This is the final list. Here are the 20 games that are the radioactive elements, the malignant tumors of gaming. Throughout this list we have seen many bad games, some of the “so bad they’re good” type, some irritating, and others that are directly broken or were misconceptions from the beginning. But the top 10 on this list goes further, and are games that insult the public, cynically take advantage of popular franchises, or try to sell smoke in ethically dubious ways. Treacherous crimes against the consumer, true affronts to gaming. These are the 20 worst video games we have ever played
- The Worst Video Games of All Time
- 20. BIBLE ADVENTURES (NES, 1991)
- 19. STREET FIGHTER: REAL BATTLE ON FILM (PLAYSTATION, 1995)
- 18. CLUB DRIVE (ATARI JAGUAR, 1994)
- 17. ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES (GEARBOX, 2013)
- 16. WE DARE (WII, 2011)
- 15. RIDE TO HELL: RETRIBUTION (PS3, PC, XBOX 360, 2013)
- 14. NIGHT TRAP (SEGA-CD, 1992)
- 13. SUPERMAN (NINTENDO 64, 1999)
- 12. THE YOU TESTAMENT (PC, 2010)
- 11. L’ETERNAUTA: GLI INVASORI DELLA CITTÁ ETERNA (1994)
- List of video games notable for negative reception
- 10. ELF BOWLING 1 & 2 (GAME BOY ADVANCE, 2006)
- 9. THE WAR Z (PC, 2012)
- 8. DUKE NUKEM FOREVER (PC, PS3, XBOX 360, 2011)
- 7. ACTION 52 (NES, 1991)
- 6. CURIOSITY: WHAT’S INSIDE THE CUBE? (IOS AND ANDROID, 2012)
- 5. FIGHTERS UNCAGED (XBOX 360, 2010)
- 4. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (ATARI 2600, 1982)
- 3. LINK: THE FACES OF EVIL (CD-I, 1993)
- 2. CUSTER’S REVENGE (ATARI 2600, 1982)
- 1. LIMBO OF THE LOST (PC, 2007)
The Worst Video Games of All Time
20. BIBLE ADVENTURES (NES, 1991)
Wisdom Tree is one of the few companies that dared to launch unauthorised games for Nintendo systems, but when they realised that the big chains were not buying their games for fear of reprisals from the big N, they turned to another market: religious gaming. That games are bad is already predictable, but what makes them surreal is the absolutely literal way of looking at the Bible, which makes them completely useless as an educational product.
This collection brings three games: one in which we play Noah as he goes through the forest hunting animals to get into his Ark, another in which we put ourselves in the shoes of Baby Moses, and an even more bizarre one in which King David… hunts animals, just like Noah. Apocalyptic.
19. STREET FIGHTER: REAL BATTLE ON FILM (PLAYSTATION, 1995)
Capcom was confident that the film based on Street Fighter would be a success, despite being one of the worst of all time, perhaps the first ever movie. Anyway, the company released an arcade game that used a Mortal Kombat-like technique to allow us to play with digitised characters based on the actors. The technique is not as effective as in MK, and the game was a mediocre variant of a classic… but when it was converted to a console, Capcom (already resigned to the failure of the movie) decided to get rid of it EVEN faster, pasting the digital characters on top of Street Fighter II Turbo, even though half of the animations don’t even hit with glue and the poor PlayStation drags with every hit.
18. CLUB DRIVE (ATARI JAGUAR, 1994)
No, not Driveclub (although that wasn’t a wonder when it came out either) but Club Drive, one of the few games that came out for the doomed-to-ruin Atari Jaguar console. Club Drive is a 3D racing game that, in the same year that PlayStation 1 came out, insulted players by lacking textures and instead gave them an open world to roam in that was impossible to navigate. There were no routes on Club Drive, just different scenarios, set in different historical times and looking like they were designed in one afternoon. Not every scenario in an afternoon, uh, all scenarios in one afternoon.
17. ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES (GEARBOX, 2013)
Not just a bad game, but a missed opportunity. Not just a lost opportunity, but one of the biggest scams perpetrated on the gamer public by a big company.
