countless "Crazy Chicken" sequels (more than 30, according to The Other Wiki), they produced such obscure titles as Lederzwerge XXL◊ (Leather Dwarfs), a game about homosexual dwarfs engaging in all sorts of nasty practices. Even though the cover promises an uncensored version, the actual sex acts always take place behind mattes.
Germany's biggest video gaming magazine, Game Star, gave Lederzwerge 3/100, the lowest rating in the 15 years of the magazine's existence. The fact, that the game's third and final level was shrouded in complete darkness and therefore basically unplayable was cited as a plus point.
Ethnic Cleansing. All politics aside, the game's untextured graphics look worse than Quake (the game was released in 2002), its setup was discredited when Half-Life came out, and its draw distance is ridiculously short. The collision detection is very off, and the AI is only slightly above shooting-gallery level. The one weapon in the game has no recoil, and there's only one non-boss enemy type, which is reskinned three times. There's only two levels, one of which works more or less at the game's mercy. The game crashes often, several functions (including the save system and the control options) do nothing, and the sound is very poorly coded.
The Taiwanese company Thin Chen Enterprises (aka Sachen, Joy Van, and Commin, but mostly known as Sachen nevertheless) was one of the biggest unlicensed shovelware developers of the time. They also made many bootleg Porting Disasters of arcade and 16-bit console games, and even created their own NES hardware clone, the Q-Boy (considered by some to be much better than their games). Several of their games were published in America by Color Dreams, Bunch Games, or occasionally American Video Entertainment. Their works include:
Challenge of the Dragon (not to be confused with the just-as-bad Color Dreams game), a nearly-unplayable and possibly-UnwinnableDouble Dragon clone.
Silent Assault was a poor-man's Contra / Rush'n Attack clone where you could shoot vertically and horizontally, but not diagonally. It had near-useless weapon upgrades. It was also buggy and included a bug that prevented you from precision-jumping in the otherwise piss-easy boss fights, making some of them nearly impossible.
The Chinese company Waixing, who mainly developed Famicom games.
Super Contra 7. It's likely a hack of either Contra or Super C, as the engine and sound effects seem to be directly taken from the latter, but features ear bleedingly bad music. It also features stolen graphics from other games, such as taking the background for the first stage from Mighty Final Fight, as well as a later stage featuring an enemy taken from Shatterhand. The game is very short, being 5 stages long and can be beaten within 15 minutes. The boss hitboxes are messed upnote For example, the first boss can only be damaged in a specific spot while he's moving horizontally, except when he moves along the ground level, and there are other glitches throughout. The score counter is broken for both players and stays at zero, and some powerups are inconsistent from the other Contra games note For example, the R powerup gives the player an extra life instead of increasing the firing rate of the player's weapon while the Smart Bomb powerup is a P instead of an Eagle. Watch this 2 player TAS destroy the game here.
Speaking of pirate game companies, Yong Yong (AKA Makon Soft) is probably the least competent of the lot. Their games library consists entirely of horribly made adaptations of popular franchises for the Game Boy/Game Boy Color, including Mario, Sonic and Pokemon. All of their games suffer from poor controls, frequent glitches and music that borders on Sensory Abuse.
Sonic 3D Blast 5 somehow manages to be worse than the Somari hack of the same name, with poor level design and having almost nothing to do with the official Sonic games.
A year or two later, Yong Yong rereleased it as Sonic Adventure 7 on the Game Boy Color. The soundtrack and intro stills were changed, the levels were switched around to look original and an eye-bleedingly bad color palette was added.
To add insult to injury, this particular game was rereleased as Pokémon Diamond, which added completely pointless intro stills from the anime, removed the map screen and started the game on level 4. In other words, you get about 3 minutes worth of terrible platforming, if that. Yes, they really were this incompetent.
Speaking of Pokémon, they also made Pokémon Adventure, a supposedly original platformer starring Pikachu just like so many other pirate games based off the franchise. It has an intro which features seemingly random Pokédex entries for no discernible reason. Several of the enemies were reused from their other games despite being from completely different franchises, some of the graphics were stolen from Bonk's Adventure and most of level 4 could be skipped by running across the top of the level.
Their Digimon games are an improvement, but barely. The graphics are no longer eye-bleedingly bad and the games themselves were actually playable to a certain extent. That said, they still fit this trope because they still have all of the other problems that the rest of their games have.
