List of video games notable for negative reception

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The following is a list of video games notable for negative reception; these include games that have been named to lists of "worst" games published by major video gaming publications and websites and games that have notably received low review scores from such publications (often determined by low aggregate scores on sites such as Metacritic).

Contents

1980s[edit]

Custer's Revenge (Atari 2600)[edit]

Custer's Revenge was made by Mystique, a company that produced a number of adult video games for the Atari 2600. Alongside its low quality the game was also controversial due to its plot involving the apparent rape of a Native American woman.[1] Atari received numerous complaints about the game and responded by trying to sue Mystique.[2] Ultimately, the game was withdrawn from circulation.[3]

The game was also poorly received for its quality; it was listed as the most shameful game of all time by GameSpy,[1] as the third-worst game of all time by PC World,[4] and GameTrailers[5] and the ninth-worst game by Seanbaby in Electronic Gaming Monthly.[6]

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Atari 2600)[edit]

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial received significant criticism for its poor quality graphics and redundant and confusing gameplay

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was based on Steven Spielberg's popular 1982 film of the same name and reputedly coded in just five weeks in order to be released during the 1982 holiday season.[7] Despite high expectations, the game sold only 1.5 million copies,[8] and came nowhere near Atari's expectations of five million units.[7] A large number of the cartridges sold were sent back to the company because many consumers found the game to be unenjoyable.[7] Truckloads of these cartridges were buried in a landfill in New Mexico after they failed to sell.[9][10][11] 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.[11][12]

E.T. was listed as the worst game of all time by PC World in 2006,[4] Electronic Gaming Monthly,[13] and FHM magazine,[14] and was ranked as the second worst movie game on the "Top Ten Worst Movie Games" (losing only to Charlie's Angels) by GameTrailers.[15] It was also ranked the second worst game of all time by GameTrailers, losing only to Superman 64.[5] Some considered it so bad that the title screen was the only good part of the game.[16] 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.[12]

Pac-Man (Atari 2600)[edit]

Despite being a commercial success and selling over 7 million copies,[17] 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—a result of the game only rendering one ghost on screen per frame.[17] 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.[17]

In 1998, Next Generation Magazine called it the "worst coin-op conversion of all time" and attributed the mass dissatisfaction to its poor quality.[17] In 2006, IGN's Craig Harris echoed similar statements and listed Pac-Man among his own list of the worst home console ports of arcade games.[18] Another IGN editor, Levi Buchanan, described it as a "disastrous port", citing the color scheme and flickering ghosts.[19] Chris Kohler of Wired commented that despite its poor quality, the game was an impressive technical achievement given the console's limitations.[20]

Takeshi no Chōsenjō (Family Computer)[edit]

Takeshi no Chōsenjō (translated as Takeshi's Written Challenge), was produced by Taito in collaboration with comedian turned actor/director Takeshi Kitano, then famous for his game show Takeshi's Castle. The player was required to take on a series of bizarrely difficult tasks, including singing and staring at a blank screen for an hour, which was all based on ideas suggested by Kitano, sometimes whilst alcohol intoxicated.[21] On the game's entry for the guidebook for the exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Family Computer, hosted by Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, states in its headline; a game that sucked so bad, that craved its name in the history of the Family Computer. It then stated in its summary "We could be more than kind and say this was "an ambitious piece which pushed the limit of the video games", but "the worst sucking [sic] game" would be the adequate words to describe it."[22] The reception was so negative that the Famitsu magazine of Japan, positioned the game on the top ranking spot of their kuso-gē chart, reserved for only the worst games.

The game became bizarrely challenging that the publisher received over 400 phone calls each day, asking questions about the game. Sometimes, unable to provide a solution, they responded by telling the caller "the person in charge died."[22]

1990s[edit]

Action 52 (NES, Sega Genesis)[edit]

Action 52 is the name of two unlicensed multicarts released by Active Enterprises. Each cart consisted of 52 individual and original video games. The first was released in September 1991 for the Nintendo Entertainment System video game console, with a second released in May 1993 for the Sega Genesis (a Super Nintendo Entertainment System version was advertised in some magazines, but never released). It initially retailed for the comparatively high price of US$199 (or "less than $4 for each game"),[23] and became notorious among gamers for the low quality of games, most of the soundtrack being plagiarized and a $104,000 contest involving one of its included games Ooze was deemed pointless due to the game crashing.[24]

