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"Purple for putrid gameplay; blue for bad musical abominations; green for graphical farts and garlic; yellow for piss-poor lack of loyalty to source material; orange for "orange you a fucking idiot"; red for high-stress, anger-inducing masochism! Put that together, you got all the colors of the Shit Rainbow."
The Angry Video Game Nerd, on how the LJN Toys logo symbolises recurring faults.

A handful of game developers, both professional and independent, often have a hard time making games that are fun, or even playable. Game mods and homebrew creations exist that can put the worst fanfic in perspective. Your internet and cell phone aren't even safe. In some cases, even the consoles are better off sacrificed to your trash compactor. Or arguably just as bad for some companies, a presentation (most commonly at E3) intended to wow audiences instead goes horribly awry, damaging a company's reputation or a certain type of brand in the process.

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Important Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. A game isn't horrible just because The Angry Video Game Nerd, Spoony, Yahtzee, JonTron, or any other Caustic Critic reviewed it. Nor is it horrible just because it has a flood of negative reviews on Amazon.com and Metacritic. note  There needs to be independent evidence, such as professional reviews, to list it. (Though once it is listed, they can provide the detailed review(s).)
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  • Active Enterprises is mostly infamous for creating Action 52, a compilation of 52 different abysmal-quality "games" that commanded a price of $200 at the time of its release. In his review, The Angry Video Game Nerd calculated that for that price, each game would only cost about $4 each, making this quite the bargain in theory. However, the games on offer are barely worth downloading for free. Some of the common issues among the games were music that was repetitive and annoying and graphics that made many of the games hard to play and others still harder to even look at. There is inconsistent difficulty among the games (some were extremely difficult, while others were simple) and obtuse controls. Glitches and bugs are so bad that game crashes are common. In the case of two games, they may not even load at all - trying to play them at all on some cartridges causes the game to crash, making even the title of this compilation dubious. The game's cartridge is so poorly manufactured that playing for extended periods of time would cause it to emit a burning plastic smell. Unsurprisingly, Nintendo rejected the game after being submitted, so it was sold unofficially through magazine advertising. Active Enterprises not only expected to profit off this game collection, they also had plans to make one of the games (Cheetahmen, a very poorly-made side-scrolling Beat 'em Up) into a merchandising empire rivaling the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, including a line of action figures and a Saturday-morning cartoon. If you want to know why this was such a trainwreck, miiyouandmii2's video shines a light on the project's dubious history.
    • Micro Mike is considered to be the worst of the bunch, being almost unplayable. It has only three stages, but with claustrophobic level design and poor enemy placements, combined with the player character's fast movement and dying in only one hit, tool assistance is practically required to beat it.
    • Meong is barebones even when compared to the other games: The only goal is to navigate an "A-52" icon across a featureless tile puzzle to the end screen. The problem is that several of these tiles are traps, which only reveal themselves after a few seconds of standing (the result being that as you move, you'll often appear to die to nothing) - but standing still on the same tile will also kill you inexplicably.
    • Hambo's Adventures is a Donkey Kong inspired game that gives you one life, with any margin for error relying on 1-ups. That wouldn't be so bad if the titular porker wasn't a One-Hit Point Wonder and/or the enemy placement was set, but as it is, the game is entirely too reliant on luck. As Stuart Ashen has demonstrated, you can game over in less than half a second. Judging by the babyish music and the anthropomorphic main character, it's intended for very young children; if that's the case, Active Enterprises seriously misjudged the skill and patience of the target audience, as Fake Difficulty is frustrating enough for an adult, let alone the poor kid whose ignorant, inattentive parents wouldn't let him/her rent a vaguely competent game until (s)he got their money's worth out of the rental.
    • Notably, it did have hillbilly ninjas in Ninja Assault, and the so-weird-it's-hilarious Non Human. The Cheetahmen background music has been well-received, achieving a cult status among gamers and those in Japan alike. 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 sound effects at the same time.
    • Can you believe they actually made an advert for the package? Guru Larry uploaded it to his YouTube channel. It has poor voice acting with stereotypical English and Hispanic accents, hints that the "games" might not be that good, but the animation was decent, and the sad thing is they still clearly put more effort into the advert than the "games".
    • Cheetahmen 2, the 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 cartridge a little bit) to skip to the last two levels, there's No Ending programmed.
    • People like Vinny also noted that in the NES Cheetahman game for Action 52, if you go down a certain hole that takes you to a "Level 9" (which is just a room that holds a 1-Up and an exit in either direction) and then go to the right door, it takes you to a "Level 10" that's essentially unplayable. It's likely a thing that was originally cut due to strict deadlines, but to Vinny it was essentially the first time he ever saw a game basically corrupt itself.
    • The Sega Genesis version of Action 52 was only published by Active, as actual development was done by Farsight Technologies (developers of the Game Party minigame compilation series and The Pinball Arcade). Their version of Action 52 is superior to the NES version in quality and playability, but it's still mediocre at best. An SNES version was in the works but thankfully cancelled, most likely because they couldn't circumvent the system's lockout chip.
  • Arcane Raise is a "company" that downright abuses the ease-of-use of various Game Maker programs to churn out games with as little effort as possible:
    • The Arcane Raise series, made using RPG Maker, is a shining example of how to not use the engine. All the graphics are stock assets, most of the sound effects and music are stock too, the plot and characters are weak, and the Random Encounters are overly frequent. The games also feature zero-effort achievements (completing the tutorial grants you access to a long hallway that grants one achievement for each tile) to appeal to lazy achievement hunters who only care about having as many achievements as possible or spelling funny messages in their achievement showcases. The games' worst sin, however, is that it sells characters and items as separate DLC, just to squeeze more money out of people unfortunate enough to buy these games. Given that many far superior titles are available for free elsewhere, there is no reason to buy these. Watch a video of it here.
    • Glitch Simulator 2018 is probably the first time where a game is horrible for not being an Obvious Beta. The concept of a game deliberately filled with glitches that must be exploited is interesting, but the game doesn't deliver on that promise at all - instead, what you get is an extremely generic First-Person Shooter made using the "Game Guru" engine, using only the default assets said engine comes with. The game contains a single map filled with a few zombies and assassins that you can kill with a small selection of bland weapons, and a handful of buildings that cannot be entered. See gameplay and criticism here. The game had so little effort put into it that the person who made the linked video recreated the entire game in only 12 minutes and distributed it for free. Also in the series are Suicide Simulator and ISIS Simulator, which are similar FPS games with offensive premises shoehorned in solely to get a couple of extra sales from the morbidly curious.
    • ZAMBI 2 KIL represents everything that can go wrong with RPG Maker games: Stock graphics and sound, no story whatsoever beyond "Kill the Zambis", and drawn-out, mindless combat (there is a grand total of one enemy type that always comes in groups of three) make for one stinker of a game. The Stylistic Suck might have been worth a few chuckles if the game was free, but slapping a pricetag on it makes it come off as lazy rather than amusing. There's also Downloadable Content that costs 10 times the price of the main game. Fortunately, it appears to have been removed from Steam.
  • Blast! Entertainment was a low-budget company who mainly used licenses that were on sale for absurdly low prices and made game adaptations based on them. While not all of the contract developers they hired were awful, all of the games those companies did for Blast were, which is why people should thank Sony for making sure those titles were exclusive to Europe. Some of their most infamous works include:
    • Their Beverly Hills Cop game is a completely failed attempt at an FPS with generic and dull environments, stiff animations, sloppy shooting mechanics, lack of voice acting, countless glitches, and everything is covered in graphics and sound so dated that they're practically ancient (despite being released in 2006). The stealth segments are damn near impossible due to a combination of detection leading to an instant Game Over and enemies capable of seeing you from a mile away. In addition, the developers not only couldn't afford Eddie Murphy's likeness (Axel Foley is now a bald white man who looks closer to Bruce Willis than Eddie Murphy), they couldn't even get the game published in the US; they were only able to release it in Europe, where the real-world Beverly Hills isn't. The only decent thing is the music, which does a good job emulating the feel of a Harold Faltermeyer song...but even then there's very little of it, with most levels having no music at all. The developers, Atomic Planet Entertainment, would later develop another horrible FPS called Daemon Summoner, which suffers from all the same problems as this game. Watch Vinny of Vinesauce play it as part of his Shovelware Showcase (and losing it) here. He later completed the game in its entirety here as his last incentive for Vinesauce's 2018 PCRF Charity streams. Everything is covered in this two-part video, though Giant Bomb takes a few swings at it as well.
    • Little Britain: The Video Game, which was hailed by many UK critics as the worst game on the PS2, is basically a compilation of a few awful mini-games which were blatant ripoffs at best and totally pointless at worst. Anything you need to know about it is summed up nicely by Tennings. Call Me Kevin suffers for his art here before giving up at the second level. On top of all this, one of said mini-games, centered around the character of Dafydd ("the only gay in the village"), got the game indexed by Germany's BPjMnote  and thus effectively banned there due to its homophobic overtonesnote .
    Kevin: I lived through GirlsGoGames.com, but I can't live through this! This is what will defeat me!
    • Their version of Home Alone for the PS2 has very unintuitive gameplay, horribly outdated graphics that make the game look like it came out on the Nintendo 64, very repetitive level design, and extremely loose connection with the film. JonTron took a look at it in his Home Alone video game journey here. In fact, the Angry Video Game Nerd refused to even acknowledge it in his 2018 Christmas special (where he reviewed all the Home Alone games alongside Macaulay Culkin himself) not because it sucked, but because it was just that disjointed from the classic duology and outdated (it was released in 2006, four years after the Continuity Reboot fourth movie).
    • One rather strange situation had Blast collaborate with Data Design Interactive (as seen below) to create An American Tail game. Released in 2007 for the PlayStation 2 only to Europe (ironically enough), Australia, and New Zealand, the game features a mishmash of other styles of video games that loosely connect to the story at hand. The first level (and bonus level) has Fievel running around in a bubble with Super Monkey Ball-styled controls, only done in a more nauseating manner that could make even the most stable of gamers feel sick to their stomachs just looking at it in action. The game's other levels don't help matters much either, varying from too easy to way too hard in almost random intervals, and with the option to skip levels you could beat the game in around 40 minutes if you wanted to, like Vinny did in his stream. Combine that with only three total cutscenes lifted directly from the movie, none of which include the ending with Fievel reuniting with his family properly, and you can see why had Folding Ideas not talked about it here, this game would have been best left forgotten as well.
    • Casper and The Ghostly Trio is yet another collaboration between Blast and Data Design Interactive. The game is basically a re-skin of Data Design's other notorious games, such as Ninjabread Man and Anubis II, and features the same horrible graphics, boring and repetitive gameplay and incredibly stiff camera.
    • Data Design also created a game based on Casper's Scare School, which is basically just a Mission-Pack Sequel to Casper and The Ghostly Trio, and runs on the same game engine. The only difference is the style of gameplay, where the missions involve collecting items before the time runs out, and racing against other characters, neither of which are particularly fun or well made, due to the poor controls.
    • All the above games (and many others made by the same company) were covered by Vinny from Vinesauce on his Shovelware Showcase here.
  • Code Monkeys was a company known for collaborating with Dingo Pictures to release games centered around Dingo Pictures films (exclusively for PlayStation of all things). These games were nothing more than a mediocre activity center with puzzles and paint programs involved note , as well as watching the film they were based on. Normally, companies who make these type of games would not be here because most of them aren't horrible, but what made them so notorious is the fact that Dingo Pictures makes shoddy knockoffs of more successful movies, and they have their own spot on the Animated Films subpage. Go look them up on YouTube and witness the... well, "horror" is far too light a term to describe it. You gotta love the three-frames-per-second walking cycle, the reused voice actors, and that they aren't even pretending they aren't copying the Disney character designs... and since when is Thumper the size of a horse?
    • Their most infamous "games" are English dubs of Disney ripoffs from Dingo Pictures (who are also covered on the Animated Films subpage)... but many of their actual games are worse.
    • Caddicarus took a look at Dalmatians 3, and he considers it the worst game he's ever played, even worse than Coronation Street: The Mystery of the Missing Hotpot Recipe. It's not hard to see why, either: The game takes every notorious aspect of shovelware and somehow ratchets it up to new levels of horrible. The box art is meant to look like part of Disney's 101 Dalmatians series, but features characters who never show up in the game at all. Instead, the main feature is a 45-minute video that is so badly written, animated, and voiced that it makes the Zelda CD-i trilogy look good in comparison. The rest of the game consists of mind-numbingly easy minigames without an ounce of creativity in them. To top it all off, the game is so poorly coded that it takes quite a while to load even the language-selection screen, and it spins so fast inside a PS2 that the game can never play again if left on for too long. If you're wondering, "too long" in this case more-or-less refers to watching the entire movie.
    • It seriously says a lot about the quality of their games when there have been reported cases of PS2 consoles that have stopped working upon attempting to play one of their games. To quote a YouTube comment:
    "I actually own Animal Soccer World and let me tell you it's a piece of shit. We actually had to get a new PS2 because of it - our first one stopped working after I played it for the first time."
    • Aside from the Dingo Pictures collaborations, they were also responsible for The Simpsons Skateboarding, a third-rate knockoff of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games. The game has terrible controls, with the spin command sometimes being ignored and grinds being ridiculously easy. Even with full upgrades, the boards are difficult to maneuver and move ridiculously slow. Not helping is the lack of special tricks beyond basic ones. The game also suffers from poor level design, with amateur blocky designs and unappealing graphics throughout each map. In a few cases, certain areas, such as bodies of water and power plant workers, go completely untextured. The characters themselves, while staying true to the show, have uncanny proportions that often result in the joints between their limbs being visible. The game also suffers from a vast amount of Welcome to Corneria in part of various NPCs, some of whom don't even have lines, as well as Kent Brockman saying the same few lines after performing tricks. Caddicarus gives the game a bashing here. It was also ranked as the second worst Simpsons game of all time by Triple Jump, behind only the just as awful The Simpsons Wrestling. Nightbane Games (a YouTuber best known for playing The Simpsons: Hit & Run mods) has a playthrough of the game pointing out some of the worst aspects. Particularly, he ended up rage-quitting for a few months after playing through Krustylu Studios, due to an objective that involves performing tricks in front of cameras placed ridiculously far away from each other in four minutes.
