List of video games notable for negative reception
||This article may contain original research. (August 2011)|
The video games listed here have achieved notably negative reception from a variety of gaming publications, which have also labelled these as the worst video games ever made.
Custer's Revenge (Atari 2600)
Custer's Revenge, alongside its low quality, was also controversial due to its plot involving the apparent rape of a Native American woman. Atari received numerous complaints about the game and responded by trying to sue the game's makers. Ultimately, the game was withdrawn from circulation.
The game was also poorly received for its quality; it was listed as the most shameful game of all time by GameSpy, as the third-worst game of all time by PC World, and GameTrailers and the ninth-worst game by Seanbaby in Electronic Gaming Monthly.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Atari 2600)
Based on the popular Steven Spielberg film and reputedly coded in just five weeks in order to be released during the 1982 holiday season, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was expected to sell millions, but despite selling 1.5 million copies, the game came nowhere near Atari's expectations as it ordered five million copies, and a good deal of the sold games were sent back to the company because many consumers found the game to be unenjoyable. Truckloads of these cartridges were allegedly buried in a landfill in New Mexico after they failed to sell. E.T. is commonly cited as the catalyst for a crash of the video game industry in 1983, as Atari had hoped that brand loyalty would keep consumers buying their games regardless of quality.
E.T. was listed as the worst game of all time by PC World in 2006, Electronic Gaming Monthly, and FHM magazine, and was ranked as the second worst movie game on the "Top Ten Worst Movie Games" (losing only to Charlie's Angels) by GameTrailers. It was also ranked the second worst game of all time by GameTrailers, losing only to Superman 64. Some considered it so bad that the title screen was the only good part of the game. In 2007, GamePro named E.T. one of the 52 most important games of all time due to its roles in the 1983 video game crash and the downfall of the seemingly unstoppable Atari. It is the only game to make the list for having a negative impact on the video game industry.
Pac-Man (Atari 2600)
Despite being a commercial success and selling over 7 million copies, Pac-Man, a port of the popular arcade game for the Atari 2600, was significantly altered from the original in order to meet the device's limitations. Some of these changes included simplified graphics, a modified maze layout, and "flickering" ghosts (as a workaround to technical limitations, the game only rendered one ghost on screen per frame). Ed Logg, a former lead designer at Atari, considered the development a rushed, "lousy" effort. Developer Tod Frye did not express regret over his part in Pac-Man's port and felt he made the best decisions he could at the time. However, Frye stated that he would have done things differently with a larger capacity ROM.
In 1998, Next Generation Magazine called it the "worst coin-op conversion of all time" and attributed the mass dissatisfaction to its poor quality. In 2006, IGN's Craig Harris echoed similar statements and listed Pac-Man as the worst home console port of an arcade game ever, citing poor audio-visuals that did not resemble the original. Another IGN editor, Levi Buchanan, described it as a "disastrous port", citing the color scheme and flickering ghosts. Chris Kohler of Wired commented that despite its poor quality, the game was an impressive technical achievement given the console's limitations.
Link: The Faces of Evil / Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon / Zelda's Adventure (CD-i)
As a result of cancelled plans to release a CD-ROM add-on for the Super NES, Nintendo granted Philips licenses to use some of their major characters in games for their CD-i system. Philips would release three The Legend of Zelda games for the system; Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Zelda's Adventure—produced with limited involvement by Nintendo. The first two games were developed in tandem by Animation Magic, using the same game engine, and were released on the same day. While well received at the time of their release, these two games gained notoriety in the 2000s when attention was brought to their animated cutscenes which for the first time became widely available through video-sharing websites like YouTube dubbed "Youtube Poop". These cutscenes were described as "infamous" by IGN, and Danny Cowan of 1UP.com noted that Zelda fans "almost universally despise these games." Beyond simply the animations, reviewers at GameTrailers have also ascribed modern negative criticism to "barely functional controls, lackluster gameplay, and numerous bugs." The Wand of Gamelon was ranked the #6 worst video game of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly and the #5 by GameTrailers.
