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Horrible / Game Mods

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While it's no secret that Sturgeon's Law is in full effect with game mods, some of them stand out due to their sheer awfulness. You have to wonder how much these developers like these games if they managed to screw up so badly.

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With over 15,000 Doom mods on the /idgames archives, there are many horrible ones to go around:

  • In Doom's heyday, many shovelware discs were created by low-budget companies to cash in on its popularity. They were invariably huge collections of WADs downloaded online and put on a disc without considerations of quality or permission from their designers. Their only redeeming quality was that they were helpful to some players who didn't have the resources to check out WADs online. A few examples:
    • WizardWorks published D!ZONE, a series of CDs sold containing hundreds of WADs collected from both the BBSes of the time and the early Internet. A large chunk of them were horrible, most of them unfinished, and some wouldn't even load correctly at all. The back of the boxes often showed stuff that wasn't even in the game. Several YouTube users started a series called The D!Zone Experience to showcase some of the weirder WADs included.
    • Determined to beat these distributors at their own game, id Software included a disc known as Maximum Doom as bonus content to the Master Levels for Doom II, containing 1,830 amateur WADs mostly for Doom II—with a great number of them being Doom WADs turned into Doom II WADs using a converter that includes Doom II monsters by randomly replacing exactly one monster each per level. A community member named Tarnsman started a series of livestreams on his Twitch account called "The Great Shovelware Extravaganza" in which he plays through Maximum Doom's Doom II content, on which he spent over 60 hours. His experience was full of shoddy design, beautifully bad texture use, and bugs, including an example that defies explanation.
  • The 1996 Doom WAD "Boom v2.3" (not to be confused with the Boom source port) gained infamy with a review on the classic Doom Underground website declaring it to be the worst such addon the writer had ever seen. It features horrible custom MS Paint graphics for the wall textures (slathered with smiley faces) and the HUD (a solid-yellow rectangle), and sound effects that are unfitting at best (breaking glass for the shotgun?) and annoying at worst (the author shouting things with sound filters applied). The first episode's levels are poorly balanced (you get a BFG with full ammo on the first level with a tiny number of enemies), badly designed (you can often access the exit immediately), and little more than freehand scribbles—and yet one level manages to repeat itself, only with an edit that makes it easier to complete. The other two episodes are a slew of repeated levels that the author admits are terrible and yet still felt the need to include. The text file claims that it's a "MAJOR upgrade" from the now-missing v2.2, which just makes one wonder how bad the previous version was.
  • Another WAD made infamous by Doom Underground was "Wow" (more popularly known by its filename, wow.wad), a 1999 Doom level consisting of a square room with a hanging body, a BFG9000 with full ammo, a Cyberdemon in a deep pit... and nothing else. Oh, and the inside of the pit is untextured, resulting in graphical glitches.note  All of this is notoriously passed off as a mission to hunt and kill a wounded Cyberdemon trapped in an "illusio-pit." Problem is, killing the Cyberdemon won't even complete the level because it's placed in the wrong map slot, making it Unwinnable by Mistakeexplanation . "Wow" has since become one of the Top 10 Infamous Wads. It even received a comedic remake for modern source ports titled "Wow: Enhanced" which has a vastly expanded story, new music and superior visuals... but which is no more bug-free or Winnable than the original. The original "Wow" can be viewed here. It's the author's Old Shame for a reason: he was ten years old at the time, and went through a phase where he'd upload anything no matter how unfinished.
  • The works of Jerry Lehr, Jr. seldom rise above the level of the community's earliest custom maps, even the most mediocre, because they're mainly a series of rooms and corridors with little to no height variation and lousy gameplay consisting of shooting clumps of low-level monsters with a shotgun or chaingun. He would qualify as Horrible with his Nightmares trilogy—the first of which was the second ever WAD rejected from the /idgames archive for quality reasons—and his early WAD pack, which is worse than most people's early WADs because its four WADs largely comprised of the same flat and simplistic level repeated over and over again with different object and hazard placement each time. But his last known release, Nightmares of Loki 1999, takes the cake. It combines the problems of flatness and bad gameplay with annoying sound effects, custom textures made up mostly of Doom textures repainted in eye-searing colors, and seemingly endless switch hunts that defy human logic to the point that cheat codes may be required to solve certain levels. Not that you have that luxury at first, of course, because the cheat codes have also been changed for some reason. Unsurprisingly, Jerry Lehr, Jr. later admitted that he made the WAD while addicted to marijuana. A review of Nightmares of Loki 1999 on Doomworld following its 2003 rerelease can be found here.