    • They also created Shrek: Treasure Hunt, a minigame collection with horrible graphics, repetitive music, awful controls, and mediocre-at-best minigames. This game got a bashing from Caddicarus' sister, Professor Juice, here.
    • Many of their Minigame Games not based around Dingo's movies were bad in their own right. On top of being horrendously buggy and badly performing like the Dingo-based games and doing absolutely nothing to improve them, they also included movies that do nothing to improve the experience beyond a good laugh. On top of having mediocre animation for the time that they were released, they are poorly written, horribly voiced (many simply having a single (very bored) man doing all of the voices), and full of awkwardly-written dialogue and dull characters. Like Dingo's games they were also presented as video game adaptations of Disney movies (via covers featuring hideously malformed CGI versions of the Disney versions of the included story). Some of the most notorious examples include:
      • Snow White and the 7 Clever Boys. Here we have a shameless rip-off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and it doesn't even do that right; the dwarves are replaced with generic boys, one of them having Blackface. Aside from that, the story itself is very dull, with little conflict aside from the inevitable poison apple (a problem that's resolved in the span of a minute). Tennings has ripped this movie apart in this review, as has Caddicarus, with the latter review saying in terms of overall effort put onto a PS2 disc in 2007note , it's the worst "game" he's ever seen for it. Moreover, it is actually a bad PS2 port of an obscure early 2000s educational Polish PC game (you could tell by the animated cursor is still present in the PS2 port) called "Królewna Śnieżka" made by Longsoft Multimedia as part of their Familijny CD-Romek series whose original PC version made it to the Czech Republic as well.
      • Their take on Peter Pan is arguably the most effortless out of all of them. The obligatory cartoon is a complete mess. The narration and all the voice-overs (including the girls) are done by only one man who narrates in the most most monotone voice imaginable and makes no effort to make anyone sound distinct from each other. Additionally, the voice-over is horribly dubbed in, leading to multiple instances of characters moving their mouths without actually saying anything. The plot introduces multiple elements that go nowhere, skips from one plot point to the other like it's on a sugar rush, the moral of the story is tacked-on and makes no sense in relation to the story, and the showdown with Captain Hook is an absolute joke. Caddicarus also reviewed this short, alongside Alex of I Hate Everything, here.
      • Pinocchio is their take on...well, the title should make it obvious. Much like their take on Peter Pan, the obligatory cartoon is almost hilarious in its ineptness. The stilted dialogue is once again all done by one man who sounds just as bored as the one in Peter Pan (his voice for the Blue Fairy has to be seen (or rather heard) to be believed). The dialogue is often hokey, with such gems as "Ooohkay, giiiirls and boooooiis!", "Here you little dibble, give my wig back!", and "Now I'm turning donkey!". The opening and closing narration is pretentious and makes no sense. The songs are awful and often have unintelligible lyrics (especially the opening songs sung by the toys). Pinocchio himself isn't a sympathetic character in the slightest, behaving like a Spoiled Brat almost the entire time outside of occasional and very forced acts of kindness. Most glaring is that in the end, he doesn't even stay a real boy; the Blue Fairy turns Pinocchio into a real boy, but then he voluntarily chooses to stay a puppet for no explained reason (the only explanation that is given is that "puppet's just the most"). To top it all off, the cartoon ends very abruptly as though it ran out of time to tell the story: After Pinocchio leaves the Blue Fairy, the rest of Pinocchio's story is simply summarized in a song that lasts less than a minute. In the end, the entire game, cartoon included, is a horrible mess if it isn't just considered a hilariously awful romp. As with most of the other of these "games" on this list, Caddicarus has also reviewed this one.
  • Color Dreams was an infamous and prolific developer of unlicensed NES games. Many of their beat-'em-ups 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 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 (mostly because they took advantage of the loophole involving Nintendo refusing to supply licensed games to stores that sold pirated or unlicensed versions of their games by mainly selling their games in bookstores where most other forms of Christian media were sold at the time) and was the only company to have a working unlicensed SNES game (but in a weird manner involving plugging a secondary, official cartridge into it), they no longer sell video games in their current market and are no longer associated with Color Dreams. 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 too bad, if you don't want to waste time clicking - it has a mention on the SoBadItsGood.Video Games page.)
  • Data Design Interactive used to be a fairly decent, if polarizing, company and unlike many companies they have their own engine, the first model of which dating as far back as 1990. While they did even back in the 90s make some truly horrible games (like the Genesis and SNES versions of Rise of the Robots) it also had a few decent games to make up for it (such as LEGO Rock Raiders, a competent Real-Time Strategy game that still has a semi-active fan community and modding scene over 20 years after its release). However, from 2005 onwards they got a reputation as an infamous shovelware developer whose games were released on the Wii in North America, with very few differences between them. Most of the games that they published during that timeframe started as PS2 games from low-budget European companies that Sony Computer Entertainment America prevented from crossing overseas. Nintendo decided to be more lax with third-parties to attract casual gamers to the Wii... 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 low-effort Atari 2600 games that sparked The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 in the US. Some examples of DDI's "handiwork" during that timeframe include:
    • Action Girlz Racing, one of DDI's several half-hearted racing games. No sense of speed, floaty controls and physics that wouldn't pass muster in a Flash game, terrible level design that only spotlights the awful driving mechanics, misleading item/power-up placement (some levels have items placed in dead-end pathways branching off the track seemingly just to waste the player's time), and a forced Totally Radical attitude. NeverChris said that pandering garbage like this is the reason why girls are stereotyped as not liking video games. It was 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. PeanutButterGamer called this the second-worst game ever released on the Wii in his Top Ten WORST Wii Games video (being beaten only by Ninjabread Man, also by Data Design), and Space Hamster was inclined to agree when he played the game with PBG on their gameplay channel PB And Jeff.
    • Somehow, DDI once had the license to remake Zool, but Zool rightsholders ZOO Digital promptly yanked it from them after being abhorred by the prototypes. However, instead of shuttering the project altogether, DDI recycled the prototypes into five separate Obvious Betas with different graphics but the same level design: Ninjabread Man, Anubis II, Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland, Rock and Roll Adventures, and Casper and The Ghostly Trio note .
    • Billy the Wizard is an atrocious attempt at a "flight racer" with poor controls, with the Wii version being nigh-unplayable due to being entirely motion-controlled. Said motion controls are implemented in the most baffling way: you adjust your flight direction by tilting the Nunchuck controller, which only has a rudimentary motion sensor, while you attack by waving the Wiimote, which has more precise motion detection that would've been better for movement (said precision also means that your attacks often fail to register if you aren't spot-on with your motion). Every single level is actually the exact same Hogwarts lookalike with Superman 64-esque rings positioned slightly differently. The AI is nonexistent, as the NPC racers all move along the same predetermined path, and the tutorial fails to teach the player anything note . On top of all the other problems it has, it recycles music from Ninjabread Man (which was released in 2005 while Billy was first released in 2006) which, while not terrible music, is not appropriate for either game.
    • For one example from before they gained their reputation for Wii shovelware games, they made a Nickelodeon game called Nickelodeon Party Blast. While most of Nickelodeon's games are Cult Classics for the ages, this party game is not. On top of having rather poor Nintendo 64-level graphics for the systems it was on (Xbox and GameCube; a PS2 port was planned, but cancelled), Loads and Loads of Loading, and almost no voice acting whatsoever (aside from host CatDog) beyond generic grunting sounds from the eight playable characters, the minigames feature terrible controls, boring gameplay, annoying sound effects (which are bound to be playing constantly during the game), and are painfully easy to win. PeanutButterGamer (who placed this game 3rd on his "Top 10 Worst Party Games" list) demonstrates a food fight minigame where he won all of the rounds (except a boss fight) by hardly doing anything.
    • Surprisingly, the company still exists. Unlike most companies on the list, they even have their own website. From what one can gather, nowadays they mainly seem to focus on the creation of advergames, although they've also decided to organize a video game Summer camp to let more people get familiar with GODS. They're also interested in making a sequel to Rock Raiders, which will be made by the same staff that made the original and the My Personal Golf series. As of this writing, though, it seems that both are in Development Hell.
  • Delta 4 Interactive (D4i) was a British development house that mainly developed text-adventure games for home computers. In The '90s however, with publisher On-Line Entertainment, they created some particularly terrible point-and-click adventure games that were only available for the short-lived Commodore Amiga CDTV and Microsoft DOS.
    • The Town With No Name was released on Amiga's CDTV platform (you could also play it on the Amiga CD32, though only God knows why you'd want to) and has been described by The Angry Video Game Nerd as "like Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, but worse". While the hideous graphics and animation that resemble a particularly crappy early-2000s Flash cartoon combined with the similarly wretched (and sometimes drowned out by hilariously tinny-sounding music) voice acting qualify as So Bad, It's Good, the gameplay itself consists of little more than navigating menus and clicking on points of interest at intermittent points (with most of the things you can do in those buildings being completely inconsequential, since you need only enter and exit buildings to progress the minimalist and craptastic story). Plot progression is based on winning duels against bandits, with one bandit requiring you to play cards against him, beat him, then shoot him before he can shoot you, none of which is made readily apparent. There are no save points or checkpoints at all; if you die, you have to start over from the very beginning, making the game an absolute nightmare to play through, and is franky not worth enduring even for the hilariously awful cutscenes. Delta 4 Interactive folded not long after this game's release, and the game's developers consider it to be an Old Shame. You can watch how messed up it is right here. Retsupurae also tore the game apart. Interestingly, Brutal Moose would have considered this So Bad, It's Good instead if it weren't for the fact that it can be very tedious as well with one-hit kills that make you start over at the very start of the game, as displayed in his review here.
    • Psycho Killer is a point-and-click horror adventure 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 Don't Wear Ties) that don't even take up the entire disk memory. note  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 tried to fill the disc up to at least 100 MB of content. It especially doesn't help that in the review Brutal Moose did for the DOS version, he completed the game in nine minutes and nine seconds, 5:23 of which involved him being stuck on loading screens. A sequel was planned but never materialized due to Delta 4 Interactive closing its doors. Like The Town With No Name, Psycho Killer also received the Retsupurae treatment.
    • Chaos in Andromeda: Eyes of the Eagle is an even more obscure game by the same publisher. While it's a "full blown" cRPG unlike the two aforementioned games, it suffers a lot from poor development foresight with unintuitive mechanics, Guide Dang It! moments galore, a party system which is useless since all the party members you can acquire are Action Bombs which you have to control manually even out of combat (meaning you will move four times slower with a full party), and a ton of ways to make the game impossible, including a fascinatingly bad reverse Beef Gate that prevents you from backtracking and getting items you would need to proceed but left in a previous area. See a review by the cRPG Addict here.
  • Digital Homicide Studios note  was an indie studio run by two brothers, James and Robert Romine, notorious for flooding the Steam store with low-quality games containing assets that were either cobbled together from a Unity template or plagiarized from other games. The studio also had a hostile attitude toward any sort of criticism, deleting all negative posts from their Steam forum and even banning and Facebook-stalking users who had bad things to say about their games. They even attempted to sue Jim Sterling for almost $11 million over his highly-negative video of The Slaughtering Grounds, and later tried to sue about 100 other Steam users critical of their products for $18 million (evidence here, here, and here, with the court document for the newer case available here), even attempting to subpoena Valve for the defendants' personal details. That subpoena, an unprecedented act of hostility to Steam customers, quickly turned out to be a rather stupid and self-destructive idea - in an uncharacteristically rapid response, Valve cut ties with them and delisted all of their games. They were eventually left with no choice but to drop the lawsuit and, with their reputation and finances in shambles, retire from the video game industry altogether. Jim Sterling described the entire legal debacle in a February 2017 Jimquisition video. They would finally make their return in 2020 as Digital Homicide Uncensored, putting up their shovelware on Itch and putting out blog posts that make clear that they haven’t learned a single thing since then, leading to Sterling putting out yet another video debunking their continued efforts to accuse him of their own problems.
    • The Slaughtering Grounds, the game that drew Sterling's attention in the first place, was an abysmal 2014 zombie FPS with numerous bugs such as a plane flying sideways (with sound desynced, to boot), a hugely inconsistent and ugly (and sometimes stolen) art style with both mummies and zombies in the same vicinity for no adequately explained reason, intensely irritating looped music, and such insane concepts as the fact that when you pick up ammo you only get ammo for the gun currently in your hand. The game's provision of ammo is also stingy at best, which can leave you helpless against a conga line of zombies that you can't outrun. When the game was first released, the first official screenshot on the Steam page was of Digital Homicide's release page for the game on Steam, with an arrow pointing to a resubmission reason that one of them had filled in, revealing that they knowingly released the game in an unfinished state without the Early Access program.
    • Temper Tantrum was a game in which Little Johnny destroys the interior of his house over being sent to bed. The graphics are eye-searing, the enemies don't belong in the same universe as Johnny or the interiors (because, predictably, the assets are stolen), the controls are terrible, the camera swings around and clips through walls because you can't control it, the music sounds like something out of a Popcorn Arcade game, and destroying multiple objects results in the same annoying sound effect over and over again. The duo went on to release Temper Tantrum 2, which is essentially the same thing but with one or two new levels at most, with none of the flaws corrected.
