As long as there have been video games, there have been terrible video games. Games can be bad for a number of reasons. They can be offensive, poorly crafted, or lazily made. Some check off just one of those traits very well while others get a bit of all three to equal a real turd. Controversy can equal value, so I will be putting the prices of these hot messes in as well. Here are five terrible games we wish were jokes, but unfortunately are not.
It didn’t take long for someone to put out a game so offensive that few have come close to matching it forty years later. Custer’s Revenge is known for its racism and misogyny. The goal of this game is to take advantage of Native American women. Yes, you read that correctly, that is the only goal of the game. Matched with some truly awful graphics on the Atari 2600, this game has held its status as one of the worst made.
Loose: $104 Complete: $161 New: $261
Another terrible game on the Atari, E.T. Is unplayable for completely different reasons. If you watched High Score, you got a good glimpse into why this game turned out to be so unplayable. Forced to be completed in 5 weeks from concept to sellable product, this bomb is credited with playing a large part in the video game crash of 1983. With such a popular movie, it was a highly visible blunder that will live on as a cautionary tale.
Loose: $2 Complete: $31 New: $128
Superman in a 3-D action game sounded great in the N64 era. Zooming around as the man of steel in true 3-D could have been great, but alas, it was not. Players were treated to terrible game physics and a pea soup world to slog through. Slammed for unresponsive controls, multiple technical flaws, and boring gameplay, Superman 64 sold well and played terribly.
Loose: $14 Complete: $67 New: $207
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing
Sometimes a game is so unpolished, it is hard to fathom. This game is a racing game with no physics engine or even crash detection. The player is able to drive through other cars, climb mountains, and it all looks terrible. But it’s all worth it to get the triumphant “You’re Winner” trophy after victory. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing has attained cult status due to its awfulness. This is a PC game, so I will not be placing a value on it, but it is so terrible it must be on the list.
Our final entry rounds out the list by being offensive and terrible to play. As a biker out for revenge, the player engaged in a linear action game. Critics noted the game’s ability to do everything universally bad, instead of just failing in one area. Shoddy graphics, clunky gameplay, an offensive portrayal of women, and a myriad of technical glitches were all present.
Loose: $7 Complete: $14 New: $15
As you can see, there are many ways a game can be terrible. Some are lazily made with awful controls and muddy graphics. Others are offensive culturally or pointless in design and goal. Some can combine all those things, like Custer’s Revenge, and gain notoriety as one of the five terrible games we wish were jokes.