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties (3DO)
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties received negative attention for its "surreal" and "sexist" storyline, poor voice acting, and much of the game being presented as a slide show despite being advertised as a full motion video game (only its introduction was a FMV). Uproxx's Dan Seitz compared Plumbers Don't Wear Ties to a "Skinemax" movie, and felt that its constant use of still images was the "single saddest attempt to simulate a dream sequence ever." IGN cited Plumbers Don't Wear Ties as "a symbol for everything that was wrong with giving a license to anyone that wanted one"; referring to the many low-quality adult video games that plagued the 3DO console due to its relatively more "open" platform in comparison to other video game systems of the time. PC Gamer dubbed Plumbers Don't Wear Ties a "shallow, hateful waste of a game, [that] may very well be responsible for having killed the 3DO, interactive fiction, and the whale", naming it #1 on its "Must NOT Buy" list in May 2007.
Shaq-Fu (Genesis, SNES)
Shaq-Fu, a fighting game featuring professional basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, has received negative reception from various sources, especially for its controls, being unresponsive and broken. It was named the 4th worst game of all time by GameTrailers. GameInformer also ranked it 2nd in their "Top 10 Fighting Games we'd like to forget" list. There is also a website known as Shaqfu.com, which instead of supporting the game, is dedicated to making the game nonexistent.
Catfight is a highly exploitive fighting game and was panned by critics, receiving a GameRankings score of 8.67%, while GameSpot called Catfight "without a doubt, the worst computer game ever released." Rating it 1.6/10. 
The Crow: City of Angels (PC, Sega Saturn, PlayStation)
Loosely based on the movie of the same name, The Crow: City of Angels, a beat 'em up style game, was panned by many critics and has a GameRankings score of 23.50%. Duke Ferris of GameRevolution called the game "the worst title [he] has ever saw", and also concludes saying to "avoid all contact with this game". GamePro called the game "a turkey", criticizing its graphics and "asinine" gameplay.
Night Trap (Sega CD, 3DO)
Night Trap is a survival horror game at a slumber party featuring live video, notorious for the controversy it brewed in 1993, resulting in U.S. Senate hearings and withdrawal of the game from the market.
Bubsy 3D (PlayStation)
Bubsy 3D received extremely negative reviews for its bad graphics and controls, as well as the titular character's personality. Gamesradar named it as the video game equivalent to terrible films such as Plan 9 from Outer Space and Battlefield Earth. Gametrailers named it the eighth worst video game ever made, calling it a "Cheap imitation of a quality product", referencing it as a rip-off of Super Mario 64, which was released around the same time as this game. Internet reviewer Seanbaby named it the 17th worst game of all time, criticizing its controls, the character's personality and the graphics, which "look like ass."
Extreme Paintbrawl (PC)
Extreme Paintbrawl, a first-person shooter based off the game of paintball, suffered from low quality maps that did not model typical paintball fields, poorly-functioning AI with computer-controlled teammates who mindlessly ran straight forward at the start of a match (only to be stopped by an object in their path), a misfitting and peculiar soundtrack, and a "downright laughable" practice mode.
A GameSpot reviewer gave the game a 1.7/10, stating that the game took the first-person shooter genre too far by trying to "wed a tired game engine with the paintball phenomenon", and wondered how it had even made it out of the beta phase with such poor quality. IGN gave it a 0.7/10, the second game in the website's history to receive a score lower than one, and PC Gamer gave it 6/100.
South Park (PC, PlayStation)
Based on the hit television show of the same name, the PC and PlayStation versions of South Park received poor reviews for its bad graphics, repetitive voice acting and lack of playing abilities in multiplayer mode. It received a 1.4 rating from GameSpot, who said "South Park" is definitely one of those games that is bound to come up when you start thinking about the worst game you've ever played." By contrast, its Nintendo 64 version received better reception, including praise for its storyline and 3D graphics.
