Worst Game of the Year
Winner: Conquest Earth
Of course, you might not ever get around to seeing those. A massive minimum install, unreasonably steep system requirements, and even a required disc swap at the beginning of each session adds up to a game that does its damnedest to give you a hard time just getting it started. Even if you do get that far, you'd have to fight the game's insultingly counterintuitive interface to get anywhere. Its interface from hell is exacerbated by Conquest Earth's tiny black-and-white instruction manual which offers little assistance. And if you do manage to figure out how to play it, you'll find that the extent of the strategy involved is turning out as many grunts as possible, then rushing the opponent's base and rapidly clicking on everything in sight.
To be fair, Conquest Earth is a victim of circumstance. Maybe it's coincidence that it characterized all the worst qualities of 1997 games single-handedly: unreasonable system requirements, an impenetrable interface, nearly worthless documentation, and, well, it's just another real-time strategy game after all. The coup de grace is that the game actually contained a few interesting units and play mechanics, which served to make the rest of it so painfully disappointing in contrast.
Runner-up: Virus: The Game
But an interesting premise could not save this game from seeming like an unfinished project. Using a Descent-like engine and some real-time strategy elements, the game doesn't really coalesce into anything that was actually playable. Part of the problem is the horrible interface, which doesn't even allow for joystick or mouse support - an obvious omission in an action game. In addition to the shoddy interface, the manual is next to useless and doesn't even include documentation for the game's multiplayer aspect.
At least they had the decency to name the game something that lends itself thoughtlessly to ridicule.