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The Top Seven Most Disappointing Video Games

[Editor’s Note – Please welcome my favorite toy collecting blogger and frequent GWS commenter, Paul of Toybender, in a guest post that effectively illustrates Paul’s fully-awesome willingness to flip out over annoying minutiae that would only antagonize a true geek.

Check out his blog to get more of his demonstrative, geekalicious love of all things toys, and to enjoy a guest post by yours truly after 7a PST on Friday. -GWS]

As a geek, there are certain times when you’re riding high on geeky expectations of sweet awesomness before your hopes and dreams crash in a flaming wreck of disappointment. Ask any person with nerd-like inclinations about how they felt before and then after their first viewing of The Phantom Menace and you can get a sense of what I’m talking about. The world of video games is littered with disappointment.

7) SUPERMAN (NES)

Superman NES

What’s terrible about this thing is that Superman is less than an inch tall. In fact, he’s that Japanese style of squishy and small, but cute-looking. This might work for Ninja Monkey Fighter III, but not for Superman. The most disappointing aspect of this game is that you literally don’t know what the hell to do once you start playing. Superman basically runs from left-to-right, jumping over or fighting random people on the streets of Metropolis. It appeared that you can fly somehow, but I couldn’t figure out even how to even use a single super power. This game was so bad that I figured there was something wrong with me. I mean, how could anyone possibly make a video game so horrible on purpose? I’d only learn the terrible truth years later. Horrible, horrible people made this game so children would lose their will to live.

6) SPIDER-MAN ARCADE

Spider-Man Arcade

Superhero brawlers like X-Men and Captain America and the Avengers were a couple of flipping sweet arcade games. That’s why I had such high hopes when I played Spider-Man Arcade. This thing was like the Brigadoon of arcade games for me.

When I finally figured out the arcade emulator Mame, one of my first tasks was to find this game, but it took me months to get it. Sure you can find eight billion variations of Mahjong (including a Batman rip-off called Mahjong The Lady Hunter where the hero goes around basically raping women that lose to him), but can you find Spider-Man? Hell no. When I finally did get my hands on it, it went something like this:

1. This is awesome, I’m playing Spider-Man again. Yay!
2. Holy crap, this blows.

The game sucks. Sure there’s some great locations and characters, but it lacks everything that made other comic book-inspired arcade brawlers awesome. Things like fun and enjoyment.

5) G.I. JOE: COBRA STRIKE (ATARI 2600)

GI Joe Cobra Strike Atari 2600

Imagine my surprise a few years ago when I found out that there was a G.I. Joe video game for Atari. It was like someone who loved the Gone with the Wind film like life itself discovered that it was also a novel. Having been burned so many times before, I had lowered my expectations quite a bit. I mean, how good can an Atari game be? Well, they can certainly be better than G.I. Joe: Cobra Strike. The game can’t get any further away from what G.I. Joe is about. Instead of a G.I. Joe like Duke fighting the forces of Cobra, it features a giant snake in the middle that you shoot at or something. I don’t care anymore. I stopped caring roughly five seconds after I had hit the power-on button. What’s sad is that E.T. The Extra Terrestrial for the Atari may be heralded as the worst game of all time, but at least it had some blocks that looked like a goddamn character from the license.

4) STAR WARS ARCADE (32X)


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How do I even begin to tell you the depths of my disappointment with this one? I had waited forever, reading in my official Sega Magazine about how great the 32X was going to be. I can’t remember what the mag was called, but it might have been, “Sega Brainwashes You Monthly”.

What’s funny (or sad) is that I remember the exact moment I knew I had been duped by the Sega propaganda machine. Admiral Ackbar appears on the screen and sounds like a 1920s gramophone recording of an Asian man with black lung doing what he imagined would be an Admiral Ackbar impersonation. Add this to the fact that there is only one Rebel pilot face for all the different lines of pilot dialog and it is a recipe for early thoughts of suicide. Don’t get me wrong, it was an okay game for the time, but it was not what I had been promised for months. Sega should just put a big “F**k You, Kid” on the title screen and it would have saved me needless suffering.

3) GHOSTBUSTERS (NES)


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Ghostbusters is terrible because it’s one of those games where they packed in so much detail and stuff to do that they forgot to make it fun. In the game the Ghostbusters are forced to buy equipment before they can even bust a single ghost… you know, like in the movie. Then you have to go through the exercise of driving to your jobs, for no reason other than to have to avoid getting hit by random cars, which makes you lose money. To top things off, the fairly decent rendition of the Ghostbusters theme repeats so much that it’s enough to make you want to drive screwdrivers in your ear holes to make it stop. I never got far in the game because half the time I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Others have gotten further and I pray for mercy upon your soul if you ever attempt such a foolish quest.

2) SILVER SURFER (NES)

Silver Surfer NES

I’d waited awhile to get this one and of course it sucked. Why does one hit kill the Silver Surfer when he’s got the POWER COSMIC at his disposal? He’s the friggen Silver Surfer! And why, oh why does a hit to his board kill him? It’s not a part of his body!

[Editor’s Note: And what’s with the ducks?]

1) STAR WARS GALAXIES

Star Wars Galaxies
Looks cool, right? Yeah, you’re wrong.

After playing Everquest for a few months and realizing I didn’t want to spend years of my life clicking a few buttons to level my character up to the point I could have fun and not get brutally power raped by a Brownie, I figured the only MMORPG I ever had a chance of truly loving was Star Wars Galaxies. I quickly found out how wrong I’d be after getting in on the Beta. Here’s what you don’t want in an epic Star Wars game: You stand an inch or two away shooting a blaster at a space butterfly for a good three minutes before moving on to another space butterfly. You know, just like in the movies. Fuggen spacetastic!

6 comments… add one
  • Nima March 21, 2008, 1:57 am

    I owned an Atari Jaguar. I know all about disappointing video games. For example, the fighting game “Kasumi Ninja” — the only video game I ever returned to the store (and forced them to refund my money) — which featured, as one of it’s characters, a Scottish guy that squirts fireballs out from under his kilt. I’m still dealing with the trauma of that game…

  • Great White Snark March 21, 2008, 2:27 am

    Jesus.

    I can’t tell from the picture: is it really a squirt, or more like a “birthing” of fireballs?

  • sir jorge March 21, 2008, 11:44 am

    The Silver Surfer game is hard, way hard, but to say it’s one of the worst games is lame.

  • Mina March 21, 2008, 6:53 pm

    GREAT GUEST BLOGGER, I really enjoyed this!
    Oh, God! I’ve had my share of lousy games played, due to being fan of the series/movie/anime. Please don’t get me started on that… By the way, I loved the use of Phantom Menace to illustrate frustration and dissapointment.

  • Great White Snark March 21, 2008, 7:07 pm

    Sir Jorge: No. I say ducks are lame.

  • paul March 23, 2008, 9:13 pm

    Thanks for the good feedback folks, I’m glad you liked it.

    Sir Jorge, of course there are worse games. I can’t help it though that after being totally excited that I was getting a game featuring THE POWER COSMIC and it ended up totally sucking that I was let down by it. That is why it made this list. I’d recommend checking out the Angry Video Game Nerd’s “review” if you still don’t agree.

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