26 Infamously Bad Games You Probably Shouldn't Play
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.
When you're looking for video games that top-notch quality, combine revolutionary gameplay with award-winning storytelling, and are a showcase of high-end technology, you're kind of spoiled for choice these days. Then there are those games that were scraped off the bottom of a barrel, and are associated with misery today. There's, unfortunately, no shortage of these games either, and while it would have been tempting to grab a dozen random titles from the Switch eShop this week, there are other better examples of straight-up bad video games.
Our list of 26 infamously bad games is organized in no particular order. Though some of these games are technically still available today, we don't recommend giving any of them a go--unless you are morbidly curious, of course. The list spans a wide number of genres and includes video games that became infamous in part due to their ties to major media properties (hello, Superman) as well as disappointing attempts to create new franchises or capitalize on the zeitgeist at the time of release.
If you'd prefer to read about games that don't come packaged with instant buyer's remorse, you can also check out our lists of the best Xbox Game Pass open-world games, the best FPS games, and 10 games like Pokemon that fans should check out.
Video games featuring Superman--think Multiversus and Injustice--are regularly great, but solo Man of Steel games? Those titles are legendary for being more poisonous to the Man of Steel than a Kryptonite smoothie. Superman 64 set a bar so low for the DC Comics icon that people in Australia could use it to do pull-ups. Its opening level is a nightmare of almost-impossible obstacles, it's about as much fun as root canal treatment, and it features a control scheme that'll have you convinced that you're piloting a drunk whale.
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties
It's 1993, and Panasonic's 3DO console is about to play host to a barely playable slideshow in the form of Plumbers Don't Wear Ties. Widely regarded as the video game equivalent of The Room, Plumbers Don't Wear Ties combines amateur hour acting, photography, and surreal sensual choices into a package that's about as erotic as doing your taxes. You can even watch the entire game on YouTube, but don't say that we didn't warn you.
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing
Some games will fudge the truth when it comes to marketing, but not Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. It has rigs, and they are big. What the game doesn't tell you though is that said rigs exist in a world where the laws of physics feel like they were designed by a contestant on America's Next Jigsaw. Barely functional with its broken driving physics and an absurd level of bugs, the only memorable thing about this wreck of a game is an in-your-face screen proclaiming you to be the winner if you can make it to the finish line.
For more analysis into this absolute disaster, please watch GameSpot's Big Rigs review on YouTube.
You can try holy water, pipe bombs, or flamethrowers, but nothing in this reality seems capable of keeping Bubsy down. The Nickelback of video game franchises, Bubsy's worst hour came in the form of Bubsy 3D, a shift to the third dimension. As you'd expect, the 1996 game was terrible in every single way possible. Bubsy moved like he was swimming in syrup, the voice acting made you want to jam forks in your ears, and each level was a trial of endurance.
The Quiet Man
If this game had quietly--pun fully intended--slipped under your radar, consider yourself lucky. The Quiet Man's tale of a deaf protagonist, mixture of live-action storytelling, and some brutal bone-breaking could have resulted in a hit game. Heck, it was even published by Square Enix and shown off at E3. But these parts combined into a messy and unsatisfying waste of money. Cutscenes outstay their welcome, there's a non-existent learning curve, and there's no rhyme or logic to the combat at all. A tragedy of wasted potential that's actually comedic when you realize how atrocious it really is, don't expect to see a sequel in the future.
Read our The Quiet Man review.
Imagine a Resident Evil game so terrible that it wasn't even associated with the franchise on its cover art. The idea of a team-based and single-player tactical zombie shooter featuring the Umbrella Corporation's vilest creations should have been a best-seller, but technical flaws, generic gameplay, and a strange push to take advantage of the esports boom combined to create a viral stinker. It's the worst thing to Resident Evil since Paul W.S. Anderson became aware of the franchise.
Read our Umbrella Corps review.
The game that made even the most hardcore of WWE fans tap out, WWE 2K20 is a legend for all the wrong reasons. Longtime developer Yuke's had a greatly diminished role as 2K's in-house studio Visual Concepts was called up to the main roster, and the end result proved that the developer wasn't quite ready yet. A control scheme that jettisoned years of muscle memory, glitches that became pure meme fodder, and matches regularly breaking were bad enough, but with a cringe-inducing campaign mode, radio silence before launch, and scathing reviews, WWE 2K20 had a debut that surpassed the Shockmaster.