Based on the acclaimed animated series, Superman was largely criticized for having unnecessarily repetitive, difficult, and confusing objectives, unnecessarily short time limits that left no margin for error, numerous glitches that interfere with gameplay, poor graphics,infamously short draw distances, and poor controls, and is currently called "The Worst Game of All Time". As a result, critics were overwhelmingly negative in reviews; Joe Fielder of GameSpot declared Superman the worst game he had ever played, and stated that "it serves no purpose other than to firmly establish the bottom of the barrel." Both IGN and Game Revolution panned the game for its atrocious set-up, gameplay, and graphics.
Superman was listed as the worst game of all time by GameTrailers, the worst game on a Nintendo platform by Nintendo Power, and as the worst video game adaptation of a comic book by both GameSpy and GameDaily.
Based on the popular reality show of the same name, Survivor was panned by critics for its poor graphics, repetitiveness, and boring survival period stages. Aside from a 26/100 rating on Metacritic, a 2.0/10 rating from GameSpot and a 2.4/10 rating on IGN, the game has received an F- from Game Revolution, a grade made specifically for the game.
Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure (GameCube)
Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure was developed and published by Kemco for the Nintendo GameCube. Set in a Universal Studios park, the object of the game is to complete several mini-games based on the real-life attractions Back to the Future: The Ride, Jaws, Jurassic Park River Adventure, E.T. Adventure, Backdraft, Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show and Waterworld. There is also a movie quiz, in which the player must answer trivia questions about the Universal Studios films. Reviews for the game have been mostly negative. IGN gave it a 3/10 with the review saying it has "Terrible graphics and is very boring", as UGO has rated this game #78 on their list of "The Worst Video Games of All Time." Meanwhile, The Video Game Critic hailed this as the worst video game ever. Metacritic gave this game a 39 out of 100.
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (GameCube, Xbox)
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis was criticized for its poor controls, graphics and repetitive gameplay. GameSpot gave the game a 2.3 out of 10, stating that "[t]he game itself only has the bare minimum requirements necessary to technically be called a game, and even these components are an ugly mess." Aquaman was named one of the worst games of all time by G4's program X-Play; in reference to Aquaman's hair style in-game, X-Play began awarding the "Golden Mullet Award" to the worst game of the year. The game has a Metacritic score of 27/100 for its GameCube version and 26/100 for its Xbox version.
Charlie's Angels (PlayStation 2, GameCube)
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (February 2013)|
Charlie's Angels has a Metacritic score of 23/100 and a GameRankings score of 24.57%, the lowest aggregate score of any video game with more than 20 featured reviews As of March 2011[update]. GameSpot called it a "horrific display of ineptitude." The game was ranked #1 on GameTrailers' list of the Top 10 Worst Movie Games of all time, who said "The game is degrading, not to women, not even to video games, but to humanity itself".
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (PC)
Released in a seemingly incomplete and buggy state, Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing became infamous for its complete lack of collision detection, non-existent AI (as the computer opponent does not move, or otherwise participate in the "race" at all), extremely abnormal physics, and its victory screen—an image of a trophy accompanied by the typoed caption "YOU'RE WINNER !".
Big Rigs was listed as one of the worst games ever made by GameSpot, Thunderbolt, and Netjak, and received the lowest possible scores from all three. Alex Navarro opened his review of Big Rigs for GameSpot by stating that the game was "as bad as your mind allows you to comprehend." His video review contained no narration whatsoever, consisting of in-game footage interspersed with wider shots showing Navarro staring in disbelief, crying, and beating his head on a desk. GameSpot also awarded it its 2004 Flat-Out Worst Game award, with its "trophy" being the three-handled "YOU'RE WINNER" trophy from the game itself. Additionally after declaring it the "worst game ever made" in a "Games You Should Never Buy" segment, X-Play's Morgan Webb refused to rate Big Rigs as their scale went from only 1 to 5.
On aggregate reviews, it has the lowest aggregate score of any video game, with 8/100 on Metacritic, and 3.83% on GameRankings. Big Rigs was also named #2 as the "Worst Video Game of the Decade". Despite (or possibly due to) the universally negative response by critics, Big Rigs still sold surprisingly well, albeit mostly from discount software bins and at a $5 price point; the actual figures were never released, but GameSpot estimated sales of almost 20,000 copies.
