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List of video games notable for negative reception

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The following video games are noted for their negative reception. They include games that won ironic and humorous awards (such as Golden Mullet Awards), games that have been named to lists of "worst" games published by major video gaming publications or websites, and games that have received low review scores from such publications (often determined by low aggregate scores on sites such as Metacritic). Video games can be considered bad for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: low quality or outdated graphics, large amounts of glitches, or being too different from other games in its franchise.

Contents

1980s[edit]

Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em (Atari 2600)[edit]

Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em is a pornographic video game for the Atari 2600 by Mystique in 1982. Distribution was handled by American Multiple Industries until distribution changed to Game Source. Players control two nude women; the goal is to catch sperm falling from a masturbating man on a rooftop without missing. Its gameplay has been compared to the Atari game Kaboom!. There is also gender-reversed version of the game titled Philly Flasher that features identical gameplay. Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em has received negative reception since its release. It is often cited as an example of pornographic Atari 2600 games.[1][2][3][4] The developer had received criticism for this game.[5] Atari HQ identified both the Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em and the PlayAround cartridge a rarity level of 5 out of 10.[6][7][8] Allgame gave it two stars out of five.[9] Seanbaby included it in his list of the 10 naughtiest games of all time; he mocked a quote in the manual that chastises players who fail to catch sperm as the sperm "could have been a famous doctor or lawyer" due to the fact that swallowing sperm has the same effect as letting it hit the ground. He also criticized the level of eroticism stating, "There's something non-erotic about skipping past the courting, past the foreplay, past the actual sex, and getting straight to the sperm-swallowing. They might as well have skipped directly to sleeping on the wet spot."[10] Destructoid founder Niero Gonzalez listed it as the second most sexual Atari 2600 game ever made.[11] Brett Elston criticized early Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em for its depiction of women as "crudely designed slamholes."[12] GamesTM used it as an example of Atari 2600 games that feature masturbation as its core gameplay mechanic.[13] Luke Plunkett noted that Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em was a "relatively harmless" adult game for the Atari, in contrast with Custer's Revenge.[14] Daemon Hatfield expressed amazement that Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em was made 20 years before the video game sex controversy Hot Coffee.[15] PJ Hruschak wrote that games like Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em were more "silly than sexy."[16] Luke of PALGN commented that Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em was "tasteless" and "inappropriate."[17] Steven Poole satirized the News International phone hacking scandal using Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em called Whack 'Em & Hack 'Em in a commentary on the Supreme Court of the United States' ruling that video games are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and America's "'obscenity' exception" to free speech.[18]

Players control two nude women on the street who must catch semen in their mouths that comes from a masturbating man on a rooftop without missing. This can be accomplished merely by touching the women's bodies on the sperm before it hits the ground. A more difficult setting requires players catch the sperm before it goes past the women's shoulders. If the player successfully catches every sperm, the two women lick their lips and the game progesses to the next round. If any sperm hits the ground, the first turn is over. Players are allowed to miss four times before the game is over. They can gain a turn every 69 points scored (up to two extra turns). Players move both women using the controller's paddle and the game allows each player to control one woman. The game plays similarly to the Atari game Kaboom!.[9][15][16][19]

A gender-reversed version of the game was later released in a 'double-ended' cartridge along with Cathouse Blues as 'Philly Flasher, in which the player is tasked with controlling two male prisoners with visibly erect penises as they attempt to catch drops of breast milk lactated by an old witch. All gameplay mechanics are identical to the original, save for the fact that when the men catch all the milk, they masturbate and ejaculate.[20] The rights for sales and distribution were taken over by Game Source, which changed the line of adult video games (which included Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em) to "PlayAround". The company created multiple "double-ender" cartridges which included two of these adult games in one. One of these was a compilation of Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em and Lady in Wading.[21] A homebrew port of the game for the NES was developed in 2014 by FG Software.

Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em was published and developed by Mystique in 1982.[22] Its sales and distribution were handled by American Multiple Industries.[21]

Custer's Revenge (Atari 2600)[edit]

Custer's Revenge was made in 1982 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.[23] Atari received numerous complaints about the game and responded by trying to sue Mystique.[24] Ultimately, the game was withdrawn from circulation.[25]

The game was also poorly received for its quality; it was listed as the most shameful game of all time by GameSpy,[23] as the third-worst game of all time by PC World,[26] and GameTrailers[27] and the ninth-worst game by Seanbaby in Electronic Gaming Monthly.[28]

Custer's Revenge quickly gained notoriety upon its release. Sold in a sealed package labeled "NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS"[29] and selling for $49.95 (the most expensive Atari 2600 game in the market),[30] it acknowledged that children might nonetheless see the game. The game's literature stated "if the kids catch you and should ask, tell them Custer and the maiden are just dancing."[31] The makers elected to preview the game for women's and Native American groups, an act which some thought was a publicity stunt.[32] Women's rights groups criticized the game,[33] stating that it was a simulation of rape; the back of the packaging states "she's not about to take it lying down, by George! Help is on the way. By God! He's coming." Other groups such as Women Against Pornography, Native American spokespersons, and critics of the video game industry in general protested about the game. Andrea Dworkin claimed the game "generated many gang rapes of Native American women."[34] Activists tried pressuring legislators to outlaw the game, which Oklahoma City, Oklahoma did.[35] Multiple Industries pursued an $11 million lawsuit against Suffolk County, New York and legislator Philip Nolan "because of a resolution authorizing the county executive to take action to halt sales and distribution" of the game.[36]

Nevertheless, the focused media attention caused the game to sell approximately 80,000 copies, twice as many copies as Mystique's other adult-only games, Bachelor Party and Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em. However, Atari, only the platform for the game and not the maker, received numerous complaints about the game, and responded by trying to sue the game's makers.[37] Stuart Kesten, President of American Multiple Industries (Mystique), stated "our object is not to arouse, our object is to entertain [...] When people play our games, we want them smiling, we want them laughing." The game's designer, Joel Miller, said Custer was "seducing" the maiden and that she was a "willing participant."[30] Ultimately, the game was withdrawn from circulation.[38]

In 2008, the University of Calgary professor Tom Keenan cited "the hideous Custer's Revenge game", 26 years after its release, in an op-ed piece about current video game violence issues for the Calgary Herald.[39] That same year, the game was credited by Australian PC Magazine as being one of the worst games ever made,[40] while Games.net ranked Custer's victim as fifth on the list of top ten disturbingly sexual game characters.[41] In 2010, Custer placed eighth on machinima.com's list of the top perverts in gaming.[42] UGO.com ranked it as tenth on the list of the most racist video games in history in 2010,[43] also ranking the game's General Custer as the second most unsexy video game character of all time in 2012.[44]

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

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial received significant criticism for its low-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 in time for the 1982 holiday season.[45] Despite high expectations, the game sold only 1.5 million copies,[46] and came nowhere near Atari's expectations of five million units.[45] A large number of the cartridges sold were sent back to the company because many consumers found the game to be unenjoyable.[45] Truckloads of these cartridges were buried in a landfill in New Mexico after they failed to sell.[47][48][49] 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.[49][50]

E.T. was listed as the worst game of all time by PC World in 2006,[26] Electronic Gaming Monthly,[51] and FHM magazine,[52] and was ranked as the second-worst movie game on the "Top Ten Worst Movie Games" (losing only to Charlie's Angels) by GameTrailers.[53] It was also ranked the second-worst game of all time by GameTrailers, losing only to Superman 64.[27] Some considered it so bad that the title screen was the only good part of the game.[54] 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.[50]

While reviews of the movie version of E.T. were highly positive, the game was negatively received by critics, with common complaints focused on the plot, gameplay, and visuals. New York magazine's Nicholas Pileggi described it as a loser when compared to other games Atari could have released like Donkey Kong and Frogger.[55] Video Games called the game "really for kids (the littler ones)."[56] Kevin Bowen of GameSpy's Classic Gaming called the gameplay "convoluted and inane", also criticizing its story for departing from the serious tone of the film.[57] Author Steven Kent described the game as "infamous" within the industry, citing "primitive" graphics, "dull" gameplay, and a "disappointing story".[58] In 1984 Softline readers named the game the second-worst Atari program of 1983, after Congo Bongo.[59]

People worry I might be sensitive about the ET debacle, but the fact is I’m always happy to discuss it. After all, it was the fastest game ever done, it was a million seller, and of the thousands of 2600 games, how many others are still a topic? Another thing I like to think about is having done ET (consistently rated among the worst games of all time) and Yars' Revenge (consistently rated as one of the best) I figure I have the unique distinction of having the greatest range of any game designer in history.