    • Using the label ECC Games (for "Every Click Counts"), they created Devil's Share and Galactic Hitman to a similar standard of "quality" as their prior releases. They eventually got sued by a Polish mobile developer with the same name, which was understandably peeved that their name was being tarnished by a shovelware developer that they had nothing to do with.
    • Paranormal Psychosis: For starters, the graphics look terrible, the text in the controls list and the mission information have typos, and walking speed is tremendously slow with no sprint option. No ammo counter or even a proper HUD is supplied, so there is no way to know how many bullets are left unless the player counted the total bullets in a previous playthrough and are counting the bullets used in the current playthrough. Upon each death, the player is sent back to the start, with no ability to save the game; this allows the werewolf that spawns nearby to spawncamp the player if they are unlucky enough to attract the werewolf to the spawn point. The game is rife with clipping issues. Finally, the game has annoying critters that jump on the player's screen many times during play.
  • Dragon Co. was a Chinese developer who mostly developed games for hire from 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 six years earlier. 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 Wait and See! appears to be based on the Russian cartoon Nu, Pogodi! but features Bugs Bunny on the title screen for no discernible reason. The levels are badly designed, with the second one being nearly impossible without save states.
    • Continuing with their licensed games which aren't actually licensed, Tom & Jerry 3 is yet another awful platformer based on a cartoon. The only notable feature about this one is that it features Tom smoking weed on the title screen.
    • They made two games based off The Lion King, marketed as the third and fifth installments in the series. While the former is standard Dragon Co. rubbish, the latter is notable for having a soundtrack that qualifies for So Cool, It's Awesome while at the same time having Simba commit suicide on the game over screen. Watch here.
    • 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 Powerpoint, and there's no way to avoid enemy fire.
  • In the late 90s, Activision had a subsidiary called Head Games. They released several games under the "Extreme" label (including two sequels to Extreme Paintbrawl) that were simply horrible.
    • According to a letter to the editors of PC Gamer— (which gave it 6%, the worst score up to that time), the original Extreme Paintbrawl was produced in two weeks on a rushed schedule. 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. As for the music, one YouTube commenter described it roughly as power metal for people with Attention Deficit Disorder.
    • Extreme Boards & Blades is considered by Lazy Game Reviews to be the worst game he has ever played, worse than Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. It has unusable controls, awful graphics, an annoying soundtrack laughably described as ska and a few barebones game modes. It gets nothing right, not even the cover which misspells its sponsor (Mountain Dew) in the description while the logo is right above it.
    • Extreme Snowboarding is a truly unplayable mess. It suffers from most of the same flaws as Boards and Blades, except replace the boards and blades with skis, snowmobiles and snowboards, add in bland voiceovers, in conjunction with terrible framerate that Lazy Game Reviews (who broke into a laughing fit when he first played the game and noticed the abysmal framerate before cranking down the graphics options to make it somewhat more playable) described as "being measured in seconds per frame", even on high-end hardware of the time. To top it all off, most, if not all of the game's assets were plagiarized from Snow Wave Avalanche, which came out a year prior. Despite coming out a year after that game and adding in snowmobiles and skiing, the game feels like an Obvious Beta.
    • The games are so bad that IGN poked fun at them with their reviews, like these ones for Extreme Tennis and Extreme Rodeo.
  • Killjoy Games is a developer of only two of the worst games Steam ever had to offer. As Dark Lord Jadow 1 put it, “There has never existed a more accurate name for a company!”
    • Air Control (the Steam one, not the iOS one) was supposedly a flight simulator where the player switches between the pilot and the flight attendant. It's easily one of the most buggy, unstable, and unfinished pieces of software on this entire site. Instructions overlap each other, buttons often have to be clicked multiple times to register, the mouse cursor and first-person camera are both run at the same time (resulting in your character waving his head around as you try and close out of dialogue boxes)... the list goes on. It's so lazily programmed that at one point the game tells you how to work around a bug, in-game. The game somehow forgets to clear global variables when you exit to the main menu, which means if you try and switch from "casual" to "realistic" mid-session the game will crash and you have to force quit from the task manager! The developers responded to negative reviews pointing out how often the game crashes with single-sentence rebuttals like "Your computer isn't strong enough." And to top it all off, almost all the art assets are stolen without credit, up to and including a safety instruction video from a real-life airline company! It's so bad, it was "rewarded" with Gamespot's third-ever 1/10 score. Air Control was considered so abysmal that many believed its existence to be a satirical joke, a deliberately unplayable trainwreck created to demonstrate how easy it can be to deceive people foolish enough to not preview video games via video before making the decision to buy them. Markiplier suffered through it, Dark Lord Jadow 1 had more than a few things to say about it, and Jim Sterling also talks about it here.
    • Zen Fish Sim follows in the footsteps of the aforementioned Air Control by being irredeemably broken in all aspects. The "gameplay" merely consists of advancing through extremely linear levels (which have no collision detection with the scenery), and getting booted back to the main menu at the end. Said main menu also doubles as the main way of experiencing the game's narm-filled and poorly-written story (one scene shows fish burning to death). Add to this copyrighted music used without permission, Critical Research Failure when one of the game's selling points is "you can learn about the wide variety of the creatures of the ocean" (one level is a gallery of different marine creatures, and clicking on the "sperm whale" button brings up a sea urchin), and a $10 asking price, and you have one of the worst things to come to Steam ever... well, "had", since the publisher yanked the game from the service almost as quickly as it spawned.
  • Lightning Games Studios is a Brazilian indie studio disguised as a Japanese indie studio. It made games using stolen assets and with no attention to gameplay at all.
    • Solbrain: Knight of Darkness (no relation to the Cult Classic tokusatsu series Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain) is a horrible third-person hack-and-slash where you can only wander aimlessly around a barren landscape and fight waves of enemies, with no dialogue or character interaction. If you can bear the pain of playing through it, you have to go through the whole game in one sitting, as there's no save function. This Kotaku article notes that not only does Solbrain consist of enough asset thievery to rival Limbo of the Lost, but the same developer had previously released multiple shovelware games on the short-lived PlayStation Mobile platform (for PS Vita and Android), with all of the same problems as the PS4 release. Cornshaq was one of the very few people who were unfortunate enough to play this game before its removal, and he without question thought it was 2016's worst video game.
    • Spear of Destiny: The Kaiseki (not to be confused with the Wolfenstein game) is even worse, consisting of trudging through a faux Wide Open Sandbox to gather a series of relics in search of the titular Spear of Destiny. The game's interface and mechanics are very reminiscent of Dark Souls, but poorly balanced - blocking doesn't work as intended, and the basic enemies take out large chunks of health with a single hit. You also have no way to heal, so eventually the combat will whittle down your health to nothing, and the lack of mid-level checkpoints has you losing a lot of progress with each death. Gameplay boils down to a cycle of traveling to the next MacGuffin and getting thrust into forced combat with the next enemy. Here's a playthrough from Jim Sterling.
    • Sword of Fortress: The Onomuzim and Samael: The Legacy of Ophiuchus, the latter released as far as 2019, shows that Lightning Game Studios "isn't giving up" making such crap, which suffers the same problems as the Kaiseki above, and both also respectively reviewed by Jim Sterling. The latter three games are prominently credited to a mysterious man called Gilson B. Pontes; it is currently unknown if he is real or a pseudonym, but it's fairly telling when the lattermost games's opening sequence has over ten individual credits for him. Caddicarus covers those same three games released by Gilson B. Pontes here, noting they were the most expensive games of the collection of games he covered there, and calling Pontes "the Tommy Wiseau of video games".
  • Ludia is a Canadian game developer partially owned by Fremantle Media, whose goal was to make video games on the Wii based on every popular American game show (except Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, both of 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 the week before the actual show changed formats. Notably, every single one of the following games in this section have all been subject to a "Quick Look" video by Giant Bomb, in which the guys more or less tear each one apart; links are listed with each game.
    • The $1,000,000 Pyramid uses the classic (1982-91) logo, but the game itself is an adaptation of the oft-maligned 2002-04 revival. 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. Game show fan Tim "Loogaroo" Connolly tears it a new one here, and here's the Giant Bomb Quick Look.
    • Family Feud 2012, unlike the others, is an Xbox 360 game and uses the console's avatars rather than its own, but still manages to be equally bad. The fictional host, "Sparky Whitmore", is dreadful to say the least; the onscreen 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 worse than the broken one in the SNES version (it somehow interprets "Bike" as "Horseback"). Here's the Giant Bomb Quick Look.
    • The 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 (aside from the four aforementioned celebs, whose Zingers are seen with their actual answers in video clips from the series taken from at least seven years prior). With neither celebs nor Zingers, you're simply crossing trivia with Tic-Tac-Toe and might as well play Tic-Tac-Dough at that rate. Here's the Quick Look by Giant Bomb. Game Grumps also inadvertently showcased another massive flaw in the game when they ended up playing it twice (the second time having literally forgotten that they'd already played the game two years ago): A viewer was quick to point out that they got the exact same questions in the exact same order both times.
    • 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. Here's the Giant Bomb Quick Look, and Loogaroo points out nearly every way it did disservice to the classic show here.
    • The Price Is Right (2008 and 2010) has a simple Game-Breaker - a limited prize pool, about 50 Showcases, and a bad randomizer, along with a rather poor Showcase Showdown wheel that seems to favor the AI frequently. It turns the game show game into "Memory": play it for a few 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 Price video 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. Here's Giant Bomb's 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 at the Showcase Showdown (which had been a big criticism with the 2008 game), which means that you can literally go on forever by having a price list.
  • Micro Genius has. They have three known games under their belts:
  • Mystique, an offshoot of porn studio Caballero Home Video specializing in, well, you guessed it, pornographic video games for the Atari 2600. They were pure Fetish Retardant - making porn on a system that can't even make dragons not look like blocky, green ducks isn't a great idea, and the games themselves featured scenarios that ranged from absurd to decidedly unsexy. It doesn't help that they all had bare-bones, repetitive gameplay. The company went bankrupt following The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, but their library was bought by Playaround (see below). Here's a complete list of their games — they're all horribly exploitative, and have all been hugely controversial. Mystique's raunchy antics have mostly accounted for why Atari tightened up security on their 7800 by requiring all licensed developers to have their games digitally signed by Atari, as they were concerned about pornographers exploiting the 7800's more advanced graphical capabilities.
    • Bachelor Party is a bizarre Breakout clone in which the ball is replaced with a nude man, and the "bricks" are replaced with inexplicably nude women.
    • 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.
    • Philly Flasher is Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em WITH THE 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 an old witch - not even a Hot 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 note  a naked, well-endowed Native American woman, 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. There's also the Unfortunate Implications of General Custer raping a Native American woman, or that you shouldn't bother with graphics this blocky for this purpose. Also 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 note  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?
      Custer's Military Adviser: Yes, general. Several.
  • 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 were priced at just $10... and the results show all too well. Their catalog consists of only three games - Star Fox (no relation to the Nintendo game), Sorcerer, and Fire Fly. While Sorcerer is decent in its own right, the other two are considered to be horrible, to the point that there is an internet rumor circulating that all of them share the same code minus a few tweaks and turns.
  • Nice Code Software are another notorious Chinese unlicensed/bootleg company with many of their early staff coming from the aforementioned Dragon Co., whose games regularly appear on drugstore plug-'n'-play Famiclones (such as the Dreamgear Retroplay, played by Vinesauce and reviewed by Rerez). Their game library consists mainly of either lazy hacks of Intellivision, Atari, and occasionally NES games, substandard knockoffs of classic arcade and 8-bit console games coded from scratch, or a small set of boring original games cloned repeatedly with different graphics.
  • Ninja Pig Studios would have been just another bog-standard Wii U eShop Shovelware developer - one with a considerable fanbase, at that - if not for its rampant and continuous plagiarism. While unoriginal shovelware is nothing new, Ninja Pig takes it one step farther by using copyrighted assets without permission in their paid games. The fans of their games tend to be young and, thus, not know and/or care about this, but from those who do know they have received a large amount of scathing criticism. The games themselves aren't very good either.
    • Their first game, IQ Test, was a $5 game that completely ripped off a free mobile game called The Moron Test, right down to its lined-paper background and rubber ducky motif, as GameTrailers' Kyle Bosman found out in this video (the relevant bit begins at 9:48 and his discovery is at 10:45).
    • Then came their "magnum opus", Meme Run, which is an endless runner game with scores of "dank" memes (including copyrighted assets ripped right from sources like Google Images and Reddit) bombarding the player. Most of them are outright obnoxious (the screen shakes a lot, and there are power-ups that clutter the screen with nonsense and may trigger annoying sound effects like a loud "wombo combo" shout) and get repeated a lot - for a game titled Meme Run, there's actually very little variety in the memes. The gameplay itself is unpolished and gets repetitive fast. Meme Run eventually became one of the few games to ever be removed from the eShop for its aforementioned unauthorized use of copyrighted assets. Making its case all the more complicated, Carlos Ramirez, creator of the "Trollface" image (one of the stolen assets) politely asked Ninja Pig to give him credit, but Ninja Pig flat-out ignored him. The result was a legal battle over back royalties that Ninja Pig could've easily avoided.