Link: The Faces of Evil / Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon / Zelda's Adventure (CD-i)[edit]

As a result of cancelled plans to release a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, 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.[25] The first two games were developed in tandem by Animation Magic, using the same game engine, and were released on the same day.[26]

These two games gained notoriety when attention was brought to their animated cutscenes, which were animated by a Russian studio; in the midst of a review of the Zelda cartoon, an IGN reviewer described the games as being "infamous"[27] and Matthew Castle of Computer and Video Games considered the cutscenes to be "terrifying, rendering Link as a rubbery limbed freak with a face that swims all over his head."[26] Further criticism was brought to Zelda's Adventure, a third game developed instead by Viridis, which had significantly different gameplay to the first two games (which closer resembled the top-down style of the original game, instead of using the side-scrolling style of Zelda II), and shifted to a live-action visual style with digitized sprites instead of a cartoon look. According to Castle, "what [Zelda's Adventure] lacked in hideous toons it made up for with live-action FMV-visits from a beardy wizard (not a professional actor, but the game's music composer) whose shambolic preamble makes Knightmare look like Lord of the Rings." It also suffered from poor gameplay, and a glitch preventing the game from playing both music and sound effects at the same time.[26][28]

Beyond simply the animations, reviewers at GameTrailers have also ascribed modern negative criticism to "barely functional controls, lackluster gameplay, and numerous bugs."[5] Danny Cowan of 1UP.com noted that Zelda fans "almost universally despise these games."[28] The Wand of Gamelon was ranked the #6 worst video game of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly[29] and the #5 by GameTrailers.[5]

Hotel Mario (CD-i)[edit]

In addition to getting a license for Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda characters, Philips also received a license for the some of the characters in Nintendo's Mario franchise as well. Like the three Zelda games that Philips released, Hotel Mario contained animated cutscenes. Upon its release, Hotel Mario was given mixed reviews by video game magazines Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro. The former commented that Hotel Mario's gameplay was simple yet addictive.[13] GamePro, while calling the game fun, believed that it would soon bore players, and gave it a fun factor of 2.5 out of 5.[30][31]

Years after the game was released, it has gained a reputation as one of the worst games ever. When Electronic Gaming Monthly named Mario the greatest video game character in 2005, they considered Hotel Mario his most embarrassing moment.[32] Similarly, it was deemed the worst Mario game of all time by ScrewAttack, who criticized the game for its audio and controls, as well as for being solely "based on shutting doors."[33] GameDaily included Hotel Mario in its feature of the worst games starring Nintendo mascots, stating its gameplay lacked identifiable Mario elements.[34] The game was also listed as the worst 2D platformer in the Mario series by N-Europe. The site found the Koopaling battles "uniquely bad", calling the game itself a "steaming turd".[35]

IGN said that Hotel Mario was better than the respective The Legend of Zelda titles, but noted that closing doors was not "a strong enough hook for an entire game."[36] Chris Kohler of Wired magazine regarded Hotel Mario as "a puzzle game with no puzzles", assuming it was one of the reasons why Nintendo was not impressed by the CD-ROM medium.[37] The game was referred to as "craptastic" by GamesRadar[38] and "little more than a really rubbish version of Elevator Action" by Eurogamer.[39]

In its 1994 review, GamePro rated Hotel Mario's graphics at 3.5 and sound at 4 out of 5, citing that "the only intriguing aspects of this game are the well-fashioned animated sequences."[30] Years after the game was released, the cut scenes have become a subject of criticism among video game websites,[35][39][40] and were called "outright terrifying" by 1UP.com.[41] IGN described them as "abysmal" and "a bad flip-book of images printed out of Microsoft Paint. From 1987."[36] The quality of the voice acting was also questioned.[35][36][40][41] Both 1UP.com and IGN thought the voices were unfitting for the characters and did not achieve the same playfulness as those of Mario and Luigi's current voice artist Charles Martinet. Hotel Mario was listed in the Top 20 Worst Mario Games of all time.[36][41]

Plumbers Don't Wear Ties (3DO)[edit]

