List of video games notable for negative reception

List of video games notable for negative reception

The video games listed here have achieved notably negative reception from a variety of gaming publications, some of which have also labelled them as the worst video games ever made.



Custer's Revenge (Atari 2600)

This 1982 Mystique game was controversial due to its objective: the apparent rape of a Native American woman.[1] Atari received numerous complaints about the game, and responded by trying to sue the game's makers,[2] before the game was ultimately withdrawn from circulation.[3] The game was listed as the most shameful game of all time by GameSpy,[1] as the third-worst game of all time by PC World[4] and GameTrailers in 2006,[5] and the ninth-worst game by Seanbaby in Electronic Gaming Monthly.[6]

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Atari 2600)

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

Based on the popular Steven Spielberg film, this 1982 Atari, Inc. adventure game was reputedly coded in just five weeks in order to be released during the 1982 holiday season.[7] Despite selling 1.5 million copies,[8] the game came nowhere near Atari's expectations as it ordered five million copies,[7] and a good deal of the sold games were sent back to the company because many consumers found the game to be unenjoyable.[7] Millions of these cartridges were reportedly buried in a landfill in New Mexico after they failed to sell.[9][10] 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.[10][11] E.T. was listed as the worst game of all time by PC World in 2006,[4] Electronic Gaming Monthly,[12] and FHM.[13] GameTrailers ranked it as the second worst movie game ever (losing only to Charlie's Angels) by GameTrailers in 2007[14] and the second worst game of all time overall in 2006 (losing only to Superman 64).[5] Some considered it so bad that the title screen was the only good part of the game.[15] IGN called the negative reception for the game "the stuff of legend".[16] In 2007, GamePro named E.T. one of the 52 most important games of all time due to its roles in the 1983 video game crash and the downfall of the seemingly unstoppable Atari. It is the only game to make the list for having had a negative impact on the video game industry.[11]

Pac-Man (Atari 2600)

This 1982 Atari Inc. port of the popular arcade game Pac-Man was significantly altered from the original in order to meet the console's limitations. Some of these changes included simplified graphics, a modified maze layout, and "flickering" ghosts as a workaround for technical limitations (the game only rendered one ghost on screen per frame).[17] Ed Logg, a former lead designer at Atari, considered the development a rushed, "lousy" effort. Developer Tod Frye did not express regret over his part in Pac-Man's port and felt he made the best decisions he could at the time. However, Frye stated that he would have done things differently with a larger capacity ROM.[17] Despite the changes, the port was a commercial success and sold over seven million copies.[17] In 1998, Next Generation Magazine called it the "worst coin-op conversion of all time", and attributed the mass dissatisfaction to its poor quality.[17] In 2006, IGN echoed similar statements and listed Pac-Man as the worst home console port of an arcade game ever;[18] another IGN editor described it as a "disastrous port".[19]


Bubsy 3D (PS)

Bubsy 3D is 1996 platform game by Eidetic which GamesRadar called the video game equivalent to terrible films such as Plan 9 from Outer Space and Battlefield Earth.[20] GameTrailers named it the eighth worst video game ever made, calling it a "blatant rip-off of Super Mario 64."[21] Seanbaby named it the 17th worst game of all time, criticizing its controls, the character's personality, and the graphical world, which "looks like it was built out of old milk cartons by a group of first graders from a country that had never seen milk cartons before."[22]

Catfight (PC)

This 1996 women-only Mortal Kombat-style fighting game by Phantom Card got widely panned and has a GameRankings score of only 8.67%.[23] Various reviewers gave it the lowest score possible, including 0/10 in Computer Games Magazine[23] and one star in Next Generation. [24] At the time of its release in 1996, GameSpot called it "without a doubt, the worst computer game ever released",[25] while The Daily Pennsylvanian called it the number one most sexist game ever created.[26] In 2010, PC Gamer ranked "this low-resolution smut" as the #7 worst PC game of all time, citing its "insulting premise, dismal AI, [and] awful controls" and calling it "so bad, being caught masturbating to it would actually be less embarrassing than being caught playing it."[27]

Link: The Faces of Evil / Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (CD-i)

As a result of canceled plans to release a CD-ROM add-on for the SNES, 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.[28] The first two games were developed in tandem by Animation Magic, using the same game engine, and were released on the same day in 1993.[29] These two games gained notoriety due to their barely functional controls, lackluster gameplay, and numerous bugs.[5] Attention was also brought to their animated cutscenes, which were called "infamous" by IGN,[30] while others called them "bizarre" and "an absolute joke".[31] The Wand of Gamelon was ranked the #6 worst video game of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly[32] and the #5 by GameTrailers in 2006.[5]

Superman (N64)

This 1999 third-person action game by Titus Software, based on Superman: The Animated Series, was widely criticized for having unnecessarily repetitive, difficult, and confusing objectives, unnecessarily short time limits that left no margin for error, poor graphics and poor controls.[33][34] As a result, critics were overwhelmingly negative in reviews; GameSpot's Joe Fielder declared Superman the worst game he had ever played, adding that "it serves no purpose other than to firmly establish the bottom of the barrel."[33] Both IGN[34] and Game Revolution panned the game for its atrocious set-up, gameplay, and graphics.[35] Superman was listed as the worst game of all time by GameTrailers in 2006,[5] the worst game on any Nintendo platform by Nintendo Power in 2006,[36] and as the worst video game adaptation of a comic book by GameSpy in 2004 and by GameDaily in 2009.[37][38]


Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (GameCube, Xbox)

This 2003 action-adventure game by Lucky Chicken Games has a Metacritic score of 27/100 for its GameCube version and 26/100 for its Xbox version.[39] Named as one of the worst games of all time by X-Play, it was the inspiration for their annual award for the worst game of the year, "The Golden Mullet", a reference to the hairstyle Aquaman features in the game.[40] Similarly, the 2003 Nintendo Power Awards had an ironic category that was made only to give credit to Aquaman and "his sweet mullet".

Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (PC)

Released in a seemingly incomplete and buggy state, this 2004 racing game by Stellar Stone became infamous for its complete lack of collision detection, entirely non-existent AI (as the computer opponent does not move, or otherwise participate in the "race" at all), extremely abnormal physics, and its victory screen — an image of a tri-handled trophy accompanied by the typoed caption "YOU'RE WINNER !".[41] In 2004, Big Rigs was listed as one of the worst games ever made by GameSpot.[41] and Thunderbolt.[42] The GameSpot review of Big Rigs called it "as bad as your mind allows you to comprehend", [41] and the video review contained no narration whatsoever, consisting of in-game footage interspersed with wider shots showing the reviewer staring in disbelief, crying, and beating his head on a desk.[41] GameSpot also awarded it its annual Flat-Out Worst Game award for 2004, with its "trophy" being the three-handled "YOU'RE WINNER" trophy from the game itself.[43] After declaring it the "worst game ever made" in a Games You Should Never Buy, X-Play's Morgan Webb refused to even rate Big Rigs as their scale only went from 1 to 5.[40] Big Rigs was also named as the second Worst Video Game of the Decade at the 2009 SAGY Awards by ScrewAttack (losing to the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog).[44] As of 2011, it has the lowest aggregate score of any video game on MetaCritic (8/100)[45] andGameRankings (3.83%).[46] Due to the negative response by critics to the game however, Big Rigs gained a cult following and managed to sell well.[43]

Charlie's Angels (PS2, GameCube)

This 2003 third-person action game by Neko Entertainment has a Metacritic score of 23/100,[47] and a GameRankings score of 24.57%, the lowest aggregate score of any video game with more than 20 featured reviews As of March 2011.[48] GameSpot review called it a "horrific display of ineptitude."[49] The game was ranked #1 on GameTrailers' 2007 list of the Top 10 Worst Movie Games of all time, with a comment: "The game is degrading, not to women, not even to video games, but to humanity itself".[14]

Elf Bowling 1 & 2 (NDS)

This 2010 bowling game by NStorm has Metacritic score of 12/100, the second-lowest aggregate score of any video game on this website,[50] and a GameRankings score of 12.25%.[51] GameSpot rated the title 1.4/10, the lowest rating given for a Nintendo DS game, citing the fact that the games included are available for free on the Internet, and criticizing the game's simplistic mechanics and visuals.[52] IGN gave it a 1.0/10, calling it "absolutely retarded".[53]

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (PC, PS3, X360)

This 2009 adventure game by Team17 has a Metacritic score of 20/100 for its PC version, 17/100 for its PlayStation 3 version and 25/100 for its Xbox 360 version.[54] IGN gave it a 2.2/10, categorizing it as "painful", with a comment: "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."[55] GameCentral's review summarized the game as "one of the worst video games ever made—brutally unfunny and monotonously inept on every level."[56] GameTrailers rated the game a 2.3/10, as of 2011 the lowest score ever given on the site.[57] It won several awards for the worst game of the year, including a SAGY award for the Worst Multiconsole game by,[58] the game the Worst Game of the Year Award by Giant Bomb,[59] and the Worst Game of 2009 by Good Game.[60] Al Lowe, creator of the Leisure Suit Larry franchise, thanked VU Games on his website for keeping him away from what he called "the latest disaster".[61]