—Howard Scott Warshaw on E.T.'s reception[60]

Critics bemoaned the gameplay's repetitive use of falling down holes.[58][61] Emru Townsend of PC World discussed the game with a group, and found a universal dislike for the pits that E.T. falls into, describing it as "monotonous".[61] Writer Sean "Seanbaby" Reiley also criticized the pits, claiming that they are "time-consuming" and "difficult to leave without falling back in".[28] Trent Ward, a former Next Generation Magazine reviewer, commented that this element prompted him to immediately return the game for a refund after purchasing it in his youth,[62] and the children who found games in the New Mexico landfill gave the E.T. cartridges away because, as one later said, the "game sucked ... you couldn't finish it".[63][64] Classic Gaming argued that despite the negative reception, the game can be enjoyable after the player has learned to navigate the pits.[65]

In published materials written over a decade after its initial release, E.T. has been universally panned by critics and is frequently listed as the worst video game ever.[60] Reiley ranked it number one in a list of the 20 worst games of all time in Electronic Gaming Monthly's 150th issue.[28] Michael Dolan, deputy editor of FHM magazine, has also listed the game as his pick for the worst video game of all time.[66] Townsend placed E.T. at the top of his list of worst video games, noting that, "about a third of the people I quizzed came up with this title almost instantly, and it's not hard to see why."[61] GameTrailers ranked the game the second worst on their "Top Ten Best and Worst Games of All Time" list.[67]

Critics often attribute the poor quality to the short development time.[68][69] Townsend commented that the rushed development was very apparent after playing the game.[61] Warshaw's contributions to the game have been met with mixed responses. Classic Gaming called the game poorly designed, while IGN's Levi Buchanan stated the "impossibly tight schedule" given to Warshaw absolves him of blame.[70] Warshaw does not express regret for his part in E.T., and feels he created a good game given the time available to him.[60][71] E.T. is one of the earliest video games based on a movie.[72] GamePro, GameTrailers, and Bowen cite the game as the first poor quality film–video game tie-in.[57][67][73] Patrick O'Luanaigh of SCi Games called it the most famous disaster story among film-inspired video games as well as within the industry.[74] Describing it as one of the "games that changed the world", GamePro stated that E.T. established a standard of subpar quality video games based on movies. They further commented that other publishers adopted similar marketing and production practices with licensed movie properties.[75] The publication listed the game as the second "worst movie game ever", citing it as an example of how poor gameplay can bring negative reception to strong licenses.[73]

The game is often cited as one of the most important titles in the industry's history.[76][77][78] Billboard magazine's Earl Paige reported that the large number of unsold E.T. games along with an increase in competition prompted retailers to demand official return programs from video game manufacturers.[79] The game is also considered to be one of the causes of the video game industry crisis of 1983.[80][81][82] By the end of 1982, Atari had begun to lose dominance as more competitors entered the market.[83] Poor critical reception and lack of a profitable marketing strategy made this game one of many cited decisions that led Atari to report a $536 million loss in 1983 and led to the company being divided and sold in 1984.[84] GameSpy's Classic Gaming called E.T. Atari's biggest mistake, as well as the largest financial failure in the industry.[65][85] Reiley commented that the game's poor quality was responsible for ending the product life of the Atari 2600.[28] Occurring soon after Pac-Man's negative critical response on the Atari 2600, E.T.'s poor reception was attributed by Kent to a negative impact on Atari's reputation and profitability.[58] Authors Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost echoed similar comments about Pac-Man and E.T.'s combined effect on the company's reputation and the industry's reaction.[86] Buchanan also cited the game as a factor to Atari and the industry's crash. He stated that the large amount of unsold merchandise was a financial burden to Atari, which pushed the company into debt.[70]

On December 7, 1982, Kassar[definition needed] announced that Atari's revenue forecasts for 1982 were cut from a 50 percent increase over 1981 to a 15 percent increase.[87] Immediately following the announcement, Warner Communications' stock value dropped by around 35 percent—from US$54 to US$35—resulting in the company losing US$1.3 billion in market valuation.[88] Kassar[definition needed] sold five thousand of his Warner shares a half hour before the announcement.[87] This prompted an investigation for insider trading against him by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[87] Atari attempted to regain their market share by licensing popular arcade games for the Atari consoles. The games, however, did not reverse Atari's decline and they went further into debt. In 1983, the company had decreased its workforce by 30 percent and lost US$356 million. Other companies—Activision, Bally Manufacturing, and Mattel—experienced similar results as the industry declined.[58]

In September 1983, the Alamogordo Daily News of Alamogordo, New Mexico, reported in a series of articles that between ten and twenty[89] semi-trailer truckloads of Atari boxes, cartridges, and systems from an Atari storehouse in El Paso, Texas, were crushed and buried at the landfill within the city. It was Atari's first dealings with the landfill, which was chosen because no scavenging was allowed and its garbage was crushed and buried nightly. Atari officials and others gave differing reports of what was buried,[90][91][92] but it has been speculated that most unsold copies of E.T. are buried in this landfill, crushed and encased in cement.[93] The story of the buried cartridges was erroneously regarded by some as an urban legend, with skeptics—including Warshaw—disregarding the official accounts.[69][71][74]

On May 28, 2013, the Alamogordo City Commission approved Fuel Industries, an Ottawa-based entertainment company, for six months of landfill access both to create a documentary about the legend and to excavate the burial site.[94] On April 26, 2014, remnants of E.T. and other Atari games were discovered in the early hours of the excavation.[47][95]

A fictional account of the game's disposal is the main basis for James Rolfe's 2014 independent film Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie.[96]

In December 2014, The Smithsonian Institution added an excavated cartridge of E.T. to their collection.[97] In 2015, The Henry Ford museum added several excavated cartridges and a video touchpad, a sample of landfill dirt taken from the site of the burial, and items of clothing worn by the excavation team to their collection. A selection of these items are on permanent display.[98][99]

In 2006 the game was decompiled by Dennis Debro and a source code variant reconstructed.[100][101]

In February 2013, several unofficial fixes for the game were released by Neocomputer.org, a small personal website unrelated to Atari.[102] The website details and provides commentary on the game's shortcomings, including instruction on fixing it. According to Neocomputer, the infamous "bug" of E.T. falling into the pits was simply due to pixel-perfect collision detection; if any portion of E.T.'s sprite overlapped a pit, E.T. would then fall into the pit. The website also details certain other problems that were resolved.[102]

In October 2013 the Internet Archive provided a browser-playable version via MESS.[103]

Pac-Man (Atari 2600)[edit]

Despite being a commercial success and selling over 7 million copies,[62] Pac-Man, a port of the popular arcade game for the Atari 2600, was significantly altered from the original in order to meet the Atari'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.[62] 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.[62]

In 1998, Next Generation Magazine called it the "worst coin-op conversion of all time" and attributed the mass dissatisfaction to its poor quality.[62] 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.[104] Another IGN editor, Levi Buchanan, described it as a "disastrous port", citing the color scheme and flickering ghosts.[105] Chris Kohler of Wired commented that despite its poor quality, the game was an impressive technical achievement given the console's limitations.[106]

Critics negatively compared the port to its original arcade form, panning the audio-visuals and gameplay. In 1983, Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games reviewer Danny Goodman commented that the game fails as a replica of its arcade form. Conversely, he stated that such criticism was unfair because the hardware could not properly emulate the arcade game. Goodman further said that the port is a challenging maze game in its own right, and it would have been a success if fans had not expected to play a game closer to the original.[107] That year Phil Wiswell of Video Games criticized the game's poor graphics, mockingly referring to it as "Flickerman",[56] while Softline questioned why Atari opposed Pac-Man clones when the 2600 version was "less like Midway's original than any of the pack of imitators".[108] In 1998, Next Generation magazine editors called it the "worst coin-op conversion of all time", and attributed the mass dissatisfaction to its poor quality.[62] In 2006, IGN's Craig Harris echoed similar statements and listed it as the worst arcade conversion, citing poor audio-visuals that did not resemble the original.[109] Another IGN editor, Levi Buchanan, described it as a "disastrous port", citing the color scheme and flickering ghosts.[110] Skyler Miller of AllGame said that although the game was only a passing resemblance to the original, it was charming despite its many differences and faults.[111]

Ed Logg, a former lead designer at Atari, considered the development a rushed, "lousy" effort. 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.[62] Video game industry researchers Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost attribute the poor reception to the technical differences between the 1977 Atari 2600 console and the 1980 arcade hardware used in Pac-Man cabinets. They further stated that the conversion is a lesson in maintaining the social and cultural context of the original source. Montfort and Bogost commented that players were disappointed with the flickering visual effect, which made the ghosts difficult to track and tired the players' eyes. The two further said that the effect diminishes the ghosts' personalities present in the arcade version.[112] Chris Kohler of Wired commented that the game was poorly received upon its release and in contemporary times because of the poor quality. However, he further described the game as an impressive technical achievement given its console's limitations.[113]

In retrospect, however, critics often cite Atari's Pac-Man as a major factor in the drop of consumer confidence in the company, which led to the North American video game crash of 1983. Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton of Gamasutra stated that the game's poor quality damaged the company's reputation.[114] Buchanan commented that it disappointed millions of fans and diminished confidence in Atari's games.[110][115] Former Next Generation editor-in-chief Neil West attributes his longtime skepticism of Atari's quality to the disappointment he had from buying the game as a child.[62] Calling the game the top video game disaster, Buchanan credits Pac-Man as a factor to the downfall of Atari and the industry in the 1980s.[115] Author Steven Kent also attributes the game, along with Atari's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, to severely damaging the company's reputation and profitability.[116] Montfort and Bogost stated that the game's negative reception seeded mistrust in retailers, which was reinforced by later factors that culminated in the crash.[112]