Read our WWE 2K20 review.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Aliens: Colonial Marines is a textbook example of why you should always check your spelling, especially when you're dealing with video game code. One code error apparently turned Xenomorphs into a laughable obstacle, and with production considered to be a train wreck by one developer that worked on the title, Aliens: Colonial Marines went down in history as an experience that was worse than a Facehugger kissing contest.
Read our Aliens: Colonial Marines review.
Stalin vs. Martians
Real-time strategy games are supposed to be tactical slices of intelligent resource-gathering and troop deployment, but Stalin vs. Martians didn't get that memo. What could have been a fun exercise in seeing if the Iron Curtain could turn back an alien invasion instead became the very worst that 2009 had to offer. It looks like it was developed for the PS1 era, the absurd humor falls flat, and its strategy appeal is so abysmal that it can't even be rated with regular numbers to express how much of a trainwreck it is.
Read our Stalin vs. Martians review.
E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial
More than four decades later, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial is still seen as the brown standard for bad video games. It's a game that tells a story of an almost-impossible deadline, a rush to capitalize on the blockbuster success of the Steven Spielberg-directed film, and a New Mexico landfill where unsold copies were buried in the desert. It's that urban legend that makes a bad game great, and with numerous documentaries exploring the myth of E.T. by digging up the landfill where it was entombed along with other Atari stock, it lives on as a terrible legend. A terribly good legend that is.
An edgy series that tries really, really hard to offend anyone who plays it, Postal games aren't exactly complicated to figure out. They're not exactly good or fun to play either, and while comparing each title is the equivalent of a turd-sniffing contest, Postal III is easily the smelliest of them all. The undeniable nadir of the series, Postal III was developed primarily by Trashmasters and was so bad that original Postal studio Running With Scissors would disown the sequel, causing bad blood between the developers. Years later, Running With Scissors would release Postal 4: No Regerts, a sequel whose best selling point is that it isn't Postal III.
Read our Postal review.
Ride to Hell: Retribution
Ride to Hell: Retribution lives up to its name, as this motorcycle odyssey is the type of damnation that you'd force history's greatest monsters to play in the ninth circle of the abyss. In development for six years and looking like it was cobbled together in six days during a game jam gone tragically wrong, Ride to Hell combines cringe-worthy dialogue with shoddy level design, broken brawling, and sloppy driving to create a hat trick of motorcycle-themed misery.
Read our Ride to Hell: Retribution review.
Zelda CD-I games
What went wrong with The Legend of Zelda games on the Philips CD-i, a console that was using groundbreaking CD-ROM technology at the time? Plenty. A shoestring budget and an absurd deadline are just two of the ingredients in this fail-pie, and it didn't help that the CD-i was a notoriously rubbish console as well. Expensive to own, half-baked with its design, and undeniably underpowered for the ambitious titles that it promised, Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, and Zelda's Adventure created a Triforce of low quality with shoddy controls, frustrating combat, and animated FMV sequences that you'll see in your nightmares.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5
After years of American Wastelands, Underground goofiness, and peripheral-based games, the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchise was ready to get back down to basics. Basically terrible, that is. Though it looked competent--even with a last-minute switch to cel-shaded visuals--and featured an all-star roster, this sequel was missing the magic that made the THPS special. Featuring more bugs than an unattended corpse and a generic approach to the THPS formula, the only real positive thing that anyone can say about THPS 5 is that it was thankfully and easily forgettable.
Read our Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 review.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow
Forget about Bane and his killer chiropractic arts, because this Batman game was broken beyond repair. Long before Rocksteady Studios was perfecting the superhero genre formula with its trilogy of Dark Knight adventures, developer Kemco was subjecting GameCube players to an experience that was as un-fun as could be. Batman played like a malfunctioning robot desperate to learn how to hug, the camera angles chosen were deadlier than Joker toxin, and unless you were psychic, you'd finish the game with a downer of an ending that was beyond your control.
Read our Batman: Dark Tomorrow review.
A colorful world, whimsical characters, and Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka calling the shots should have made for a vibrant package, but Balan Wonderworld turned out to be a bigger waste of $60 than a sale on NFTs. It's baffling just how terrible the game is, as it cuts corners wherever it can, artificially pads out its runtime, and has a rotten foundation built on top of uninspired gameplay and clumsy controls. Naka himself was actually removed from his director position six months before the game came out, with the final product being regarded as one of the worst games to ever bear the logo of a famous publisher. That's no small feat, considering that Sonic '06 is on this list.
Read our Balan Wonderworld review.