Aliens: Colonial Marines is a deeply mediocre game in every way, a series of long, boring fights in small spaces against aliens who are as dumb as they are tough. Bullet sponges with a sponge in their brains. The story wastes all the interesting “Cameron Wing” of the Alien universe in the middle of a tangle of confusing levels populated with more bugs than xenomorphs.
16. WE DARE (WII, 2011)
By 2010 or so, it was clear that Wii was good for only two things: great Nintendo games and ridiculous minigame collections, generally released by Ubisoft. We Dare is one of those, but it’s the theme that makes it unique, as it’s adult minigames, from sexy dance minigames to challenges that force you to pat your partner on the butt… “with the Wiimote – no, ma’am! Can’t you see that tomorrow the baby will want to use it to play the Rabbids?
15. RIDE TO HELL: RETRIBUTION (PS3, PC, XBOX 360, 2013)
Many ambitious games on this list, but none as arrogant as this biker story that was to offer an open world GTA wave and ended up being an adventure of overwhelming linearity, alternating primitive, endless third-person combat with sub-Road Rash motorcycle racing and derisory movie scenes, that wanted to be Sons of Anarchy and didn’t reach the emotional depth of CHIPS.
14. NIGHT TRAP (SEGA-CD, 1992)
The first CD games were brutally simple, inventing a genre called “trap ’em up” in which we saw the action (recorded on video, a great novelty for the time) through different cameras and could perform certain actions. In the case of Night Trap we were using a group of teenagers as bait for a strange race of vampires that we would trap in order to win. The game is, of course, lousy, acted out as the opening sequence of the first Resident Evil and limited in its interaction, but the theme and the girls in bikinis generated a ridiculous controversy that almost ended up in an official censorship system for the video game world.
13. SUPERMAN (NINTENDO 64, 1999)
A game that deserves its terrible reputation. Lex Luthor creates a Virtual Metropolis and forces Superman to perform a series of challenges to save his friends. The challenges basically consist of flying races from one point to another, sometimes passing through circles suspended in the air. Metropolis, meanwhile, has the level of detail of the buildings of the first Star Fox, and is surrounded by a Silent Hill fog that makes nothing visible. Oh, and flying is harder than taking off a Boeing. So it’s torture to be Superman.
12. THE YOU TESTAMENT (PC, 2010)
MDickie’s independent designer games are very strange. Great ideas complicated by convoluted design, full of unnecessary options and unbalanced gameplay. Oh, and they’re ugly because they use an old graphic engine and 3D models designed by the same programmer. But the premises are almost impossible to find in gaming.
You can run a wrestling empire in Wrestling Mpire. You can go to jail and try to survive in Hard Time. And in The You Testament, you are none other than Jesus. A Jesus who spends his time fighting saiyajins, playing mini-games and performing miracles that alter the game world itself. He is unique. He is atrocious. It’s The You Testament.
11. L’ETERNAUTA: GLI INVASORI DELLA CITTÁ ETERNA (1994)
Did you know him? Neither did I. One of the findings that comes from compiling a list of the worst in history. To find out what the Eternauta game is about (obviously, NULL legality) you have to go back to the ’90s, the time when the successful Italian publisher Comic Art was in decline having lost the Marvel Comics titles and didn’t know what to invent to get back on top. Why not a video game?
Comic Art then hired the unknown studio Holodream Software and sent itself a game based on one of their best-selling comics: The Eternauta, a square, poorly designed graphic adventure in which each of the backgrounds looked the same. The worst thing is that the story is transposed to Rome so we don’t even have the iconic River Stadium attacked by the Cascarudos. A lousy game, a footnote to the (already strange) history of Argentine comics.
List of video games notable for negative reception
10. ELF BOWLING 1 & 2 (GAME BOY ADVANCE, 2006)
Someday our grandchildren will ask us, “Grandpa, Grandpa… what is a flash game” and we will remember that wonderful time when we visited unknown websites, wasting hours and hours of office time with primitive mini-games, indefensible in terms of gameplay and aesthetics. Nobody remembers the Bloons, the thousand Arkanoid clones, or Elf Bowling, which was just that – a bowling with Santa Claus dwarfs instead of bowling.
But there are a thousand bad flash games. What’s horrifying is that the minimal viral fame that the developers of this freak had was used to sell a Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance cartridge, which included the first two games in the series. 10 minutes of infamous gameplay, for about 30 dollars.