Surprisingly, their fighting games are considerably better. (Example: Street Fighter Zero 4) The music is still poor and doesn't fit very well (although still an improvement), but the games are at least playable and the graphics are passable. Maybe platformers just weren't their forte.
Periphery of Power - The firing patterns, a major selling point of Touhou games, go from mediocre to absurd. The final boss' attacks consist entirely of blue bullets and lasers. The bonus spellcard turns the entire screen white; you die without knowing why. The bosses consist of Self Insert versions of the makers. While the official website says the game hasn't actually been released yet, somebody still made a Let's Play of it.
Resurrection of Heaven's Liquor - The character artwork is even worse than in the originals (at least, pre-Undefined Fantastic Object) the music is painful, (especially the half-composed first-stage theme, which gets repeated play) and enemy fire is an afterthought at best; note that Touhou in general is famous for its kickass score and its shooters are known for their very elaborate firing patterns. The characters are broken, and Aya is the final boss. Its lone saving grace is the inclusion of the Extra Bosses from the original games as player characters and Mima as the Extra Boss. Watch a member of Maidens of the Kaleidoscope get VERY close to killing himself.
Did you think Periphery of Power and Resurrection of Heaven's Liquor were bad? Check out the videos of the same Touhou fan playing this disaster. The stage 2 boss has two attacks that do nothing at all, stage 5 is the same "pattern" (random spam) over and over again with different colours, all but one of the final boss's attacks have the same name, and all of her attacks use the same gimmick. Most of the bullet "patterns" in the game don't even count as patterns. They're just spam of really fast and/or really dense bullets (many attacks are impossible to dodge because of this). The game also has enemies that come from behind without warning, bullets that randomly change direction while you're trying to dodge them, murky bullets (hard to see/read) in stage 3, and attacks that are impossible because of the enemy's movements.
Retsupurae found three awfulMetroid fangames on Newgrounds, all of which definitely belong here.
Metroid Genesis, an on-rails First-Person Shooter where Samus lands on the planet Newgren 5 and has to shoot metroids in the Fulpian Research Institute. It's badly drawn, has virtually no challenge, and can be beaten in five minutes. The final boss fight is against Ridley, who is so hideously drawn it looks like he's dying of cancer. Amazingly, of the three Metroid fangames to be Retsupuraed, it's the most playable of the three.
Metroid Elements, the "sequal" to Metroid Genesis. It manages to be both too easy and too hard: easy because most of the bosses pose zero challenge and there's barely any enemies, but hard because the controls are atrocious, there's no Mercy Invincibility, Samus handles like she's on ice, there are Bottomless Pitseverywhere (even in places where it doesn't make sense), and Ridley, the final boss, is almost impossible to beat thanks to an unfeasibly tiny hitbox. Despite all the cheapness, it can be beaten in ten minutes. The music is nothing but dull, droning remixes of other Metroid songs. The graphics are dull, with no backgrounds other than gradients and plain platforms everywhere. Every sprite is hideously resized; Samus's ship is gigantic while Samus herself is smaller than most enemies. The bosses are almost comically atrocious; one is a crudely drawn worm (described as 'Amorbis drawn by a kindergartener') and the other is an eye-door from Super Metroid resized, put on the ceiling, and given a ludicrously easy-to-dodge beam attack.
Metroid Beginings [sic] is a very Obvious Beta that makes Elements look like Super Metroid in comparison. If you play it, you'll find that most of the time, the game ends when Samus glitches out and falls through the floor. The game has no save feature, and if the player dies they have to replay the entire game. There's no semblance of exploration or nonlinearity, and in fact very little to connect the game with the Metroid series. The plot is nonexistent, the graphics wouldn't pass muster in 2000, the bosses are virtually impossible to kill, with attacks that are outright unavoidable, and there's literally No Ending.note As in, going through it with a flash decompiler reveals that nothing was programmed to happen after the end of the final boss fight.
RPG Maker game Ao Oni has a lot of fangames. Listing specific fangames would be a tremendous task so instead let's go over the many faux pas Ao Oni fangames have made: 1) Buggy or poorly implemented AI. 2) Improper setting of the tilesets which causes problems such as the player phasing in and out of bookshelves. 3) An outright absurd and obnoxious reliance on injokes and memes. 4) Nonexistent gameplay due to linearity or features that don't even work.