Put a thousand angry sailors inside of a cramped bar that's all out of rum, and the resulting profanity wouldn't even come close to the verbal assault that is Mickey Rourke's saltiest performance in a video game. While that's a guilty pleasure of a highlight, everything else about Rogue Warrior is a stinker. Its action is uninspired, levels are browner than a khaki pants warehouse, and the story is a war crime against originality, but at least the entire experience is mercifully short. On the bright side, reaching the end credits does reward players with a ninja-style Mickey Rourke-rap.
Read our Rogue Warrior review.
Bomberman: Act Zero
Bomberman: Act Zero sounds like a parody of the iconic saboteur, as this grim and gritty action game was a radical departure from the established formula of the Hudson Soft icon. Reportedly developed with the idea of appealing to Western audiences at the time, Bomberman Act Zero didn't win any fans with its terrible camera angles, brutal lack of save-game features, and repetitive gameplay. There's even more to scrape off of the carcass of this forgettable take on Bomberman, with the most charitable description of this game being that it's apocalyptically awful.
Read our Bomberman: Act Zero review.
Final Fantasy XIV (the original version)
The Final Fantasy XIV of today is a redemption story, a testament to its developers going all in to save the MMORPG and managing to transform it into one of the gold standards of its genre today. But for a time, Final Fantasy XIV was a game that was notorious for its unstable servers, lack of story content, and no real incentives for any players who stuck it out. It was a flawed and broken game from the beginning, but Final Fantasy XIV's Realm Reborn redesign--led by director Naoki Yoshida--helped transform the game into the pinnacle of MMO fantasy adventures for the modern age.
Read our Final Fantasy XIV review.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
You could argue that there hasn't been a really good Sonic the Hedgehog game since the Genesis days, but Sonic '06 stands out because it's still bad by those standards. Not even Sonic could outrun launch-day bugs, a control scheme best described as weaponized nihilism, and camera angles that go the extra mile to frustrate you. There's a laundry list of other issues preventing you from having any fun whatsoever in this high-speed disaster, from dismal level design to loading screens that will physically age you, but at least the game's saving grace is that it has a banger of a soundtrack.
Read our Sonic the Hedgehog review.
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see your brand turn out yet another stinker of a game. Rise of Lyric essentially stripped any speed or momentum from Sonic, forcing him to slow down and spend more time hammering away at simple enemies in an attempt to perhaps appeal to fans of Ratchet & Clank or Jak and Daxter. The moment you shift into high gear, Rise of Lyric delights in throwing a technical roadblock your way by making you endure a journey of undeniably un-fun levels, aggravating characters, and polished misery.
Read our Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric review.
Remember the 2016 remake of Ben-Hur? Neither do I, but I do remember picking up the free promotional tie-in game and still feeling like I'd been cheated out of money. A mangled handful of colosseum chariot races that are generic and tedious, the Ben-Hur game is as forgettable as the film it was based on.
A video game tie-in to a very good Toyota hatchback, Yaris is the type of game that proves that proves that Skynet is real and just about everything in the world revolves around soulless commercialization. This freebie doesn't get anything right, and it probably actively dissuaded people from buying a Yaris. Its gameplay is the worst thing to happen to Toyota since the 2010 recall crisis and playing it makes you feel like a cop is about to pull you over for drunk driving.
Drake of the 99 Dragons
Not to be confused with Sony's swashbuckling hero, Drake of the 99 Dragons put you in the cel-shaded trench coat of an assassin who had come back from the dead and was tasked with saving the world from nefarious forces. It's just a pity that with a cool setup like that, Drake had to battle awful camera angles, half-baked controls, and some of the blandest visuals of the day. Throw in laughably terrible combat sequences, and you've got the perfect recipe for a dead-on-arrival game.
Read our Drake of the 99 Dragons review.
Neverdead is one of those rare bad games that you can't help but love. Its entire concept of an immortal bounty hunter cursed to fall apart quicker than the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail is hilarious, with dialogue that sounds like it was written by an edgy teenager. It's a game of frustrating lows and rare highs, and even though its ideas rarely match up with its unpredictable gameplay, Neverdead is a violent and disgusting oddity that you can't ignore when you see its absurdity in action. It's certainly terrible, but at least it's interesting.
Read our Neverdead review.
The Culling 2
From 1977 to 2011, the national flag of Libya was solid green. That's it, just a green piece of cloth. What does this have to do with The Culling 2? Absolutely nothing, but it's infinitely more interesting than a battle royale which crashed and burned this badly. It had a catastrophic launch, to say the least. The barely populated servers were turned off about a week after they went live. An attempt to win back fans by returning to the drawing board failed to catch on, either. The Culling 2 is proof that even during the height of a craze--in this case, battle royales--it's easy to crash and burn.