      "He [Jordan Schuetz, owner of Ninja Pig]'s probably the least mature person I've ever dealt with, if I will be frank. That's a difficulty. I don't think he knows what the consequences of ignoring me are. That's just annoying. It's going to slow down the whole process. He's going to be like 'Oh, you want to sue me? Go ahead!' And then we're going to have to spend weeks drafting this thing, writing to the courts, and then he'll be like 'Oh, f***. He's serious. S***! I should probably listen.'" note 
    • Before that was removed, they attempted a third outing, Jumpy Cat, which flat-out stole someone's custom sprite work and then, when confronted by the original creator of the stolen sprites, lied to his face about where they found them. That one was cancelled at the demands of the sprite artist before release.
    • Even after two of their games were canned for legal reasons, a feat that no other eShop developer has ever held, they made another meme-based game: Bigley's Revenge note . The game is a First-Person Shooter that looks like something an amateur would do in a few hours in Unity, and simply consists of shooting at various characters that attack from different directions. The only map is a small square platform with purchasable guns in the middle, and like Meme Run there are lots of obnoxious loud sound effects.
  • Taiwanese company NTDEC, short for the NinTenDo Electronic Company. (No, seriously. The lawsuit came quite fast.)
    • One of their works was Fighting Hero, a horrible knockoff of the already dubious Street Fighter I. 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 cartridge (Caltron being an alias for NTDEC) and while the games on it aren't awful, they're mostly just mediocre clones of other games. After Caltron released the game, it became defunct and sold the game to Myriad. And it, as well, suffered the same fate. The AVGN examined the cartridge in his third Bible Games video and concluded that one of the games in particular, supposedly based off of Adam and Eve, was a direct clone of Balloon Fight (and by extension, Joust).
  • Panzer Gaming Studios has built up a reputation as another of Steam’s most offensive scammers. Despite founder Jason Welge having a B.A. in Video Game Art & Design from Westwood College Online and at one point earning a $10,000 grant from the state of Wisconsin, Panzer’s entire library consists of recycled Unreal Engine 4 assets poorly optimized to have nothing but lackluster framerates and excessive motion blur. Liam Lambert of Gizorama calls Welge "Steam's Weirdest Scam Artist", given his supposed enthusiasm and love of gaming despite repeated denials, failed Kickstarters, and other offenses such as the following:
    • Time Ramesside (also known as A New Reckoning) is seemingly following in the steps of The Slaughtering Grounds. The game is plagued with Game Breaking Bugs from the very first level, including but not limited to absurdly overpowered enemies note , clipping issues, and many crashes. The graphics are dated, highly inconsistent, and at worst incomplete and buggy, and slowdowns are frequent. Level design and general gameplay are equally patchwork, and misspellings abound, even in the trailer itself. Even worse, the game is full of stolen material: Unchanged store-bought Unreal Engine assets make up much of the environment, causing the inconsistent graphics, the intro video is lifted from an Unreal 4 tech demo (logo and all), and at one point music ripped from the Django Unchained trailer used without permission. This video shows off some of the... quirky features of this game. Funhaus have also played this here, as has Jim Sterling here, the latter saying that it has somehow become worse'' after coming out of Early Access.
    • Time Ramesside was also built from recycled assets from an earlier project: Left To Rot. It was a zombie-apocalypse game which, even from the title, left little to the imagination. The project was an ambitious note  failed Kickstarter Campaign complete with an awkward pitch of Welge expressing his love for games in front of Gears of War and Megan Fox posters. The trailer also included the project’s alpha build, complete with a framerate of 3 FPS. Retsupurae Retsupurae riffed on this pitch here.
    • Their following project, X-17 note , is receiving even more attention, being declared worse than Time Ramesside. Complete with the same stolen assets, low framerates, and blur, the game has been seen as an ugly, chugging, confusing mess involving an invasion by a race of nude aliens, a different race of aliens (i.e. more stolen Unreal assets) most likely stuck to level geometry, and random civilian models with eyes and jaws freakishly poking out of their faces. The game itself says in its credits that it’s a “Pre-Early Acess” build, despite it being sold for $17 on Steam as of this writing. Many players have come to the same conclusion around its release, including Jim Sterling, whose video rightfully asks “What In The Absolute Fuck?” AllShamNoWow's playthrough shows even more cringeworthy anomalies: a level spending two minutes in unexplained slow-motion (with stolen music from James Blunt), baby dolls with M-16's on their back as enemies, a lead character voiced through text-to-speech, and several dance sequences set to copyrighted music, like the leads doing the Twist and Chicken Dance, and random Nazi Zombies doing Thriller.
  • Phenomedia Publishing GmbH is a German company specialising in (often rather bizarre) low-budget games. While their Moorhuhn (Crazy Chicken in the US) games are generally well-liked in their country, they are also responsible for 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 positive.
  • Phoenix Games (no relation to the Tabletop Game publisher with the same name) was one of the people that published plenty of the games that were made by Code Monkeys and made a few franchises (such as the Myth Makers series) that would get exploited by Data Design Interactive. While there might be the one odd hidden gem in their library that was imported from a foreign country, they (just like Game Maker in the "Web Games" entry) still deserve to be on here for basically being Sturgeon's Law Up to Eleven, having at least one screwed-up take on every video game genre mankind has ever conceived. At least Midas Interactive (the other company that published Code Monkeys' output and the long-lasting rival to Phoenix Games, Blast! Entertainment, and Data Design Interactive) imported a few high-quality games to Europe and has also made a lot of good games during its years as a company. Caddicarus considered their movie games to be the worst games he's ever played in his life, noting they only barely qualify as video games properly due to their samey collection of mini-games included.
  • After the aforementioned Mystique went out of business, their library of terrible pornographic games was bought by a company called Playaround, which followed in their footsteps. They're responsible for:
    • Re-releases of Mystique's Custer's Revenge titled Westward Ho and General Retreat, with the latter being gender-swapped (you play the Native American girl, while Custer/"General Retreat" is tied to the cactus).
    • A re-release of Mystique's Bachelor Party and a gender-swapped version titled Bachelorette Party.
    • Three original pornographic games (Burning Desire, Knight on the Town, and Cathouse Blues), each with an equally-terrible gender-swapped variant (Jungle Fever, Lady in Waiting, and Gigolo).
  • Rainmaker Software (no relation to Rainmaker Studios, thankfully) is a fairly infamous developer, probably because they only ever made two '90s FPS games for DOS that definitely belong here.
    • Isle of the Dead is a strong contender for the worst FPS of all time. For starters, it's a Wolfenstein3D-esque title years after Doom was released, with flat and uninteresting levels and horrendously drawn 2D enemy sprites at a time where graphics had gotten significantly more detailed. Right from the start, the game offers enemies which can tear you to pieces in seconds and respawn right after you leave the room. From there, you've got maze-like stages, enemies that are ridiculously annoying to kill, Pixel Hunt sections where huge chunks of interesting scenery (like a crashed plane with multiple crushed bodies scattered about) are deemed "irrelevant", as well as a complete lack of mercy invincibility or damage indicators (meaning you'll die at seemingly random). 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 punishes you with a graphic depiction of a shotgun suicide. The sad part is that the game is supposed to have point-and-click adventure elements as well, which sounds like a great idea in theory. But the game could not decide which genre to pick, thus making a complete mess of a game. And the ending is a "The End... Or Is It?"-style Sequel Hook that will never come to life. Brutalmoose says more about it here.
    • This was then followed up by Nerves of Steel, an even worse FPS with less interesting levels (mostly square grey rooms and corridors with no discernable details), even worse graphics (the textures are so dark and blurry you can't begin to make out what they're meant to represent), and a complete inability to do doors in-engine. In other words... you just have to walk into the wall and hope for the best, since door effects were beyond the engine's capabilities. Enemies can teleport, often through walls, as they shoot at you; the graphics are an ugly mess, consisting of muddy textures; level design is lazy and confusing due to the fact that the "doors" are little more than walls with no collision detection (which often resemble all the other walls); the story is a rather childish and brain-dead "kill the leader of North Korea for 'MURICA" affair; and even the main menu is a laggy, frustrating slog.
  • There's no denying that Neo-Nazi label Resistance Records cannot make a game to save its life. Its entire output (all FPS games) has been compared unfavorably to Daikatana. None of its games seem to have ever passed the beta phase at best.
    • Ethnic Cleansing. The game's untextured graphics look worse than Quake (the game was released in 2002), it gives FPS gamers the middle finger by mapping SZXC as the move buttons instead of WASD (and the keys can't be configured), 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, only one of which actually working and the other one existing only as unused data, and all politics aside the "story" is little more than an Excuse Plot that ends on an A Winner Is You note. The game crashes often, several functions (including the save system and the options) do nothing, and the sound is very poorly coded.
    • They then made a couple of spiritual successors: White Law and the two-part ZOG's Nightmare. They're not much better than the original - some basic touchups (more weapons, graphics that take less squinting to deem passable) in exchange for a load time of nearly two minutes (sometimes more) between levels, unbelievably pitiful framerates, and various game breaking bugs.
  • Strategy First used to publish good games, most notably co-publishing Jagged Alliance. Today, however, they basically act as a loophole on Steam helping talentless amateurs and shovelware games circumvent the Steam Greenlight process simply by virtue of being a publisher. They are credited with publishing hundreds of Steam games, with more games every few days, making it clear they don't actually look at the software they're "helping" to publish. Jim Sterling takes a look at them here.
  • 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 (both of which were already mentioned above), 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-Unwinnable Double Dragon clone.
    • Jurassic Boy 2, a Sonic the Hedgehog wannabe with slow, clunky controls and terrible level layouts designed to hurt you every which way. The only good point of this game is the funny intro. It got an even more brain-evaporating Game Boy port.
    • Little Red Hood, an unlicensed NES game whose only notable contribution was its inspiration for an AVGN episode. Right from the get-go, this game takes Guide Dang It! and Luck-Based Mission to ridiculous levels: In order to complete most levels, you have to roam around kicking trees and collecting fruit until a staircase appears, then go down into the secret room and collect a randomly appearing key, then go back out and find a different staircase which also appears at random. The requirements to get the staircases and keys to appear vary from level to level, with no attempt on the game's part to explain them - for instance, Level 8 requires the player to first purchase a specific set of items before the staircase will even appear. All the while, you have to deal with finicky jumping controls, a bland and repetitive presentation, enemies who respawn immediately after being defeated, and eventually an ending barely more interesting than a generic "congratulations!" ending. The one review for this game on GameFAQs gave it a 1.0/10, and it's not hard to see why.
    • Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu, a side-scrolling action platformer which rivals Cheetahmen II in glitchy awfulness. The game received a -50 score from Something Awful, with the reviewer bitterly regretting that the rating system didn't allow anything lower (their scale goes from 0 to -50).
    • Rocman X was a Mega Man knockoff complete with stolen title-screen art. It featured a superhero with a boomerang who could also fly for short distances by charging the fire button (which is used to charge the Mega Buster in real MM games). It's nearly unplayable because of clunky controls, a lack of special weapons, and shoddy programming. You can sometimes walk on the Bottomless Pits in Stage 3. Rocman X was ported to the Game Boy Color as Thunder Blast Man, where the first boss fight was Unwinnable due to a Game-Breaking Bug. Here's some footage, courtesy of some poor, unfortunate Canadian.
    • Silent Assault is 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. What makes it even worse is that the multicart version (included on Super Cartridge Version 3) is Unwinnable by Mistake due to a bug on Level 7 where a moving platform needed to cross a river doesn't spawn.
    • Street Heroes, a horrible knockoff of Street Fighter II.
  • The Chinese company Waixing, who mainly developed bootleg 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 up note , 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 . Watch this 2-player TAS destroy the game here. James Rolfe and Mike Matei also take a look into this 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 Pokémon. 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. Space Hamster notes further that the volume on the game is ear-shatteringly loud without proper software to help lower the volume down to a respectable level and claims it's even worse than their re-release mentioned below.
      • A year or two later, Yong Yong re-released 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.
      • This was recycled again as Pokémon Jade, which added stills from characters from the anime that never appear in the game itself, a horrendous title screen in Comic Sans MS, and even worse ear-bleeding music, if you could believe it. Worst of all, completing the first level crashes the game, making it Unwinnable by Mistake.
    • Rockman 8 is a Porting Disaster of the game it's named after. The bosses are completely screwed up (e.g. selecting Grenade Man on the menu actually picks "Tengv Man" with Spark Man's sprite, and the boss itself is actually a car), the stages are mismatched (Clown Man's alleged level has the looks of Frost Man's stage, for example), Rockman/Megaman often falls through moving platforms, one of the bosses constantly resets the game, and shooting too many enemies in a level causes all of the enemies and moving platforms to disappear. The last point alone makes the game almost unplayable without save states, so combining all of that with No Ending makes one of the most infuriating games ever made. Demonstrated in all its weirdness here.
    • Super Mario 3 Special, Yong Yong's paltry attempt to port Super Mario Bros. 3 to the Game Boy Color. The result was similar to their other games: an almost unplayable mess that made the original game look like a complete joke. Only 5 levels were ported from the original game, the powerups did nothing other than give you extra hit points, and the fourth level is impossible to complete. To counter this, the map screen can be used to skip straight to Level 5. To add insult to injury, this particular game was rereleased as Pokémon Diamond. Like Pokémon Jade, it 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.
    • 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.
  • As a general rule, a section of video game app developers for the iOS and Android devices tend to emphasize quantity over quality, and the less scrupulous ones (such as Adventure Time Pocket Free, mentioned in the Smartphone Games section above) have no problems taking advantage of unaware or ignorant gamers. However, considering the tendency for the iOS App Store to have lax standards over apps, you get developers like the Chinese producers zhenhe xue and shao zheng (yes, these guys don't capitalize their names on their products) who blatantly use copyrighted material, don't pay attention to basic details (such as having descriptions that didn't sound like they were Google-translated), and have endless app ads pop up in paid games. Regardless, even these bad games get bought and played to a high score. One notable example on discussing the matter was a PeanutButterGamer review on these types of games, including the legendary Baby Stomach Surgery and Baby Makeover.