The Arise series is known for consisting of not particularly well-made Point And Click Games, what with the bland aesthetics, abrupt and random Jump Scares, and Moon Logic Puzzles, but Arise 4 can't even be considered So Bad, It's Good. The game forces you to navigate around a confusing hedge maze with screens that look very similar that is made even more confusing because you may not be facing the direction you might be led to believe upon clicking to move in a particular direction. The game has such aggravating design idiosyncrasies such as drawers embedded right in the middle of a hedge. And the most frustrating feature of the gameplay is one where various monster faces fade in and have to be shot at before they reach the player and trigger a game over that forces you to start from the very beginning of the game. Not only is switching between normal clicking and the gun designed in such a way that you might accidentally click out of the game, the game also includes the previous Jump Scares so that you have a hard time distinguishing between those and the faces that you actually have to shoot. Come, watch Slowbeef and Diabetus suffer through it here.
The intro to the game has text reading, "I see you are surviving quite well. My next installment will make you want to DIE." As slowbeef puts it, "It's about as accurate as it can get."
The puzzles either pose zero challenge (finding a key code requires solving first grade math problems) or are infuriatingly cheap, such as requiring you to click on a specific book in a bookshelf to find a key. The book lights up when you put your mouse on it, but it's hard to notice, and there's nothing to draw your eye to the book, and to add insult to injury, there's no hint that the bookcase contains a second item (since you already found one item on the bookcase).
"Dodge the Viruses". The game only consists of the main character jumping around while dodging the viruses bouncing around. The creator believes that all criticism is "horrible comments".
"Smiley 2__Save the World". The game has absolutely no challenge whatsoever. It has a smiley face going back and forth, and another one controlled by the player. If the player hits the space, the game displays "Smiley save the world".
Sturgeon's Law is taken over the top on the YoYo Games archive. Going by the length of the "featured games" list, less than 1% of games are considered So Cool It's Awesome by the Game Maker staff — or at least awesome enough that drawing attention to them is a good thing. Anything considered So Bad It's Horrible against this backdrop is...well, you get the idea.
Just to give you an idea of the scale involved, YoYo Games has ~400 featured games, taken from a library of 116,000 games.
Death Trap is a point-and-click horror game. or at least, it tries to be. You see, there are two coding commands in Actionscript 2 known as "gotoAndPlay(frame number)" and "gotoAndStop(frame number)." One of the uses for these two lines of code is for putting them on buttons when combined with the "on(release)" command, so that when you press a button in the .swf file, the button will lead to a certain frame in the .swf. They're not meant to be used for everything (or at least, not in their bare form), but they can be used for some stuff, such as simple buttons in menus. However, they're not supposed to be used for, say... movement buttons in point and click games. You can guess what the author of ''Death Trap'' used these commands for. Because of how these work, you can't just throw around some basic buttons and expect things to work without making the game really linear. And that's exactly what the author did. He made the game really linear.
There is no exploration whatsoever. Sometimes there are arrows that show on the screen and are unclickable until you're forced to return. There are less then 4 alternate routes in the game, and all of them lead to instant death. Because of how it's coded, the author couldn't just link back to certain frames of the game, which increased the filesize exponentially because he had to copy the same image multiple times.
The voice acting is terrible. The main character is emotionless, and the villain sounds like he was done by a 12-year old who watched his first slasher flick.
Oh, and also? All of the backgrounds were stock renders from "Gallery of 3D." He made nothing himself.
The real kicker though? In the Newgrounds review section, he replies to negative reviews saying that "he worked his ass off for this game." Sure buddy, sure...
However, in the comment section of this video, the author of the game does express regret over making this game.
With over 15,000 Doom mods on the /idgames archives, there are many horrible ones to go around:
The infamous Giulio "Glassyman" Galassi created a series of infamously-bad maps that were widely reviled, leading him to lash out at his critics by creating childish, mean-spirited, homophobic, and incredibly-unfunny "joke wads" mocking his critics. Galassi has been banned from every notable Doom community on the internet, and the mention of his name creates Internet Backdraft. Here's a review of one of them.
"Doom: Rampage Edition". Eagerly anticipated, but ultimately failed to live up to its promise. 60 megs of stolen music that did nothing other than bloat the filesize to 80 Megs, bad graphics, boring and repetitive gameplay... It won the award for Worst Wad in the 2004 Cacowards.