  • Doom: Rampage Edition was eagerly anticipated, featuring the premise of a Baron of Hell who escapes a UAC lab. Unfortunately, after three years of work, it failed to live up to its promises. The WAD featured 60 megabytes of stolen music that did little else but bloat the WAD to 80 megabytes (that's three quarters of the archive), straining the net connections of its time. Whoever got past that was treated to sloppy graphics—the Baron's hand was just a recolored fist with badly drawn green flames and the skyboxes were just wall textures with regular sky above them—boring and repetitive gameplay, and the illogical ability of the baron to use guns. These included a Cacodemon gun launching a fireball that punched through enemies and killed most of them in one hit, and a shotgun and dual chainguins with infinite ammo you could collect very early on. You could use the Baron's usual abilities, the fireball and the claw, except they both used the aforementioned edited fist and the fireball had no proper firing frame. All of this and more won Rampage Edition Worst Wad at the very first Cacowards in 2004. The author's hostile reaction to its adverse criticism didn't help matters. It was so bad that one community member, Deathbringer, said he could "pull a better wad out of [his] ass." In a little over three weeks, he made a wad titled such: "A better wad i pulled out of my ass".
  • Nazi Auferstehung: A DukenDoom Adventure won Worst Wad at the 2006 Cacowards for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to sloppily textured levels created with a random level generator, badly imported resources from other mods, a Most Annoying Sound of Duke Nukem saying "Die, you son of a bitch" every time you gib an enemy (which also plays if you input a suicide code in a source port that has one), and a filesize bloated by a truckload of copyrighted MP3s that don't play as music in-game just like Rampage Edition on top of multiple copies of the copyrighted Doom II resource file. Also following in the footsteps of Rampage Edition, its author didn't take the harsh criticism well, infamously and hilariously attempting to defend it by claiming to be autistic, in the process demonstrating the exact opposite of autistic behavior.
  • Giulio "Glassyman" Galassi created Gamarra's Story, a series of maps that were widely reviled for their weak design and dull gameplay. This led him to lash out with Gamarra's Soul Story, a series of unfunny "joke wads" that, on top of sharing all the flaws of his previous work, was created solely to enact a childish revenge fantasy against his critics by hiring the player to kill them for insulting his work. It got bad enough that his Worst Wad Cacoward in 2007 came with a plea by the reviewer to stop making WADs altogether. Glassyman was eventually banned from almost the entire Doom community, and little has been heard of him since.
  • The user mattbratt11 achieved notoriety the same year with Doomworld posts consisting mainly of bizarre ideas for Doom mods and reacting badly to criticism of those ideas. His one released WAD is Mattbratt's Level Pack, a full megawad where the first four maps were stolen from other authorsorigins  and the rest consist of rooms and corridors with little to no height variation that are mostly textured in the same monotonous shades of gray. He also cared so little about balance that he encouraged the use of cheats to beat it, including an infinite ammo patch stolen from the DeHackEd distribution. A video review of the WAD can be found here.
  • The works of a troll known only as "Terry."
    • UAC Military Nightmare, a Skulltag (now Zandronum) WAD. What sense can be made of the plot involves John Romero heads, poorly drawn MS Paint faces, and an evil Santa Claus trying to "rape" the player with BFG blasts. On top of dumb gameplay and incredibly loud sound effects, the scripting usually treats the player to excessively vulgar references to anal rape. One level is even flat-out malicious, due to a script that fucks with your source port configuration and renames your character to a homophobic insult. It won Worst Wad at the 2008 Cacowards, accompanied by a vitriolic guest rant almost as vulgar as the WAD itself.
    • He had a catalog of levels designed to lure the player in with decent visuals and then suddenly catch them in a "trap" subjecting them to extremely loud noise, rapidly flashing lights and vulgar text popping up all over the place, more or less Sensory Abuse. As if that weren't bad enough, he has a group of fanboys who do the same thing (although these could be aliases), to the point that "Terrywad" has become synonymous with "crap" on the /idgames archives. Some of these also cross the line into active malice: some follow the aforementioned example by screwing with your Zandronum configuration; others are "zip bombs" which disguise themselves as small archive files, only to suddenly explode as compressed petabytes of folders inside folders are unzipped, meaning your computer eventually runs out of memory.