    Covers 
While video game box art isn't always indicative of the game itself, the truth is that first impressions in marketing do matter, and if a terrible cover doesn't turn potential players away outright, then it will certainly linger in their minds as they play the game.

    Downloadable Content 

Rock Band

With literally thousands of playable songs, there are bound to be some that are far worse than the rest. Especially with 2 and 3's "Rock Band Network" store, which allowed almost anybody to submit their own songs with less quality testing than normal DLC songs.

Note: To qualify for this section, the note chart should be horrible. If the song itself is bad but the in-game notes are synced up, it goes in the Music section.

  • The song "Fat Kid" by Nothing More. The guitar's chart is the only decent one; the bass chart is completely off-sync and has unnecessary chords, the drum chart uses notes that are wrong and off beat, and the vocal chart has many wrong pitches.
  • "Pawns" by Dead by Wednesday, specifically the charts for the guitar and drums. The guitar has a myriad of unnecessary and poorly charted riffs topped off by a solo that switches between being undercharted and overcharted while being off-key the entire time. Meanwhile, the drums' chart has a bunch of questionable fills (worst case is at the 2:02 mark) and double bass after the 2nd chorus even though the song doesn't have a double bass version, yet you can hear un-charted double bass earlier in the song so it's not even consistent (it says something that the number of people who have a full combo on the drums chart for this song to this day could be counted on one hand). Add in sluggishly-paced animations and some embarrassing lip-syncing from the singer character not long after the aforementioned fill and you have what some have considered the worst full band chart in the game.
  • "Electricity in My Soul" by Steam Powered Giraffe. The chart is fine on most instruments... until you get to the vocal chart, where almost every note starts too early, ends too late, or both. According to the comments, not even the band's singer could get 100% on it.
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    Hardware 

Video Game Consoles

  • The Action Max VHS Video Game Console, created by Worlds of Wonder (the people behind the beloved Teddy Ruxpin) was pretty much a game system that used VHS tapes as the medium to play games - except that the system itself was not what played the tapes, but rather the user needed their own VCR to play them, while the system was used for recording scores and playing gun sound effects through its speaker. Using a light gun (or two for 2-player games), players would shoot at the screen. The gaming was strictly point-based and dependent on shot accuracy - players could not truly "lose" or "win" a game. This, along with the fact that the only real genre on the system were light gun games that played exactly the same way every time, greatly limited the system's appeal and led to its quick downfall with a measly 5 games to its library. Ben Minnotte of the Oddity Archive provides further history on the Action Max and attempts to play it here. When TripleJump ranked every home console (and accessory relating to said home console) from worst to best, the Action Max was ranked the third worst console released, with its console being considered the worst in terms of games held. note 
  • The Advanced Game Player and Advanced Game Player 2, whose names were obviously patterned on that of the Game Boy Advance. And never has there been anything more unworthy of such a title. Both had the same eight games, all of which were stored internally but required a different game card to access; the system came with four such cards, two games to a card, although these didn't even always work since you wouldn't always get the game you were trying to play (sometimes the console would load up a pair of games from another game card for some reason - of course, this meant that as long as you were fine with whatever randomly came up you didn't really need the cards anyways). Of the four face buttons, only one actually gives the games any input, making it a bizarre nod to the Atari 2600 controller (the other three control volume, brightness, and even the power switch which you could accidentally hit and shut off your game). The only good thing is that it's backlit, but the backlight works independently of the system itself so you can turn this on and use it as an ordinary handheld light. It's one of those systems that promises thousands of different games when it has only eight and the "different" games are merely variations on the difficulty and speed. To really ice this rancid cake, however, the control interface would flip over at random times. You can't make this stuff up - the directional buttons would randomly remap to the face buttons and vice versa. The games themselves, of course, were utter crap, including such gems as "Hit Brick" and "Fill Brick" and two "Car Racing" games which for some reason are both sequels with no original installment. This is the kind of thing grandparents who don't know anything about gaming buy for their grandkids, especially since the AGP2 sort of looks like a PSP so it obviously must be one.
  • Once a staple of the home computer market, Amiga was brought down by its one foray into the home console market: the Amiga CD32, which was released in September 1993 and discontinued in less than a year (for a mercy, it was never released outside of Europe and Canada). The console is a hodgepodge of questionable design choices seemingly made to spite console gamers, including the power button being on the back of the unit instead of on top or up front, and the controller ports being on the side instead of in front. The CD unit was also faulty - the lid had no safety lock and, depending on how old the system is, the discs may not spin unless a weight (like a paint can for an extreme example) was on it to help keep it closed. The controller's design was similarly questionable: in addition to being designed in an upside-down way in comparison to the more user-friendly controllers of its competitors, the face buttons are labeled with odd symbols instead of simple letters, numbers, or basic shapes. The MSRP was another slap in the face: $400 (adjusted for inflation, almost $700 as of 2018), for which you could've bought either a Genesis or SNES with games to go with. And for all of its boasts of being the first 32-bit console, it was more of a low-end Amiga computer in a console shell than a true home console like the Saturn or Playstation. The CD32's library does little to justify a purchase: for every one halfway-decent game (most of which were already available on older Amiga systems or other PCs or consoles), there were at least five shovelware titles such as the infamous video game adaptation of AKIRA. Furthermore, the console was also based off of software from the Amiga 1200 instead of something else that was original or exclusive to itself. All that meant the Amiga being banned in North America over a patent dispute before it was even released was seen, in hindsight, as a mercy to hardcore gamers. The Angry Video Game Nerd spared no expense in his criticisms of this console before destroying it with a flamethrower.

    What's probably worse as a kicker to it was that it essentially was just a repeat of what happened to the parent company's Commodore CDTV, which sold even worse than the CD32. Granted, when you decide to compete against a multimedia console like the Philips CD-i of all things over bigger competition like Nintendo and Sega at the time, you're bound to set yourself up for failure there. Being released for only the United Kingdom and Germany and promoting it as the "Commodore Dynamic Total Vision", Commodore decided to rush their release into Europe first by essentially using the computing model of the already-outdated Amiga 500 as its main sense of functionality, removing the keyboard of it (though allowing it as an extra for £70 pounds), having a weird controller that's a mix between a proper controller and what looks like a remote controller in the middle of it, and allowing it to run CD-ROMs instead of the typical floppy disc drive at the time. What also didn't help matters was the fact that it was sold for an even more exorbitant £600, which translates to around £1,300 as of 2020, combined with the fact that Commodore was desperate to have sales on it work out that they demanded their console was on the other side of stores also selling their Amiga computers. Despite Commodore's drastic measures and threats, people weren't thrilled about what the CDTV was doing, with people exposing this console's dark truth not long after it was released to the public. Even more pathetic is that despite it lasting longer then the CD32, the console only sold around 55,000 total units in both countries (nearly 30,000 in the UK and 25,800 total in Germany) note , which just about sealed Commodore's fate by that point, and the CD32 could just play CDTV games just fine without it being necessary.
  • The Atari Jaguar CD. Its very existence is preposterous, given the Jaguar's low sales. The toilet bowl-shaped design was the least of its troubles - few machines 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. One of the developers of the Highlander tie-in game for the Jaguar CD revealed why: when they were making the game for it, they found out the hard way that the add-on was clearly rushed out the door and was too buggy and resource-constrained, to the extent that everything for it had to be coded by hand from scratch just to make a game on it. The massive failure of the Jaguar permanently ended Atari's involvement in the video game console industry and relegated the company to a third-party software developer. America would not have a dedicated home-grown gaming console system for years to come until Microsoft debuted with the Xbox in 2001, finally putting America back onto the game console map again.
    • Dr. Insano, one of the few lucky enough to get one to work, said:
    [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 set on the [Jaguar]. It can fail if the contacts aren't clean. It can fail if the MemoryTrack 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 failed 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 on the CD drive completely crapped out."
    • It took James Rolfe (in tandem with Richard Daluz, his repairman) three tries to get a salvageable, let alone working, unit. note 
  • If you ever wondered what the worst-selling video game console of all-time was, look no further than the Commodore C64GS. What was intended to be Commodore's original answer for competing against the likes of Nintendo and Sega turned out to be the beginning of the end for the Commodore brand altogether. The long design of the system was essentially the molding of a typical Commodore keyboard without the actual keys needed for some of these games to activate properly. It didn't help that the game they first bundled the system with, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, included the goof of requiring that the user press a certain key on a system that didn't have any keyboard buttons at all. Commodore later changed the game to a 4-in-1 cartridge of old Commodore 64 games, while the Terminator 2 cartridges that weren't put out were later bundled into the regular Commodore 64 system instead. Combine that with the fact that it was only £50 less than the actual Commodore 64 computer and that it had a limited release in only the United Kingdom and Germany, and you got yourself a console that, what originally shipped in 20,000 copies at the time of its launch, ultimately sold only a tenth of its meager launch sales. Guru Larry talked about it in more detail on his Top 10 ACTUAL Worst Selling Consoles video in his Fact Hunt series.
  • 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 (text only, for fairly obvious reasons). 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 touchscreen didn't have a full percent of modern touchscreens' sensitivity, and suffered so much ghosting and smearing that faster-paced games were virtually unplayable. You can actually see the touchscreen electrodes when you pick the thing up, all 108 of them. Add a library of under 20 games, and you have an example of great idea, lousy execution. Here it is in action, specifically the game Sonic Jam (which is not an actual port of the Saturn game but merely a compilation of levels loosely based on some from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles). Ashens reviewed this game system and several of its games. He was not merciful, nor was AVGN when he tore the thing to shreds in the Tiger Electronic Games episode. Octav1us Kitten also reviewed the entire library in this video. Rerez also reviewed the console and all of its games for their "Worst Ever Series," adding that several games on the console performed worse than comparable ports released around the same time on hardware that was made much earlier.
    • For some reason, there was a 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.
    • Neither was the advertising, which seemed to think that insulting gamers would help them sell their product. "It plays more games than you idiots have brain cells!"note  just made it look like they wanted the system to fail.
    Shane: "That's great marketing! Let's insult the potential customers right from the get-go! You know what kids like? Being called stupid!"
    • Tiger made a last-ditch attempt to save the console with the Pocket Pro revision in 1999, which was somewhat smaller and had a much better screen... but cut out the original model's internet connectivity and unique second cartridge slot. Unsurprisingly, it again flopped at retail, having been overshadowed by the technically superior Game Boy Color released a year earlier. Tiger would discontinue the Game.com line in 2000 and never make another cartridge-based handheld system again.
  • The Game Master by German company Hartung, which was also released in the UK as the Systema 2000, was a horrid knockoff of the Game Boy note . Of the two dozen or so games made for it, all of them are just poor-quality knockoffs of Game Boy games. The screen also had a very low framerate and was very blurry. Even though it had a dot matrix display, it has nowhere near the resolution as that of the Game Boy and only had a single color. The controls for most of the games are slippery and unresponsive (not helped by the lopsided D-Pad and buttons positioned at the bottom of the system, forcing the user to stretch their thumbs down there or pinch the system by the bottom and causing it to fall out of their hands) and the music in most games sounds like a random mess of beeps, or distorted classical tunes in some games. The packages for every game (at least the UK versions) were no better as they not only featured very cheesy art, but poorly-translated Chinese text describing every game's features and the carts merely crammed in plastic baggies together with said manuals. Here is Ashens' look at the system and a handful of games for it.
  • The Gizmondo was only sold for a just under a year in 2005-06, and it's not hard to see why. The system came in two variations, one costing $229 and the other $400. The difference? The cheaper model had commercials that would be downloaded onto the console and randomly played when accessing the home screen (although, mercifully, the ad servers never went online during the system's lifespan). For the cost of either model, you could've just bought a Nintendo DS or PlayStation Portable and a few games. You would get more value with it, since the Gizmondo only saw 14 games released, none of which were really worth owning as they were either ports of games you could get on consoles or lackluster exclusive titles. Worse still, one of the most heavily touted features of the Gizmondo, its built-in GPS, didn't work at all in the US (it did work in the UK...for all of a few weeks). All this before getting into the controversy surrounding Gizmondo Europe's links to the Swedish mafia, a wrecked Ferrari, the subsequent arrest of the company's director, and the subsequent dissolution of manufacturer Tiger Telematics note . And as one last kicker to it, besides not just being the worst selling handheld system of all-time (at least until the debatable, IndieGogo-existent ZX Spectrum Vega+ came out), the Gizmondo is completely made out of a rubbery plastic to make it look more luxurious at the time than it really was, which makes the console feel more like a strange, sticky goo after a certain point of time, as Guru Larry notes here.
  • The HyperScan from Mattel, a small console released in late 2006 and discontinued only months later the next year. Similar to the likes of the later Skylanders, Disney Infinity and Nintendo's amiibo, the console has a scanner where you use cards to scan in power-ups for the character you want to play in the game. However, unlike the aforementioned games with figures and amiibo, the scanning refuses to work properly, leaving one to constantly either swipe or hold the card in place on the scanner to get it to read. Moreover, the system is incredibly light with no rubber pads to keep the console on the table. The games (all five of them) have abysmal loading times and unimpressive graphics for its time, which explains why they only cost $20 at the time of release. Despite retailing at only $70, the HyperScan failed to please its children demographic and Mattel had to sink to $10 to push its product ($2 for their video games) before folding it in 2007. The final results for it lead to only 10,000 total units sold, meaning only the Casio PV-1000 (which was in the Japanese market for only two months before being discontinued) and the above mentioned Commodore C64GS sold worse as stand-alone consoles by comparison. Even worse, most units had to be returned due to said issues with its scanner, as Jamie from AllTimeGaming mentions in Guru Larry's Worst Selling Consoles video. Classic Game Room takes a better look at it here. The Angry Video Game Nerd also reviewed the console as a part of his 2014 Twelve Days of Shitsmas series, as well as looked in-depth at four of the games that were released there (the fifth, a Spider-Man game, was not reviewed because he couldn't get a hold of it) and notes that it had fewer titles released for it than the Virtual Boy, which he reviewed earlier. Rerez also reviewed the console and all five of its games for their "Worst Ever Series", adding that the console's disc drive and AV cables are prone to failure as well as the scanning component; taking four tries to get a working console, a personal record for the show.
  • The Interact, the only gaming system ever put out by Intec, a company that specializes in accessories for most gaming systems.
    • This system is not advertised on Intec's official website at all, and for good reason. It's a flimsy ripoff of the Wii with a suspiciously similar-looking console and controllers. Unlike the Wii, this system only sports graphics that would look bad on the SNES and only mono audio support. The games for it are all soulless copycats of other better games, and some of them even steal graphics from well-respected franchises like Half-Life, Crash Bandicoot, and even Metal Slug. Also, whereas the Wii had plenty of games with poorly implemented motion controls, the Interact has faked motion controls - using certain peripherals are literally the same as pushing the A button.
    • "Interact" is merely one of several aliases for this terrible console - others include MyQi, WiWi, MiWi, MiWi Xtra, MiWi 2, MiWi 360 Deluxe, '''Digitron, and iSport. While they may differ slightly in appearance, they're all the same shitty system underneath.
    • JungleTac's Wireless 60 has the exact same problems as the Interact: poor and stolen graphics, dull gameplay, and fake motion controls. Rerez takes a look at it here, where he calls it the worst game system he has ever played. And these knockoff consoles aren't limited to just the Wii: They can apply to any console that's extremely popular, or is even somewhat popular if it sells well enough. Take JungleTac's Wireless Air 60, the sequel to the aforementioned Wireless 60, for example; this is a console that knocks off Microsoft's Xbox 360 or Xbox One with the Kinect functionality but managed to make the knockoff Kinect become a lot less functional by comparison. The problems from its predecessor still remain here, only in addition to fake motion controls, it also features a completely broken method to move various things from one way to the next in many different ways. Rerez considers this sequel to be even worse by comparison, so much so he destroyed it at the end of his review. You can watch it here.