It was so bad someone claimed they could pull a better wad out of their ass. A week later, Deathbringer made a mod titled such — "A Better Wad Pulled Out Of My Ass".
"Nazi Auferstehung: A DukenDoom Adventure". Won the Worst Wad award at the 2006 Cacowards for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to badly-textured levels created with a random level generator, badly-imported resources from other games, a truckload of copyrighted MP3s that don't play as music in-game, and its inclusion of multiple copies of the copyrighted Doom II resource file. But this didn't become as infamous as it is until the author hilariously attempted to defend his creation by claiming to be autistic, which didn't fit his behavior at all; if anything, he was "anti-autistic".
"Terry" also has a large catalog of well detailed, unfinished maps designed to fool the player into a death trap filled with ear rape. As if that weren't bad enough, he has a number of fanboys that do the exact same thing, to the point that "Terry Wad" has become synonymous with "Shit" on the /idgames archives.
There's also D!Zone, a series of CDs sold containing hundreds of .wads collected from the internet. It was quite helpful among some players who didn't have the resources to check out .wads online at the time. Too bad a large chunk of the .wads were horrible, most of them unfinished, and some that wouldn't even load correctly at all. Several Youtube users started a series called The D!Zone Experience to showcase some of the weirder ones included.
Grezzo 2. Someone in Italy thought it would be a good idea to plagiarize a pretty goddamn wide (and when we say wide, we mean wide—the file takes up more than two gigabytes) variety of Doom mods, binding them all together with an extra helping of WTF(e.g. killing the pope— by shooting popes at him.) It's a disorganized pile of offensive gameplay and other such abject nonsense.
"Wow" (more popularly known by its filename, wow.wad) is a 1999 Doom level consisting of a square room with a hanging body, a BFG 9000 with ammo, a Cyberdemon in a deep pit...and nothing else. Oh, and the walls of the pit have no textures, resulting in graphical glitches. It's certainly one of the most pointless levels for any game, but making it one of the Top 10 Infamous Wads is the author's passing it off as a mission to hunt and kill a wounded Cyberdemon trapped in an "illusio-pit". Can be viewed here.
The word "illusio-pit" comes from the use of untextured pits having fake floors drawn over them, which makes them useful for illusions simulating deep water (an area of water surrounding an illusio-pit will make the water seem to stretch over the pit, making things look like they are submerged in the water) or monsters rising up out of the ground. Of course, wow.wad's use of the "illusio-pit" seems more a consequence of the author not knowing how to apply upper and lower textures.
Doomguy 2000's other work isn't much better. While some of his stuff might be considered "avant-garde", he has quite the volume of horrible wads.
100x. It's a patch that multiplies the amount of enemies and items 100 times, and ends up making the game completely unplayable.
Blind Doom and Seizure Doom. 2 concepts that didn't need to exist in the first place, and aren't even done particularly well. For example, in Blind Doom you can still see the ceiling and floor textures.
The Worst Level Ever Made. It's a 1x1 box. That's it. No gameplay to speak of whatsoever.
The Most Impossible Difficulty Ever lives up to its name. It replaces everything with unbelievably broken custom monsters, getting you killed almost instantly and lagging the game to near-frozen levels.
Christian Weston Chandler (better known for the creation of Sonichu; see the Horrible.Webcomics section for details) is infamous for his LittleBigPlanet mods. They are, barring perhaps the "First Date Level," quite bugged, poorly assembled, and full of Fake Difficulty. One of the mods, despite having been up for three years, has had fewer than 20 people clear it. This carried on to the game's sequel:
"Autism Tutorial". It's a cutscene with no gameplay proper, but the content's the real problem — it starts out as the basics about Autism, taken from That Other Wiki. Not halfway through, it's a schizophrenic, self-important, rambling Author Tract that has nothing to do with Autism, yet somehow exhibits every negative stereotype associated with it, culminating in a "satirical" talk show segment where the host beats up Hans Asperger for no other reason than that he made Chris feel less special. Hereitis,injustsevenparts.
Omega Red beatRare Akuma, a character purposefully designed to be broken by a skilled MUGEN character maker, on hard AI mode.
In more general terms, the Infinity Mugen Team template for Marvel Vs Capcom-style characters is said to be so bad that it would be easier to make an accurate MvC character based on Kung Fu Man than on the template, or to take the sprites that Kong ripped and code it yourself.