See also


  1. ^ a b Top Ten Shameful Games. GameSpy. Retrieved on May 29, 2008.
  2. ^ Herman, Leonard (1997). Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames. p. 88. 
  3. ^ Talbot, David (1983). "Pac-Man Kills Kids, Self: Video Horrors". Mother Jones (April). 
  4. ^ a b Townsend, Emru (October 23, 2006). The 10 Worst Games of All Time. PC World. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e GT Countdown: Top Ten Best and Worst Games of All Time. GameTrailers. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  6. ^ Seanbaby. EGM's Crapstavaganza: The Twenty Worst Games of All Time. Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved on May 29, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c "Five Million E.T. Pieces". Snopes. 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  8. ^ "The 30 defining moments in gaming". 2007-08-13. Archived from the original on 2007-12-16. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ McQuiddy, M.E. (September 27, 1983). City to Atari: 'E.T.' trash go home. Alamogordo Daily News. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.
  10. ^ a b Parish, Jeremy. "The Most Important Games Ever Made: #13: E.T.". Retrieved 2006-07-01. 
  11. ^ a b The 52 Most Important Video Games of All Time. GamePro. Retrieved 2010-2-18.
  12. ^ Seanbaby. EGM's Crapstravaganza: The 20 Worst Games of All Time. Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  13. ^ The Video Game Revolution: Best and Worst Games of All Time. PBS. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  14. ^ a b GameTrailers. Retrieved on August 10, 2008.
  15. ^ Fragmaster. "Game of the Week: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial". Classic Gaming. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  16. ^ (2009). Top 24 Videogame Consoles of All Time, IGN.
  17. ^ a b c d Staff (April 1998). "What the hell happened?". Next Generation Magazine (Imagine Media) (40): p. 41. 
  18. ^ Harris, Craig (2006-06-27). "Top 10 Tuesday: Worst Coin-op Conversions". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  19. ^ Buchanan, Levi (2008-08-26). "Top 10 Best-Selling Atari 2600 Games". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  20. ^ Goulter, Tom. "Gaming's would-be innovators". GamesRader. Future US, Inc. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  21. ^ "Top Ten Best and Worst Games of All Time". GameTrailers. 2006-11-17. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  22. ^ Seanbaby. "EGM's Crapstravaganza: The 20 Worst Games of All Time". Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  23. ^ a b Catfight for PC (GameRankings)
  24. ^ Next Generation 22 (October 1996), p. 183
  25. ^ Catfight Review (GameSpot)
  26. ^ Networking redefines the standards for PC gaming (The Daily Pennsylvanian)
  27. ^ The 15 worst PC games of all time | PC Gamer
  28. ^ GameTrailers Staff (2006-10-22). "The Legend of Zelda Retrospective Zelda Retrospective Part 3". GameTrailers. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  29. ^ Szczepaniak, John (2008-01-01). "Zelda: Wand of Gamelon / Link: Faces of Evil - Phillips CD-I (1993)". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  30. ^ Drucker, Michael S. (2005-09-30). "The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series - DVD Review at IGN". Retrieved 2010-05-14. 
  31. ^ Cowan, Danny (2006-04-25). "CDi: The Ugly Duckling". Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  32. ^ "EGM's Crapstravaganza: The 20 Worst Games of All Time". Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  33. ^ a b Fielder, Joe (June 8, 1999). Superman for Nintendo 64 Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  34. ^ a b Casamassina, Matt (June 2, 1999). Superman Review. IGN. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  35. ^ Leong, George. Superman review for the N64. Game Revolution. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  36. ^ "Top 5 Worst Games Ever". NP 196 (Nintendo Power). 2005. 
  37. ^ Chapman, David (July 18, 2004). Comics to Consoles: Part II - When Good Comics Go Bad. GameSpy. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  38. ^ Worst Comic Book Adaptations. Retried on March 13, 2009.
  39. ^ "Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis for Xbox". Retrieved 2011-03-21. "Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis for GameCube". Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  40. ^ a b Classic X-Play: Aquaman Review. G4. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  41. ^ a b c d Navarro, Alex (January 14, 2004) Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing for PC Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  42. ^ Wadleigh, Matt (March 22, 2004). Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing - PC review. Thunderbolt. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  43. ^ a b GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2004: Flat-Out Worst Game. GameSpot. Retrieved on July 11, 2008.
  44. ^ "SAGY Awards 2009 Worst Game of the Decade Winner | ScrewAttack - Metal Gear Ben Finale LATER TODAY!". ScrewAttack. Retrieved 2010-05-14. 
  45. ^ "Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  46. ^ "Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing". GameRankings. Retrieved 2011-03-21. "All-Time Worst". Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  47. ^ "Charlie's Angels for GameCube". Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  48. ^ "Charlie's Angels for GameCube". GameRankings. Retrieved 2011-03-21. "All-Time Worst". Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  49. ^ Charlie's Angels for GameCube Review - GameCube Charlie's Angels Review. GameSpot. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  50. ^ "Elf Bowling 1 & 2 for DS". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  51. ^ "Elf Bowling 1 & 2". GameRankings. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  52. ^ Provo, Frank (2006-01-03). "Elf Bowling 1 & 2 Review for DS - GameSpot". Gamespot. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  53. ^ "Elf Bowling 1 & 2 Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  54. ^ "Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-03-21. "Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust for Playstation 3". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-03-21. "Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust for Xbox 360". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  55. ^ "Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Review". 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  56. ^ "Leisure Suit Larry (360)". Teletext. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  57. ^ Posted: Apr 24, 2009 (2009-04-24). "Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Video Game, Review HD | Video Clip | Game Trailers & Videos". Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  58. ^ Farmhouse (2010-04-20). "Leisure Suit Lary (Box Office Bust) makes me throw up!". Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  59. ^ Jimbo_N (2009-12-08). "Game of the year awards 2009: Part 4 - Special awards, part 2". Giant Bomb. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  60. ^ "GG Awards 2009: Worst Game". Good Game. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  61. ^ "Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust". Retrieved 2010-06-16. 

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