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).[42] 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."[42] 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.[43] 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.[44]

Catfight (PC)[edit]

Catfight is a highly exploitive fighting game and was panned by critics, receiving a GameRankings score of 8.67%,[45] while GameSpot called Catfight "without a doubt, the worst computer game ever released", rating it 1.6/10.[46]

The Crow: City of Angels (PC, PlayStation, Sega Saturn)[edit]

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%.[47] 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".[48] GamePro called the game "a turkey", criticizing its graphics and "asinine" gameplay.[49]

Bubsy 3D (PlayStation)[edit]

Bubsy 3D received 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.[50] 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.[51] 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."[52]

Extreme Paintbrawl (PC)[edit]

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.[53]

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.[53] IGN gave it a 0.7/10,[54]

South Park (PC, PlayStation)[edit]

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.[55] 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."[56] By contrast, its Nintendo 64 version received better reception, including praise for its storyline and 3D graphics.[57]

Superman (Nintendo 64)[edit]

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, extremely short draw distances covered by distance fog (which is explained in-game as being an aspect of the virtual reality simulation of Metropolis the game is set in, but previously described as "Kryptonite fog" by developers), and poor controls.[58][59] 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."[58] Both IGN and Game Revolution panned the game for its atrocious set-up, gameplay, and graphics. IGN specifically cited a large amount of clipping, "very robotic and unconvincing" character animations, along with "jittery, sometimes slideshow-like framerates", and concluded that "with horrible control, unforgivable framerates and more bugs than can be counted, Titus should be absolutely ashamed of this awful game, and the company should be doubly ashamed for pissing all over such a beloved license."[59][60]

Superman was listed as the worst game of all time by GameTrailers,[5] the worst game on a Nintendo platform by Nintendo Power,[61] and as the worst video game adaptation of a comic book by both GameSpy and GameDaily.[62][63]

2000s[edit]

Daikatana (PC, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64)[edit]

After being delayed multiple times from its conception in early 1997, Daikatana was finally released in 2000. By this time, numerous games based on more advanced graphics technology (such as id Software's Quake III and Epic MegaGames' Unreal Tournament) had already been released, causing Daikatana to lag technologically in the market with its dated Quake II game engine. The game had already received controversy for its advertisement which was a red poster with large black lettering proclaiming "John Romero's about to make you his bitch", a reference to Romero's infamous trash talk during gaming.[64] Nothing else was featured on this poster but a small tag-line reading "Suck It Down," an Ion Storm logo and an Eidos logo. Romero would later apologize for the advertisement, stating in an interview that "up until that ad, I felt I had a great relationship with the gamer and the game development community and that ad changed everything. That stupid ad. I regret it and I apologize for it."[65]

Daikatana was a major contributing factor in the closure of Ion Storm's Dallas office. In 2009, ScrewAttack named this game the #7 biggest bust on their "Top 10 Biggest Busts", which listed the biggest failures in gaming, due to its controversial advertising and the hype that Romero built on this game, which in the end turned out to be a failure.[66] In 2010, GameTrailers ranked this game the #2 biggest gaming disappointment of the decade, citing the game's terrible AI for friend and foe alike, pushed-back release dates, controversial magazine ad, and gossip-worthy internal drama (among other things) as "the embodiment of game's industry hubris."[67]

Survivor (PC)[edit]

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,[68] a 2.0/10 rating from GameSpot[69] and a 2.4/10 rating on IGN,[70] the game has received an F- from Game Revolution, a grade made specifically for the game.[71]

Kabuki Warriors (Xbox)[edit]

Kabuki Warriors was a launch title for the Xbox and was a fighting game. GameSpot gave it a 1.4 out of 10 and named it the worst game of 2001[72] while Edge magazine giving it a rating of 1.[73] Game Informer gave it a rating of .5 and bashed the game mechanics.[74]

Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure (GameCube)[edit]

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, and 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.[75] Metacritic gave this game a 39 out of 100.[76]

Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (GameCube, Xbox)[edit]

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."[77] 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.[78] The game has a Metacritic score of 27/100 for its GameCube version and 26/100 for its Xbox version.[79]

Batman: Dark Tomorrow (GameCube, Xbox)[edit]