There are some characters referred in the MUGEN community as "Retarded Characters", all considered such because of horrible controls, badly-coded features, or deplorable spritework. In some cases, the spritework may be good but the characters are blatant ripoffs of existing characters, also known as "Spriteswaps". For example, Warner's Vampire Burns (a spriteswap of an already-horrible Jedah by Kong) and the extremely-infamous Peter Griffin by Actarus (no words needed).
One particularly awful character creator is GooGoo64. He combines the horrible-to-the-point-of-gamebreaking coding of Kong or Ainotenshi with the spriting styles of some of RyouWin's earlier Marvel Vs Capcom 2 characters (essentially, using a capture card to get footage and then manipulating it into sprites for the character). His characters have unblockable moves, moves that render the character invincible while using them, one-hit kills, and various other problems. But one that stands out even among this crowd of miserable failure is his version of Gold Lightan from Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, which turns out to be a spriteswap of an MvC-style Ryu; to make it worse, while the character is open-source, he didn't appear to have given credit to the original creator, or even changed the file names.
The_None, author of several very much better quality Joke Characters made an extended video beatdown series where he showcases each of Googoo64 aberrations' broken moves, explaining additional bugs and subsequently beating them legitly (if possible at all). You can start from here.
Mario's in Terror. Probably a troll game to be honest, it's a glitched, near unplayable mess that plagiarises Brutal Mario (first and fifth level), Kaizo Mario (second level) and the original game (one of the others).
Mario Super Star. No video to show it, but it's a terrible game with many... unusual problems. Namely, a level with entirely glitched graphics to the point of unplayableness, levels without any enemies, flat levels, levels which are nearly the exact same as the originals (except you're invisible), massive slow down, cut off, and an unwinnable final boss with no weaknesses or attacks. The biggest problem? Unlike most games listed here, which are usually only a few levels long, this game lasts for nine worlds.. You will lose the will to live if you try to play the entire thing.
Its sequel of kinds, SMW 3 New Levels and Retro Levels is a bit better, but not much. The first five or so levels have zero challenge whatsoever and often no enemies or sprites in them, but it really, really starts to fall apart in 'level' 8. That level is literally just the SMW Bowser fight. Then the next one is just the first level in Super Mario World, except you're permanently invincible, the next is another unedited SMW Bowser fight, except you're forced to be small, and while one final level is sort of new, the final real one is a completely unedited SMW level. It's just so lazy all round, and it's the author's fourth game in a row which could be classified as at least So Bad, It's Good. It can be found here
Harmonix's Rock Band Network has the song "Fat Kid" by Nothing More. Not the song itself, but the chart. The only decent chart is the guitar chart; the bass chart is completely off sync and unnecessary chords, the drum chart smacks of using the wrong notes, and the vocal chart has many wrong pitches.
Left 4 Dead and its sequel has tons of custom campaigns created for them and there are lots of bad ones. Most of the recurring elements of a badly designed map is areas that abuse Door To Before, throwing in hordes of zombies for seemingly no reason other than to "challenge" the player by forcing them to fight hundreds of zombies for the sake of it, and starving the player of items like ammo and health kits. Modders may not even bother to have the survivor AI work properly, which can cause frustrating things like the AI not picking up new guns or supplies and getting stuck due to badly programmed pathing.
What also does not help for levels that don't make survivor AI work correctly are modders who defend the notion by saying that you need to play with friends to fully enjoy the levels. Little do they realize that not everyone has 3 friends who all have the same custom campaign nor are they always online at the same time.
The existence of the Atari Jaguar CD is puzzling, given the Jaguar's low sales. The toilet bowl-shaped design was the least of its troubles — few copies even worked, and were nigh irreparable to boot. Only 15 games were made for it, none of which could outperform Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" music video in terms of graphics. Dr. Insano, one of the few who could get one to work, says:
[N]ot only is it prone to hardware failures, it's prone to about five different ways it can fail. It can fail if [it] isn't perfectly placed on the [Jaguar]. It can fail if the contacts aren't clean. It can fail if the Memory Track cartridge isn't perfectly set, and it can easily fail because the laser itself or the motor mechanism are defective, and they often are, and in [Spoony's] case, it would often fail because the lid is so poorly designed that, when closed, it actually closes too tightly and mashes the CD against the inside of the drive, preventing it from spinning, and that could easily cause additional internal damage[...E]ven when I did get it to work [it] still froze all the time, and I do mean all the damn time!