9. THE WAR Z (PC, 2012)
The 2012 phenomenon was an ArmA 2 mod called “DayZ” – an open-world online game, where we had no purpose other than to survive a zombie invasion. The Bohemian studio could have released it commercially immediately, but instead allowed its designer Dean Hall to polish it up in mod format for long months…
… months that the Russian distributor OP Productions took advantage of to hurriedly release an almost identical clone, which of course was badly balanced, full of unexplained bugs and micro-transactions everywhere. So bad was it that they had to take it down from Steam after two days – but it came back a couple of months later, slightly polished, and with another name (Infestation: Survivor Stories). It’s sold over a million units.
Extra: the owner of the distributor is the same guy who gave us the hideous Big Rigs.
8. DUKE NUKEM FOREVER (PC, PS3, XBOX 360, 2011)
Sure, there are worse games (though not many), but how many of the worst games in history can be said to have been 15 years in development, by studies of the highest level? Duke Nukem Forever is as primitive as its character, a parody of action heroes that were already out of fashion in 1995. The levels are repetitive, the weapons have no impact and the story is completely forgettable. And it’s so, but SO long. Like 20 hours long. Another downside for Gearbox, one of the lucky few to have two games on this list (even though we like this one better than the infamous Alien: Colonial Marines).
7. ACTION 52 (NES, 1991)
The “100,000 in 1” cartridges are a gaming classic, but we all know that their legal status is at least dubious. “Action 52”, a North American multi-cartridge financed by the unknown studio Active Technologies, was a little bit more legal, and although it didn’t have official authorization for sale by Nintendo, in 1991 it came out in all the United States, thanks to an international financing of more than 20 million dollars.
But what was Action 52? No less than 52 games, designed in the space of three months by a team of three university students working in a dubiously legal manner in the offices of the “official” Sculptured Software studio. The names of the games indicate that there is only glory in this cartridge: Silver Sword! Ninja Assault! FRENCH BAKER!
They all suck, of course, but one stands out from the rest: The Cheetahmen, a cheap copy of the Ninja Turtles with zero gameplay that has become a cult classic.
6. CURIOSITY: WHAT’S INSIDE THE CUBE? (IOS AND ANDROID, 2012)
One of the big questions we gamers ask ourselves is: Peter Molyneux, genius or not? This game confirms that the third option is simply “con”.
Curiosity was Molyneux’s first “game” (he calls it a “social experiment”) after he quit the legendary Lionhead (Fable) studio. The game consisted of a huge cube that had to be hammered with virtual tools. In the centre of the cube was a prize. There was only one winner. An interesting experiment in theory was complicated when the studio started selling “better” weapons, in exchange, of course, for real money.
The game was primitive, aesthetically null, as monotonous as it sounds – you would hammer the cube and cross your fingers dreaming of winning THAT prize… and what was the prize? There’s the cherry. The winner of Curiosity would become the virtual god of Godus, another game from the studio, which – by the way – had been funded at Kickstarter by the users.
As if this wasn’t unpleasant enough, Molyneux “crowned” the winner, Bryan Henderson (who would also take a percentage of the winnings), as Godus was in development… only to lose contact with him a year later and deny him any share of the profits – because there was none. Godus was never released, and was turned into ANOTHER game, called Godus Wars. This one doesn’t have any gods, uh.
5. FIGHTERS UNCAGED (XBOX 360, 2010)
Ubisoft sold it as “an immersive experience that involves your whole body”. Perhaps they were referring to the physical act of throwing it away, because this game, undoubtedly the worst Kinect game (yes, worse than the one where you danced with Darth Vader), is probably the most frustrating game ever. The idea of a Kinect fighting game is not bad, but already the detection capacity of the device was low, and Uncaged didn’t help, reproducing our moves 1 or 2 seconds after we made them. On top of that, the designs are horrible. On top of that, the characters are few and the movements are much less than the 70’s that the box sells. To top it off, they made a sequel, Fighter Within for Xbox One, which for some is even worse.
4. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (ATARI 2600, 1982)
This game is so bad that not only did it ruin Atari, not only did it insult one of the best movies of the decade, but it almost melted down the entire video game industry all by itself.
