Science tells us that gaming is only the second or third favourite past-time of people who proclaim themselves gamers. The first hobby is hating on particular games or franchises. Sure we come across some disappointing games; the worst lately being Dragon Age 2, but even DA2 wasn’t “completely bad” by any rational standard of terrible gaming.
To truly appreciate what we have, it is important to know what we’ve lost or avoided. When we say a game is good or bad, it helps to say what it is better or worse than to help shape our opinions.
“Do we give this game another chance?” is a constant question. If we don’t, and millions of us respond in kind, game designers can lose their jobs, companies flop, and so on. So to be clear about what we should be spending our time on, I think it’s imperative we recognise what truly horrible games there are.
I highly recommend you get hold of these. Oh you think there could’ve been better textures in Dragon Age 2? How about any textures at all (aside from primary colours!)? Yeah, Deus Ex’s map is too constricting? Well at least they completed the game instead of shipping it out half-done, like some deformed abortion that learns how to speak solely to scream “Please kill me”.
Right, then, starting at 5….
5. SPORE (PC)
The cardinal sin of gaming is not bad gameplay, graphics, or story. I mean people still play Diablo 2, right? Anyway, the worst offence you can commit is to make a game boring. Many of us remember Spore – it was the “child” (I want to say stillbirth) of Will Wright who gave us Sim City. This is a man who knows management and knows, more importantly, how to do it well.
Spore had a lot going for it. It looked cute, had an amazing user-engagement with basically infinite ways to play, a literally organic gameplay feature which resulted in unique creatures forming. We got to watch our species grow from a single-celled organism, which lands on a planet from a meteorite, into space-roving warriors that destroyed/befriended other species.
The problem was the game became so damn boring. There was only so much fun to be had with long-nosed, three-armed, blue creatures who looked vaguely like your first girlfriend (it’s the three arms that gave it away). How many worlds must I conquer? Where is the conflict? A game with no ending seems, perhaps enticing, but eternity does not just mean that you will never finish, it means that you never seem to progress either.
4. HANNAH MONTANA THE MOVIE: THE GAME (Wii)
This is supposedly a children’s game – but it’s so bad that CommonsenseMedia.org when rating this game for parents stated “Not applicable” under the category “Educational Value”. Of course the only category that has anything filled in is “Positive Messages”. Apparently, the positive message of this creepy bastard of a game is “Miley Stewart spends times helping others, b…” and, yes, it seriously ends with ellipses – It’s like the (only) person who played this game exploded from shame halfway through his explanation of the game’s “message”.
My favourite part must be the comments. “Bpsouto” says the game “is good for kids to all the ages”. Yeah. Very educational to all the ages. All your education now belong to us!
The game is not even a karaoke game – instead you follow a young girl around, buying clothes with her then occasionally singing. The take home message: if you want to make friends, simply breathe heavily in shopping malls and follow underage girls into clothing stores. Thanks, Disney.
This is not only bad looking and poorly acted, it’s also disappointing. It has a great concept: the ability to leap out of your character’s head and possess another. It was like the GTA of NPC’s. Of course, when a random NPC – upon possession – pulls a shotgun out of thin air, that’s only the first sign something’s not quite right. The story is inconsistent, portraying characters not only poorly acted but poorly designed: the worst thing you can do to a character is to make them unappealing or uninteresting. Why do I want to keep these people alive again?
Look at Kratos, from the God of War series. Here we have a ridiculously powerful character, trying to do his bidding for the gods, to find some kind of “redemption”. Few people could identify with him closely, but many get why they should care. We might not agree with his brutality – I shudder everytime I remember the opening ten minutes of God of War 3 and the death of Poseidon – but we get his goal. Mindjack says F U to the gamer and your ability to care, and simply forces you to control idiots without an ability to behave in a coherent, human way.
Then there’s the bugs. Oh sweet, Bethesda, the bugs! Enemies that shoot themselves or the ground, getting stuck between moving backgrounds and textures. It’s a broken game.
Like Ke$ha, it should never have existed and is an insult to what we’ve come to expect from creative endeavours.
2. ET (Atari 2600)
I don’t need to tell this audience about this “game”. It’s so bad, I think WikiPedia made “List of video game notable for negative reception” because of this monstrosity. This is a game so bad, Atari literally – and I AM using that correctly, you people who use that word way too much and out of context – BURIED it. That’s right: nearly 5 Million E.T. cartridges can be found, beneath the (probably decaying) sand of New Mexico desert landfill. Internet Resident sleuths, Snopes.com, confirm this.
Why is it bad? You can see for yourself. Graphics that makes it feel like you have broken glass in yours eyes; a deep, throbbing silence, as you play a character that looks like a cross between the result of a bowel-movement and a nightmare about cats; and completely incomprehensible goals and gameplay. As has been confirmed by the Internet’s greatest writer, this game is so bad it killed the Atari 2600.
1. BIG RIGS
Like the gods, after realising that the people on Jersey Shore get paid more money than most scientists and educators, the game designers on Big Rigs realised what they had, saw no hope and promptly stopped caring.
Maps are half-finished, the eerie inability of your opponent to leave the starting line, the terrible graphics, the Satan-fuelled gravity – it’s all the there. Now legendary for how appalling it is, Big Rigs deserves your attention because you know you just want to drive several tonnes of truck vertically upward. Gravity is too busy breakdancing on the tears of orphans to bother with your vehicle.
It’s like pretty much any racing game, really – except, unlike other racing games, I would actually willingly play this one. Yes, I’m really saying I would rather play Big Rigs than Gran Turismo. At least I wouldn’t be bored when journeying from A to B before my opponent, who apparently and consistently has a stroke just before the race starts. That’s awesome.
What are you worst games? More importantly, what are the worst games you think we should all play? I’m going to cleanse myself by day-dreaming about Batman Arkham City and (a real life) Catwoman (it’s hard to say which one I’d rather play with).
Last Updated: October 25, 2011