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The 12 worst games of all time

By Iain Wilson on Saturday 25th May 2013 at 5:00 PM UTC

Some games lack a bit of visual flair. Some have shonky voice acting or a nonsense script. Yet, you can forgive those things if the game shows potential in other areas. Problem is, these don't shine in any area.

Welcome to the worst games on the planet. These stinkers are so bad you need a serial killer-sized sadistic streak to play them. If you can even play them. Because the 12 listed below aren't just poorly executed - they're actually broken.

Have you had the misfortune to play any of these, or think you've encountered something even worse? Let us know in the comments below.


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ET: THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL (1982)

Well, we might as well start as we mean to go on. Seen as a major coup for publisher Atari at the time, programmer Howard Scott Warshaw probably felt pretty good about being handpicked for the job by Steven Spielberg himself. There was just one small issue, though: he only had five weeks to finish it. Predictably, the final game was an absolute disaster, barely playable and horrendous to look at. Worse, it sold 1.5 million copies of the five million Atari shipped, leading almost single-handedly to the great videogames crash of the 80s, and those spare 3.5 million copies being buried in a New Mexico landfill. Bravo.


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BUBSY 3D (1996)

Bravely, Bubsy 3D ploughed a furrow as one of the first ever three-dimensional platformers. The problem was, it was absolutely terrible. Developed by a team who had no experience making 3D games, controls were insanely fiddly, especially as - and this isn't a lie - the titular bobcat could only walk in a straight line or turn on the spot, and levels were nothing more than a series of boxes covered in a garish patchwork of coloured squares. Things weren't helped by the main character being one of the most obnoxious inventions in history, or that Super Mario 64 was released at around the same time.


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SUPERMAN 64 (1999)

Superman 64 took place in a virtual Metropolis created by Lex Luthor, who obviously wasn't too hot at programming as the world was empty and shrouded in a 'Kryptonite fog' to fudge the issue of miniscule draw distances. Despite Superman's many powers, the main challenges set by Luthor - to the now-infamous cry of "Solve my maze!" - involved flying through sets of floating rings, against the clock, which later extended to ten minute runs with little margin for error. Great maze, Lex. Awkward, unresponsive controls, and glitches that caused you to get stuck on the scenery rounded things off nicely.


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BIG RIGS: OVER THE ROAD RACING (2003)

Released to the general public in a pre-alpha state, it's hard to know where to begin listing everything that was wrong with Big Rigs: Over The Road Racing. None of the drivers you lined up against had any AI programmed so they never moved from the starting line, and the broken physics meant you could drive off road and up 90° hills without any loss of speed until you reached the grey void at the edge of the map. When reversing you continued accelerating indefinitely to ridiculous speeds but stopped dead the instant you released the key, and with no collision detection you could drive straight through any obstacle in your way until you saw the "YOU'RE WINNER !" screen at the end of each 'race'.


None of the drivers had AI programmed so they never moved from the starting line, and you could drive up 90° hills without any loss of speed...


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CHARLIE'S ANGELS (2003)

And you thought the films were bad. Developed by Neko (previous crimes: Crazy Frog Racer, Crazy Frog Racer 2), Charlie's Angels proved the French devs were no flash in the pan: the ultra-repetitive fighting and laugh-out-loud moon physics were backed by one of the worst cameras in gaming history. Literally. Not only was it awful it was totally controlled by the game, with no manual option to adjust. What a great idea! Rounding things off was the noise the Angels made when getting punched, which sounded like someone battling constipation.


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NINJABREAD MAN (2005)

Ninjabread Man was one of several budget games churned out by Data Design Interactive, and although the lead character had potential (who doesn't like ninja confectionery?) the game itself was deeply flawed. The central platforming was hampered by a rogue camera that refused to provide the view you needed, and combat was completely broken as enemies barely reacted to your attacks. The worst part though was the length, as Ninjabread Man's three levels took a paltry half an hour to complete before you were unceremoniously returned to the main menu without so much as a congratulations for your efforts.

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