Batman: Dark Tomorrow received very negative reviews by critics for its confusing game play engine, its repetitive mission modes, and its awkward camera angles. The end of the game is also criticized because there is no direction to the "fulfilling ending" of the story, outside of another source. GameSpot gave the game a score of 2.8 out of 10,[80] while IGN gave it a score of 2.2 out of 10 for the Xbox version[81] and 3.5 out of 10 for the GameCube version.[82] GameRankings gave it a score of 24.06% for the Xbox version[83] and 27.83% for the GameCube version;[84] while Metacritic gave it a score of 25 out of 100 for the Xbox version[85] and 29 out of 100 for the GameCube version.[86] A PlayStation 2 version was planned, but got cancelled due to the game's poor reception.

Charlie's Angels (GameCube, PlayStation 2)[edit]

Released as a tie-in to the film Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and featuring the voices of its stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, Charlie's Angels received criticism for its poor gameplay (with a large number of bugs and glitches), graphics (including poor character models, and unique "fighting styles" that had little differentiation), and storyline. Alex Navarro of GameSpot believed the game's voice acting, despite involving the actual actors from the films, "[gave] the impression that they had each individually been roused from a bad hangover and thrown in front of a microphone." The game ultimately received a 1.9 out of 10 from Navarro, who dubbed the game a "horrific display of ineptitude."[87] IGN gave Charlie's Angels a 4.0 out of 10, considering it "the textbook example of what happens when no care or thought is put into the digital adaptations of lucrative movie licenses" due to its shallow gameplay, and being "neither sexy nor cool" like the films.[88] GameTrailers named Charlie's Angels the "Worst Movie Game of All Time", considering it "degrading, not to women, not even to video games, but to humanity itself."[15]

Charlie's Angels has a Metacritic score of 23/100[89] and a GameRankings score of 23.74%, the lowest aggregate score of any video game with more than 20 featured reviews as of March 2011.[90]

Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (PC)[edit]

Released in an 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 coding (including the ability to drive directly up vertical inclines, and to accelerate in reverse indefinitely), and its victory screen—an image of a three-handled trophy cup accompanied by the typoed caption "YOU'RE WINNER !".[91]

Big Rigs was listed as one of the worst games ever made by GameSpot,[91] Thunderbolt,[92] and Netjak,[93] 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."[94] His video review contained no narration whatsoever, consisting of in-game footage interspersed with scenes showing Navarro staring in disbelief, crying, and beating his head on a desk.[95] 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.[96] 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.[97]

On aggregate reviews, it has the lowest aggregate score of any video game, with 8/100 on Metacritic,[98] and 3.83% on GameRankings.[99] Big Rigs was also named #2 as the "Worst Video Game of the Decade".[100] 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.[96]

Elf Bowling 1 & 2 (Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS)[edit]

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.[101] IGN's Craig Harris called the compilation "absolutely retarded".[102]

On aggregate reviews, it has the third-lowest aggregate score of any video game, with 12/100 from Metacritic,[103] and 12.25% from GameRankings.[104]

Lula 3D (PC)[edit]

The adult-themed adventure game Lula 3D was criticized for its tedious gameplay, poor puzzle designs, graphics (including inconsistent frame rates, poor animation, and blatant re-use of character models), voice acting, and controls. On Metacritic, the game received an aggregate score of 28% from 14 reviews.[105] Jolt Online Gaming gave Lula 3D a 1.8 out of 10 for making "every mistake that can possibly be made by the designers of a 3D adventure", criticizing its poorly implemented controls and camera, tedious gameplay involving "mooching around listening to Lula’s terribly voiced and poorly translated descriptions of everything around you, while collecting everything you can lay your hands on", and voice actors whose quality were compared to rejected phone sex operator auditionees. In conclusion, Jolt felt that "if you like good games, Lula 3D isn't for you. If you like sexual humour, Lula 3D isn’t for you. If you have no qualms about pulling yourself off at the sight of dreadfully rendered computer characters shagging, then you need to check yourself in at your local therapy centre."[106]

Eurogamer gave the game a 2 out of 10, believing that its low quality and immature humor (such as the "Bouncin' Boobs Technology" its packaging touts), made the game feel like it was developed by and intended for 12-year old boys. PC Zone gave the game a 3.1 out of 10, believing that it was "oddly compelling", but "so inexorably, mindbogglingly ignorant of how either real games or real sex works that it spread-eagles itself a fair way into the 'so-bad-it's good' category."[107][108]