      Weirdly enough, both consoles are prequels to a light gun console released in 2011 that's simply called Wireless. The console tries to act like a home console version of the Big Buck Hunter arcade game found in certain establishments (with 20 total games on it), but none of them really work out so well at all. Games there range from the typical military shooters and gallery shooters to games that feel out of place for this type of console like Darts and whatever Be Careful could be classified as, and all of them (including their ripoff of Duck Hunt) hold major problems that ruin whatever fun might have been had with them, some of which including game-breaking bugs and games that are either too short, too long, or could even be played without doing anything at all. Combine that with a broken set-up for even playing the console properly, including a lesser pointing system when compared to the Wii, not to mention the fact that this actually rips off a different light gun system done by Hamy, and you got quite a system that you'd be better off forgetting about completely. However, if you want to see it in action, Shane Luis from Rerez has a video where he has his friend/co-host Adam also look at the system alongside him.
    • Possibly the only good side to these Wii ripoffs is that somewhere deep in their hearts, they're still Famicom clones - except, thanks to the magic of OneBus technology, they're able to hold up to 16MB of data without splitting it to code/graphical banks and render graphics reminiscent to 16-bit consoles. Here is a demonstration of another such Wii rip-off playing Fami carts with a moderate success (earlier parts contain the showcase of both the built-in and bundled games).
  • Nokia's N-Gage, released in 2003, was a good idea in theory: a combination cellphone/handheld console/PDA, not dissimilar to the myriad functionalities of modern smartphones. The idea, sadly, was too far ahead of its time and didn't work out in practice. Even though it was more graphically powerful than the Game Boy Advance (being almost on par with the PSP), it suffered from many critical design flaws that kept it from ever standing a chance against Nintendo (for reference, the N-Gage was outsold by the GBA by 100:1 at launch). The face buttons were also the 5 and 7 keys, making it too easy to push the wrong key during play; the cartridge slot was located behind the battery, requiring you to power off the device and remove the battery to swap games; the screen was smaller and horizontally thinner (good luck playing side-scrollers like Sonic N!); and the speaker and microphone for the phone were located on the bottom of the unit, a less-than-intuitive design choice that led to no shortage of "taco" jokes. (A designer on the system stated in a forum post the console was designed with Goatsenote  as its frustrated inspiration.) You also had to buy the unit from a Nokia store and sign up for a mobile contract just to get one, which was a hard sell when you could get a GBA from any game or toy store without the need for a contract. Nokia addressed the issues with the microphone/speaker and cartridge slot with 2004's N-Gage QD, but cut out USB functionality and MP3 playback, and was a case of "too little, too late"; with few games worth owning, the N-Gage crashed and burned, with Nokia quietly pulling the plug on it in 2007.
  • The Ouya started life as a Kickstarter campaign that promised a developer-friendly and easily hackable gaming system and also offered players to try any game (yes, any game) for free before buying it. It raised $8 million in a month and was the most backed project on Kickstarter, with everyone thinking that the Ouya would revolutionize the industry. When the system was released to backers, word of mouth quickly spread of how much of a colossal disappointment it was. The system was quickly plagued with shovelware games (with one game even being nothing but animated rain) and was discovered to have trouble even running smartphone games, despite the system essentially being an Android smartphone in a game console shell. The controller was criticized for its abysmal build quality, with the grips on the analog sticks wearing after only weeks of use and the buttons sticking down after being pressed and having to be pried back up. The controller was also priced at $50, which was half of what the system sold for. It had a terrible marketing campaign, with an insultingly bad commercial that attacked contemporary gaming systems without having anything to say about the merits of its own software. Despite the hype, the Ouya was a commercial failure, with the company having to sell itself to Razer Inc. just to escape the massive debt that it put itself in. The same day, Julie Uhrman stepped down as CEO of Ouya Inc. The Ouya was quickly forgotten about and was discontinued in 2015, with all Ouya services being cut off four years later on June 25, 2019. As if that wasn't humiliating enough, there was an incident where they couldn't reserve a spot at E3 on time and had to set up their booth outside... in a parking lot across the street. CrowbCat chronicles everything that went horribly wrong with the console in this video.

    To add insult to injury, even the Ouya store was bungled in one spectacular way. Theoretically, any Ouya owner would keep the games they bought in the event the store went offline. Unfortunately, every Ouya game, single- or multi-player, required access to an online server to verify that it was purchased. If it couldn't get it, the game would revert to demo mode until a connection could be made. This meant if the server went down for any reason, the owner would have to wait for it to go back up to play the full versions of their games. As a result, shutting down the Ouya services in 2019 left all remaining Ouya owners only able to play crippled versions of games they bought with their hard-earned money, cutting down the value of their console overnight. Thus, the Ouya, on top of everything else, became a cautionary tale in the history of Digital Distribution.
  • During their mid-90s decline, the Apple Pippin was Apple's attempt at entering the video game console market in collaboration with Bandai to hilariously bad results. It was a video game console that ran off of Mac OS 7 and was supposed to be a sort of hybrid between a video game console and a computer. Despite having superior CPU and memory to rivaling contemporary consoles, the Pippin lacked a dedicated graphics and sound processor. In addition, Mac OS 7 didn't actually come preloaded onto the system: In what was possibly a poorly thought-out attempt to future-proof the platform, the OS had to be included in the game CD and loaded into the system's memory at startup, thus leaving little memory for the actual game. These factors would prove to be the Pippin's own undoing. As a result, games ran slowly, often with drawn-out load times to even load a new menu and inferior graphics to even the PlayStation. Only 13 games were released in America, with even less in Japan and Europe. Highlights include Racing Days, which is described as a watered-down Ridge Racer with poorer graphics, and Super Marathon from Bungie (yes, the same Bungie of Halo and Destiny fame), which is a port of Marathon and Marathon 2 from the Apple Macintosh except with worse graphics and a poorer framerate, both succeeding in showcasing the technical shortcomings of the system. It retailed for $599, which was ridiculous considering the power of the system. What really killed it however, is that any game written for the Pippin can also run on the Macintosh, rendering the Pippin absolutely unnecessary. Despite high expectations from Bandai and $93 million spent in marketing, the Pippin flopped. Unsurprisingly, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he put the kibosh on the Pippin only a year after its release and Apple stayed out of the video game industry ever since. PC World named it the 22nd worst tech product of all time in a 2006 article.
  • There are a number of shoddy knockoff game systems regularly churned out by an unnamed company affectionately dubbed as simply "POP Station". Why are they so bad? They're glorified Game And Watches note  masquerading as high-end electronics. The only good thing out of them have been the reviews by 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 TV set). It plays horridly with fragile and often unresponsive or delayed controls, the charts don't match the songs at all, and the songs themselves are poor-quality MIDI files with ear-grating guitar soundfonts. Ashens reviewed a similar piece of hardware called "Guitar Fever", but no matter which name you call it, it still sucks.
    • Special note goes to the infamous Laden vs. USA made by the same people who make POP Stations. Yes, they made a terrible Game & Watch knockoff game based on one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in history. Watch Ashens review it and see the sheer disgust he has with its very existence become all but visible on video.
  • At a time when LCD games were being phased out and the Game Boy Color was just about to be released, the ill-conceived Pro 200, made by a company under the name ProTech, was sold via mail order, and claimed to be a cheap alternative to all the other systems out on the market. The system was marketed as to having 200 games, being a full-function calculator and featuring "state-of-the-art" computer chip technology. In reality, the system had only 15 games (the marketers got the 200 figure by counting each difficulty level as an individual game), most of which were Tetris ripoffs. The ones that weren't Tetris ripoffs were just as bad (for example; Frog-a-Long is just a poor man's Frogger) due to the system's ridiculously small screen which had a tendency to fade when not looked at straight on, much like those cheap electronic toys one could find at a bargain bin. The commercial advertising is even worse, going as so far as to drop an SNES Street Fighter II cartridge into a trash can at the halfway point. Inexplicably, the Pro 200 continued to be advertised through newspaper ads with the same ad they made in 1998, and it's been bootlegged and cloned by even cheaper companies since its release.
  • 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 hear 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 switch box 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. Not even the AVGN could understand how that worked, having its only viable comparison being the Atari 5200 in terms of setting itself up. 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 interchangeable cartridges. Watch this and this review.
    Angry Video Game Nerd: Man, if there was ever an RCA Studio I, I'd hate to see it.
  • Tiger Electronics' R-Zone, which manages the impressive feat of being a Shoddy Knockoff Product of the Virtual Boy, which, while infamously flawed, had a few decent games and isn't bad enough for this list. The one thing it did have in its favor that the Virtual Boy didn't was that you could wear it on your head rather than having to use a stand. However, when you did put it on, you were treated to graphics worse than a Game & Watch or even their prior handheld games (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 four different versions: the standard "headgear" version, a much larger tabletop variant, a traditional handheld version, and one which also incorporated an electronic organizer, all of which crashed and burned equally. Stuart Ashen gives his take on the handheld version while The Angry Video Game Nerd briefly analyzed the headgear version. Mark Bussler of Classic Game Room also took a look at the system and the handheld version. Poor Octav1us Kitten had to play the headgear version upside-down due to being blind in her right eye, which the headgear was specifically molded for. She also covered the handheld version and the tabletop version. The commercials 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. When the AVGN released his video of the top ten worst video game consoles he had reviewed thus far, he really did consider it the absolute worst console he had ever reviewed, and that console ended up beating some video game consoles that are also on this list. It also had the misfortune of spoiling a dramatic reveal for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers by revealing that Tommy was the White Ranger at least a month before "The White Light" aired via a freebie card in magazines.
  • The SX-86 Mini Games Console Entertainment System, an obvious knock-off of the SNES Classic but containing controllers modelled after those of the PlayStation, has the usual suspects for a cheap bootleg game console (pirated games, poor controller design, bad sound emulation, etc.), but the emulator in use is problematic enough to increase the console's issues tenfold. Containing numerous games for the Neo Geo (misspelled as the "Neo Ngo" in the system; also includes some of Capcom's arcade games for some reason), Game Boy Advance, the aforementioned SNES and PlayStation note , Sega Genesis, and NES/Famicom, none of them work properly, bogged down with such issues like input lag, slower framerate, and graphical issues (worst of all is The Adventures of Batman and Robin which is missing the background, making the game near-impossible to play). And that's not all - the emulator itself lacks a proper "Start Game" function, a few of the functions are ultimately worthless (to specify, "Game Guide" brings up an error message and it has "Load Progress" despite the lack of a save function), and one must restart in order to play a game. Whereas most cheap knock-off consoles have the games built into the internal hardware, the SX-86 has the games on a micro SD chip inside an adapter, and the console itself faces errors even when starting up for the first time (including with the SD card reader), requiring one to shut off and restart multiple times until it works. Rerez took a look at it and you can practically feel the confused anger he expresses. And just for an extra kicker, the console itself can be hard to start up naturally as well, as it can (and often times will) show up with an error message that says "crap_box_snes No signal (Is it on?)" as opposed to anything else that's less notable. If that doesn't say it all for what the creators themselves thought of this system, we don't know what will otherwise.
  • The SouljaGame Console and the SouljaGame Handheld, Soulja Boy's attempts to cash in to the retro video game console trend that was made popular by the NES Classic, SNES Classic, and (to a much lesser extent) PlayStation Classic. They both boasted hundreds of built-in games and capabilities that sounded too good to be true (the Handheld was advertised to emulate the Switch, 3DS, and PlayStation Vita note  and the Console's advertising had a screenshot implying that it could play Tomb Raider (2013) at 4K resolution). As it turns out, they were nothing more than cheap Chinese consoles sold at inflated prices that could barely do half of the things that were advertised. The games that could be played were emulated with terrible video settings that were meant to fill widescreen displays but led to the video being slightly cropped. With regards to game metadata, a significant number of the arcade games on the Console have a Mamegoma image instead of actual game art, clearly because the creators tried to get generic art by Googling "mamegame" but misspelt it as either "mamegome" or "mamegama" and apparently failed to realise the admittedly adorable picture they ended up with had nothing to do with anything, and other games have completely the wrong art from the wrong game in the series, fan-made covers, or materials that aren't even from a video game at all. That's not to say of the games bundled with the system that Soulja Boy or the console designers couldn't possibly have the rights to, putting the former in the dire position of possibly receiving cease and desist letters that could potentially lead to lawsuits. Predictably, Nintendo quickly caught wind of this and have threatened to press charges against Soulja Boy for trademark infringement, which is an offense that could land him in prison for 10-20 years. Although Soulja Boy taunted Nintendo and his detractors at first, claiming that the company "can't do anything about it" and his critics are "too stupid for saying I'll be sued", he was forced to pull the SouljaGame from his online store to avoid legal action from them. Despite all that, many people never even got their consoles despite paying extra for three-day shipping. Madlittlepixel gives a breakdown of the SouljaGame Console, literally and figuratively, and later showcases what it note  is actually capable of. JonTron riffs on it here, but he was forced to review the original Chinese console because his copy of the SouljaGame never showed up. Rerez also showcased the actual consoles (in their original forms and not with the Soulja Boy brand on them), as well as a couple more consoles he released before being sued by Nintendo in the Retro SouljaBoy Mini and SouljaGame Fuze here.

