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The worst game ever

May 20, 2008 - Matt Phillips
I was playing the Pirates of the Caribbean game for the wii the other day and it struck me how often games based on movie or television properties seem to be mediocre or downright bad. I’m not saying Pirates is bad; generally, Disney games are top notch. Most movie games, however, are rushed to the market to cash in on the hype of the movie without caring about the game itself. Many parents will buy these games based solely on the character on the box. This is by no means a recent problem.

Do you remember The Atari VCS (2600)? It wasn’t the first game console system, but it was the first massively successful one. Much of what we take for granted in video games is thanks to Atari. Possibly the most infamous video game in history was released for The Atari VCS in 1982. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial game, based on the massively popular movie is referred to as the worst game ever released. The game was hastily thrown together in just weeks, in a time when games were created by one person not by a team of people. The game was bad. The company decided this game was going to be a hit before any of the code was even written. The failure of this game was monumental. They had warehouse full of E.T. games that no one wanted. Eventually, they buried mountains of cartridges in the desert to get rid of them. I had this game, and I remember playing it. I was about 7 or 8 years old and not that adept at games. I actually enjoyed playing this awful game for the sole reason that I was playing E.T.

Years later, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) brought about a new golden age of video gaming. Even though the games could be infinitely more complex, games based on properties were still not great. Games like Darkman had decent graphics but horrible play control. One of my biggest disappointments in video gaming was the release of X-Men for the NES. I was very excited to play such characters as Wolverine, Cyclops and Nightcrawler. The game was all but unplayable. It was a two person simultaneous game, but when you play the game in one player mode the computer played the other character. The computer would cause more problems than the enemies in the game. If you thought it was hard to play with a friend, playing alone was impossible.

Even today, with game consoles producing dazzlingly lifelike graphics, less thought is put into games with big star names. Put an actor on the box and kids will want to play it, just like I wanted to play E.T. As the overall quality of games increases, though, even a mediocre game can be fun.


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