      On May 4, 2014, UAC Military Nightmare and a number of its successors and imitators were purged from the /idgames archives as part of a crackdown on WADs that misrepresent their contents, and on malicious WADs such as zip bombs and those with scripts designed to wreck your Zandronum config. Two days later, a directory was created to house the rest of the "terrywads" completely separate from the regular archive, making it obvious what the WADs are so anyone can avoid them. Not a tear was shed in the community― well maybe except the WADs' creators and their fans.
  • The works of Doomguy 2000:
    • Doomguy's Warzone is not to be confused with something with the same name that came out years earlier. It is essentially a gameplay mod with far too many unnecessary difficulty modes, badly overpowered custom weapons, and too many ungodly annoying or lethally aggravating custom enemies amongst the randomly generated roster, and almost all of the resources are plagiarized. There are also a ton of custom items that either break the game or are utterly useless. On top of all this, the author loved to advertise this WAD, even when told by seemingly the whole Doom community to stop, earning him a reputation as an Attention Whore.
    • His other releases aren't much better. They're largely intentionally provocative concept WADs that could be considered "avant-garde" if one were charitable, from 30,000 Levels (literally 30,000 of the same box with an exit switch repeated over and over), to Blind Doom and Seizure Doom (exactly what those imply, with the bonus that Blind Doom still has visible floor and ceiling textures), to The Worst Level Ever Made (also precisely that). These WADs and the aforementioned Terrywads ultimately led to the Worst Wad Cacoward being discontinued in 2011, as it was originally meant for unintentionally bad work and awarding it to WADs made terribly on purpose attracted trolls and Attention Whores and caused it to lose most of its meaning.

M.U.G.E.N is a freeware fighting game engine that lets players design their own fighters. Some are good, or even great. Others... aren't. Some of the particularly bad ones are referred to as "Retarded Characters" in the community. They're 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". These tend to be pretty awful. It doesn't help that many of them have jacked-up stats. Given the fact that the underlying code is meant for a different character, hilarity is bound to ensue even if no modifications are made. Of course, some creators have even done sprite swaps of their own characters.
  • Kong's characters are known to be extremely glitchy and broken. Mentioning Kong is calling a flame war upon yourself. Here's one reason. Omega Red beat Rare Akuma, a character purposefully designed to be overpowered and undefeatable by a skilled MUGEN character maker, on hard AI mode.
  • 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.
  • "Raruto Full Game", a game based on a Naruto parody (which is WAY better than the game) whose whole roster comprises poorly coded Kung Fu Man edits. The stages available in-game are all stolen. Here's a peek at said horrid characters getting beaten up. By far, funnier than the "full game" itself.
  • Warner's Vampire Burns is a spriteswap of an already-horrible Jedah by Kong.
  • Actarus's infamous, badly glitched Peter Griffin. See it in action here. The same creator has many more characters with similar problems: bad spriting and sounds, a shortage of hitboxes, bloated stats, and overpowered attacks. Of course, various people have beaten down these "characters".
  • Almost all of's characters are spriteswaps of Mortal Kombat characters, poorly made into Nintendo characters. Spriteswapping is far from the only flaw present in's characters. They also possess ridiculously powerful attacks, high priority on all of their attacks, spriting issues (even disregarding the spriteswapping), glitches, and several characters still have the pre-spriteswap sounds (resulting in Yoshi sounding like Scorpion, for instance.) Don't just take our word, see them in all of their unglory here.
  • 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: New Age of Heroes 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 but with massively jacked-up stats; 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's aberrations' broken moves, explaining additional bugs and subsequently beating them legitly (if possible at all). You can start from here.
  • Another infamous creator (though less well-known than Actarus or GooGoo64) is Pgrs111Magen. To start, every single character of his is a spriteswap, encompassing a wide variety of characters. While most of his characters are badly done Touhou characters, a few are hate characters of people he doesn't like, most likely because they bashed his works. In addition to spriteswapping, his characters tend to have sprites and palettes that range from awful to down-right horrifying to outright pornographic. Combined with equally bad soundpacks, several characters with jacked-up stats or overpowered moves, and a blatant disrespect for those that created the characters, and we have a real piece of work. Don't just take the description into account, there are many videos on YouTube actually bashing these creations, none perhaps more in-depth than Dumanios'. Pgrs' sins include extreme immaturity, blatant spriteswaps, making hate characters towards anyone who criticizes him, showing no respect towards any of the authors he copied, and, worst of all, making a spriteswap of the deceased Reuben Kee's Dragon Claw and naming the character Miss Whore.