Poor critical reception made this game one of many decisions that led to Atari's report of a $536 million loss in 1983 and the division and sale of the company's Consumer Division in 1984.[84] On December 7, 1982, Kassar announced that Atari's revenue forecasts for 1982 were cut from a 50 percent increase over 1981 to a 15 percent increase.[62][87] Immediately following the announcement, Warner Communications' stock value dropped by around 35 percent—from $54 to $35—amounting to a loss of $1.3 billion in the company's market valuation.[62][117] Atari attempted to regain its market share by licensing popular arcade games for its consoles. The revenue from selling these console games did not reverse Atari's decline and the company went further into debt. In 1983, the company decreased its workforce by 30 percent and lost $356 million.[116]

Takeshi no Chōsenjō (Famicom)[edit]

Takeshi no Chōsenjō (Takeshi's Written Challenge) was produced by Taito for the Famicom in collaboration with comedian turned actor/director Takeshi Kitano, then famous for his game show Takeshi's Castle. The player is required to take on a series of bizarrely difficult tasks, including singing and staring at a blank screen for an hour, which is all based on ideas suggested by Kitano, sometimes while drunk.[118] The game was so bizarrely challenging that the publisher reportedly received over 400 phone calls a day, asking questions about the game. Sometimes, unable to provide a solution, they responded by telling the caller that "the person in charge died."[119]

The game's entry in the guidebook for a Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the console, described Takeshi no Chōsenjō as being "a game that sucked so bad, that it carved its name in the history of the Family Computer." It then states 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."[119] The reception was so negative that the Japanese video gaming magazine Famitsu named it the top game on their "kusoge" chart, reserved for only the worst games.

Friday the 13th (NES)[edit]

Friday the 13th, an adaptation of the horror movie franchise developed by Atlus and published by LJN as part of its "aggressive" expansion into licensed video games,[120] was retroactively criticized primarily for its "broken" and frustrating gameplay.[121][122]

In its September 2009 issue, Game Informer listed Friday the 13th as being among the worst horror games of all time, noting that "unavoidable hits, stupid weapons, and baffling enemies ensure that your crew of teenagers dies quickly and without ceremony. If they make it through that, Jason will probably appear (as he randomly does) and kill you."[122] GamePro listed it as the 10th worst video game adaptation of a film, explaining that "From the start-up screen, Jason's hockey mask sitting alone in the dark, until a knife flies in from above to pierce the empty eye socket, Friday the 13th looks like it will live up to its gory namesake. Unfortunately, what follows is a repetitive music score and amazingly frustrating gameplay, courtesy of LJN."[121]

Back to the Future (NES)[edit]

The 1989 Back to the Future NES game, developed by Beam Software and published by LJN, was almost universally panned. In 2010, Bob Gale, who was a consultant with Telltale Games when Back to the Future: The Game was being produced, responded to fan questions about the new game by noting "the previous BTTF video games have all sucked eggs - particularly the Nintendo 8-bit cartridge made by LJN in 1989 - truly one of the worst games ever." Gale continues that "The LJN people did not want any input from the filmmakers, but they promise to show us the game when 'it was ready'. I was outraged when they finally showed it to me and had all kinds of things I wanted changed, but of course we were told it was too late to change anything. I actually did interviews telling the fans not to buy it because I was so ashamed that a product this bad would have our brand on it."[123] NES Player.com calls it "another one of LJN's games that were produced for the sole reason of cashing in on a movie".[124]

1990s[edit]

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.[125] The first two games were developed in tandem by Animation Magic, using the same game engine, and were released on the same day.[126]

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"[127] 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."[126] 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 The 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.[126][128]

Beyond simply the animations, reviewers at GameTrailers have also ascribed modern negative criticism to "barely functional controls, lackluster gameplay, and numerous bugs."[27] Danny Cowan of 1UP.com noted that Zelda fans "almost universally despise these games."[128] The Wand of Gamelon was ranked the #6 worst video game of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly[129] and the #5 by GameTrailers.[27]

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).[130] 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."[130] 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.[131] 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.[132]

Shaq Fu (multiplatform)[edit]

Shaq Fu, a fighting game starring popular basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, received mixed reviews by critics upon its release, who praised the game's graphical style, smooth animations, and robust gameplay, but criticized the relevance of Shaq's presence in the game, along with its low difficulty and small character sprites.[133][134] Allgame was similarly critical of the game, criticizing its "sluggish" controls, Shaq being nearly unrecognizable in his in-game sprites, and a "shallow" story mode with "cheesy" dialogue.[135] Despite these mixed reviews, Shaq Fu has remained "collectively detested" by critics and gamers,[133] and a website also exists, ironically named "shaqfu.com," that is solely dedicated to the destruction of every copy of Shaq Fu.[136]

Levi Buchanan of IGN argued that Shaq Fu had received ridicule from contemporary critics because of its connections to the phenomena surrounding O'Neal, explaining that "[his] ego had reached such critical mass that it developed its own gravitational pull. And when an ego gets that large, the people that fed the ego to begin with love to turn on it."[133] Buchanan acknowledged some positive aspects of Shaq Fu, such as its graphics and animation, its non-linear story progression, and its "charming" simplicity in comparison to other major fighting game franchises such as Soul and Virtua Fighter, but that it had a "goofy" story and "awful" cast.[133]

Kasumi Ninja (Atari Jaguar)[edit]

Kasumi Ninja, a fighting game for the Atari Jaguar, was criticized for being a low-quality clone of Mortal Kombat; GamePro commented that while the graphics were technically impressive, they were often unpleasant to look at due to aesthetic choices such as the palette swapped characters, the massive blood drops, and Angus's kilt-lifting move. They also criticized the controls, the music, and the announcer's voice, and concluded that "Kasumi's a 64-bit warrior destined to remain in the shadows of deeper 16-bit fighting games."[137] Next Generation Magazine gave it one star out of five, calling it "a tragic example when good ideas are poorly executed" and citing "jerky animation", "sluggish control" and "baffling gameplay mechanics that discourage close-up fighting".[138]

In a retrospective review, Allgame praised the game's visuals, but criticized the controls and concluded the game to be no more than "a horrible cash-in" Mortal Kombat clone that "should be ignored by all but the most devoted 64-bit Atari Jaguar fans."[139] GamePro summarized that "Kasumi Ninja was a terrible, terrible Jaguar title - bad controller, bad controls, terrible menu set, forgettable characters, and an utterly unoriginal premise - that, thankfully, history has forgotten."[140]

In 2009, Topless Robot ranked it as the fourth worst Mortal Kombat rip-off.[141] In 2011, UGO.com included it in their list of the 102 worst games of all time.[142] That same year, Complex called it "one of the worst Jaguar games ever released in a sea of awful Jaguar games."[143] In 2012, Complex also ranked it as the fourth worst fighting game of all time, adding, "It was hard choosing amongst Ultra Vortek, Fight for Life, and Kasumi Ninja for the worst Jaguar fighting game, but we’re going to go with the last one mentioned because it’s probably the most famous. And also the worst."[144]

Waterworld (multiplatform)[edit]

Waterworld is widely regarded as the worst Virtual Boy game out of the 22 games released in its short life. It is the lowest reviewed game at Planet Virtual Boy[145] and has the lowest reader review average at sites such as GameFAQs.[146]

GameSpot gave the PC version of Water World a score of 4.5/10.[147]

It is also Steven L. Kent's (author of The Ultimate History of Video Games and The Making of Doom 3) choice for worst video game of all time.[148]

Catfight (PC)[edit]

Catfight, which touted itself as "the ultimate female fighting game", was criticized primarily for its low-quality graphics, poor quality music and sound effects, and unresponsive controls—especially when using a keyboard.[149] Ron Dulin of GameSpot gave Catfight a 1.6 out of 10, considering it to be, "without a doubt, the worst computer game ever released."[149] Dulin noted that the game contained a difficulty level that caused computer opponents to do nothing, and criticized its soundtrack for consisting of "annoying and repetitive squeals backed by bad heavy metal guitar" that, even worse, could not be disabled due to a badly coded options menu. He also felt that the game's sexist themes were "too blatant to mention", but that "the 'Mortal Kombat meets mud wrestling' concept has potential for some humorous kitsch, but the designers seem too preoccupied with their prepubescent sexual fantasies to see any irony in their project."[149] PC Gamer was similarly critical of Catfight, joking that "being caught masturbating to it would actually be less embarrassing than being caught playing it."[150]

The Crow: City of Angels (multiplatform)[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%.[151] Duke Ferris of GameRevolution called the game "the worst title [he] has ever [seen]", and also concludes by recommending to "avoid all contact with this game".[152] GamePro called the game "a turkey", criticizing its graphics and "asinine" gameplay.[153]

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.[154] 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.[155] Internet reviewer Seanbaby named it the 17th worst game of all time, criticizing its controls, the character's personality and the graphics.[156]

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (PlayStation, Nintendo 64)[edit]

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, a platform game spin-off of the Mortal Kombat franchise focusing on main character Sub-Zero, was panned for its poor control, a dated graphical appearance, and unforgiving gameplay.[157][158] Its Nintendo 64 port received further criticism for its downgraded quality, including the removal of its full motion video cutscenes.[159] The PlayStation and N64 versions hold aggregate scores on GameRankings of 53.20% and 44.84% respectively.[160][161] Midway Games had planned further Mythologies games featuring different characters, but the overwhelmingly negative reception resulted in their cancellation.[162]