In 2013, Polygon cited Lula 3D and other "low-brow" pornographic games as a factor in the mainstream video game industry's general non-acceptance of adult video games.[109]

Animal Soccer World (PlayStation 2)[edit]

Animal Soccer World was a critical[110][111] and financial failure, it has gained a cult following, due to the low quality of its voice acting, animation and overall presentation. Destructoid has called it "the worst game ever made", citing the poor cutscenes and stating that the game "doesn’t even have any soccer gameplay in it, just puzzles and a coloring book" and even stating that some of the characters seem to resemble several Disney movie characters.[110]

Ninjabread Man (PlayStation 2, Wii)[edit]

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 an aggregate rating of 31%,[112] while the Wii version has an average of 17.5%.[113] 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."[114] Thunderbolt gave it 1/10, citing the game's length and the unimaginative use of the character as key flaws."[115]

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

Intended to reboot the Sonic the Hedgehog 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, bad camera angles, numerous 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",[116] 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".[117] 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.[118]

Despite its criticism, the game has a Metacritic average of 46% for the Xbox 360 version[119] and a similar score of 43% for the PlayStation 3 version.[120]

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust was the eighth installment of the Leisure Suit Larry video game series, released on March 27, 2009.[121] 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.[122] Screwattack.com gave the game a SAGY award for the Worst Multiconsole game of 2009.[123] Giant Bomb gave the game the Worst Game of the Year Award in 2009.[124] The Australian television show Good Game rated it as the Worst Game of 2009.[125] Online gaming site IGN gave it a 2.2/10 for the PC and Xbox 360 versions and a 2/10 for the PS3 version, categorizing them as "painful", and 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."[126] GameCentral's review summarizes the game as "One of the worst video games ever made—brutally unfunny and monotonously inept on every level."[127] Al Lowe, creator of the Leisure Suit Larry games produced by Sierra Entertainment in the 1980s and 90's, publicly thanked VU Games on his website for keeping him away from what he called "the latest disaster".[128] GameTrailers also rated the game a 2.3/10, the lowest score ever given on the site.[129]

M&M's Kart Racing (Nintendo DS, Wii)[edit]

M&M's Kart Racing was released in 2007 for the Wii and 2008 for the Nintendo DS and was panned by critics for its poor gameplay and limited use of the M&M's license. It has a GameRankings score of 22.50% and 22.33% for the Wii and DS versions respectively.[130][131] GameSpot gave the DS version 2/10, stating that the game "could put you off M&M's for life" and also named it 2008's Flat-Out Worst Game.[132] IGN gave the DS version 3/10 and the Wii version 2.5/10 citing that "commercial mascots make terrible videogames" and that the game "barely used the license at all".[133][134] The game was also given the lowest-rated kart game record by Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2011, stating that the game's nearest "rival" was Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway, the latter of which has a GameRankings score of 26.40%, 3.9% more than M&M's Kart Racing.[135]

Rogue Warrior (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

Rogue Warrior was initially developed by Zombie Studios under the title Rogue Warrior: Black Razor: it would have been an Unreal Engine 3-based game with drop-in four-player cooperative play, and 24-player competitive multiplayer using randomly generated maps based on a unique tiling system.[136] 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 Developments taking over development. The game was re-built from the ground up, completely scrapping Zombie Studios' work.[137]

Upon its release, Rogue Warrior was panned by critics for its poor controls, extreme and incredibly frequent use of profanity, short length, very limited multiplayer, and broken combat techniques.[138][139] 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."[138] 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.[139] Eurogamer's Richard Leadbetter called it "the worst game I've played on either platform for a long, long time."[140]

2010s[edit]

Naughty Bear (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

Naughty Bear was met with negative reviews. IGN's Greg Miller scored the game 3/10 on Xbox 360[141] and 2.5/10 on PlayStation 3. GameSpot gave the game a 5.5/10.[142] X-Play gave the game a 3/5.[143] Joystiq gave the game a 2/5.[144] The Escapist Magazine gave the game a 2/5, calling it "repetitious and clunky".[145] Good Game's Steven O'Donnell and Stephanie Bendixsen gave the game a combined score of 2.5/20[146] and named it 'Worst game of the Year'.