Elf Bowling 1 & 2 (GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS)
Elf Bowling 1 & 2, a compilation featuring the first two Elf Bowling games, was panned by critics for its poor graphics, crude audio and controls. Frank Provo of GameSpot rated the title 1.4/10 — the lowest rating given for a Nintendo DS game — citing the fact that "charging 20 bucks for two freebie PC games is morally reprehensible", and criticizing the game's simplistic mechanics and "weak" visuals. IGN's Craig Harris called the compilation "absolutely retarded".
Ninjabread Man (PlayStation 2, Wii)
Ninjabread Man was widely panned by critics for its poor camera, controls, graphics and short length. GameRankings gave the PlayStation 2 version of the game a 31% average rating, while the Wii version has an average of 17%. IGN gave the Wii version a score of 1.5/10, saying: "Is Ninjabread Man actually a good game? No chance. It's buggy, often completely broken, somehow manages to have frame issues in tiny levels, and is completely ruthless if (and when) younger players die." Thunderbolt gave it 1/10, citing the game's length and the unimaginative use of the character as key flaws."
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Intended to reboot the Sonic the Hedgehog series series and to celebrate the franchise's 15th anniversary, Sonic the Hedgehog was rushed for Christmas 2006 and was generally panned by critics and gamers alike for its poor controls, many glitches, poor plotting, loading times and level design. IGN stated that "it offers a few good ideas, and a handful of exciting moments, but none of this helps the game recover from a catastrophic loss in control", while GameSpot lamented the gameplay, the amount of glitches, camera problems and the supporting cast, stating "only the most blindly reverent Sonic the Hedgehog fan could possibly squeeze any enjoyment out of Sega's latest adventure". Gametrailers criticized the story as well, by saying that "you might actually be better off reading internet fan fiction." The game was ultimately listed as part of its "Top Ten Disappointments of the Decade" list.
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust was the eighth installment of the Leisure Suit Larry video game series, released on March 27, 2009. Critics and players both gave the game negative reviews for its poor attempts at adult humor, game play and controls, graphics quality and story incoherence. Metacritic scored the game of 20/100 for its PC version, 17/100 for its PlayStation 3 version and 25/100 for its Xbox 360 version. Screwattack.com gave the game a SAGY award for the Worst Multiconsole game of 2009. Giant Bomb gave the game the Worst Game of the Year Award in 2009. The Australian television show Good Game rated it as the Worst Game of 2009. Online gaming site IGN gave it a 2.2/10, categorizing it as "painful", stating that "the lowest rating numbers here at IGN are reserved for games with nearly no redeeming qualities or interesting ideas, with next to nothing enjoyable to offer players, and which under no circumstances should be purchased by anyone. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is, without a doubt, one of those games." GameCentral's review summarizes the game as "One of the worst video games ever made—brutally unfunny and monotonously inept on every level." The producer for early Larry games, Al Lowe, publicly thanked VU Games on his website for keeping him away from what he called "the latest disaster". GameTrailers also rated the game a 2.3/10, the lowest score ever given on the site.
Rogue Warrior (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
Rogue Warrior was initially being developed by Zombie Studios under the title Rogue Warrior: Black Razor: It would have been built on Unreal Engine 3, had drop-in four-player cooperative and 24-player competitive multiplayer, and had randomly generated maps based on a unique tiling system. However, its publisher Bethesda Softworks was unsatisfied with the direction Zombie Studios was taking with the game; among other issues, citing the lack of emphasis on the personality of its protagonist Richard Marcinko. Bethesda rebooted the project with Rebellion taking over development. Rebellion's version changed numerous aspects of the game and its style.