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero was listed among the worst Mortal Kombat games of all time by IGN.[163] UGO.com considered its cutscenes to be among the worst in video gaming, citing unconvincing acting and special effects.[164]

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero received negative reviews from game publication companies,[165][166] with IGN stating "it may have been a good idea on paper, but as a game it's terrible."[158] The game has been also panned in retrospective as one of the worst Mortal Kombat games of all time. Game Informer's feature "Replay" declared the game was "absolutely terrible" because all of its aspects.[167] In 2011, IGN's Daemon Hatfield listed it as one of the worst Mortal Kombat games of all time.[163] According to him, Midway had planned Mytholgies as a series but the overwhelming negative reception resulted in its cancellation.[162] Its cutscenes have also been criticized in UGO Networks' article "The Worst Cutscenes In Gaming History" based on its unconvincing acting and special effects.[168] 1UP.com referred to its cutscenes Mythologies as one of the ten biggest flaws from the franchise.[169] GamesRadar's Mikel Reparaz opined that while the concept of giving Sub-Zero was interesting based on his popularity, the game "ended up a terrible mess of ugly sprites, cheap deaths and a button you had to hit just to change the direction you were facing, and the less that’s said about it, the better."[170]

Extreme Paintbrawl (PC)[edit]

Extreme Paintbrawl, a first-person shooter loosely based upon the game of paintball, was criticized for having low quality maps that did not resemble actual paintball fields, not having any game modes beyond a variation of capture the flag, poorly functioning AI players who frequently got stuck navigating around walls and doors, and a "practice" mode that only allows players to roam through a map without any enemies or targets. The game was also criticized for its use of the Build engine, as made famous by Duke Nukem 3D, which was technologically obsolete by the time of the game's release in 1998.[171][172]

GameSpot gave Extreme Paintbrawl an 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 that the game was so buggy that it should have not made it out of the beta phase. In conclusion, the game was considered to be "perhaps one of the worst games I've seen in years, as much out of touch with reality as it is out of step with the gaming world at large."[171] IGN gave Extreme Paintbrawl a 0.7/10, remarking that the soundtrack was the only aspect of the entire game that could constitute being described as "extreme", as the game itself was nowhere near its intensity.[172]

South Park (PC, PlayStation)[edit]

Based on the 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.[173] 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."[174] By contrast, its Nintendo 64 version received better reception, including praise for its storyline and 3D graphics.[175]

Superman (Nintendo 64)[edit]

Based on the acclaimed animated series, Superman, often unofficially referred to as Superman 64, was largely criticized for having unnecessarily repetitive, difficult, and confusing objectives, poor controls and unnecessarily short time limits that left no margin for error, numerous glitches that interfere with gameplay, poor graphics, and 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.[176][177]

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."[176] 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."[177][178]

Superman was listed as the worst game of all time by GameTrailers,[27] the worst game on a Nintendo platform by Nintendo Power,[179] and as the worst video game adaptation of a comic book by both GameSpy and GameDaily.[180][181]

2000s[edit]

Daikatana (Nintendo 64, PC)[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.[182] 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."[183]

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.[184] In 2010, GameTrailers ranked this game the #2 biggest gaming disappointment of the decade, citing the game's terrible AI, pushed-back release dates, controversial magazine ad, and internal drama as "the embodiment of the game industry's hubris."[185]

Spirit of Speed 1937 (Dreamcast, PC)[edit]

Spirit of Speed 1937 was a racing game which recreates 1930s racing. The game has been met with overwhelmingly negative reviews, receiving a 39.33% from GameRankings.[186] Jeremy Dunham reviewed the game for IGN and gave it a 2.2 out of 10. Dunham called the game "the poorest excuse for a Dreamcast game I have ever laid eyes on." He harshly criticized nearly every aspect of the game, including the load times, course designs, control, and graphics.[15] Frank Provo of GameSpot gave it a 1.9 out of 10 and criticized the sound effects and visuals. He named Spirit of Speed 1937 the worst game of 2000 which was the first time a console game had earned the dubious title.[187]

The Ring: Terror's Realm (Dreamcast)[edit]

The Ring: Terror's Realm is a survival horror video game developed and published by Asmik Ace Entertainment in Japan[188] and published by Infogrames in North America. It was released for Dreamcast on February 24, 2000 in Japan[188] and August 22, 2000 in North America.[188] It is based on the Ring series of novels by Japanese author Koji Suzuki, which also inspired the Japanese film Ring (1998) and its American remake, The Ring (2002).

The game was met with mostly negative reviews, as GameRankings gave it a score of 35.24%.[189]

In a review submitted to "the ringworld", a fansite dedicated to Ring, contributors C. Gavlas and K. Gavlas called it "a crude, clumsy Resident Evil-style survival horror video game" and "a pretty depressing homage to Ring."[190] Those unfamiliar with Suzuki's works were equally unimpressed. Jeremy Dunham of IGN said, "The lowest rung on the ladder of Dreamcast survival horror games, The Ring: Terror's Realm is just an average jaunt into the dark side,"[191] while a contributor to the PlanetDreamcast website (a part of GameSpy) declared it "hands-down the worst thing I've ever experienced on the Dreamcast."[192] Greg Wilcox of GameTour.com described it as "one of those games that will make you wonder what sort of legal or illegal substances the developers were taking while they were making this one. The game is a combination of bad and weird, mostly leaning toward the bad". Wilcox also noted that one of the Ring films he'd seen was, in his opinion, "a hell of a lot scarier than what's here."[193] Brad Shoemaker of GameSpot gave it a 4.6 "poor", stating "Die-hard survival-horror fans might possibly get a quick fix from this game, but even that's questionable."[194]

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[195] while Edge magazine gave it a rating of 1.[196] Game Informer gave it a rating of .5 and bashed the game mechanics, with editor in chief Andy McNamara stating "I literally won a match just bashing the controller against my ass. I wish I was joking, but the score is seriously Kabuki Warriors zero, my ass one."[197]

The Simpsons Wrestling (PlayStation)[edit]

The Simpsons Wrestling is a fighting game based on the animated television series The Simpsons. The game was made for the PlayStation console, was developed by Big Ape Productions, published by Electronic Arts in Europe and Activision in North America and distributed by Fox Interactive. It was released in Europe on March 22, 2001, and in North America on April 12, 2001.

The Simpsons Wrestling received negative reviews from critics. It received an aggregated score of 41.21% on GameRankings[198] and 32/100 on Metacritic.[199] They criticized the game for having simplistic, unbalanced gameplay and bad graphics, but praised the game's audio track.

IGN scored the game at 1.0 out of 10.0, stating that "I feel sorry for anyone who buys this, and what's more, I feel sorry for the Simpsons license, which deserves more. Shame should hang like a noose on everyone who worked on this title".[200]

The Simpsons Skateboarding (PlayStation 2)[edit]

The Simpsons Skateboarding, a skateboarding game based on the popular animated television series, received negative reviews for its low-quality graphics, sound, and music, poor controls, and for lacking any innovation in comparison to similar games.[201][202] The game holds an aggregate score of 38 out of 100 on Metacritic.[203]

GameSpy described the game as being a "a case study in bad game design", criticizing its awkward control scheme, poor visuals and bad character animations, and for being reminiscent of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise, but at a lower quality. The review concluded that "there's nothing new or innovative about this game. It doesn't even hit the average mark in terms of fun. If it didn't have The Simpsons license this game would have nothing going for it at all. As it stands now, even The Simpsons license can't save this game from itself."[202] Giving the game a 3.9 out of 10, GameSpot criticized the game for being a "stripped-down Tony Hawk", the game's "blocky" art style and poorly-proportioned character models for being inferior to the 3D models used as part of "Treehouse of Horror VI", and repetitive voice acting. In conclusion, it was argued that "the game makes such ham-fisted use of the license that only the most casual of gamers or the most hardcore of The Simpsons fans will be able to enjoy The Simpsons Skateboarding."[201]

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 using an outside game guide. GameSpot gave the game a score of 2.8 out of 10,[204] while IGN gave it a score of 2.2 out of 10 for the Xbox version[205] and 3.5 out of 10 for the GameCube version.[206] GameRankings gave it a score of 24.06% for the Xbox version[207] and 27.83% for the GameCube version;[208] while Metacritic gave it a score of 25 out of 100 for the Xbox version[209] and 29 out of 100 for the GameCube version.[210] 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 2003 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 and glitchy gameplay, poor character models, unique "fighting styles" that ultimately 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."[211] 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.[212] 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."[53]

Charlie's Angels has a Metacritic score of 23/100[213] 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.[214]

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."[22] 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.[215] The game has a Metacritic score of 27/100 for its GameCube version and 26/100 for its Xbox version.[216]

Drake of the 99 Dragons (PC, Xbox)[edit]