Spoony himself later remarked "After spending three days getting the thing to work [...] the motor [...] completely crapped out."
The Game.com (the dot isn't pronounced) by Tiger Electronics. It introduced the touch screen, Internet browsing, and the potential for online multiplayer (no game for this system used it for gameplay) a full seven years before the big names. Unfortunately, it just wasn't possible to do that well with 1997 technology. The device had to be tethered to a bulky modem and two expensive add-on cartridges if you wanted to use the Internet. Its Game Boy-grade CPU was crippled (by multiple culprits, one being the OS-mandated processing overhead) to the point of barely surpassing the Game & Watch. The touch screen didn't have a full percent of modern touch-screens' sensitivity, and suffered arguably more ghosting and smearing than any other handheld console in history. Add a library of under 20 games, and you have an example of great idea, lousy execution. Here it is in action, specifically on a port of Sonic Jam.
For some reason, there was a Game.com port of Mortal Kombat Trilogy, a sluggish and stripped-down version of the game that only included 13 of the characters of the console versions, and a limited pool of special attacks and finishers for each.
The Gizmondo, quite possibly the reigning king of mismanaged portables this side of the Virtual Boy. Released by Tiger Telematics note not to be confused with Tiger Electronics in 2005, the system came in two variants — one for the low price of $400, and a cheaper model for $230. The difference between the two? The cheaper model forces you to wait through on-screen commercials before playing. Couple that with a cell-phone sized screen, a pathetic battery life of 90 minutes, and a library consisting entirely of eight unremarkable games, not to mention the lousy marketing, and you have a recipe for disaster. To top it off, it sold a truly abysmal 25,000 units (making it the single worst-selling video game device of all time), bankrupted its parent corporation, and brought CEO Stefan Erikson's Mafia ties to light, resulting in his arrest.
The Sega Nomad, possibly Sega's worst attempt at making a console, was essentially a handheld Genesis released around the time of the Saturn. While this sounds like a good idea on paper, it's absolutely terrible in execution as it burned through six batteries in 90 minutes, though you could buy a rechargeable battery... which cost $80 and ran out even faster. It was also incredibly sensitive to motion, so you could barely move it lest it freeze, shut down, or break. It took #1 on Cracked's 6 Most Retarded Gaming Consoles Ever Released.
Even more, because of its design, a lot of games either couldn't be played or couldn't be beaten! Playing games from the 32X, Sega CD, and the Master System-enabling Power Base Converter forced you to mod it or use third-party devices... and the first X-Men game for the Genesis is unwinnable because there's no reset button!note One Guide Dang It puzzle at the end requires you to reset the game in order to reach the final level.
The Pippin, released in 1996 as a partnership between Apple (yes, that one) and Bandai, was an unusual cross between a computer and a console, created with the intent of having a cheaper computer play on your TV screen. Instead, the sticker price was $599 USD at the time of launch, the very same price the PlayStation 3 had at launch a decade later, and had substandard hardware below even those of computers of its day, including a 14.4k modem, an anemic RAM supply of 6 MB, and practically no hard drive storage, other than a floppy dock drive capable of handling four disks. Even its controller, the "AppleJack", was apparently not of much use for connecting the Pippin to a standard Apple Macintosh computer. As the only legitimate game console Apple Computer released (this was before the iPhone and iPad), the library of games on the Pippin was small, with four times more games released in Japan than in the U.S.; most of them were from Bandai. Not surprisingly, the Pippin was an enormous failure, selling only 42,000 units and being released at a time when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy.
The notoriously bad Shoddy Knockoff systems continue to be churned out by an unnamed company affectionately dubbed as simply "POP Station". Why are they so bad? They're glorified Game And Watches masquerading as high-end electronics. The only good thing out of them have been the reviews by Dr. Stuart Ashen. Worse, they in themselves have their own knockoffs—and true to form, they're still worse than the original.
For that matter, just about every other "knockoff" system being made. Such as the Zone 40 (a Wii knockoff) and Guitar Star (a Guitar Hero knockoff that you plug straight into your television set). Where can you find those? Your local pharmacy and/or hardware store. No joke!