  • Spinicci "Kingstar" Giacomo is an author often speculated to have some connection with Actarus due to how similar their "creations" are. His sprites consist entirely of stolen art cut and pasted at random, with the end result often described as "Cardboard Cutouts" or "Action Figures". Max Payne in particular is generally regarded as his worst due to being a spriteswap of an already shoddy Duke Nukem and having one of the most grating death cries known to man.
  • The ironically named "Idiot" is another M.U.G.E.N. author that creates mostly retarded and just plain bad characters. Normally, this wouldn't make him especially worthy of a notable entry here, but even among the countless retarded character authors, Idiot is a special case. To begin with, he is often cited to be the author that actually started the entire "Retarded Character" genre. But even though Idiot is mostly known for his retarded characters, those pale in comparison to his characters that actually aren't retarded, which are mostly just lazy, broken and genuinely horrible anyways. Here is Dumanios taking down almost all of Idiot's characters, where their sheer awfulness is put on display. Notable examples include:
    • For no apparent reason (other than sheer laziness), Idiot made four separate versions of SpongeBob SquarePants, which are actually all spriteswaps of completely different characters, but you would only know that by looking at their names (For example, "Shao Kahn Spongebob" being a spriteswap of Shao Kahn, along with the voices left mostly unchanged).
    • His EvilWaddleDee is simply broken beyond belief and looks absolutely horrendous. It's a purple floating Waddle Dee that still has a white background on it, and yet it's a spriteswap of Reuben Kee's Evil Ken of all things.Note 
    • In probably the most embarrassing example, Idiot made a punching bag character of Mugen Toons, a M.U.G.E.N. author he apparently doesn't like. This character description should tell you everything you need to know:
      "Mugen Toons has retired, so I made this to beat the shit out of Mugren Toons!!!!! I HATE MUGEN TOONS. HE MAKES SPRITESWAPS!!!!!!!!!"
    • For more examples of Retarded Characters, just look at what YouTube drops on results on retarded character beatdowns.
  • Mortal Kombat Chaoticnote  is a grandiose example of quantity over quality: despite the promising main menu screen, the game thrives off of stolen characters and stages from all across MUGEN databases, as evidenced by the wildly varying quality of them. It has a particularly large roster of 300+ characters, and an additionally gigantic list of stages. However, despite this, or perhaps because of this, the game is extremely buggy and is prone to having major glitches (such as the music stuttering, characters frozen in place, or the game softlocking, freezing, or just outright crashing). While it is unknown if the game devs made any of the characters, the roster consists of multiple variations of several characters (including roughly 17+ Sub-Zeroes alone), yet the majority of them play exactly the same way, even if some are completely nonsensical (Plasma Kang and Red Scorpion, to name a few). Other characters are also bizarre and poorly made, with either junky or downright abysmal sprites (Bear Sub-Zeronote , Daegon, Shadow Priest(s), Blaze, etc.), has horribly broken, beyond cheap AI even for MK standards (Sensei Liu Kang, Fronzen Sub-Zeronote , etc.), or nonsensical Original Generation characters that are given either no backstory, or are shoehorned into the game's intro storytelling (Pantherk, Fusion, etc.), which is basically just a butchered, Engrish edition of UMK3's intro with some other spontaneous subplots shoehorned in. The game also has poor character announcements, some with different voice clips mashed together that do not match each other, poorly made original voice clips (such as for Sensei Liu Kang and the Fro(n)zen Sub-Zeroes), and some used in text-to-speech. The fatalities, when they're not just canonical ones, are also either nonsensical, painfully mundane (several fatalities are just different methods of decapitation), or they simply do not work (Daegon's fatality has him do an uppercut...that misses, and then a second later the opponent drops dead). MRGSTAR 321 tears it a new one in his second playthrough of the game, as does Joel of Vinesauce fame.

    Super Mario World 
  • 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).
  • SMB Crossover (Not to Be Confused with the popular and well-done Flash game). It's entirely level remakes based on better games, and horrendously done, massively cut off and glitched remakes to boot (the Yoshi's Island level has to be seen to be believed).
  • Mario Super Star is a terrible game with many... unusual problems. Namely, a level with entirely glitched graphics to the point of unplayability, 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.