Drake of the 99 Dragons, a third-person shooter following an undead assassin named Drake as he avenges the murder of his clan, the 99 Dragons, by retrieving a stolen artifact, was released to overwhelmingly negative reviews. The game was primarily criticized for its poor controls and frustrating gameplay: the game's dual-wielding system—in which players can control two guns independently by using the trigger buttons to shoot and an analog stick to aim—was criticized for having a poorly implemented targeting system that made it difficult to aim. Drake was also panned for its low quality graphics, character animations, and sound design; in particular, GameSpot's Alex Navarro felt that the game was a "cacophony of terrible effects and voice acting"—noticing the re-use of stock sounds used in AOL Instant Messenger, and comparing the title character's voice to a cross between a game show host and the "Moviefone guy".[217][218] He also felt that due to the game's "disjointed" cutscenes and narration, the storyline of the game, if any, was difficult to understand.[217]

IGN's Aaron Boulding gave the game a 2.9 out of 10; while praising the game's unique visual appearance and presentation, along with the "bullet time" audio effects while slowing down time, he concluded that Drake of the 99 Dragons was "a good idea that went horribly astray and ended up disastrous" and that "there's no need to rent, purchase or entertain the thought of playing this one."[218] GameSpot would give the game an even lower score of 1.6, considering it "an out-and-out failure in every single discernable category."[217] Drake of the 99 Dragons holds an aggregate score of 22 on Metacritic, ranking it as the second-worst game for the original Xbox.[219] In 2009, the game placed as eleventh worst received game in the last 15 years by GamesRadar.[220]

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.[221]

Big Rigs was listed as one of the worst games ever made by GameSpot[221] and Computer and Video Games,[222] and received the lowest possible scores from both. 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."[223] 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.[224] GameSpot also awarded it its 2004 Flat-Out Worst Game award, with its "trophy" being the "YOU'RE WINNER  !" trophy graphic from the game itself, albeit with a crack in it.[225] 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.[226]

On aggregate reviews, it has the lowest aggregate score of any video game, with 8/100 on Metacritic,[227] and 3.83% on GameRankings.[228] Big Rigs was also named #2 as the "Worst Video Game of the Decade".[229] 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.[225]

The players may freely drive their trucks on and off roads without any loss of traction, up or down 90° slopes with no loss or gain of lateral speed, through structures such as buildings, trees, and bridges (due to a lack of collision detection), and out of the boundaries of the map into an endless grey void. Though there appear to be five courses from which to choose, only four are playable. One of the maps, titled "Nightride", does not function and selecting it simply crashes or quits the game.[22] Upon completion of the race, the game displays a large three-handled trophy and the text "YOU'RE WINNER !" [sic].[22] The game occasionally fails to distinguish between whether the player is starting or finishing the race when they pass through the starting/finishing line, and so this congratulatory screen may appear within seconds of starting a game, thus ending the race prematurely on the first pass.

Stellar Stone released a patch that addressed some of the game's complaints.[230] With the patch, the opponent vehicles participate in the race,[231] but stop before they reach the finish line, making the game still impossible to lose. Nightride, the non-functional track, was replaced with an exact mirror image of the first track, Devil Passage 1.

Matt Wadleigh of Thunderbolt stated, "I wish I could think of some redeeming factors for [Big Rigs], but there simply aren't any", rating the game a score of 1/10.[232] It was also featured on the X-Play "Games You Should Never Buy" segment where series co-host Morgan Webb described Big Rigs as "the worst game ever made," and refused to even rate it as their 1/5 rating system does not have a zero score.[215] Netjak gave the game 0.0, commenting that a preferable negative score was not given because the design of the site wouldn't let the reviewer do so.[233]

Alex Navarro of GameSpot called it "broken", "terrible", "worst of the worst", and "atrocious", declaring that Big Rigs is "as bad as your mind will allow you to comprehend"[234] and imploring of viewers, "Please do not play this game. We cannot stress this enough."[22] In the Halloween video Frightfully Bad Games, Navarro stated, "This game received the lowest score in the history of GameSpot, a 1.0 (Abysmal). And by lowest, I mean it can't go any lower. We don't hand out zeros, but maybe we should have for Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing." For the next nine years, Big Rigs remained the only game to have scored a 1.0 on GameSpot, until this score was shared with Ride to Hell: Retribution in 2013.[235]

In GameSpot's "Best and Worst of 2004" awards, Big Rigs was given the "Flat-out Worst Game" award, despite the fact that the game was actually released in 2003.[236] In 2009, the game was nominated for Worst Video Game of the Decade at the 2009 SAGY Awards by ScrewAttack.[229]

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.[237] IGN's Craig Harris criticized the title on the same grounds, giving it a 1/10 score and referring to it as "two of the crappiest games ever developed on the Nintendo DS platform".[238]

On aggregate reviews, it has the third-lowest aggregate score of any video game, with 12/100 from Metacritic,[239] and 12.25% from GameRankings.[240]

Lula 3D (PC)[edit]

The adult 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), low quality voice acting, and humor that was too childish for its target audience. On Metacritic, the game received an aggregate score of 28% from 14 reviews.[241] 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."[242]

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 promoted), 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."[243][244]

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.[245]

Bomberman: Act Zero (Xbox 360)[edit]

A spin-off of the Bomberman series, Bomberman: Act Zero received overwhelmingly negative reception from both critics and fans alike for its long loading times, bad collision detection, forgettable soundtrack, use of the same textures and graphics for every stage, tedious and repetitive gameplay, lack of a save feature, unbalanced A.I. and the series' unwelcome shift to a darker and more futuristic setting. The "First-Person Bomberman" mode was criticized for its bad camera angles and the fact that it is played in a third-person perspective. It holds an average score of 34 from Metacritic.[246] Yahoo! Games' Mike Smith felt that the designers didn't understand what made Bomberman great. He criticized its "generic, gritty brushed-metal-and-armor heroes".[247] GamePro's Patrick Shaw felt that it should not be used to introduce players to the series, while fans of the games should skip it.[248] Cracked.com named the game among their "6 Most Baffling Video Game Spinoffs" in 2013, commenting that the developers "took everything fun about Bomberman and made it crazy and depressing."[249]

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

Intended to celebrate the franchise's 15th anniversary and relaunch the brand for the next generation, 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 storyline, 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",[250] while GameSpot lamented the gameplay, the number 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".[251] 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.[252]

The game has a Metacritic average of 46% for the Xbox 360 version[253] and a similar score of 43% for the PlayStation 3 version.[254]

Ninjabread Man (multiplatform)[edit]

Ninjabread Man, a budget title released by Data Design Interactive and published by Conspiracy Entertainment, was criticized for its extremely poor camera, controls, graphics, and its extremely short length; critics noted that the game could be completed in just half an hour. IGN gave Ninjabread Man a 1.5 out of 10, deriding the game for being a "broken mess" and "the most simplistic and basic platformer possible, adding just enough character design and gameplay to cover the bullet points on the back of the box", but felt that Ninjabread Man still had a "hilarious concept", and jokingly praised the game for having the best box art of any Wii title.[255] Thunderbolt similarly gave Ninjabread Man a 1 out of 10, also noting that the premise itself had potential, but that the game itself did not have any "glimmer of innovation" and "couldn’t be a more of a generic platformer if it tried."[256][257]

Data Design Interactive was further criticized by both Eurogamer and IGN for releasing several other games, including Anubis II, Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland and Rock 'n' Roll Adventures, that were essentially re-skinned, carbon copies of Ninjabread Man with exactly the same engine, gameplay, and in-game music—and in turn, the same problems experienced by Ninjabread Man. IGN felt that the games were "shovelware at a science" and representative of a bulk, quantity-over-quality approach to video game development. However, IGN still felt that Ninjabread Man had more "appealing" thematics out of the three.[255][257][258] Eurogamer gave all four games, including Ninjabread Man, a 1 out of 10, concluding that the games were "dross of the highest order. Rip offs at budget price. We deserve more than this. I've heard people perking up at Ninjabread Man because of its punny name. Don't be fooled."[257]

On Metacritic, Ninjabread Man has an aggregate score of 20 out of 100 from six critic reviews.[259]

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.[260][261] 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.[262] 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".[263][264] 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.[265]

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (multiplatform)[edit]

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, the eighth installment in the adult-oriented adventure game franchise, was developed by Team17, and published by Codemasters—who acquired the franchise's intellectual property from Activision Blizzard.[266] Box Office Bust was criticized for its poor gameplay, incoherent story, bad graphics, and poor attempts at adult humor. On Metacritic, the game's PC version holds an aggregate score of 20/100 from 17 critic reviews; its PlayStation 3 port scored even lower, with 17/100 based on 11 critic reviews.[267][268]

IGN declared Box Office Bust to be "frustratingly unpolished, devoid of any kind of wit or charm, and packed with tiring, at times infuriating challenges", also featuring "uncomfortably unfunny dialogue spewed from the lips of entirely unlikable characters". In conclusion, it was explained 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."[266]

ScrewAttack,[269] Giant Bomb,[270] and Australian television show Good Game named Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust the worst game of 2009.[271] 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".[272]

Stalin vs. Martians (PC)[edit]

