The point of putting in hours upon hours and slaving away for months and sometimes years at a time over a game is because you want to put out a good product. Game developers put their reputations on the line with every title they release, and sometimes despite their best efforts and intentions they aren’t successful. Great games get lauded, but bad games get absolutely destroyed by fans and critics. You’d think it was the worst thing ever, making a bad game. But the video game industry is pretty cut throat, and when you fail you’re going to hear about it.
But on the flip side of things, rather than concentrating on games we don’t like, let’s take a look at bad games that still hold some entertainment value. It’s a phrase often used with movies; “so bad it’s good.” But does that really apply to games? The question becomes how rather than if in that case, as even the worse game does some things right. These games – while fundamentally bad – still managed to keep gamers entertained with the sheer awfulness they embodied. Here are 15 games that are so laughably bad they’re good.
15 Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon
The Destroy All Humans! franchise was once upon a time a pretty popular series. While successful games usually gain more traction with every release, these had achieved the opposite effect. By the fourth installment, the initial praise from critics and fresh take on the overused alien invasion trope had grown stale and nonexistent. Path of the Furon was a mess of a game, in fact it was hands down the worst the series had to offer. By the time it rolled onto shelves in 2008, no one was having it. Among some problems are the repetitive missions, missing sounds and general likeness to any other GTA inspired sandbox without any real contributions being made. The whole thing seems like a rushed product but at the end of the day, it still plays like a Destroy All Humans! Game, so it’s not all bad in that regard.
14 Call of Juarez: The Cartel
Ubisoft has been a hit or miss developer throughout their time in the video game industry. The company is heavily panned by some, while beloved by others. They’re undoubtedly one of the most successful and well known developers in the industry. But a company that puts out so many games is bound to put out some misses every now and then. Call of Juarez: The Cartel wasn’t met as favourably as Ubi probably would’ve liked it to have been. The game was criticized by some as being racist. Not the best publicity for a game. Even without the PR hiccup The Cartel isn’t a good game by traditional standards. It’s pretty mediocre actually, but mediocre can be alright if you’re in the mood for it.
13 Earth Defense Force 2017
Some sequels turn out better than the original. They take all the faults, all the criticisms and make a genuine effort to improve upon them. It’s how great franchises get started. However there’s a flip side to this as well. Some sequels actually regress from the original. Instead of improving, they rehash the same gameplay or even make things worse by comparison. In short, there’s no real improvement – it only gets worse. That’s what Earth Defense Force 2017 is in a nutshell. The game lacked the range of weapons, enemies and missions found in the original. It wasn’t inspired. To make things worse, the graphics weren’t great – neither was the voice acting, and the gameplay was choppy, yet competent enough for the more patient and forgiving of us to tolerate.
12 Soldier of Fortune: Payback
Soldier of Fortune made its way onto the Xbox 360 and PS3 with Payback and it was supposed to have found its home for the series’ next couple installments. Instead it pretty much doomed the franchise and we haven’t heard jack from it since. First Person Shooters are a pretty diluted and therefore competitive market. In terms of your basic FPS, Payback is at least somewhat competent. But the game isn’t all that good really. Apart from its repetitive nature, the A.I. in the game was pretty dumb and therefore made the game seriously lacking of any sort of challenge whatsoever. The exaggerated ultra-violence was a nice touch though. If there’s one thing that can save a bad shooter, it’s appealing to everyone’s innate desire to mess stuff up.
11 Goat Simulator
Simulation games have come under fire as their popularity has grown. Calling them games is actually something that’s under debate as you can take any first person adventure game, walk around or thirty minutes, slap a “_____ Simuator” title on it and there you go. Game. But the validity of these types of products aside, let’s take a look at a really weird one. Goat Simulator is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a simulation game where you play as a goat. An indestructible God-like goat that can wreak havoc on the unsuspecting populous like some sort of farm animal Godzilla. As stupid as it is, the game is actually pretty good for a few laughs and can get somewhat addicting seeing as there’s actually a good deal of things to try out.