    Somehow, an update actually made the game worse. Now instead of completely empty levels every so often, you've got wannabe kaizo levels thrown in every so often instead. Nothing about the annoying gimmick levels or glitched level or undefeatable final boss was fixed, but now what was once a mercifully quick to complete game takes about ten times longer.
  • The kind-of sequel to Mario Super Star, SMW3 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 around, 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
  • Hammer Brother Demo 3, NES Final Version and Orange Version is a hack made by a Brazillian user called blackout77 on SMW Central and released in 2013. It's also a horrific mess in pretty much every way possible. It has since been removed from the website for flagrantly violating its quality standards, but a Let's Play remains on YouTube for the morbidly curious. Among its faults:
    • The graphics range from bland to absolutely horrible MS Paint-level abominations that probably wouldn't stand up to Chris-chan's work, most notably in world 1's stadium castle. Sometimes they clash horribly too, like high-detail Donkey Kong Country backgrounds with 8-bit Super Mario Bros. foregrounds. They're also glitched in many cases. Sometimes top-down graphics like those from Pokémon are used in a side-view platformer and look hideous.
    • The music ranges from okay to awful, with some of it either having no samples in a song that needs them (which makes it sound like crap) and some ported songs that sound like the original as butchered by NES pirates. Just the horrific mess that's been made of the Cossack's Citadel stage 1 theme from Mega Man 4 has to be heard to be believed. Hear it in this video, which compares the crappy ports to the original songs. On more accurate emulators and real hardware, some of the good tracks turn into glitchy abominations with a real possibility of crashing the game.
    • The Metal Man Boss in World 2 is invincible, making the game Unwinnable by Mistake, unless you use Game Genie, Lunar Magic or the orb glitch from vanilla SMW to skip the level. In addition to that, Sumo Brother Tower and Abyss of Death have no exits in Demo 3.
    • Levels are copied wholesale from better games, including Super Mario Forever (a kaizo hack) and Kaizo Mario World. At least six (Butter Bridge 2, Outrageous, Funky, Valley Fortress, Chocolate Secret and Donut Secret) are unedited from the original game (at least in Demo 3).
    • With the exception of a handful of levels, the whole thing has Ratchet Scrolling, yet levels frequently require you to go left as well as right, resulting in multiple forced deaths.
    • Whole parts are blatantly ripped off from Brutal Mario, except without the quality ASM/programming gimmicks. Think "Brutal Mario as done by The Asylum". The hacker also horribly rips off VIP 4 in two more levels.
    • The Final Version was released in 2014, and has even more plagiarism than Demo 3 has. Daizo dee Von attempted a savestateless playthrough here.
    • On occasion, kaizo levels are placed as regular levels, such as a Super Mario Bros Frustration remake being the 2nd level in the game. At the very least, you can skip it with some well timed jumps (in the finished version, it's instead the Red Switch Palace and you can't even skip that without cheating, and you have to press it to access one of the final levels).
    • Seriously, just read the review here. It's just... bad on so many levels.
  • Super Mario Bros Lost Brain Ultimate Edition. In short, it is absolutely void of anything resembling consistency, making every single aspect of the game an excruciatingly cheap exercise in Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
  • Link's Adventure: The Legend of Zelda meets Super Mario World. Should be good, right? Well, no, it isn't. The graphics are simplified, complete with a Link who has just one animation frame and constantly faces the camera with his nonexistent face. The enemies are NES sprites on 16-bit backgrounds/tilesets, which look absolutely horrible; the music is extremely bland SMB 3 tunes used with no variation (literally, the grass/athletic theme is used for all but TWO levels with no changes) and the level design is flat and boring with huge areas of open space with no obstacles. Really, the whole thing is just a horrendous missed opportunity. You can see the hack in The 5 Random Guys LP of it here or in levelengine's review here.
  • Super Paper Luigi, by the same guy who made Link's Adventure. Presumably it was meant to be based on Paper Mario, but in practice plays like a much shorter, often even easier version of Link's Adventure. The graphics still look dreadful, with the lack of shading being something you'd expect from a preschool kid using Microsoft Paint. The level design is completely flat and uninteresting, with enemies you can just leap over with ease. And the boss level is just plain annoying, since the flat land is now 'spiced up' with homing Bullet Bills out of nowhere just to add a bit of extra artificial difficulty to the experience.