Stalin vs. Martians is a parody real-time strategy video game developed by Black Wing Foundation, Dreamlore and N-Game, released on April 29, 2009. Described as "trashy and over-the-top"[273] by its creators,[274] the game mocks World War II strategy games and utilizes Pythonesque humor. The developers state that Stalin vs. Martians is "obviously a parody, which sometimes gets close to being a satire" and is "halfway to becoming a trash icon of gaming industry for years".[275] In some interviews the lead designer of the game compares Stalin vs. Martians to the Troma films.[276]

As of July 22, 2009, the game is no longer available for purchase.[277][278][279][280] The official website contains information that upgraded version of Stalin vs. Martians is on the way and will be available for download.[281]

Stalin vs. Martians received scathing reviews from critics. It has an average score of 23.41% on GameRankings as well as 25% on Metacritic. GameSpot named it 2009's "Flat-Out Worst Game", awarding it a rating of 1.5/10 and calling it "perhaps the worst RTS game ever created."[282] IGN, which rated the game a 2/10, noted the game's total lack of any RTS-related elements and asked whether it was 'made in 1994 and sealed into a vault until 2009' given how dated the visuals looked.[191] Resolution, awarding the game 35%, warned readers not to purchase the game, but conceded that it is occasionally "incredibly amusing".[283] Rock, Paper, Shotgun called the game "rubbish" but admitted: "there’s certainly car-crash value, especially if you tie yourself in theoretical knots deciding exactly how much of the game is satire".[284] The Escapist was more positive, noting that "Whatever it was, it's clear that the development team had a very fun time making the game, and filling it with as many Soviet clichés as possible." and "The presentation can be funny, and it's so absurd at times that you really have to experience it for the sheer audacity of it, but ... the game itself is below average at best".[285] Russian MTV programme Virtuality and its spin-off portal Games TV were quite enthusiastic about the game and its humour.[286]

Ju-on: The Grudge (Wii)[edit]

Ju-on: The Grudge is a survival horror video game developed for the Wii. It was produced in honor of the Ju-on series' 10th anniversary. The game was directed by Takashi Shimizu,[287] who also helmed the films. The game was developed by feelplus and published in Japan by AQ Interactive on July 30, 2009, and in North America and Europe in October of the same year by Xseed Games and Rising Star Games, respectively.

Ju-on: The Grudge has received mostly negative reception from critics. Based on 32 reviews, Ju-on: The Grudge holds a Metacritic score of 39/100[288] and 40.22% on GameRankings based on 27 reviews.[189] Weekly Famitsu rated Ju-on: The Grudge at a 22 out of 40 from four reviewers, a week before the game was released in Japan.[289] Also, GameSpot, giving the game a "Poor" 4, complained about the controls and the length of the game,[290] while IGN stated that "JU-ON: The Grudge Haunted House Simulator is bad. The graphics are bad, the presentation is bad, and the gameplay is bad. In fact, it's all so bad the game actually ends up being terrible."[291]

Rogue Warrior (multiplatform)[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.[292] 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.[293]

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.[294][295] 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."[294] 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.[295] Eurogamer's Richard Leadbetter called it "the worst game I've played on [PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360] for a long, long time."[296]

2010s[edit]

Power Gig: Rise of the SixString (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

Released in a market that had already been saturated by rock music-oriented music video games simulating guitar and drums, Power Gig: Rise of the SixString—developed by Seven45 Studios, a subsidiary of entry-level instrument manufacturer First Act—attempted to differentiate itself from competitors such as the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises by shipping with an actual electric guitar that could be used in-game, rather than a simplified plastic analog.[297][298] As opposed to an electronic drum set with physical pads, the game offered an "AirStrike" drum controller which utilized motion sensors placed on the ground. The studio claimed this design provided a quieter and more compact alternative to drum controllers implementing physical pads.[299][300]

Upon its release, Power Gig received negative reviews from critics. The game's guitar was considered low quality—not performing well as either a controller or standalone instrument, while the AirStrike drum controller was criticized for being inferior to a physical drum kit—suffering from poor hit detection and a reliance on proprietary, sensor-equipped drum sticks. The guitar gameplay of Power Gig was criticized for being nearly identical to its competitors—even with its dedicated guitar, which only added the ability to toggle basic, two-note power chords. Griffin McElroy of Joystiq pointed out that, ironically, despite "[centering] itself around a peripheral which is a real guitar", Power Gig "[settled] for using a new toy to manipulate an old game—but still manages to categorically fail at both."[300][301][302] Critics also considered the guitar gameplay of Power Gig to be inferior to the "Pro Guitar" modes of Rock Band 3,[301][302] which provided a more complete implementation of guitar fingering, chords, slides, and tutorials built on top of the franchise's core gameplay.[303]

The game was also criticized for its storyline—which IGN declared to be "laughably bad", the exclusion of bass guitar modes, and poor-quality graphics and character animations.[300][301][302] Power Gig holds an aggregate score of 36/100 on Metacritic,[304] and was named the worst game of 2010 by Giant Bomb.[305]

Doctor Who: Return to Earth (Wii)[edit]

Based on the popular science-fiction television show of the same name, Doctor Who: Return to Earth on the Wii has been panned by critics. Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game a 19% rating, and branded it "an insult to Doctor Who fans".[306] However, it ranked at 11 on the UK Wii sales charts for the week.[307]

Australian video game talk show Good Game's two presenters gave the game a 1 and 1.5 out of 10, saying, "It's one of the worst games I've ever played." They also stated that the graphics looked like a PlayStation or Nintendo 64 game and that the player spends as much time trying to see the enemies as trying to avoid them. The reviewers went on to state that the game had only two good points, the Sonic Screwdriver Wii remote cover and that it makes Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth look like a masterpiece.[308] The gaming website ScrewAttack awarded Doctor Who: Return to Earth its SAGY award for Worst Wii Game of 2010.[309] Metro gave a highly negative reviews which it says "If one of your loved ones is a fan of Doctor Who then whatever you do don’t buy them this game for Christmas." [310]

MindJack (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

MindJack has a Metacritic score of 44 for the PlayStation 3[311] and 43 for the Xbox 360.[312] Kat Bailey of 1UP.com found nothing to like about the game, calling it a "lazy, corporate-mandated cash-in."[313] 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."[314]

Thor: God of Thunder (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)[edit]

Thor: God of Thunder is a 2011 third person action video game based on the Marvel Studios film Thor. The game has received mostly negative reviews.

Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 38/100 [315] and the PlayStation 3 version 39/100.[316] GameRankings gave the Xbox 360 version 39.17% [317] and the PlayStation 3 version 39.73%.[318] GameSpot gave the game a 2/10, stating that "There is not one moment in this entire game that is genuinely fun, which makes the whole experience feel like empty padding. Modern video games don't get much worse than Thor: God of Thunder".[319] IGN gave the game a 3/10, commenting" Do not play this game. It's plodding and dull, and isn't even fun in an unintentional way. Just stay away".[320] GameTrailers believed the game to be mediocre and rated it a 4.0.[321]

Duke Nukem Forever (multiplatform)[edit]

Duke Nukem Forever was critically disappointing upon release, receiving polarizing reviews, with most of the criticism directed towards the game's long loading times, clunky controls, offensive humor, and overall aging and dated design. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic calculated the Xbox 360 version 49.36% and 49/100,[322][323] the PlayStation 3 version to be 47.6% and 51/100[324][325] and the PC version 48.52% and 54/100.[326][327] Elton Jones of Complex chose the game as one of "the most disappointing games of 2011".[328] Jim Sterling, review editor for Destructoid, said that this game was "like a disease"[329] and named it the "shittiest game of 2011".[330] Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, creator of Zero Punctuation, listed it as #2 on his list of the worst games of 2011, losing to both Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.[331]

Many critics took issue with the level design and shooting mechanics. Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot felt that the "joy of that game's shooting has been flattened" with "little sense of impact", finding the overall design to be "tedious", and ended his video review by calling Duke Nukem Forever a "bad, boring, bargain bin kind of game".[332] Eurogamer commented that Duke Nukem Forever is linear to a fault, and huge chunks of the game are spent simply walking from one fight to another through uninspired corridors."[333] GamesRadar concluded that "Duke Nukem Forever's world-record development time has produced an ugly, buggy shooter that veers back and forth between enjoyably average and outright boring, with occasional surges of greatness along the way."[334] X-Play gave the game a 1 out of 5, criticizing the graphics, load time, number of enemies onscreen, the multiplayer, being called "an afterthought", the game's "creepy, hateful view of women."[335]

Another common criticism was inconsistent graphics and unacceptably long loading times, which GameTrailers called "unholy";[336] Eric Neigher of GameSpy found the console versions took up to 40 seconds to load a level.[337] He also criticized the game's multiplayer mode for running so slowly, no one can play it without experiencing large lag spikes.[337] Edge commented that "the myriad technical shortcomings – particularly prevalent on the console ports – only get worse the further you progress into the campaign".[338]

One particular section that received considerable criticism is the hive level, in which Duke encounters abducted women who have been forcibly impregnated with aliens. Duke has to kill them before the alien's birth does so. Both the level itself and the inclusion of disembodied, slappable "wall boobs" were listed in GamesRadar's "8 worst moments in Duke Nukem Forever".[339] OXM noted that it "doesn't mesh with the rest of the game's tone at all", and the fact that Duke remains unfazed and continues to crack jokes about the situation was considered "outright revolting", which led to labelling Duke a "thoroughly detestable psychopath" by 1UP and Destructoid respectively.[329][340] Zero Punctuation noted that the level is "as jarring a shift of tone as you can get without splicing five minutes of The Human Centipede into the middle of Mallrats."[341]

Quite a few critics cited the long and fragmented development time as a major factor in the finished product. PC Gamer noted that "years of anticipation will spoil Duke Nukem Forever for some", adding, "There’s no reinvention of the genre here, no real attempt at grandeur... Check unrealistic expectations at the door and forget the ancient, hyperbolic promises of self-deluded developers", and concluded, "Don’t expect a miracle. Duke is still the hero we love, but struggles to keep up with modern times."[342] Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of 2K Games, revealed in July 2011 that the game sales were half of their initial expectations.[343]

Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter (PC)[edit]

Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter, a sequel of the science fiction strategy game Sword of the Stars developed by Kerberos and published by Paradox Interactive, received negative reviews upon its release. While critics praised it for its graphics, Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter was panned for its confusing gameplay, poor tutorials and large number of bugs causing the game to be unplayable.

