I've been playing more than my fair share of bad games over the last couple of months, and I decided to post a list of the ten that I consider to be the worst, and it was not easy to narrow it down to just ten.
10) Sssnake (Data Age. Atari 2600)- Here's a pitiful excuse for a game. The entire game is one screen in which you are a dot in the center of a mass of red rectangles avoiding a yellow line of pixels that is supposed to be a snake, and shooting more pixels at what are supposed to be monsters. You only get one life, the control is horrible, you shoot one enemy and all in a group die, and you only get points for the enemy you kill. Oh. I almost forgot about the scoring. You only get ONE POINT PER KILL, no matter what enemy you kill, how fast it is, or how many die at once. Honestly, this shows what happens when a company has no control over what's released on its console.
9) Conan: The Mysteries of Time (Mindscape. NES)- What a sorry mess of a game. The same annoying music loops through the whole game, the levels are terrible to navigate through, the path to the next level is not clear, and the collision detection is pretty bad. Then there are the controls. Both the up and down arrows are used for jumping, with the down arrow used to jump long distances. To pick up items, you have to press down and the attack button, which usually ends with you falling in a pit. Note that this was a licensed game. There is also a part later on in the game in which a lightning bolt appears on the screen and kills you for no reason.
8) Crazy Bus (Genesis)- Apart from perhaps the worst music ever heard of in a game, there is absolutely no gameplay in this game. All you do is move right and honk your horn. That's the whole game. What's worse is that the company released a second version of the game.
7) Drake of the 99 Dragons (Xbox, PC)- I don't know how this game plays on the Xbox, but it is virtually unplayable on the PC. Try jumping and shooting when you have to constantly move the mouse to change the camera position, rendering it impossible to play using a laptop without an external mouse which only makes it barely playable. The controls make getting through the only enemy in the tutorial stage, as well as the first level, almost impossible to get through. The graphics don't work at all and the characters' mouths don't even move when their speaking! Also, parts of the walls depict scratches that are clearly trying to pass themselves off as kanji. On top of that, the story is perhaps the most uninspired I've ever seen. All of this is a recipe for one of the worst abominations in the world of gaming.
6) Action 52 (Active Enterprises. NES, Genesis)- This unlicensed piece of garbage is perhaps one of the worst games on the NES, and that's saying something with all of the garbage Color Dreams and other companies released. All of the games are loaded with bugs and glitches that make them impossible to beat, and some of the games won't even load! Some of the graphics can give you a headache if you look at them long enough and showed that most of them were programmed in a couple of hours with very little planning regarding controls and gameplay, and much of the programming was outsourced to college students. Then there is the Cheetahmen game on the NES version that the company was trying to make the next big thing, and it was filled with just as many bugs and terrible gameplay as the rest. Maybe someone should've told the company that made this "game" that you should put more effort into the game if that was your intention. The biggest insult is that they were charging $200 for this and made a second version on the Sega Genesis. Now if only Cheetahmen 2 stayed in the warehouse it was found in. How games featuring a lot of games on one disk or cartridge were able to survive after this is anyone's guess.
5) Taxi Racer (Stellar Stone. PC)- This horrendous rip-off of Crazy Taxi is a terrible game that was made by Stellar Stone, the same company that would make Big Rigs Over the Road Racing a few years later. What makes this game worse is that it was closer to completion than Big Rigs was, which was released in its pre-alpha stage and wasn't even close to being ready for a beta, let alone a release. One look at this game's title screen makes it painfully obvious that this game was based on Crazy Taxi. However, they missed everything that makes that game fun. The car is pretty hard to control and there is practically no challenge. Your car picks up speed very fast and it soon becomes a pain to move, unlike Crazy Taxi in which the high speeds are the point of the game and the controls are much better. The only people in the game are a few that are spread throughout the boring city with only a few cars. Occasionally the road will disappear for no reason and leave you trapped beneath it forever, or at least until you turn the game off. Another glitch is that colliding with certain walls will cause you to get stuck in them, and there is one that causes the game to crash as soon as you select one of the gameplay options. If you don't have this game, avoid it and never play it. If you do have it, I'd recommend looking for the uninstall button.
4) The Wizard of Oz (SNES)- Easily the worst platformer released on the SNES, this game is an insult to both the classic book and the 1939 movie, and doesn't even come close to faithfully following either one, and that's saying something when that particular movie version was not especially faithfully to the L. Frank Baum book, and he was probably turning over in his grave when this game came out. The graphics are pretty good for the time, but the gameplay falls flat. Dorothy has a long range attack that doesn't last very long and refills are scarce, Scarecrow attacks with a pitchfork that is decent, but the range is poor. The Tin Woodman can't jump, which is strange in a platform game, and I really can't say much about the Lion. The controls aren't the worst, but the collision detection for the objects you jump on sucks. You'll often jump at a huge platform, clearing make it, and FALL RIGHT THROUGH IT! Even worse is that you'll sometimes fall through several platforms after that. Was play-testing games such a foreign concept in those days? The depth perception is pretty horrendous as well. You can be walking by a fence and a small rat on said fence that walks into you will inflict damage, which doesn't even make sense! I could say more about this game, but this is where I'll cut it off. All I'll say is that it's a good thing the main cast of the movie, which this game is supposed to be based on, were gone by the time this was made.
3) Karate (Ultravision. Atari 2600)- This is perhaps the worst fighting game I've ever played. The controls are terrible, the characters move very slowly and are a mess of pixels, and the collision detection is practically non-existent. It is almost impossible to hit your opponent, but when you do it seems to be at random. Oh. Another goodie is that when your opponent wins, HE GOES UP TO THE NEXT BELT LEVEL!!! There goes all chances of winning at this piece of garbage which shames the Atari 2600.
2) Fire Fly (Mythicon. Atari 2600)- Do you want to know why the North American video game market experienced its second crash in 1983 and 1984? Look no further than Mythicon and the poor quality of the three games they released, with Fire Fly being the worst. The game has annoying, repetitive music that is bad even by Atari 2600 standards, graphics that don't look like anything, and poor difficulty. All of the enemies are pretty much the same and are incredibly easy to beat as you only need to shoot one once to kill all of the enemies on the screen. The only cause of difficulty is falling asleep after a few minutes of playing this. Mythicon made two other abominations, Sorcerer and Star Fox (no connection whatsoever to the great game that was on the SNES). Other than a few graphical changes and throwing in a hoverboard, Sorcerer and Fire Fly are the exact same game. Star Fox is a little different, but it is still horrible and similar to the other two. Practices like this is what led to the second video game crash in 1983.
1) Plumbers don't wear ties (3DO)- Does this count as a game? If it is, it is definitely the worst I've ever played. It's labeled as an FMV game, if that isn't bad enough, but it is just a series of bad still images, sometimes with bad cropping jobs and horrendous filters, and occasionally you press a button to advance what is probably one of the worst stories ever. Keep in mind that this is a system that was capable of handling full motion video. Bad voice acting, a story that would be complimented if I called it cheesy, and terrible images easily makes this the worst game of all time, and a game that helped kill the 3DO. This game should be burned off the face of the universe.
1. Challenge of the Dragon (Color Dreams. NES)
2. The Town with no name (Commodore Amiga)
3. Menace Beach/Sunday Funday (Color Dreams/Wisdom Tree, NES)
4. Little Red Hood (NES)
5. Desert Bus (Web)