Upon its release, Rogue Warrior was panned by critics for its poor controls, extreme and incredibly frequent use of foul language, short length, very limited multiplayer, and broken combat techniques that are offered in the game. GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd awarded Rogue Warrior a 2.0 out of 10, calling it "an absolute rip-off" and finding that Richard Marcinko "doesn't just drop an F-bomb -- he drops an entire nuclear warhead of repulsive language". IGN's Jeff Hayes stated that "players should stay far away from this title at all costs" and rated it a 1.4 out of 10, criticizing its "laughable and barely existent" plot. Eurogamer's Richard Leadbetter called it "the worst game I've played on either platform for a long, long time."
Naughty Bear (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Naughty Bear was met with negative reviews. IGN's Greg Miller scored the game 3/10 on Xbox 360 and 2.5/10 on PlayStation 3. GameSpot gave the game a 5.5/10. X-Play gave the game a 3/5. Joystiq gave the game a 2/5. The Escapist Magazine gave the game a 2/5, calling it "repetitious and clunky". Good Game's Steven O'Donnell and Stephanie Bendixsen gave the game a combined score of 2.5/20 and named it 'Worst game of the Year'.
Postal III (PC)
Development of the third installment in the Postal franchise was subcontracted by Running with Scissors to the Russian video game developer Akella; however, they did not have the resources to develop the game to the design that the series' creators intended and thought they were able to deliver. The game ultimately received poor reviews from critics, scoring an average review score on Metacritic of 24/100. Its poor reception also prompted Running with Scissors to pull the game from its own online store, suggesting that players buy earlier installments of the franchise instead.
PC Gamer gave Postal III a 21/100, joking that "suck and blow" were "two things that Postal III will continue to do for some hours", criticizing its lack of an open world design like Postal 2, poor AI, and poor attempts at being offensive (drawing comparisons to the quality of Uwe Boll's film adaptation). IGN felt that the game's technical and gameplay issues were more offensive than the game's content, criticized the lack of variety or openness in its missions, and noticed poor loading times. However, the game's humor, wide variety of weapons (despite most of the more unique weapons not being as useful in-game as their conventional counterparts), and relatively better graphical quality than Postal 2 were regarded as positive aspects, but not enough to save the game from a 5.5/10 rating. Game Informer gave the game a 1/10, criticizing its "barely cobbled-together series of mostly linear levels", lazily using self-awareness to point out bugs (such as a warning that an escort would "frustratingly disappear" if left behind) that should have been fixed before release, and concluding that there was "nothing redeeming about Postal III's frustrating, buggy gameplay."
MindJack (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
MindJack has a Metacritic score of 44 for the PlayStation 3 and 43 for the Xbox 360. Kat Bailey of 1UP.com found nothing to like about the game, calling it a "lazy, corporate-mandated cash-in." IGN summed up their review with "MindJack is ultimately a frustrating and forgettable shooter with horrible presentation, clumsy controls and a plodding campaign. It serves up a next-gen idea with its unique multiplayer design yet delivers it in a horribly last-gen package."
Self-Defense Training Camp (Xbox 360, Kinect)
Self-Defense Training Camp was panned by critics for its badly implemented motion detection with the Kinect peripheral, poor character animations, and for being a poor substitute to actual self-defense training; since the user would not be directly interacting with their target while learning these techniques. Official Xbox Magazine gave Self-Defense Training Camp a 3.5 out of 10, feeling that the game "implies you can easily learn how to break free of any hold without any proper feedback, practice, or, you know, another person there", and also noted its "bland" supplemental content, plus a "weird preoccupation with going for the groin." IGN's Mitch Dyer gave the game a 1.0 out of 10; citing the poor motion tracking and graphical quality, and joking that he "[was] extra stoked when the first piece of advice my in-game instructor had to offer was 'kick your attacker in the genitals.'" IGN also ultimately named it one of its worst games of 2011. The game currently holds an aggregated score of 21/100 on Metacritic.
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor (Xbox 360, Kinect)
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor was released on June 19, 2012 by Capcom and received multiple negative reviews regarding the gameplay, controls and level design. IGN gave the game a 3/10 stating that Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is "far from fun" and the levels being "punishingly difficult." GameRankings gave the game a 38.54% Metacritic gave the game a 38/100 and finally G4 and Giant Bomb's scores were similar, being close to 0.5/10. All 5 sites were citing the game's poor control scheme, terrible gameplay, almost impossible and "ragequit" designed levels.