  • Iggy In Unova is a German ROM-hack starring a flickering sprite of Iggy Koopa riding on a Chargin' Chuck through something that can best be described as one of the most horrendous looking landmaps in history. No Mario level of the original Super Mario World has been edited, unless you consider "sprite flickers out of nowhere" to be serious editing. It also features some overly Vulgar Humor (the name of a level means "Granny Sex") and tons of MIDI synthesized music tracks from pop-cultural phenomenons that do not fit the levels they were used in at all (Poker Face is used in a mountain level, and the James Bond theme is used in a cave level). levelengine has this tied up with his own attempt at a ROM hack as #1 in his The Top 10 Worst SMW Hacks I've Let's Played. To put this into perspective, you only need to know that Hammer Bros Demo 3 is only #2 on the list. However, after he finished Let's Playing Hammer Bros. Demo 3, he considers that to be worse.
  • Whereas the first Super Mario Kollision was a fair bit better than blackout77's later Hammer Brother Demo 3 game, its sequel Super Mario Kollision 2 is arguably about as bad. It's full of awful level design, glitchy graphics and plagiarism from Brutal Mario. Even levelengine couldn't be bothered to finish this trainwreck. Watch his thoughts on the first four worlds or so of this thing here. Here is a complete LP of this abomination. To elaborate on the problems:
  • The ROM hacks of YourAverageROMHacker on SMW Central:
    • Blujin's Adventure may well compete with Hammer Brother Demo 3 in the bad hack design department. For starters, the level design is either completely flat and boring with minimal variation or ridiculously hard due to enemy spam, with whole levels feeling like nothing but level elements placed at random. The graphics are used in ridiculous situations with no context (like a fortress background behind a grassy field, or a snow background in a green forest level), the music is used at random and large percentages of the levels are quite literally copied and pasted together from earlier parts of the same stage. It's not even tested; enemies are placed on platforms they can't actually stand on in the game's physics engine. It's an utter mess all around.
    • Yet Another Mario Hack and Super Worlds also feature boring or frustrating level design, mismatched or glitched graphics, huge amounts of lag leading to sprite spam and many glitches indicating the creator did no testing at all. It's basically blackout77 and Hammer Brother Demo 3 all over again.
  • Mario End Game at least looked/sounded decent, but the actual game design left something to be desired. The levels were too long and utterly random in terms of difficulty, bosses had far too much health and a tendency to flood the screen with homing projectiles and various bugs made what could have been a decent game into an absolutely painful experience. See the whole thing in levelengine's review, where he had to use Game Genie to bypass broken levels.
  • The Ore World series has never been known for good game design, but even by its standards the first title is just laughably bad in every respect. The level design is incredibly poor, with one stage quite literally being every tile from the first map16 page pasted below some flat ground. The ASM is used for obnoxious enemies and bosses which are very hard to avoid, like the irritating Stickman and Mario clone bosses fought halfway through the game. And as far as graphics and music are concerned? Well let's just say 728 isn't exactly artistically inclined and leave it at that. It's just a poor tech demo with an even worse game tacked onto it.

  • Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 have 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.
    • One constant offender goes by the name of "Huck" (or, on, goes by the alias "Herbius"). He constantly "fixes" old and abandoned campaigns and maps, only to break things further. None of the content he "fixes" is given permission by the author, and absolutely no quality control has been put into his "works".
  • Fire Emblem has an extensive hacking community, so naturally a lot of stinkers turn up. One of the biggest problems is that most hacks tend to get abandoned early in development; it's rare for most "total conversion" hacks to ever make it past the first few chapters before ending abruptly and leaving whatever story was being established up in the air. For "balance" or "challenge" hacks, meanwhile, the issue generally just lies in the fact that most of these types of hacks are laughably unbalanced and/or unfairly difficult, and may also be buggy due to a lack of testing. Some other extremely common issues for any type of hack are poorly designed maps with bad enemy placement, high level foes that the player must defeat long before it would be feasible for them to do so, unbalanced character stats and growths that either make the game too easy (no one has any real flaws, resulting in an army of juggernauts) or too hard (none of the characters stats go up reliably, resulting in a weak team well into high levels), terrible sprite work, and poor quality music.
    • Tales of the Emblem is the epitome of lazy hacking. It simply replaces every major character in The Sacred Stones (Lyon being the odd exception) with Tales characters. It also horribly breaks just about every character, gives stat boosters more than one use and gives almost everyone terrible, terrible sprites with badly inserted blinking frames.