The game has a GameRankings score of 43.12% and a Metacritic score of 44/100.[344][345] Game Informer gave the game 3/10, summarising the game as "A Total Disaster", stating that "This might be a decent game after six more months of twice-weekly patching. Right now, it’s a failure on every level."[346] IGN's Jon Michael gave it 2.5/10, stating "there are many other 4X games on the market that do basically everything SotS2 intended, but better and without the bugs."[347] PC Gamer's Tom Senior gave the game 43/100, praising the graphics but criticising the amount of bugs in the game and baffling gameplay.[348]

On October 19, 2012, Kerberos gave the game an 'all-clear' rating, almost a year after the game was released, stating the game is now in an acceptable state and support for the project will continue indefinitely.[349]

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.[350][351] 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."[350] 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.'"[351] IGN also ultimately named it one of its worst games of 2011.[352] The game currently holds an aggregated score of 21/100 on Metacritic.[353]

Postal III (PC)[edit]

Development of the third installment in the Postal franchise was subcontracted by Running With Scissors to the Russian video game publisher Akella, who hired the developer TrashMasters Studios; 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.[354] The game ultimately received poor reviews from critics, scoring an average review score on Metacritic of 24/100.[355] 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.[356]

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).[357] 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 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.[358] 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."[359] In 2013, Computer and Video Games deemed it one of the 12 worst video games of all time.[222]

Ridge Racer (PS Vita)[edit]

Ridge Racer, a reboot of the Ridge Racer franchise released on the PlayStation Vita, was critically panned by various publications for its bare-bones nature, a lack of proper progression unlike other installments in the series, primarily consisting of content rehashed from Ridge Racer 7, along with unbalanced online races that use a leveling system to determine a player's top speed, giving an unfair disadvantage to newer players.[360][361]

GameSpot gave the game a 3.0/10, criticizing the lack of modes and content as a ploy to force users to buy its downloadable content, further noting that its first DLC pack (which was available for free as a limited time offer) only consisted of more content originating from Ridge Racer 7. In conclusion, Ridge Racer was considered to be "a complete and utter ripoff" that "[felt] more like a cheap cash-in than a fully thought-out product", lacking the variety of past installments of the franchise.[361] IGN also gave the game a 3/10 for similar reasons, criticizing its absolute lack of storyline or progression-based modes or leagues, and the aforementioned multiplayer leveling system. 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."[360] GamingXP also felt that the game did not sufficiently use the capabilities of the Vita, and could have easily been a game for the original PlayStation Portable.[362]

The game holds an aggregate score of 44 out of 100 on Metacritic from 39 reviews,[363] and in June 2012, IGN also named Ridge Racer one of its ten "Worst Video Games of 2012 So Far".[364]

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."[365] GameRankings gave the game a 40.95%[366] 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 cited the game's poor control scheme, terrible gameplay, and levels designed to be nearly impossible.[367]

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

A family-based party game, Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade received universally negative reviews for its bad voice acting and poor controls. It currently holds a score of 11/100 on Metacritic based on eight reviews from critics[368] and a 16% score from GameRankings.[369] Zack Kaplan of the Nintendo World Report said that "it makes a promise it can't keep, assaults your ears with annoying voice acting, and sucks all the fun out of owning a Wii U", scolding its poor controls, minigames (as "devoid of fun"), and irritating voice acting.[370] Anthony Severino of Game Revolution gave the game a zero and described it as having "absolutely zero redeeming qualities", chiding its gameplay (as "borderline unplayable"), controls, and voice acting.[371]

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 it's drawn", criticizing the broken state of the game and its use of microtransactions, but complimenting its overall atmosphere and far draw distance.[372] 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.[373]

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. 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).[374][375][376][377]

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[186] and 33/100 at Metacritic.[378] 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.[379] 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".[380] 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".[381] Peter Willington of Pocket Gamer was also unimpressed, calling it "a massive middle finger to the fans".[382]

Final Fantasy All the Bravest (mobile)[edit]

Final Fantasy All the Bravest, a Final Fantasy spin-off, was released on January 17, 2013 for iOS devices.[383] Criticism was leveled at its simplistic gameplay mechanics, with IGN noting how the game could be completed with one's eyes closed,[384] and the extensive microtransaction system embedded in the game. A common point of negativity was the game's in-app purchases, particularly 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.[385] It was viewed by several reviewers as a cynical attempt from the publisher to exploit fans of the series,[386][387] and was called by Destructoid as "a cash delivery system' rather than a game."[388]

As of June 2013, it holds a score of 25/100 on Metacritic.[389]

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (multiplatform)[edit]

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, a first-person shooter developed by Terminal Reality, was released in 2013 to act as a prequel to the events of the television series, and featured the voice talent of actors from the series, including that of protagonist Daryl Dixon. The game was met with criticism for its broken gameplay mechanics, poor graphics, a lack of meaningful storyline, and for not meeting the high expectations associated with its source material, or Telltale Games' episodic adventure game also based upon the franchise.[390][391][392] On Metacritic, the Xbox 360 version holds an aggregate score of 32 based upon 30 reviews.[393]

IGN noted that the game was plagued by largely broken stealth mechanics and enemy AI (finding it easier to simply sprint past groups of enemies rather than using the tactics encouraged in-game), bland environments, and a lack of any true narrative beyond "just moving from place to place in hope of the eventual rescue we all know won't come". In conclusion, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct was described as "a half-baked attempt at a game that can be fun in the occasional spooky part, but ends up under-delivering in every way."[390] Although feeling that its "no frills" approach to zombie-oriented shooters (in comparison to other franchises such as Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead) "[wasn't] necessarily a bad thing", CVG criticized Survival Instinct for having an "archaic" design, broken, slow-paced gameplay with inconsistent level designs, and "atrocious visuals", compared to "the kind of muddy textures and low-res character models reserved for MMOs." The game was ultimately dubbed a "shoddy squandering of one of entertainment's hottest licenses", and given a 3 out of 10.[392]

Alex Navarro was even more harsh, believing that in comparison to Telltale's Walking Dead game, "nothing about Survival Instinct feels properly executed, let alone coherent or thoughtful." Of particular criticism was its gameplay mechanics, the requirement to perform resource gathering and side missions at "the same handful of recycled environments" between story missions, and for providing "no meaningful information or commentary on the characters it revolves around." Giving the game one star, he concluded that Survival Instinct was "an abysmally rushed game of barely connected ideas that brings the player little more than frustration and disappointment."[391]

During a Reddit "IAmA" thread, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman distanced himself from Survival Instinct due to its negative reception, citing his more direct involvement in the Telltale game, and remarking that "I'm pretty sure there's an AMC logo before the title of that game and not a picture of my face."[394]

Aliens: Colonial Marines (multiplatform)[edit]

Aliens: Colonial Marines, a first-person shooter developed by Gearbox Software and set in the universe of the Alien franchise, was criticized at launch for containing bugs, poorly-implemented A.I., unbalanced gameplay, low quality graphics, and a poorly-implemented co-op mode. A couple of said issues have since been adjusted or fixed to a certain degree. The game's story also drew criticism for its lack of a consistent continuity with the Alien films, despite claims from the developers that the events of the game were supposed to be canon to the film series.[395][396][397][398][399]

Particular criticism was directed towards discrepancies in the game's quality between pre-release builds demonstrated at events and in promotional materials—the former purporting to feature "actual gameplay", and the final product, including lower graphics quality, missing levels, and other regressions. Shortly after the game's release and the discovery of these regressions, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford acknowledged the issues and stated that the studio would look into them.[400] In April 2013, a class action lawsuit was filed against Gearbox Software and the game's publisher, Sega. The suit argued that these differences, along with a press embargo on publishing reviews of the final product until its release date, deceived those who pre-ordered the game based on the pre-release promotional materials, amounting to false advertising. In September 2014, Sega agreed to pay a tentative settlement of $1.25 million.[401][402][403]

Star Trek (multiplatform)[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 a score of 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. Director 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.[404]

Ride to Hell: Retribution (multiplatform)[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, its negative portrayal of women, and for 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.[405] EGM described Ride to Hell as 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.[406]