    After canning most of those consoles by force from his Soulja Watch website, he came back later in January 2019 with three different consoles on sale: a different version of the SouljaGame Handheld that was released (which looked like a PlayStation Vita, but has since later been "remodeled" a bit to look like a Nintendo Switch after the Vita was discontinued), the SouljaGame Portable Screen (which was a portable DVD player (that might also play the rare EVD), though it includes a small disc of 300 NES games inside of it with bootlegged stuff included there), and a third SouljaGame Handheld (though this one was properly named the PVP 3000 (Game Console Suit), with it sometimes going under different names and retailers properly like the PXP 3 Slim Station instead) that tries to ripoff the PlayStation Portable. All three of these consoles hold significant issues that make them completely unplayable for one reason or another.
    • First, the third SouljaGame Handheld (or PVP 3000 or PXP 3 or whatever it might be found under) gained some extra notoriety initially for not only having a various amount of exclusive cartridges of said many-in-one games alongside having one within the console that could be activated on its own right (assuming you actually have one of those many-in-one cartridges around the first time around), but also bootlegged Genesis games like Angry Birds and Super Mario World, none of which perform well. Most egregious is a ROM of Sonic & Knuckles locked onto an incompatible cartridge, resulting in Blue Sphere masquerading as Sonic & Knuckles. And as an added bonus, the video output cables that came with the system are also prone to failure if they're ever used long enough. Rerez covers that console in better detail here, with the note that during its production the souljawatch.com website the consoles were sold at shut down, stating that maybe it should stay that way.
    • He then eventually found a proper SouljaGame Portable Screen (though it went under the name Buyee as a portable DVD/EVD player with the same Super Game 300 disc included), and with a controller being cheap and easy to break (the buttons feel like marshmallows or chewed up chewing gum and often require moving your fingers around to get them back into their proper molding) combined with the disc player potentially breaking its optical disc drive randomly, never mind the faults involved with game emulation, it's almost no wonder why he finds it to be the worst of not just the Soulja Boy based knock-off consoles, but potentially other consoles he reviewed like the Wireless Air 60 and SX-86 above.
    • By March 2020, Rerez accidentally found the second SouljaGame Handheld in the X-7 Plus (and a more recently updated version of it named the X-12) when covering the worst Nintendo Switch knock-off(s) yet. The X-7 Plus specifically was modified to look like a Switch, only it doesn't have the split Joycon abilities like the Switch would; the X-12 was a little bigger, but not by much. However, they both hold similar designs to the Vita, including a right thumb stick that alternates as buttons for some reason, a poor camera that significantly delays audio and makes things fuzzy, and custom composite video output cables that are ridiculously short and easy to glitch out either system, especially the X-7 Plus. Weirdly enough, the X-7 Plus doesn't have their default SD cards working properly on the system, yet the X-12 can, and it somehow does it worse by comparison. Add all that with more emulation problems from both systems, including one game on the X-12 that somehow showed its debug screen upside-down, and you can see how absolutely worthless Soulja Boy's second gaming endeavors were.
  • The LJN Video Art is widely considered by console collectors to be the worst console ever made. Whether it even falls within the traditional definition of a video game console is questionable, because it's literally just a drawing program. You can load in "activity cartridges" with "pages" of line art, but that was it. Even as a coloring software, it's horrible because of its stiff (borderline unresponsive), yet really squeaky controls and lack of a save function; a 50-cent coloring book and a set of crayons could provide a better experience. The console lacks a soundtrack of any sort, instead outputting white noise. See Gamester81's review of it here, as well as the AVGN's evisceration of it during the finale of his 2014 Twelve Days of Shitsmas series here, with him not only agreeing that it's the worst video game console ever made (and a poor excuse to what an Etch-A-Sketch could do without electronic technology, what Microsoft Paint could do on a computer, and even things like Color a Dinosaur on the NES and the drawing game in the Genesis version of Action 52), but found that the styrofoam that came with it gave him more interest than the actual console did.
  • The VIS (Video Information System) was released by Tandy at RadioShack stores in 1992. It was built in the footsteps of the Phillips CD-I and Commodore's CDTV as yet another CD-ROM based "multimedia" device, and had PC-like hardware with an already-outdated Intel 286 processor, and a "modular" version of Windows 3.1. The reason why the system flopped can be summed up as such: it was marketed as primarily being an edutainment device, and its lineup was mainly cheap interactive storybooks and ports of existing Windows and DOS software, such as the Compton's MultiMedia Encyclopedia (which was promoted in the console's extremely cheesy promo video as being a Killer App, as it was for multimedia PCs in general). The closest thing to a legitimate video game was Links golf - but it was already available on PC and Amiga too. With a launch price of $699 (around the same price as the similarly unsuccessful 3DO, which was a far more decent platform and had an above-average gaming library), it was too expensive for a game console, and one could spend a few hundred dollars more to get a real PC that could do everything the VIS could and then some; thanks to poor customer reception, some RadioShack employees jokingly declared that the VIS was "Virtually Impossible to Sell". In early 1993, Tandy attempted to sell the VIS through mail-order catalogs at a lower price of $399, and re-branded it as a Memorex product. Eventually, Tandy gave up after only being able to sell 11,000 units. Chadtronic riffed on the video that Tandy advertised the VIS on here while also briefly looking into some of the consoles faults along the way.
  • The ZX Spectrum Vega+ seemingly surpassed the Ouya in terms of disastrous crowdfunded consoles. Based on being a handheld version of an earlier and fairly successful microconsole that came pre-loaded with 1,000 ZX Spectrum titles, the thing ran into more or less constant Troubled Production quickly, and by the time the console shipped out they no longer even had the rights to a lot of those games. When the handheld finally showed up, at significantly under even the intended 400 units, it was in as barebones of a state as possible with knockoff-grade build quality, no charging cord, multiple ports that didn't work, and the original 1,000 games cut down to 14 homebrew titles (which weren't even mapped correctly to the thing's controls at the base settings). Even the box was stuffed with crumpled paper rather than actual packaging material. Guru Larry declared after tooling around with a few that it was more useful as a knife than a gaming device (given its oddly sharp edges that could cut through things frighteningly well). Daniel Ibbertson also made a monstrous 82-minute video talking about the complete insanity that went on behind the scenes of this console's confirmation and long-awaited existence.

Accessories

  • The Sega Activator was created during the first big push by video game companies to make virtual reality games (at least a full decade before the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR made VR gaming viable). Designed as an octagon set on the floor, this special controller could let players play games with their body, ostensibly letting you enter the game you're playing. In practice, it was awkward and exhausting: each side of the octagon correlated with D-Pad directions and the Genesis controller's face buttons, and the game was controlled by moving one's arms and legs over the infrared sensors on the octagon, and much like the Power Glove described below, only a small handful of games were made to support the Activator: Mortal Kombat, Eternal Champions, and Comix Zone (and even then, they didn't support it very well). Trying to play other games with it was an exercise in exhaustion and futility. All this, combined with the need for perfectly level ceilings (ceiling fans and vaulted ceilings would interfere with the sensors), the need for its own power supply, and an $80 asking price, made it a very hard sell. The one upside is that the technology for the Activator was later used and improved by Sega for a Japan-exclusive arcade game: the deluxe version of Dragon Ball Z: V.R.V.S.
  • Around 1992, Camerica “released” the Aladdin Deck Enhancer on the world. This device was intended as an add-on to the venerable NES, but failed to add any positives. This mainly served as a dongle for lower-cost proprietary cartridges by Camerica, only eight of which were released and the only one that was any good having been released as a standard cartridge prior (most of the others were, too). Its method to circumvent the 10NES lockout chip is known to fry top-loader NES systems, and only works on the original front-loader as a result, being very hard for clone systems to replicate. The system was never given a full release and rapidly faded into obscurity until the likes of the Gaming Historian and Angry Video Game Nerd picked it up. On a positive note, Bandai would work with Nintendo to officially release the Datach Joint ROM System for the Famicom (NES) in Japan only in 1992, and the Sufami Turbo for the Super Famicom (SNES) also in Japan only in 1996, which, while also short-lived and had tiny game libraries, were much better-quality products in comparison. The Datach had a barcode reader which required the player to swipe special cards that came with the games for certain actions, and the Sufami Turbo allowed most games to "link" with others to allow for unlocking extra content. So they had more of a reason to exist than the Deck Enhancer ever could.
  • The dance pads bundled with Dance Dance Revolution DVD Game are unique: they don't register your inputs at all because the game has the players voting on each others' performances instead of actually scoring them. They also tend to slide around during gameplay, so they're not even good for very casual players.
  • 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 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. These days, it's best known as a recurring motif in The Angry Video Game Nerd, being famously eviscerated in his 14th video back in 2006 and featuring in later videos, as well as being frequently associated with the character in Fan-Art and Fan Games.
  • The VictorMaxx Virtual Reality Stuntmaster, a large set of goggles that can plug into an SNES or 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 Virtual Boy'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 résumé) and the wiring system was a complete mess. 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 and Mike Matei take a look at it and they both agree that it makes the Virtual Boy look good by comparison.

