You all must have read hundreds of listicles going over the best video games ever in different genres and niches.
But have you ever wondered what lies on the other side of the ditch?
Simply put, it’s a side you don’t want to cross over to, but must look at to appreciate the games we take for granted.
When I first came across the idea of compiling a list of the worst games ever, I thought it’d be an easy task; just hop on over to Metacritic and sort games by the worst reviews.
My goodness, that’s a hell that you don’t want to visit. There are so many atrocious games that you would have never heard about and, if you care about your playing habits, would not care about either.
For this list, we’ve compiled a list of games that either had a promising concept or were built around a well-known IP, but failed so miserably that they landed here on our list of the 23 Worst Games of All Time.
By now, the video game industry has learned two very important lessons:
Using video games as promotional tools to sell movies or any other products is a bad idea.
A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.
However, back in the 80s, such wisdom was unheard of. So, when ET was about to come out, Steven Spielberg thought a video game would be a good idea to boost the sales of the film.
So Spielberg reached out to Atari just 5 weeks ahead of the film’s release to talk about a tie-in game. There, he met with an equally daring man named, Howard Scott Warshaw, who took on the seemingly impossible task of making a video game in just 5 weeks to hit the markets before Christmas.
As you might have imagined, the whole production process was hell. The graphics were terrible and the gameplay was confusing as hell.
While playing a beta copy of the game, Spielberg pointed out all the flaws. However, Warshaw affirmed they would be ironed out by the final release.
Since Spielberg had already announced the game and Christmas was dawning close, Spielberg gave it a green flag despite all the drawbacks.
What followed was a huge disaster. None of the bugs or red flags of the beta version was ironed out by the release.
Atari sold less than 1.5 million copies, a huge disappointment compared to their targeted sales of 5 million copies.
Even out of the 1.5 million copies sold, a number were sent back as the players didn’t like the game. As a result, Atari buried millions of ET cartridges in a landfill in New Mexico.
In the coming years, ET stood as a shining example of how a video game ‘should NOT’ be made. If only all the developers paid heed to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial failure, we wouldn’t have to stretch this list out so long.
Another mishap of the Nintendo-Philips partnership for the CDi, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon is hailed as the worst Zelda game.
Philips was not supposed to get the license to Zelda in the first place, but after a long and ugly legal battle for add-ons and rights, involving Sony and Sega, Nintendo gave away the rights to Zelda characters to Philips for CDi.
As soon as Philips procured the license to the game, it outsourced the entire project to a third-party developer and instructed them to use ‘ALL’ of CDi’s features, including FMV, high-resolution graphics, and CD-quality music.
As a result, the devs didn’t focus on including actually meaningful game mechanics. The result was a buggy game with technical limitations and iffy controls that went down in history as the worst Zelda game ever.
The tale of ‘Hotel Mario’ and ‘Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon’ isn’t the one that Nintendo likes to tell.
Instead, Nintendo has tried to remove all traces of their connection to such abysmal games, but that hasn’t gone too well.
Nonetheless, Nintendo learned its lesson and now maintains a firm grip over its IPs to produce high-quality games.
I can already hear the racing-sim fans marching towards me with pitch-forks in their hands, but I beg you to hear me out.
First things first, Forza Motorsport was a phenomenal racing game. It was the perfect mix of realism and accuracy. Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the Kinect capabilities of the game.
When Xbox first came out with the Kinect in 2010, it was desperate to get more devs to build games for Kinect.
Since Playground Games, the studio behind Forza is the first-party studio of Xbox, they were probably forced to include some Kinect functionality in their game.
Some Kinect games, like Kinect Sports and Just Dance, were genuinely fun titles that could add some spice to a party. But most of the games were ‘wonky’.
Forza Motorsport 4’s Kinect mode essentially wanted you to raise your arm and drive the car with a ‘virtual’ air steering mode.
The concept was intriguing, but in practice, it was a total disaster. For starters, you had to keep your hands raised in front of the screen during the duration of the game and that’s not my definition of ‘fun’.
Since Kinect was nowhere near as accurate as a force steering wheel, the Kinect mode of Forza Motorsport was heavily assisted by software.
So you had no control over acceleration or braking and the turning was done mostly by the AI. At times, it felt like you had absolutely no control over the car.
Anyone of bought Forza Motorsport 4 did not spend much time with the Kinect.
Fallout 76 aimed to turn the nuclear wasteland into a multiplayer sandbox. Bearing the name of an already established series and being Bethesda’s first multiplayer game, it had a lot of pressure on its shoulder.
Unfortunately, when the game came out, it did not live up to the hype. Fallout 76 was riddled with bugs to a point where it was literally unplayable.
The design and structure of the story did not align with Bethesda’s reputation.
Bethesda released a number of updates for Fallout 76 which greatly improved the gameplay, but it’s nowhere near the hype it promised. Fallout 76 is a permanent stain on Bethesda’s catalog.
Cyberpunk 2077 may not be the worst game of all time, but it’s definitely the biggest disappointment on the face of the gaming community.
Coming from the developers of Witcher 3, Cyberpunk was riding on almost a decade worth of hype. Now looking back, CDPR had promised too much in their promotional content and E3 demo.
I clearly remember that less than 24 hours from the launch, CDPR had put an embargo on media outlets to show any footage because apparently the devs were ‘still ironing out the bugs.’
Come the release day and the whole game was a mess. It was riddled with bugs,
textures were popping everywhere and the crowd density was nowhere near as dense as the marketing materials had promised.
Those were just the problems if you were running the game on a high-end RTX-powered PC. If you bought the game on a console, you essentially lost $60.
Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the worst marketing frauds in video game history. The most anticipated game of the decade was forgotten within 6 months of its release. It could’ve been good, but CDPR rushed the production.
CDPR has promised that they will be releasing constant updates throughout 2021 and the game will be better in 2022, provided you’re running it on a powerful gaming PC or the next-gen consoles. Till then, it’s best to stay away from Cyberpunk 2077.
What is the most hated video game?
The unfortunate title of the worst video game ever has to go to “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”. It was so bad that even Netflix featured it as the worst game ever in ‘High Score’, a 2020 documentary on the history of video games.
Over to you
So that was our run-down of the worst games ever made and a few dishonorable mentions. Have you played any of these games? How did it go?