Mattel and PAX's Power Glove, an NES accessory made famous by its appearance in The Wizard, would theoretically allow the player to control the game using one hand. It was meant to be a big thing, but ended up a barely-functional Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage. It cost more than an NES console, and was nearly unusable. There were only two games released with programming specifically for the Power Glove, although three others were planned — the infamous Bad Street Brawler and Super Glove Ball. There was a method intended to make the Power Glove work with other games, via a keypad and punched-in combination, — but even then, it controlled at best like a drunk on a unicycle.
At a time when LCD Games were being phased out and the Game Boy Color was just about to be released, behold the abomination called the Pro 200; made by some unknown company under the name ProTech. A cheap alternative to all the other systems out on the market; the "system" (to say the least) was marketed as to having 200 games, being a full-function calculator and having "state-of-the-art" computer chip technology. The system actually had only fifteen games (the marketers got the 200 figure by counting each difficulty level as an individual game), most of which were Tetris rip-offs. Those which weren't Tetris rip-offs were just as bad thanks to the ridiculously-small screen.
The RCA Studio II was a poorly designed console even for its day. Released in early 1977 before the Atari 2600 and shortly after the Fairchild Channel F, not to mention faring even worse than some of the best quality Pong consoles, the RCA Studio II had some major flaws. Despite having five built-in games, the console could only play games in black and white; it had internal speakers whose only sounds you could here were repetitive beeps; the numeric keypad controllers were built directly into the console, forcing you to huddle up close to the screen just to use them; and the RF switchbox was of a faulty design that supplied the signal to your TV set which, at the same time, gave you both video and DC power to the system. Only 15 games were released on the RCA Studio II, the five built-in games plus 10 cartridge-based games, despite that it was one of the first systems to use interchangable cartridges. Watch this and this review.
Tiger Electronics' R-Zone, which manages the impressive feat of being a Shoddy Knockoff Product of the Virtual Boy. The one thing it did have over the Virtual Boy was that you could wear it on your head rather than having to use a stand. When you did put it on however, you were treated to graphics worse than a Game & Watch (mostly due to the eye-searing "red on slightly-darker red" color scheme) rendered about three inches in front of your right eye. Needless to say, this didn't produce anything even vaguely resembling virtual reality. Making this whole system even more ridiculous, there were no less than three different versions; the standard "headgear" version, a much larger tabletop variant, and a traditional handheld version, all of which crashed and burned equally. Stuart Ashen gives his take on the latter version here.
The ads were horrible in their own way, since they showed footage from the arcade versions of the R-Zone titles rather than the crude, monochromatic blobs that passed for the system's graphics.
The Virtual Boy console was one of Nintendo's most publicized and definitely most infamous failures. Originally intended as a ground-breaking 3D game system, the project was spearheaded by Gunpei Yokoi, creator of the Game Boy, who was forced to get the system out as fast as he could, and it shows: The system couldn't handle color, so it stuck to a monochromatic, headache-inducing red-and-black display, which could even cause permanent eye damage if played too long. The system was bulky and had to be propped up on a table for you to play it, and only the player could see the games being played, meaning multiplayer on the same system was impossible (while the system had a port for a link cable, the system was discontinued before the cable could even be released). Only 22 games were ever released for the system, without any standout titles that took advantage of the 3D effect in a significant way, such as first-person shooters. While some of the games might not have been half-bad, such as Wario Land, there was no reason for them to be on Virtual Boy to begin with, and putting an incredibly addictive game like Tetris (two separate versions of it, no less) on a system that can cause permanent eye damage in long sessions is just puzzling. Nintendo themselves don't like to speak about this system, to the point where they even edited out a reference to it in the English version of Super Smash Bros. Melee.
The VictorMaxx Virtual Reality Stuntmaster. The device is not a console, but rather a large set of goggles that can plug into a SNES or Sega Genesis and play games in front of the user's eyes. The box also boasted a "motion sensor", which supposedly reacts when the user turns his/her head. Whilst having a slightly better design with a headband rather than the VB's stand, the thing's size and weight put serious discomfort on the user's nose. However getting it to work presents the biggest problem; there were no instructions in the box (though it did have a bizarre joke resume) and the wiring system was a complete mess, which out of the box was unable to plug into anything but an original model Genesis. When you finally get it working, you are treated to a horribly muddy Game Gear-like display that seriously hurts the eyes. And the "motion sensor" promised on the box? It was a ripcord-like stick you clip onto your shirt and plug into the device, that shifts the display a little when the ripcord runs along a sensor. James Rolfe & co. take a look at it.