Usually movie-based games are started months or years before the release, but in 1982 this practice was not so common, and nobody expected the commercial success that E.T. would be. Spielberg’s movie premiered in June, and in July Warner (owner of Atari) was desperate to get on board – so much so that she paid about $25 million for the license (still the most expensive in history). The game was supposed to be on by Christmas. On July 27th Atari was still looking for a programmer.
The cartridge was developed in five months and of course it is an inedible monster, both visually painful and overly ambitious in terms of gameplay. The alien walks through a green field, diving into purple wells to look for pieces of a phone. Worst of all, it was a success – one and a half million units sold! Of course, Atari had manufactured over FOUR million cartridges, and those are the ones that ended up being buried in the desert because nobody wanted them. Look at the documentary “Game Over”. It’s worth it.
3. LINK: THE FACES OF EVIL (CD-I, 1993)
The worst decision in Nintendo’s history was not to add a CD insert to its Super Nintendo. This “SNES-CD” was going to be designed by Sony, company that, when Nintendo broke the contract, decided to continue developing it by its own with the name of “PlayStation”. To ally itself with Philips – company that it ALSO left in band and ALSO decided to design an independent console. In this case the hideous CD-I.
But Nintendo had not only made a deal with Philips, but had also licensed its two icons: Mario and Zelda. And what Philips did with them can only be described as payback.
Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon are two simply terrible platform games. Lousy controls, harsh animation, and a colour palette that’s browner than Gears of War. The sacrilege of destroying this franchise would already deserve a place at the top, but what really condemns these games to hell are the impressive, almost psychedelic, animated sequences of how ugly they are, designed by a Russian studio that apparently confused Link with Peter Pan version 4. The other is just as bad… but sadly, it’s one of the few games that lets you play with Zelda.
2. CUSTER’S REVENGE (ATARI 2600, 1982)
It still seems incredible that this game was not only released, but sold in video stores all over the United States. Custer’s Revenge is an arcade game for Atari in which we play the famous general slaughtered by natives in the late 19th century… and what is Custer’s “revenge”? Abusing a native woman tied to a pole. That’s not “kinematics.” That’s what the game is about… which not only generated a scandal, but is notorious for being the model for several later attempts at provocation, as it sold some 80,000 units at $50. 4 million dollars for an offensive, infamous, atrocious game, scheduled to take place in one afternoon.
1. LIMBO OF THE LOST (PC, 2007)
Ladies, gentlemen, the worst game of all time, and perhaps the one with the most bizarre story behind it.
Limbo of the Lost began as a fun game among friends, in 1993, as a graphic adventure for Commodore Amiga. But this independent game soon caught the attention of mid-sized distributors and the ambition was to grow it – and split the group. By 2007 the game was an unmanageable monster, a head-and-shoulders adventure that went from Lucasarts style to Myst-style puzzles, all interspersed with strange musical numbers. But the companies were nervous and demanded that it be finished at once. And so the team had an idea that would put Limbo of the Lost in the grotesque history books.
Instead of finishing the art of the thousand missing levels, they decided to borrow images from other games. And not unfamiliar games. A wall from Oblivion, a tree from World of Warcraft, an entire fortress from Thief: Deadly Shadows. But wait – didn’t it look weird that it was art from games that had nothing to do with each other? It sure did. Even more so when they started stealing visual effects from films like Spawn and Beetlejuice.
The game was published. The hoax was discovered in the forums in 0.08 seconds. The team blamed a “supplier” and Limbo of the Lost became synonymous with zeal. What would have been a shame if the game was good… but it wasn’t good, it was the worst thing a human being could invent.
What is the worst game ever?
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (also called simply E.T.) is an adventure video game developed and published by Atari, Inc. for their Atari 2600. Based on the movie of the same name, it was designed by Howard Scott Warshaw. Read the article to know more…
What is the most hated Videogame?
LINK: THE FACES OF EVIL (1993) – The worst decision in Nintendo’s history was not to add a CD insert to its Super Nintendo. This “SNES-CD” was going to be designed by Sony, company that, when Nintendo broke the contract, decided to continue developing it by its own with the name of “PlayStation”. Read the article to know more…