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The 18 worst videogames of all time

Technical failures, enormous disappointments, plain obnoxious...

We continue our trawl through the sludge in the bottom of the bin marked 'terrible games', with a look at another nine truly awful games. Here's the remainder of the 18 worst games in history.

Leisure Suit Larry Worst Games

Worst Games: 10. Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (PlayStation 2/Xbox/PC, High Voltage Studios, 2004)

Horrible, horrible, horrible. And not in a buggy, broken way like so many others on this list. Instead, this attempt to revive early 90s comedy adventure series Leisure Suit Larry was mean-spirited, rife with noxious sexism and sadism and irredeemably, painfully unfunny. Rubbish puzzles, too. Granted, the original Larry games are too often seen through rose-tinted specs, but that's no excuse for how unpleasant this 21st century sequel was.  A 2009 follow-up, Box Office Bust, ditched some of the more caveman-like attitudes, but its equally awful humour meant it scooped up a fair few Worst Game Of The Year awards itself.

Night Trap Worst Games Sega

Worst Games: 11. Night Trap (Sega MegaCD / Sega 32X / 3DO / PC, Digital Pictures, 1992)

The Sega MegaCD was going to be the future of videogames - dramatically increased storage compared to cartridges, and the option for full-motion video. And then Night Trap, arguably its poster child game, happened. What was intended to be cheap titillation wound up as creepy voyeurism, but though this infamously landed the game's makers in court on charges of being offensive, its notorious scenes of nightgowns and vampires did and do come across as laughable. Meanwhile, the dry, limited game itself - requiring tediously skipping between camera 'feeds' in the hope of catching vampire invaders - was no-one's idea of fun. While the game eventually found its way to other platforms, its association with the MegaCD did Sega's dead-on-arrival new system few favours.

Postal III worst games

Worst Games: 12. Postal III (PC, Akella, 2011)

The satirically sociopathic Postal series forever danced on the thin line between genius and disaster, but with the boring, hollow third game it tumbled undeniably into the latter category. Having been outsourced by Postal's American creators to a Russian studio, what once seemed subversive turned into lazy, lowest common denominator gags about drugs, porn stars and Asian chefs, within samey, horrible, unfair and deeply buggy shooting gallery levels. The Postal games had always been knowingly obnoxious, but what once seemed the bleeding edge of self-aware, uncensored satire became childish, cheap and tedious. Reception was so poor that the Postal series' publicly disowned the game and tried to withdraw it from sale.

Soldner Secret Wars

Worst Games: 13. Soldner: Secret Wars (PC, Wings Simulations, 2004)

You've got to admire Soldner's ambition. Unfortunately that's all you can admire. Apparently made entirely from bugs, this Battlefield-style multiplayer shooter offers singular and reliably hilarious sights such a soldiers wearing psychedelic tartan armour, tanks randomly turning into jeeps and buildings teleporting in and out of existence. Third-party fixes made Soldner a little less ridiculous, but it really should be seen in its original, unpatched state to appreciate it full glory and absurdity. And the dispassionate, unseen man who miserably intones 'zzzoldnuh' on the loading screen is the stuff of legends.

Aliens Colonial Marines worst games

Worst Games: 14. Aliens: Colonial Marines (Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3 / PC, Gearbox, 2013)

Alright, this arguably isn't quite bad enough to make the history books, but it does demonstrate that even high profile, mega-budget contemporary games can drop the ball as badly as the little guys can. Mostly, this latest of far too many first-person shooters based on Aliens is terribly dull and devoid of all imagination, but that most of the game is counter-productively spent fighting human soldiers rather than the titular Aliens, the braindead AI and the broken animation which causes certain Xenomorphs to walk as though they've got a nasty case of piles just about edges it into disaster territory. After six years of development and presumably vast sums of money, it's simply amazing that ACM got it so, so wrong.

Zelda's Adventure worst games

Worst Games: 15. Zelda's Adventure (CD-i, Viridis, 1994)

Nintendo keeps an iron grip on its most famous names these days, but back in the mid 1990s the Japanese game company's explosion into Western pop-culture meant not quite so much quality control was exercised. The infamous Bob Hoskins Super Mario movie is the most famous example of how poorly the House of N let its stars be treated, but The Legend of Zelda didn't fare much better. The three Philips CD-i games were made in a hurry, and it shows. While their infamy is more to do with Nintendo fans' latter-day outrage that these games weren't suitably faithful enough to Nintendo's own Zelda titles, the horribly dated animated cutscenes and flaky controls makes the first two a chore. However, criticism of said first two, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, tends to be highly exaggerated mob rule - they're not awful, they're just not really Zelda. Third game Zelda's Adventure though - hoo boy, that's a horror. Hideously acted live-action FMV, all-over-the-place, punishing difficulty and nasty sound and graphics make for an embarrassing, hateful game Nintendo probably wish could be erased from history.

Rise of the Robots Worst Games

Worst Games: 16. Rise of the Robots (SNES / Megadrive / 3DO / PC / Amiga / 3D-i, Mirage, 1994)

The game that was going to change everything! Or, in reality, the game where a bunch of guys in suits spotted that Street Fighter II was making a truckload of money and decided to muscle in on the action. Absurd, meaningless claims included "VR inspired backgrounds designed by an architect," "fighting moves conceived by a martial arts expert" and "the first combat game to use artificial intelligence" "Rise of the robots redefines the fighting genre and raises the ante on gamers with a futuristic motif proven in focus groups". As for the game itself, we got a dull, slow, clunky fighter that looked like deleted scenes from The Lawnmower Man, starring a cast of faceless action figure-like characters most people could barely tell apart. And, crucially for a fighting game, it was awkward and unresponsive to control. Fortunately, the game's crazy marketing spend didn't make it a commercial success despite its ubiquity at the time.

The War Z

Worst Games: 17. The War Z (PC, Hammerpoint Interactive, 2012)

A very contemporary one this, but also one which could, in theory, one day escape the Ghetto Of Awfulness. It's highly unlikely given the atrocious state this zombie survival MMO launched in, but it is technically an ongoing project, so you never know. The War Z exists only because Day Z, a free mod for combat sim Arma 2, was a shock success. Superficially very similar indeed, The War Z was rushed to market in the hope of piggybacking Day Z's zeitgeist, amid a storm of wild promises and a string of unflattering rumours about the company behind it. Lo and behold, the results were an absolute mess, and many of the promises  - about the number of players it could support, how big an area of world there was to roam - turned out to be outright poppycock. The developers didn't help matters when they accused disappointed players of having "misinterpreted" their fabricated claims. Eventually, it was withdrawn from sale on Steam, by Steam, who acknowledged it wasn't in a fit state. Just recently it was made available again, though the changes seem to be more focused on removing the lies on the production description page than on fixing the infinite array of bugs, shortcomings and overwhelming air of cheap'n'nasty.

Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing worst PC games


Worst Games: 18. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (PC, Stellar stone, 2003)

The gold standard for openly, abjectly, hilariously terrible videogames, this physics-defying racing gaming has scooped up more than a few Worst Game Ever trophies. It's even got satirical fan websites. From the fact that the released version was clearly a long way from finished to the broken English throughout ("You're Winner") to the fact that the only other vehicles in the game don't move to the ability to drive up right-angled walls without losing speed to... Well, the list goes on. The only challenge in the game was the risk that it might completely abandon whatever thin vestiges of logic and realism it had, for instance by having you plummet out of the world or by declaring that you had won the race within milliseconds of starting. Legendary stuff: games just don't get better (i.e. worse) than this.

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