Postal III (PC)[edit]

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.[147] The game ultimately received poor reviews from critics, scoring an average review score on Metacritic of 24/100.[148] The 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.[149]

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).[150] 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.[151] 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 that should have been fixed before release (such as a warning that an escort would "frustratingly disappear" if left behind), and concluding that there was "nothing redeeming about Postal III's frustrating, buggy gameplay."[152]

MindJack (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

MindJack has a Metacritic score of 44 for the PlayStation 3[153] and 43 for the Xbox 360.[154] Kat Bailey of 1UP.com found nothing to like about the game, calling it a "lazy, corporate-mandated cash-in."[155] 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."[156]

Self-Defense Training Camp (Xbox 360)[edit]

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.[157][158] 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."[157] 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.'"[158] IGN also ultimately named it one of its worst games of 2011.[159] The game currently holds an aggregated score of 21/100 on Metacritic.[160]

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor (Xbox 360)[edit]

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."[161] GameRankings gave the game a 38.54%[162] 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, and levels designed to be nearly impossible.[163]

The War Z (PC)[edit]

The War Z, an open world multiplayer survival horror game, was publicly released as a "foundation release" in December 2012. The game received negative reception from various publications for its poor gameplay experience, and for its use of microtransactions for purchasing items and reviving characters without waiting four hours, despite the game not being a freemium "free-to-play" game. 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 state of the game and its use of microtransactions, but complimenting its overall atmosphere and far draw distance.[164] 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.[165]

Its developer, Hammerpoint Interactive, was also accused of false advertising by players; since the game's promotional material on Steam at the time highlighted 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). Despite this information being corrected to consider them "upcoming" features, 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. Due to its similar themes, gameplay, and title, some also felt that The War Z was a clone of the popular ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead mod DayZ (of which a standalone version was in development); on June 20, 2013, Hammerpoint announced that the game would be renamed Infestation: Survivor Stories, "primarily as a result of some confusion and trademark issues with a similarly titled property" (a statement which also factored in a conflict with the film World War Z).[166][167][168][169]

Ridge Racer (PS Vita)[edit]

Ridge Racer, the first reboot 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."[170] 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."[171] In June 2012, IGN also named Ridge Racer one of its ten "Worst Video Games of 2012 So Far".[172]

Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified (PS Vita)[edit]

Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified was released exclusively for the PlayStation Vita in November 2012, and was panned by critics for its short campaign, poor enemy AI and unreliable network mode and holds a score of 33.21% at GameRankings[173] and 33/100 at Metacritic.[174] Game Informer's Dan Ryckert gave the game a score of 3/10 and called the game a "complete embarrassment" for the Call of Duty franchise.[175] Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann cited it as a "disjointed mess", criticizing the awkward touch-based controls, glitches causing enemies to get stuck on level geometry, and multiplayer maps "so tiny that you'll literally spawn with an enemy in your crosshairs".[176] Daniel Rutledge of 3 News also criticized it stating that the single player campaign was "less than an hour long" and describing it as "terrible value for money".[177] Peter Willington of Pocket Gamer was also unimpressed, calling it "a massive middle finger to the fans".[178]

Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade (Wii U)[edit]

Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade, a minigame compilation for the Wii U, was panned by critics for its poor quality, and holds a score of 11/100 on Metacritic; the second-lowest score among all video games listed.[179] Game Revolution gave the game a 0 out of 5 for "[boasting] 30 'great' games, yet [delivering] nothing more than confusion and anger instead of competition and fun." The entire game was criticized for being poorly designed (including a target shooting game that required players to aim with the Wii Remote's Nunchuck instead of pointing and shooting), and all of its minigames were considered to be "garbage" and "borderline unplayable".[180] Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game a score of 11%, jokingly concluding the review (written in the style of a diary) with an "ONM Coroner's Report" that read "Patient suffered a psychotic breakdown while playing this game. No treatment possible."[181]

Final Fantasy All the Bravest (iOS)[edit]