    • There's also Fire Emblem Different Dimensions Ostian Princess, or FEDDOP, which is what you will be after playing it. The design decisions make hardly any sense, the plot stars Lilina's right-out-of-nowhere daughter Lilian but has so many holes that it's hardly there at all, and there's hardly any difficulty at all and, after clearing chapter 13 the game goes right back to chapter 12, causing an infinite loop. It's broken on a completely hilarious level. If you like, you may experience a Let's Play here.
    • Corrupt Theocracy is another infamous one. It claims to be a "semi-custom" hack, which translates into sprites that are either splices/recolors of existing sprites, or are simply the original sprites with no modification at all. It also means that many of the maps are just maps from FE7 itself, just with changed enemy placement and a ramped up difficulty. Those maps that are new are universally low quality, and often the only "challenge" in any of the maps is dealing with hordes of pathetically weak enemies, usually mixed in with a couple of obscenely powerful ones. The characters are horribly unbalanced, with many of them being so overpowered that the weapon triangle that defines Fire Emblem gameplay is all but irrelevant here. The story, while not just a terrible find/replace job like that of Ostian Princess, is poorly written, rife with grammatical errors, and mostly told through tedious narration rather actually showing the player anything. There are also a number of bugs, such as being unable to look at the stats of the lord of the first part of the game, certain weapons not displaying their stats properly, the screen going black at the start of certain chapters, and the inexplicable return of every single character from the first part of the game once the player gains access to the prep screen in the second part. Fortunately, this is a failure the creator learned from: the hacker in question would later go on to create both The Sun God's Challenge and The Sun God's Wrath, the latter of which in particular is well-regarded.
  • Schoolvania, a ROM hack of Castlevania. It's plagued with horrid level design, is obviously untested, and despite its name, doesn't really have anything to do with school. Bottomless pits are virtually everywhere, which is a problem in a game that already has recoil and stiff jump physics. Ironically, it makes some parts easier because some enemies just walk straight into these pits. Some segments require you to damage boost to proceed, and you can't even make it to Death because the blocks are arranged in a way that it's impossible to proceed. See I-Mockery, well, mock it here.
  • Grudge, a custom campaign for Cry of Fear, was awful in design through and through. Attempting to play resulted in viewing some poor map design and frustrating trial-and-error gameplay with repeated dying, inexplicably for standing on the wrong spot or even just reaching for in-game items strewn about across the levels. Even though it was submitted to the official English-speaking forums, any info given as to what to do or how to progress in the campaign was written entirely in Chinese, creating a language barrier that alienated a good 98% of the forumgoers. Along with models snagged without permission and giving Cry of Fear credit for the stolen music from Silent Hill and Resident Evil, had one of the developers of Cry of Fear step in and remove it from the website.
  • That's Life!, an unofficial Sims expansion pack that was nothing but an installer for a bunch of stolen fanmade items that were available for free to download online. The problem? This was actually sold in stores. Even in its early years, the Sims community shunned the thing and even attempted to petition stores to remove it from shelves. Even with all of this, X Media Publishing, a German company who released the expansion pack, made a sequel, That's Life 2. The sequel tried to one-up the original by including a 3D virtual mall to "shop" in. However, it's very buggy and crashes frequently. Watch LGR tackle the pack and its sequel here.
  • Rock Band, like many modern rhythm games, has an active modding scene that makes custom songs. While most third-party custom songs range from "decent" to "Harmonix-quality", when they're bad, they're really bad. All three songs in the video feature inaccurate tempo maps, kicks that are either missing or not where they should be, drum fills that go on too long, and misplaced snare hits, One song ("Bang Bang") somehow has the bass part charted to the drums, and the worst offender, "At Doom's Gate", features not only horrifically overcharted guitar (not shown in the video), but the guitar, bass, and drum audio stems go out of sync over time, showing that the author didn't even bother playtesting it.
  • While Happy Wheels has its share of poor levels, Magma Man's levels stand out. All of them have some (if not all) of the following: Undodgeable hazards, instant death, names ripped from popular maps or names that have nothing to do with the map within, sub-par assembly, Overt references to anal rape, Ear Rape, and Fake Difficulty. In fact, some of his maps can cause the game engine to lag horribly or even freeze, forcing you to restart the game entirely just to get out of it. Strangest of all, Magma Man is apparently the same author as "Terry", the creator of UAC Military Nightmare (which is covered in the Doom folder).

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