The Most Hated Video Games of All Time
Every entertainment sector has had its colossal critical and commercial failures. The film industry had “Mars Needs Moms,” “John Carter” and almost every movie that takes place on Mars not starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. And the video game market had the following pixel regrets…
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Atari 2600)
”E.T.” the video game is like the alternate-universe version of “E.T.” the movie—it was a massive bomb despised by all that resulted in everybody hoping government agents would kill both the title character and Elliot. Designed and programmed in a mere five weeks in time for the 1982 holiday shopping season, “E.T.” featured a malformed question mark (or sentient kitchen hutch) looking through such diverse settings as “green patch” and “ditch” for the phone parts he needs to call home. Along the way he eats black dots that represent either Reese’s Pieces for energy or cyanide pills for sweat release from a game now considered not only one of the biggest commercial failures of all time but also helped destroy Atari and led to the video game industry crash of 1983. The millions of unsold copies are now believed to be buried in a New Mexico landfill along with such other failed Atari cartridges as “Pac-Man” and “Let’s Do a Video Game Version of the Movie ‘Gandhi’ Using a Square as Ben Kingsley.”
Elf Bowling 1 &2 (Game Boy Advance/Nintendo DS)
Some game titles tell you to give up any hope of fun right from the start, like “Halo Without Guns: The Walking Tour Version” and “Look! Cheese!” And so it was with “Elf Bowling,” a game that had previously been offered for free and made the player wish it focused more on finding the right shoe size and waiting on line for the restroom. Attempts to liven up the festivities by having the elves tell crude jokes, rip each other’s heads off, and finally answering the question “What would a lawn gnome look like without pants?” do little to offset the realization that this is about as edgy as another unfortunately-titled but all-too-real Game Boy adventure, “Extreme Sports with the Berenstain Bears.”
Revolution X (SNES)
What if an evil organization called New Order Nation led by Headmistress Helga sought to end all kids’ good times in the far-off future of 1999 by kidnapping Aerosmith? And what if your only weapon of choice to rescue the band was music—as in a gun that shot CDs—while you collected Aerosmith wings to fly to Wembley Stadium as “Rag Doll” played on an endless loop? And what if along the way you had to blow up a school bus, drink health shakes, and listen to Steven Tyler repeatedly tell you to kill people? You’d have the write-up of more than a few patients’ psychoses in a mental health facility. You’d also have this SNES cartridge, which makes you wish they had made a video game of The Beatles’ “Revolution 9” instead.
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (Xbox, PS3)
Called an “astroturd” by “Official Xbox Magazine,” “Box Office Bust” was repeatedly awarded “Worst Game of 2009’ in a year that also saw the release of “Stalin vs. Martians.” Forgoing the “Leisure Suit Larry” series’ usual nudity in favor of rampant cursing and movie puns like “Bytanic” and “Beefcake Mountain,” the game wasn’t so much a satire of Hollywood as what Hollywood produces when Adam Sandler says, “I could play both genders!” Devoid of laughs, any compelling game play, and a reason for existing outside of a couple of programmers giggling over the word “bust,” this edition proved the worst sequel to a game franchise that had already produced such titles as “Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals” and “Shape Up or Slip Out.”
Superman: The New Adventures (Nintendo 64)
Kryptonite originally priced at $49.99, the N64 “Superman” proved more destructive to the superhero’s image than if he had started flying naked over church picnics. Featuring a “virtual reality” Metropolis created by Lex Luthor and starring the voice cast of the late-90’s animated series, the game highlights such long-beloved Caped Crusader abilities as finding random keys, pushing buttons, and seeing how many hoops he can fly through in six straight days. Worse yet, the controls to the game proved so unresponsive that players were left to mash all the buttons at once and then just hurl fists at the TV screen in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, you could knock Superman unconscious
Custer’s Revenge (Atari 2600)
Let’s be blunt—there is little one can say about or show of “Custer’s Revenge” that wouldn’t result in an NC-17 rating and a cease-and-desist letter from humanity. A self-proclaimed “Swedish Erotica” adult game, it stars General Custer sporting nothing but a hat, boots, and something that should be hidden by a black bar or well-placed credenza. His goal is to avoid getting shot by arrows as he makes his way across the screen to a naked Native American woman…who is tied to a pole. Unbelievably misogynistic, outright racist, and on top of all that making light of a horrible, horrible crime, all versions of “Custer’s Revenge” should not merely be buried in a landfill but rather blasted off into space, where more advanced alien civilizations could find it and say, “On second thought, let’s not visit Earth.”
What video games do you hate? Let us know in the comments!