Final Fantasy All the Bravest, a Final Fantasy spin-off, was released on January 17, 2013 for iOS devices.[182] 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)[183] 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.[184] It was viewed by several reviewers as a cynical attempt from the publisher to exploit fans of the series,[185][186] and was called by one reviewer 'a cash delivery system' rather than a game.[187]

As of June 2013, it holds a score of 25/100 on Metacritic.[188]

Star Trek (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

Released on April 23, 2013, Star Trek was heavily criticized for its poor quality, as well as its large number of bugs and glitches. Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 46%, with the PC version having a score of 44%, and the Xbox 360 version a score of 42%. GameSpot also gave Star Trek a 3.5/10 rating, while IGN gave it a 4.2/10 rating. J. J. Abrams stated in September 2013 that he was "emotionally hurt" by the game's poor reception, and also stated that it "arguably hurt" his new film Star Trek Into Darkness by being released shortly before it.[189]

Fast and Furious: Showdown (3DS, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360)[edit]

Fast and Furious: Showdown was released in May 21, 2013 and was poorly received by various critics. IGN cited that "Awful driving physics, weak shooting, short, buggy missions, ugly tracks, and badly impersonated voice acting make Fast & Furious: Showdown the epitome of an insultingly terrible movie tie-in game."[190] Multiplayer. It said "Fast & Furious: Showdown is a nice example of how NOT to make a game."[191] It currently holds a Metacritic score of 23/100.[192]

Ride to Hell: Retribution (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

First announced in 2008 as a Grand Theft Auto-styled game set during the late 1960's, the eventual release of Ride to Hell: Retribution in June 2013 was met with largely negative reception. In particular, Ride to Hell was criticized for its largely broken gameplay, poorly implemented controls, poor voice acting and writing, and dropping the originally announced open world format in favor of a linear structure. Daniel Starkey of GameSpot considered Ride to Hell: Retribution to be "painfully insubstantial" and broken all-around, criticizing its plot for showing a "pathetic, out-of-touch approach to sex, violence, and masculinity", and believing that its developers were showing a lack of respect towards players due the game's abysmal quality. Describing it as the newest candidate for "Worst Game of All Time", Starkey gave Ride to Hell a 1.0 out of 10, making it only the second game (behind Big Rigs) to receive GameSpot's lowest possible rating.[193] EGM criticized Ride to Hell for being "a linear, insultingly underdeveloped mess" with "endlessly clunky gameplay" and numerous bugs and glitches, concluding that "other games may have offered less content for more money or come up shorter in specific, individual areas, but I don’t think there’s ever been a game that does so many things so universally poorly", giving the game 0.5 out of 10.[194] As of August 2013, the game has a Metacritic score of 19 out of 100, based on 14 reviews of the Xbox 360 version.[195] It is currently the third lowest scoring game ever on the Xbox 360, and the lowest scoring full retail Xbox 360 game of all time.[196] It received a 13 out of 100 score from Metacritic for the PS3 version, making it the lowest scoring PS3 game of all time.

Ashes Cricket 2013 (PC)[edit]

Ashes Cricket 2013, a cricket video game developed by Trickstar Games and published by 505 Games on Steam, was delayed from a release scheduled for June 2013 due to quality concerns; the original release date was to coincide with the English leg of the 2013 Ashes series. It was pulled four days after its release on 22 November 2013 (which now coincided with the 2013–14 Ashes series in Australia) following overwhelmingly negative user reviews.[197] In its review of the game, Rock Paper Shotgun considered Ashes Cricket 2013 to be "hilariously awful", and criticized the game for having poorly implemented and documented controls, poor graphics and character animations, and other non-functioning features, saying that "trying to follow the ball is quite the thing, as each fielder sproings from one glitchy animation to the next, pinging from one place to another, while the camera chops and changes at all the wrong moments. It is, immediately, a bad game."[198]

505 apologized to the game's users, saying that the developers were (despite their experience with cricket video games) unable to build a suitable product on the engine they provided, and that "[the game] couldn't meet the quality benchmarks of either us, our licensors or our customers." The company also indicated that its current priority was to "protect the Ashes name and that of the ECB and Cricket Australia, and do what we can to recompense the cricket community." 505 offered refunds to all who purchased Ashes Cricket 2013, and also cancelled plans to release console versions of the game.[199][200]

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]