As of August 2013, the game has a Metacritic score of 19 out of 100, based on 14 reviews of the Xbox 360 version.[407] 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.[408] 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 November 22, 2013 (which now coincided with the 2013–14 Ashes series in Australia) following overwhelmingly negative user reviews.[409] 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. Describing its gameplay, a writer remarked that "trying to follow the ball is quite the thing, as each fielder springs 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."[410]

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.[411][412]

Fighter Within (Xbox One)[edit]

Fighter Within, a Kinect-based fighting game for Xbox One, was criticized for having poor motion detection—especially on more complex moves and techniques and in menus, slow, shallow gameplay with automated combos portrayed as cutscenes, and a storyline which was described as being "laughable" and "cheesy" by reviewers. GameSpot, who gave Fighter Within a 2 out of 10, described its gameplay as requiring players to "stand like a lemon in front of the TV for what seems like an eternity as you feel your life ebb away during the excruciatingly long loading times; punch at thin air as fast as humanly possible until you trigger a combo; watch the lifeless combo animation; repeat these steps until your opponent is defeated."[413][414]

IGN, who gave the game a 2.7 out of 10, felt that Fighter Within was only able to adequately detect basic punches, describing the game as a "disjointed", "haphazard mess" due to its unpredictable motion detection, and considered its storyline to be "laughably bad" and a "flimsy excuse" to "fight [against] a long stream of AI opponents who look just as dumb as they fight."[415] Dan Ryckert of Game Informer gave Fighter Within a 1 out of 10; describing the game as "garbage", he felt that its motion detection system was so poorly designed that it "effectively [makes] any of its combat systems inconsequential", and also noticed that it was registering motions off him even while he was standing still.[413]

On Metacritic, Fighter Within holds an aggregate score of 23 out of 100 from 39 critic reviews, and is ranked as the second lowest-scoring Xbox One game as of April 2015.[416] Video game website "Level Up" referred to it as the worst type of game possible for the Kinect, while X-One Magazine referred to it as one of the worst games ever in general.[416]

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (Wii U)[edit]

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, a 2014 spin-off of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise developed by Big Red Button Entertainment—a studio co-founded by Naughty Dog alumni E. Daniel Arey and Bob Rafei,[417] received negative reviews from critics for its numerous bugs and glitches, poor graphics and level design, simplistic and repetitive gameplay, and bad writing.[418][419] On Metacritic, the game holds an aggregate score of 32% from 28 critic reviews.[420]

Don Saas of GameSpot noted that "through a combination of unwieldy controls, a broken camera system, and a total lack of responsiveness, the platforming and exploration elements of Rise of Lyric are totally unworkable."[418] Metro GameCentral considered Rise of Lyric to be "definitely the worst game of 2014", citing "a terrible camera, awful controls, unspeakably dull combat, insipid level design, ugly character art, broken graphics, serious bugs, and the terrible feeling that Sega hates both you and Sonic."[419] Both Metro and Nintendo World Report referred to it as potentially the worst Sonic game of all time.[419][421] In February 2015, Sega announced that Sonic Boom and the 3DS release Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal had moved only 490,000 units combined, making it the worst-selling title in the history of the franchise.[422]

Raven's Cry (PC)[edit]

Raven's Cry is a 2015 action-adventure role-playing game whose eponymous main character, Christopher Raven, is seeking vengeance on pirates who murdered his family.[423][424] The game was widely panned by critics for a variety of reasons; it received the lowest-possible score of 1/10 from GameSpot for its "rampant racism, sexism, and homophobia", broken gameplay, and "button-mashing tedium."[425] IGN rated the game 3/10, citing its inconsistent dialogue, clunky combat, rigid control and game-stopping crashes.[426] Daniel Starkey of Eurogamer deemed it "a sorry, broken mess of a game" and castigated the plot's "noxious cocktail of clichés."[427] Allegra Frank of Polygon named it one of the worst video games of 2015.[428] Attack of the Fanboy said, "Raven’s Cry is a game that just fails to realize the potential that an open-world pirate game should have," while criticizing the cutscenes' "terrible voice acting."[429] The game currently holds a 27/100 on Metacritic based on sixteen reviews,[378] a "Mostly Negative" rating on Steam based upon 200 user reviews,[430] and an aggregated score of 25.71% on GameRankings based on seven reviews.[431]

The title is no longer available for purchase on the Xbox 360, according to publisher TopWare Interactive.[432] It was rereleased as Vendetta: Curse of Raven's Cry on November 20, 2015,[433] and has fared no better than the original in terms of user reception, currently holding a 3/10 score on Metacritic based on 23 reviews.[434] Following allegations of TopWare having posted fake positive user reviews, the game was pulled from Steam in January 2016.[435]

Rugby 15 and Rugby World Cup 2015 (multiplatform)[edit]

Developed by HB Studios, Rugby 15 was criticized for its poor graphical quality, bad AI, as well as its poor implementations of the rules and mechanics of rugby union. In its review, GamesRadar felt that the game's implementation of breakdowns and rucks—where the player rotates the analog stick to find a point that designates a legal steal, was "monstrously wrong", explaining that "even on the hardest setting, I stole the ball almost every time; as if I'd replaced my thumbs with the distilled living essence of Tackles McCaw. Conversely, even Manu Tuilagi has the ball-retention skills of a buttered pensioner. It makes for a game of chase-me-peewee hogwash that barely resembles the direct, attritional sport it's based on." IGN was similarly critical of this feature, noting that it was hard to receive penalties on rucks, and that "given the specific way you’re forced to ruck, it’s best not to be in possession of the ball until you’re within ten metres of the try line, so you don’t have to deal with the incredible frustration of losing possession because the game bugs out."[436][437]

Critics also felt that due to various factors, Rugby 15 would only appeal to casual audiences.[436][437] While IGN gave HB Studios credit for attempting to "[condense] the complexities of [rugby union] into a relatively simple arcade-style control scheme", the lack of a proper tutorial was criticized.[437] The game's graphics on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were criticized for appearing "last-gen".[436] Gamesradar went on to note that the game's venues "bear little resemblance to their real-life counterparts" and had crowds that looked like "cardboard wraiths with season tickets".[436] The PlayStation 3 version was further criticized for suffering from numerous other bugs and frame rate issues.[437] The lack of online multiplayer was also noted, as well as repetitive commentary, some of which was recycled from Rugby World Cup 2011.[436][437]

Gamesradar gave the game 1 star out of 5, concluding that "Rugby 15 feels like it's constructed from the fatty offcuts of juicier rugby games which preceded it. Don't let fervour for the upcoming World Cup sway your judgement".[436] IGN gave Rugby 15 a 2 out of 10, citing "a never-ending stream of bugs and paradoxical design decisions", and describing the game as "an experience that's so broken it's hard to recommend. The best thing you can do is pass."[437] The PS4 and Xbox One versions of Rugby 15 hold Metacritic scores of 19 and 20 based on 5 and 4 critic reviews respectively, ranking as the lowest-scoring game on both platforms.[438][439]

HB Studios also developed Rugby World Cup 2015, as a tie-in to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The game was widely criticized as being a follow-up to Rugby 15 that did not adequately address the issues seen in the prior game, whilst introducing new issues. IGN gave the game a 1.5 out of 10, noting major bugs, that the game's AI was still poorly implemented, that it still used pre-determined outcomes for tackles, and that while less buggy than the version in Rugby 15, the rucking system was still insufficiently-designed. It was argued that the game was essentially a re-branded version of Rugby 15 rushed out in time for the actual World Cup.[440]

GamesRadar criticized it for only featuring minor improvements over Rugby 15, commenting that "there's nothing here that suggests an understanding of scrums—which is forgivable, since most international referees don’t either—but there’s certainly no attempt to twist the complex battle of binding, shoving and probably-biting into something that belongs in a game. Instead, it’s reduced to 'hook' and 'push'." It was also pointed out that the game did not feature any of the real-life venues from the actual tournament, and that 10 of the 20 teams were not licensed and composed entirely of fictional players — a group that even included tournament host England. Giving Rugby World Cup 2015 2 out of 5 stars, what improvements were present in the game were considered "nothing more than a fig leaf which barely covers the game's otherwise gruesome nudity."[441]

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (multiplatform)[edit]

A revival of the long-running franchise developed by Robomodo, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 was universally panned for its poor quality (especially in comparison to its predecessors), with reviews citing various performance issues, environmental clipping, and physics issues. The game's environments were criticized for their poor aesthetics, unmemorable theming, small size, dull challenge tasks, and for not containing as many hidden secrets as those in previous Tony Hawk games. The nature of the game's online modes were criticized for providing little incentive to players and exacerbating the game's performance issues.[442][443]

IGN gave the game a 3.5 out of 10, concluding that "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5's rare moments of nostalgic joy are drowned out by its abundance of poorly thought out levels, control problems, bugs, and its glaring lack of attitude. It boggles the mind that a $60 game in 2015 can be riddled with so many technical issues."[442] Giving Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 a 3 out of 10, GameSpot argued that "within THPS5 lies a basic skating game that's difficult to enjoy, because you have to jump over numerous hoops and ignore a plethora of obvious issues to find the smallest amount of fun."[443]

See also[edit]

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