The War Z (PC)
The War Z, an open world multiplayer survival horror game, was publicly released as a "foundation release" in December 2012. However, complaints quickly surfaced from users who discovered that its advertising on Steam made false claims regarding certain features that were not yet present in the game, such as multiple large game worlds varying in size (only one was available), a skill point based leveling system (which was not yet implemented), servers supporting up to 100 players (that were actually capped at 50), and private servers (which were not yet available). While its description was modified to become more accurate, the flood of criticism prompted Valve to pull the game from sale on Steam and offer refunds, stating that the game was accidentally made available for purchase prematurely. In an interview with PC Gamer, executive producer Sergey Titov (who was also listed as a producer for Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing) claimed that its servers were temporarily capped at 50 due to player feedback, and that its marketing team had misinterpreted information about the current state of the game.
The game itself also received negative reception from various publications. GameSpy gave The War Z a half-star out of five and considered it "a bad game that deserves all the controversy its drawn", criticizing the broken and incomplete state of the game, the use of microtransactions to purchase items and the ability to revive a character without waiting four hours, but complimenting its overall atmosphere and far draw distance. IGN gave the game a 3.0 out of 10, citing that "the high spawn rate of weapons, as well as fear of hackers, makes the majority of player interaction in The War Z overly punishing and one-dimensional", and further criticized its missing features, the ability to lose purchased items, and its lack of a balance between ranged and melee weaponry. More recently, the March 2013 issue of PC Powerplay magazine rated it 0/10 - the lowest rating it has ever given a game in over 200 issues.
Ridge Racer (PS Vita)
Ridge Racer, the first installment of the Ridge Racer franchise released on the PlayStation Vita, was critically panned by various publications for its bare-bones nature and a lack of proper progression, unlike other installments in the series. GameSpot gave the game a 3.0/10 and criticized the game's lack of initial content (which consisted only of a limited number of cars and tracks ported from Ridge Racer 7) as a ploy to force users to buy its downloadable content (while its first DLC pack, despite being available for free as a limited time offer, only consisted of more content originating from Ridge Racer 7), resulting in a poor experience that lacked any of the variety of past installments. In conclusion, the game was considered "a complete and utter ripoff" that "feels more like a cheap cash-in than a fully thought-out product." IGN also gave the game a 3/10 for similar reasons, criticizing its absolute lack of storyline or progression-based modes or leagues, and unbalanced online races that use a leveling system to determine a player's top speed (giving an unfair disadvantage to newer players). Ridge Racer was described as "racing in a vacuum, barely more than a tech demo, wrapped up in an online-reliant social framework that's fundamentally flawed on several levels." In June 2012, IGN also named Ridge Racer one of its ten "Worst Video Games of 2012 So Far".
Final Fantasy: All the Bravest (iOS)
Final Fantasy: All the Bravest, a Final Fantasy spin-off, was released on January 17, 2013 for iOS devices. It was advertised as a classically-styled Final Fantasy game developed specifically for iOS devices. Criticism was leveled at its simplistic gameplay mechanics (with one reviewer noting how the game could be completed with one's eyes closed) and the extensive microtransaction system embedded in the game. Of particular concern was the system for buying 'Legendary Characters', characters from past Final Fantasy games, wherein a random character from a list of 35 would be added to the party for a fee of $0.99. It was viewed by several reviewers as a cynical attempt from the publisher to exploit fans of the series, and was called by one reviewer 'a cash delivery system' rather than a game.
It currently holds a score of 23/100 on Metacritic.
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- Gamescrap a site dedicated to bad video games
- The all time worst games at MobyGames
- Top Ten Worst Video Games of All Time at GameTrailers
- So Bad It's Horrible: Video Games at TV Tropes
- EGM's Crapstravaganza: The 20 Worst Video Games of All Time by Seanbaby