Lets get straight to the point with this one. I am a guy. Almost every guy I know loves some version of video games. Heck, quite honestly almost half the women I know also love the occasional gaming experience.
Whether it’s a quick escape from reality, a chance to build your own city or sports team or a full-blown addiction to a fictional world, video games have become an important and recognizable part of today’s pop culture.
But it’s time to face the honest truth. There are some games that would leave the world a better place if every copy were thrown in a gigantic bonfire. In fact, they would serve a much greater purpose that way as the burning games would provide enough entertainment to support a block party and bring us all together instead of causing enough frustration to cause a fight – the only purpose they actually served in a video game console.
For the record, I do not want to actually burn the games. I have played most of these titles (some against the advice of others) but do believe that just because they could be made, doesn't mean they should have been. Many of these were quickly mass produced for the purpose of turning a profit.
With a little help from a friend, The Granbys Patch Editor Ted Glanzer, we have compiled our 13 worst games of all-time. Of course, there are more and I hope you all will add to our list.
1. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (ATARI 2600): Hands down, and I mean HANDS DOWN, the worst game ever. Oh, the title screen was awesome. Amazing even. A close up of the popular movie character from the 1980s left the game with so much apparent potential, until you pressed start that is. Then you were a lime green blip that floated aimlessly from crater to repetitive crater. Fail.
It has been 25 years since I first played this one and I’m still trying to figure out what exactly you did after pressing the red ATARI button to start the game. On second thought, you know what? I give up trying to figure it out.
2. Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game (PSX, Saturn): It’s a game about a movie that was made about a game. Again, they made a video game that mimicked a movie created solely off the plot line of another video game for the same gaming system. I...I...lets just move on.
3. Sneak N' Peek (ATARI 2600): I have to admit, I LOVED this game the first time I played it. I was the person hiding and my friend left the room so I could watch as the ticker at the top counted down from 100 while I ran excitedly through the virtual house to hide. Then my friend came back inside and I sat gripping my controller, not pressing anything, as I watched him navigate that same virtual house to try and find me. Eventually he did and then it was my turn to leave the room and wait for him to hide his virtual character so I could come back in and find him.
That’s when it hit me. What the hell were we thinking???
We had to hide and count anyway. We had to leave the room anyway. We had to take turns anyway. The only thing this game managed to accomplish was to take the active part of hide and seek and eliminate it. No wonder the obesity rate in America began to rise right about the time this game was created.
4. Smurf Rescue (ColecoVision): ATARI owners eat your heart out. Coleco finally came out with a game you were envious others may have – that was until you saw it. I don’t know what those blue and white creatures were running constantly in a straight line through pitfall land were, but they weren’t Smurfs. The lifespan of this game died faster than the advertisements leading up to its release.
5. Bible Adventures (NES): Listen, the Bible is a great work of literature, whether you believe it to be fact or fiction (or in some cases both). This game was just, well, adventure-less. The only thing that could possibly have saved this one would have been if the church had used it to generate some money.
I mean, they were able to use "indulgences" to generate money in the 1500's by allowing people to pay for repentance but they couldn’t find a way to attach God or Jesus Christ to this in order to receive royalties? Then again, I’m sure there weren’t many royalties since the church did not widely support video games and this one seemed to alienate any non-Christians. I won’t even get into the jokes involving priests.
6. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (PS3, X-Box 360): So listen up guys. If your plan is to use a popular franchise to make a little added cash, look to the Sims and not LSL. This was a game where the object was to fail with no hope of success. Why do I want a video game to remind me of my inabilities? Bust is right.
7. Kris Kross: Make my Video (SEGA CD): Who put Kris Kross in a video game? And why?
Let’s just think about the marketing angle on this one. The target audience were kids ages 7 to 13, most with no source of income and hardly from wealthy families. And you thought that selling a game about two screwed up kids rapping with their pants backwards and held up by a belt around the upper portion of their thighs would sell? Can I sell you the Brooklyn Bridge?
Oh yeah, they made three of these. How?
8. White Men Can’t Jump (ATARI Jaguar): Games made about movies are never good. Never. Especially when the game you make is racist as can be. Seriously, Ted’s response when I brought up this not-such-a-masterpiece was “they actually made that?”
The premise of the game is quite simple. One-on-one competition between former teammates from the movie; one is a black man who can dunk and the other is a white man who can’t. All other skills are the same. This game should never have made it beyond the discussion phase. And who from the movie signed off on this one?
9. Shaq Fu (SEGA Genesis, NES): Even worse than a game about a movie is a game about a bomb of a rap CD by the same title. Street Fighter meets bobble-head boxing meets a bayou giant fighting in a basketball uniform. The fights took way too long, the graphics were poor and I just lost nearly 1,000 brain cells trying to remember why I wanted to write about bad video games. But I digress…
10. Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures (Super Nintendo): OK, so Ted wanted the original Pac-Man on the list. I couldn’t do it because although the ATARI version was pointless, the truth is the game was a very popular arcade classic back in the day. Here’s the compromise: this anything but classic title for the Super Nintendo.
Here’s the back-story: Pac-Man and Pac-Woman marry and have a baby. Pac-Man hates his life, hates his job and is constantly sent on tasks such as getting the paper and buying food for the child. First of all, no wonder the poor guy was a manic depressed addict who constantly popped pills and chased ghosts. Second, it’s amazing anyone who ever played this game even remotely entertained the thought of ever getting married.
11. Mario is Missing (Super Nintendo): Educational? Maybe. Horrible? Certainly. Luigi comes to the rescue in his first title role, only to have to travel around the world through pipes and visit history in the name of finding Mario.
For the record, I tried. My brothers tried. We decided our time was better spent finding a way to make it to the video store to rent a game that was actually worth playing. Guess what? We eventually found Mario – but only in the form of a new video game where he was once again the feature character.
12. Ninjabread Man (Wii): The only thing good about this game is when I saw it on the used game shelf at Gamestop, it meant it did something to help the economy. It would have been more useful if instead of wasting the programmers’ time making this game, they let them bake gingerbread cookies for us to eat. They would have made more of a profit selling cookies actually.
13. Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire? (Dreamcast): Yeah, that actually happened. They took the original game and its popularity in 2000 and spun it into a “what were they thinking?” moment. Why? I don’t know. What was the purpose of this game? I don’t know. Did someone actually suggest this in a brainstorming session? I don’t know.
OK, so now a little drum roll for a special honorable mention I came across in researching this list.
(Clears throat – changes to game show voice.)
It was born in the 1980s, an adult-oriented specialty that came packaged completely in leather with a lock on the box. It featured the rape of a tied-up Native American woman and pornographic activity was the only chance you had to win. Welcome this, umm…OK, I’m done. It’s called Custer’s Revenge. I’ve never met anyone who actually owned or played this game and I seriously hope I never do.
No, we are not linking to it. Find it yourself if you are really curious. It’s not worth it though.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
It's only Wednesday, but it feels like the weekend should have been here two days ago. You have a full plate ahead, lots of work left to do, classes at or college to sit through or are just plain in need of a break. We have you covered.
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