5. Rap Jam: Volume one (1995)
This SNES game tops off the list. You play as your favorite Rap and Hip-hop stars of the era like Queen Latifah, Coolio, and Flavor Flav, only you’re not rhyming, you’re playing basketball.
I’m not sure what Nintendo was thinking with this one. There’s no rhyming, or rapping, or dancing or anything of the sort. It’s as though someone made a poorly-put-together basketball game and then slapped a hip-hop theme on top of it. The game is so bad it’s insulting to both rappers and basketball players; not to mention the people who actually went out and purchased the game.
The game had an urban basketball court setting and featured no foul calls, as well as fighting. A notable feature was the ability to have more than one of a character on a basketball team, so you can finally put together your basketball dream team of two Flavor Flav’s and LL Cool J. The game features the moniker “Volume One,” although no subsequent volumes were ever made or even conceptualized.
4. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 (1982)
Given the blockbuster success of its arcade predecessor, this game was an unbelievable disappointment to owners of the Atari system who were expecting a faithful recreation of the arcade smash. The production of the game was submarined by the technical limitations of the Atari 2600 in comparison to the arcade machines that were running the original version of Pac-man. The biggest problem was that despite all four ghosts being present in the Pac-man maze at all times, only one was able to appear on screen at any given time, creating a flickering effect. Droves of consumers returned their copies of the game, and it’s not hard to understand why.
3. Shaq-fu (1994)
This one’s tough to stomach.
It’s a Shaquille O’ Neal themed 2D fighting game that appeared on Sega Genesis and SNES. The games plot follows Shaq as he is on his way to a charity basketball game in Tokyo. He enters a Kung-fu dojo where he stumbles into another dimension and must rescue a young boy from an evil mummy.
The player can choose from a large list of characters to play with. Although Shaq is the only athlete or celebrity character.
As if Shaq’s acting role in “Shazam” wasn’t enough, this game takes it to another level. With bad controls, ridiculous story, and inadequate graphics, this game was both a commercial and a critical flop, and will forever be remembered as the worst thing Shaq has ever been involved with.
Well, maybe Shazam. It’s close.
2. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
This game was really gunning for the top slot, and it was close, but I eventually decided to put this game in the #2 spot on the list due to the technical limitations of the Atari 2600.
This game is awful. Atari actually buried millions of copies of this game in a landfill in the middle of a New Mexico Desert. No, Seriously.
Much of the game consists of E.T. running from scientists and jumping into pits to search for parts of his missing phone. The vast majority of these pits were empty and getting poor E.T. out of these pits was absurdly difficult, requiring long waits and precise timing.
Atari was hoping to capitalize of the popularity of the E.T. movie and assumed that the success of the movie meant the success of the game. This however, was not the case.
Atari produced 5 million copies of the E.T. game and according to Ray Kassar, Atari’s then president and CEO, “nearly all of them came back.”
1. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (2003)
Okay, so this one wins it. The PC game received an 8/100 on Metacritic, with the only scores higher than zero coming from websites whose rating systems began at one. In ‘Big Rigs’ your purported goal is to get your illegal cargo to various destination points while avoiding the local police force. There is no police force in the game. Instead the player is competing against other computer controlled rigs to get to the finish line. The problem here is that the other trucks have no AI and never leave the starting line or move at all.
The game also has an almost complete lack of collision detection, allowing players to drive straight through virtually any object in the game such as buildings and trees.
Alex Navarro of GameSpot declared the the game is “as bad as your mind will allow you to comprehend.” His video review of the game (seen below courtesy of Youtube) has no narration and shows video from the game and Navarro’s dismayed reactions.
The game’s final product is a complete disaster on the verge of being unplayable. It is as though the games developers simply just gave up halfway through the process of making the game. Even with all the modern tools available to developers in 2003, this game somehow manages to be worse than any game to be released for years before it, and for that reason it comes in at number one on the list of worst video games of all time.