9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)
Whenever people talk about the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, everyone likes to pretend that the first game doesn’t exist. All the other games are multiplayer brawlers, but this one is a single-player platformer. Also, it has the worst graphics of the entire series.
Hardly anybody managed to beat this game. Why? It’s a mixture of too hard and not well organized. If you don’t die in the poorly-explained and out-of-place underwater level, you’ll die in the overly-long maze of a third level. Even using a Game Genie doesn’t help you get through this game, because the best Game Genie code is “don’t take most damage”. Most damage? Who thought that would be a good cheat code, and who thought this would be a good game?
8. Bible Adventures (NES)
Being of Jewish heritage, I probably shouldn’t have too much of a problem playing as the Old Testament’s greatest heroes. But from what I’ve read of the good ol’ five books, I don’t remember Noah lifting sheep over his head and tossing them at bears. Also, wasn’t it two of every animal, not 100 of about five different animals? You know you have a winner on your hands when the cartridge is blue rather than the typical NES gray. That’s because Bible Adventures is not officially licensed by Nintendo. While that Seal of Quality may not mean that much to you, its absence here speaks volumes.
On the Other Hand…
I’m sorry. Any game where you can make Noah carry around livestock on his head and chuck baby Moses into a river, complete the stage, and receive the message, “GOOD WORK, BUT YOU FORGOT BABY MOSES” deserves an award.
Also, I’m a horrible person.
7. Conan the Barbarian (NES)
As a kid, I made it a point to beat every single one of my NES games. Hell, I even beat Milon’s Secret Castle. But this one? I couldn’t even get past Level 3. Combine a super fragile Conan (‘cuz that makes sense) with controls that lag by about five seconds, and you have a pretty damn near impossible gaming experience. We all know that NES games had a tendency to be…frustrating…but for the most part they were manageable. Conan the Barbarian basically tells you straight up that there is no way you’re going to win this thing.
6. Friday the 13th (NES)
You know what, maybe this ISN’T a terrible game. Maybe, in an effort to truly capture the feel of Friday the 13th, the creators intentionally made it repetitive and impossible to win. Maybe the constant deaths at the hand of Jason Voorhees reinforce the feelings of dread and hopelessness that the designers were hoping to evoke, while the ghost(?) of Jason’s mother represents repressed maternal longings in each of the protagonists, instead of just some additional random challenge. Maybe the fact that it’s not scary at all is meta-commentary on the nature of the distance we grant ourselves in watching horror movies so that we can be scared while not being in any actual danger.
Or maybe Friday the 13th is just a terrible game.
5. Batman Forever (SNES)
Ugh. It figures I’d get assigned to talk about this game and its obvious spiritual cousin, Timecop. What can I say about Batman Forever that hasn’t already been said in the following sentences? It’s an SNES game with loading times between every screen—screens that you can’t see much of, I might add, because the backgrounds are darker than a Sylvia Plath poem. The game tries to pass off rhythmic screeching as legitimate music (it’s not). Batman moves around like he’s in tryouts for Mortal Kombat. And, the controls are atrocious. Or so I hear. I haven’t played it.
About the only redeeming quality seems to be the fact that every thug gets a dorky name that appears alongside his health bar. Those aren’t just any clown goons you’re beating up. They are Tango and Chacha. Now you can associate names with faces when the nightmares begin of you slaughtering all those countless people—nightmares you would be having, at least, if you could ever get close enough to pull off a punch without getting killed yourself.
4. Ethnic Cleansing (PC)
Considering how many laughs I get out of playing games like the Atari rooftop masturbation sim Beat ‘Em and Eat ‘Em, or creepy Japanese rapist simulator Biko 3, the moral high road isn’t really a path I’m used to walking. Ethnic Cleansing, however, is an exception to my rule. Sorry to bring the room down, but EC is a legitimately racist and anti-Semitic game made by a neo-Nazi record label where you play as a murderous KKKlansman or skinhead. I’ve known about it for years, but I’ve avoided mentioning it on GameCola simply because the idea of even indirectly promoting this game and possibly giving the company a single sale makes my stomach turn, and I only break my silence on this game now because I’m reasonably certain they don’t sell it anymore. To give you an idea of how morally reprehensible this game is, consider the fact that the box advertises “realistic negro sounds”, and in-game when you shoot black people, it makes chimpanzee sounds. It’s as clever as it is classy.
However, it isn’t on this list based on its objectionable content; it’s here because it is an incredibly bad game regardless of the demented, xenophobic worldview attached to it. It’s horribly designed and glitchy, completely disgusting looking, has a draw distance of about two centimeters, and it sounds terrible. It’s not worth trying even as a morbid curiosity, but if you must, please, please at least pirate it. Do not ever legitimately buy this game.
3. Where’s Waldo? (NES)
How does a game this shockingly bad even get made? At what stage did someone say, “Let’s develop a game that requires such delicate precision but make it ultimately impossible to see what you’re doing”?
Where’s Waldo? for the NES is the embodiment of failure from all practical levels—bad controls, bad visuals, and an idea far beyond what could’ve realistically been done on the console.
2. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (Atari)
Oh, man! There’s so much I could say about this crappy game, but I’ll just stick to the basics. The game is weird, there’s no sign of progression whatsoever, and practically no one understood what the hell they were supposed to do in order to beat it. You take control of E.T. in this “adventure”, and you have to browse through a few static scenarios while avoiding falling into pits or being taken away by some FBI agents and scientists.
Back then I thought there was no possible way to die, since every time I did, Elliot walked in and revived E.T.—which made me even angrier. Thanks to the Internet, now I know that there is a three-life limit; two more lives than the one I had when I died out of boredom.
1. Superman 64 (N64)
Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…wow, I’m still flying through the air. What are these things, rings? Why the hell is Superman flying through rings? And why can’t I see more than one city block ahead of me? Oh, “kryptonite fog”, right. Aaaaaaaaannd still flying, still flying, still flying…all right, an actual level. Wait, what do you mean I was just killed by a random mook. I’M FREAKING SUPERMAN.
Phew, that was tough. I can do this, though. OK, what’s next? MORE RINGS? ARRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!
There you have it, the worst games ever made.
Did you ever buy any of these for yourself? Seek therapy.
Did you ever receive any of these games as a gift? Get revenge.
Did you ever buy any of these for somebody else? Watch your ass.
Were we spot on, totally off base, or did we perhaps miss something? Let us know in the comments.