    Presentations 
  • Nowadays, it's common for E3 presentations to include at least one game that is released during the presentation itself, but Sega's surprise launch of the Sega Saturn in 1995 proved to be a bit too ahead of its time, resulting in one of the most infamous misfires in E3 history. The console was intended to launch in September of that year, but Sega suddenly decided to move the release date ahead by 4 months and launch it during the presentation instead. Intended as a chance to gain a head start, it instead backfired spectacularly and served a major role in the downfall of Sega as a console developer, for the following reasons:
    • Most retailers, including Walmart, were caught off guard, and were pissed that Sega had circumvented them for their rivals. This gave them little incentive to sell the Saturn, and they teamed up with their rivals instead.
    • As a consequence of their lack of planning, only six games were available at launch, and the intended console seller Virtua Fighter ended up being a buggy mess as a result of the early launch.
    • Its $400 pricetag, combined with the above problems, ensured that there was little interest among consumers in picking one up. Add in Sony upstaging Sega with a lower $300 for their hyped PlayStation (literally, all he had to say was "299" and he walked away to rapturous applause), and the fate of the Saturn was all but sealed.
    • The aftermath: The failure of the Saturn thanks to Sega's abysmal marketing decisions kickstarted their downfall. Sega was eventually forced to release a successor, the Sega Dreamcast, in 1998 (Japan) and 1999 (overseas), just four years after the Saturn's release in the respective regions. On its own, the Saturn failure may have been survivable in the long term, but the nature of its failure, combined with the numerous other mistakes Sega made before and after (including, most infamously, transpacific Executive Meddling from Japan in response to an IPO from the originally planned chip supplier for the Dreamcast that led to not just an acrimonious lawsuit but also Electronic Arts cutting ties with Sega), ensured that despite the Dreamcast's strong launch it was likely doomed from the beginning. To be successful, it required ludicrous sales that the wait-and-see approach gamers took made impossible to achieve, and all it took to kill any hope of its success was the announcement of the PlayStation 2, ultimately leading to Sega withdrawing from the console market. This video sums up the entire fiasco quite nicely.
  • The Sony E3 2006 Presentation, despite having some highlights such as the Metal Gear Solid 4 and Uncharted trailers, was considered a disaster by most everyone. Mainly intended to drum up hype for their then-upcoming PlayStation 3, it instead left people unenthused about it. This presentation helped ensure that the PS3 stayed in dead last among their competition in the 7th console generation for a long time, despite dominating the industry for the past two generations and their solid recovery efforts that barely put its sales ahead of the Xbox 360 years later. Josh Scorcher declared it as Sony's second-biggest failure, putting it behind only their notorious penchant for arrogance and previously cited Sony's early mishandling of the PS3 in general, implicitly including this presentation, as the only reason the Red Ring of Deathnote  wasn't a Franchise Killer for the Xbox brand. Or watch the presentation in its entirety here. Among the lowlights were:
    • The presentation of Ridge Racer (or "Riiiiiidge Racer") to advertise their PlayStation Network Service offering PlayStation games on the PSP. That the audience was completely silent during this part shows just how little anybody cared.
    • The Genji: Days of the Blade presentation, where Sony was billing how it was based off of real Japanese historical events, only to instantly disprove this by showing a Boss Battle with the Trope Namer for Giant Enemy Crab. While certainly a So Bad, It's Good moment that instantly went Memetic, it wasn't persuasive to most people that the launch library of the PlayStation 3 was worth their time.
    • Then there's the Sixaxis demonstration, where they show off its capabilities and brag about how innovative it is, trying to convince people it was more than a last-second effort to upstage the Wii's more impressive motion controls. Nobody was fooled, and it didn't help that it came at the expense of Rumble, which had otherwise been an industry standard since the Nintendo 64 (scuttlebug was the Sixaxis only happened because of legal issues Sony had with the Rumble feature of prior controllers at the time).
    • The final nail in the coffin came with the announcement of the PlayStation 3's "599 US Dollars" launch price. With this being the most expensive launch price of a console in almost a decade, few would end up rushing to pick one up, and Sony's arrogant statements making clear how justified they thought the pricetag was did no favors. Not even being a comparatively cheap Blu-ray player at the time was enough to convince people, and what certainly didn't help was the 2008 Great Recession that was just around the corner, which stunned the adoption of HD home media as many people during that era could not afford HDTVs which were required to truly take advantage of Blu-Ray's improved picture quality. It also allowed Nintendo to effortlessly upstage Sony with the Wii's $250 launch price, and for Microsoft to regain their footing after the RROD debacle. The disastrous launch of the PlayStation 3 that was in no small part a result of the conference left Sony with little choice but to drop its price, several times, in order to get people to start buying the system.
  • Around the time E3 was getting mainstream publicity equal to major tech conferences, Disney chose to try and host a presentation at the conference. Disney's E3 2007 presentation was only an hour long, had very little revealed besides licensed games, the presenters were all exceptionally wooden (including "volunteers" who were obviously paid actors) and it concluded on one of the most cringeworthy events in the history of the conference: a full team of cheerleaders came in and begun a fully choreographed music number in the style of High School Musical, an event which left what little remaining audience there was in a state of, to quote a journalist who attended, "incredulity, despair, and extreme embarrassment". Needless to say, Disney didn't hold a show the following year.
  • The Nintendo E3 2008 Presentation is considered an all time low for a variety of reasons. Arlo recounts the entire sorry presentation here, you can watch it yourself here, or, if you want real-time reactions, you can read Nintendo Life's live text commentary from the time, which borders on Apocalyptic Log. In short:
    • The entire show consisted of a long series of segments that were largely dedicated to market research and unfunny jokes that would be more at home at an office meeting than at a big show dedicated to fun and games.
    • The scant few actual game reveals were mostly third-party titles and/or lacking information, most infamously the Shawn White's Snowboarding segment. The reveal of the Guest Star drew a bit of applause and cheering, but once that faded viewers were left with the sight of a grown man badly playing a video game in front of a quiet audience while emitting forced laughs, which is exactly as cringe-inducing as it sounds.
    • The few first party announcements were either real bare-bones (new Mario and Zelda games, with no information other than that they're in development) or for more casual games: Animal Crossing: City Folk, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Music (see below). Animal Crossing alone wasn't enough to save the show, and Wii Sports Resort had the misfortune of being attached to the reveal of the Wii Motion Plus, which was another flop, as Reggie was clearly expecting applause, only to get nothing.
    • Finally, the most infamous part of the presentation: the Wii Music reveal, which Nintendo was banking on as the big "hype generator" of the presentation, a mark they missed by a wide margin. Even worse were the gameplay demonstrations, featuring drums being banged randomly with no sense of rhythm and a very bad performance of the Super Mario Bros. theme.
    • While the aftermath wasn't immediate, it's likely their setback from 2008 (alongside technical difficulties from 2010) ultimately led to Nintendo stopping the previously traditional E3 showcase live in front of crowds to their newer, E3 Nintendo Direct tradition that started in 2012note  and outside of an experimental 2016 with their Nintendo Treehouse segments,note  they continue under positive reception to this day.
  • The Microsoft E3 2010 Presentations (yes, plural) may well have been the nadir of E3 2010, even keeping in mind Nintendo's catastrophically botched presentation of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This was the year where Microsoft launched the Kinect, and they made a huge effort promoting it. Neither of their events did much good for publicity of the peripheral, but for more specific details:
    • The exclusive Sunday Kinect presentation. They were clearly trying to put on a show for those invited, even paying for Cirque du Soleil. Among those who attended, however, it became infamous for having everybody wear white ponchos and be uncomfortably crammed together with everybody else in the venue, a bunch of bizarre performances, and very few details about the Kinect itself with only some brief game footage (details were saved for the main E3 presentation). Most of the game journalists who attended and reported on it were not impressed.
    • Even more infamous was the main E3 presentation. While they briefly gave airtime to titles most fans were interested in, such as Halo: Reach, they devoted the vast majority of time to the Kinect, showing off the upcoming games in more detail, almost all of which were blatant rip-offs of games already available on the Wii. They also showed off many features with unconvincing actors, a Justin Bieber song when his hatedom was still going strong, and how you could use it to control watching movies, a passive activity that gels poorly with a peripheral requiring you to stand up to function properly. It's telling that the main highlight was the unveiling of a new Xbox 360 model and giving a bunch out for free, seemingly as an apology for the conference. An image with a visibly unimpressed audience that included Shigeru Miyamoto is considered emblematic of Microsoft's E3 that year. These conferences irreparably tainted the Kinect brand, making it dreaded anytime Microsoft talked about it in future conferences and forcing Microsoft to drop support for all versions of it by the end of 2017.
  • While not as bad as the Microsoft presentation in terms of PR, Konami E3 2010 is infamous for being perhaps the most uncomfortable presentation in the history of the event. While the games showcased were fine (including Metal Gear Rising, Silent Hill: Downpour, and two Castlevania games), the issue came in that virtually none of the people involved had much in the way of stage experience, and the Japanese devs had no translators and thus spoke in very stilted and accented English. This combined with a large number of poorly-done skits (including one infamous part involving a trio of Lucho-Libre) turned the presentation into the world's most awkward variety show as the presenters went through each poorly-handled reveal and discussion after the next, leaving basically the entire audience uncomfortable in the process. To this day, it's basically shorthand for how a presentation can go terribly wrong from a design standpoint.
  • The reveal of the Xbox One was a disaster on par with the Sega Saturn E3 '95 presentation, caused by complacency on Microsoft's part due to the success of the Xbox 360. Instead of getting gamers even more hyped for its new system, the presentation caused the mother of all backlashes against the Xbox One (or "Xbone", as it was eventually nicknamed).
    • The presentation focused on multimedia features - in particular DVR functionality and Skype calling - at the expense of games. The few games that Microsoft did show largely consisted of AAA blockbuster titles not exclusive to the Xbone. Microsoft's vision was an all-in-one entertainment device, hence the name "Xbox One" (despite the initial confusion with the original Xbox name being considered that to some people at the time). But gamers, the people who were most likely to watch the presentation, were obviously more interested in video games, with everything else being a secondary concern.
    • The same presentation also confirmed some rumors that were floating around and causing suspicion and worries among gamers. They would later go back on their word for reasons detailed below, but by the time they did, the damage was already done. Among the more troubling rumors were massive restrictions that were going to be placed system-wide:
      • The Xbone would require an online check-in every 24 hours, or else it wouldn't work. This was a particularly bad and unpopular idea, considering the server meltdowns that SimCity (2013) and Diablo III had when they tried the same thing with this sort of DRM - and those were individual games, not an entire library. These worries turned out to not be completely unfounded; just over a year after the PlayStation 4 and Xbone were released, a Christmas Day DDOS attack against both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live temporarily took down both consoles' networking capabilities. Had Microsoft stuck to their guns on the DRM, new PS4 owners would merely be stuck with offline games, but because there would have been no offline games on the Xbone, every single Xbone would have been a gigantic paperweight until the DDOS ended, a catastrophic PR blow that the Xbox brand probably wouldn't have been able to recover from.
      • The Xbone would have unprecedented restrictions on used games, charging players money just to be able to play a copy of a game someone else had purchased. Not only would this have made borrowing a needless hassle, but even today a not-insignificant number of gamers can't afford to buy everything new for at least one of a multitude of reasons, including if they were a child with no independent income. In many cases, these people would have to buy a game used, wait for a sale that may not happen, or just not get the game at all. This restriction would have significantly limited their ability to buy games for the Xbone, which may have prompted parents to discourage their children from wanting an Xbone on the basis that "that other console can play used games", and there's no guarantee that these parents found out about the U-turn before their families were committed to the PS4.
      • Every Xbone would come with a Kinect, a camera peripheral that was always on for the purposes of the "Xbox On" command, and would be required to be plugged in for the console to function. At the time, Edward Snowden had just recently exposed underhanded surveillance by the NSA and caused Americans to become concerned about privacy, so the idea of having a device in your living room that was always looking at you and listening to you was met with derision and mockery. Obviously, the NSA was a political issue beyond Microsoft's control, but they could've considered people's concerns in light of Snowden's revelations. Many potential buyers also had no interest in the Kinect, since the previous generation of consoles had caused many people to associate motion controls with gimmicky gameplay and shovelware. In particular, the previous Kinect had done the most serious damage to the perception of motion controls because Microsoft focused too much on one-upping the Wiimote and the PlayStation Move and not enough on making something that functioned adequately as a video game control scheme. This, combined with the aforementioned terrible showing at E3 2010, meant the Kinect name was tainted no matter how much of an improvement functionality-wise the Xbone's Kinect was. Forcing people to get the expensive peripheral along with the console seemed like a waste of money. In short, the Xbone's Kinect was a victim of Microsoft's tone-deafness to both the political climate and people's opinions of its predecessor.
    • Then there was the Microsoft E3 2013 presentation. While it did have some games to show off to garner some hype, Microsoft was still going into this conference with the botched reveal hanging over their heads. This was their best chance to turn things around in their favor. Unfortunately, they blew it. When pressed on the controversial policies, Microsoft, at best, simply dodged the questions entirely. Most infamously, however, they showed outright contempt, especially with Don Mattrick, President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, recommending that gamers alienated by the always-online DRM stick with the Xbox 360. This, naturally, only further fueled the flames of outrage that consumers had built towards them. It also allowed Sony to effortlessly upstage Microsoft by revealing that the PlayStation 4 would not restrict offline play or used games in any way. Sony even released an "instructional video" on game sharing as a very memorable Take That! to Microsoft. As Jim Sterling pointed out, Sony was applauded for doing nothing different from normal, almost entirely because what Microsoft was doing different was so consumer-hostile.

      The positive reaction to Sony's presentation brought Microsoft to their senses, and soon afterwards they announced they would remove the 24-hour check-in and the used game policy despite previously claiming this was impossible. A press release announcing this was taken as a tacit admission by Microsoft that they saw how badly they would lose the upcoming console war if the restrictions remained. In addition, just six months after release they were forced to release an Xbone SKU without Kinect. Up to this point, an Xbone with a Kinect had led to sales being on par with, if not worse than, those of the Wii U because of a higher launch price. Since the slightly-more-powerful-on-paper PS4 was $100 cheaper, people couldn't justify paying more money for the Xbone. Even after making the Kinect optional, there was no way Microsoft could recover from the initial disaster of a reveal because it prevented them from establishing early momentum. The Xbox One's lackluster sales (estimated note  41 million units sold vs. the PS4's 92 million, as of April 2019), years after all three consoles were established in the marketplace and after Microsoft removed the main things putting people off, are at least partially attributable to the initial terrible presentation; first impressions count, after all, and when the first impressions are unprecedented restrictions and focusing too much on secondary functionality, that's going to affect consumer perceptions even after a course correction. Watch an extremely tired Angry Joe rant semi-coherently about the reveal (yet somehow manage to sum it up best) here, and read an article more coherently explaining everything wrong with Microsoft's approach here. Josh Scorcher would later declare it, and the Xbox One launch in general, to be Microsoft's second biggest failure, behind only the Red Ring of Death.
    Angry Joe: You fucking idiots. I... I... no... this... I just... I can't even start! This is... This is literally the worst reveal event I-I've ever seen. This, literally... if you can't bring the big guns, if you can't bring the good stuff to your reveal, DON'T DO THE REVEAL! Wait until E3!
    • In later interviews, it's become clear that discontent at the entire ordeal extended to within the company itself. It ended up being a Creator Killer for Don Mattrick, as he became CEO of Zynga just two months after the Xbox One's announcement. When Phil Spencer, previously the head manager of Xbox's game studios, was appointed Head of Xbox in 2014, he was told that Microsoft was seriously considering pulling out of the console market (which they ultimately didn't) thanks to Mattrick's failure to prevent the now-abandoned policies from derailing the hype train. While Phil Spencer is a genuinely respected figure and credited for keeping the brand afloat throughout the 8th generation, he cites the Xbox One's announcement as a massive Old Shame for the division.
    Phil Spencer: If you were an employee in team Xbox, then you were [a part of a team of] thousands of people that work on the Xbox. But there's like a handful of people that stand in front of cameras, on the stage and talk about things. There can be a divide between, 'Why is that person saying that? That's not the product I'm building,' or, 'Why are we doing that? That's not what I think we should be doing.' The feedback we got from the employees, maybe said and unsaid, was, 'We've been working really hard for two years to ship this product. You stand on stage at this event and blow up all the good work that we've done by talking about the product in a way that's not really matching what the soul of an Xbox console is about and what our customers are looking for from us.'

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