10 Darkest Of Days
To a history buff, Darkest of Days might’ve sounded like an intriguing proposition as the game promised the ability to travel back in time to some of history’s most influential battles and take part in them with in depth gameplay. Well they did send you back in time to fight in those battles, but it was hardly what people expected of it. While experiencing these battles and events, the player attempts to stop some key historical figures from biting the dust. But you don’t really explore the environments. In fact the game gives you a pretty short leash and plays out very much like any other linear shooter on the market. But we suppose if you're a history buff, you might like elements of this one at least.
9 EnviroBear 2000
Alright, so here we have a pretty unique entry on our list. Many games come out every year with the hopes of being good. Developers put hours into creating, testing and finally polishing their final product in an attempt to reflect their efforts and please their fans. EnviroBear 2000, however, looks like it exists for the sole purpose of being a bad game. Which is why it’s so great. The game is a driving simulator where you take control of a bear going through the forest in his John Deere. As funny as that sounds and as enjoyable it initially is, the awkward controls, low quality look and performance soon start to affect the gameplay.
8 Two Worlds
Good RPGs are hard to find. There are plenty out on the market of course, but it takes a lot of different elements to make a truly great, in depth RPG. You can’t just half-ass something and hope for the best. RPGs take a lot of time and work to ensure that the gamer feels truly immersed within the world it’s created. Two Worlds pretty much failed in that regard. Looking to take advantage of the success of Oblivion, developer Reality Pump thought this would be a longstanding rivalry. It was pathetic. Not only was the dialogue in this game awful, the voice over work was done by the developers themselves. One sure-fire way to turn people away from your game is to use grade school level dubbing that would put the original Resident Evil to shame. The dialogue is so bad, however, that it's almost worth playing just to listen to.
Harvester’s a pretty tricky game to put on this list because the idea behind it was pretty good. Players explore a David Lynchian small town where they assume control of a main protagonist who lost his memories. The strange quirks and underlining darkness of the town and its people are actually executed pretty well. In terms of narrative, the game has its good points. But that’s about it. A simple point and click adventure with a story that spirals out of control as you go on and doesn’t offer much more from then on is the best way to describe Harvester. The game is a relic at this point. It hasn’t aged too well and has some pretty disturbing content. But it’s definitely worth a try to those f you who love these kinds of messes.
6 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
Branding is a big part of modern rap music. You can’t say that these guys don’t know how to get their name out there. But while some ventures are well thought out, some are just obvious cash grabs that probably did more damage than they did good. We all know who 50 Cent is. About fifteen years ago, he was one of the biggest rappers out there. So it came to pass that he got his own game, pitting him against underworld gangsters. His first game, Bulletproof, actually did well enough to warrant a sequel in 2009, Blood on the Sand, and boy was it bad. The urban warzone setting just didn’t mesh and the controls were a mess. Really it’s not worth playing. But then again, when are you going to get the chance to see 50 Cent take on a bunch of terrorists?
5 Shaq Fu
We’ve got another blatant cash grab game here that instead of giving us quality, offered a terribly made product featuring the likeness of another once great celebrity. Shaq was a beast on the court, but as a martial artist? Maybe he could swing you with his monstrous arms, but you wouldn’t go thinking he was actually trained in the art. Shaq Fu is one of the worst games ever made, plain and simple. If you do decide to play it, let that be the deciding factor in why you do – because going into it with any other expectations would be setting yourself up for disappointment. Still though, Shaq, weird martial arts plot, ridiculous 90s game, sold.
4 Duke Nukem Forever
Waiting for something can be pretty rewarding. After all, they say patience is a virtue. But wait for something too long and your expectations will grow exponentially. Sometimes too exponential for any game to match. Duke Nukem Forever took 15 years to make, blue balling fans for nearly two decades. Two decades that significantly raised the standards for first person shooters. So much so that it only took about ten minutes to figure out Duke Nukem Forever was going to be a disappointment. The game did not age well from a mechanics standpoint and seemed like it was reliving its glory days in all the wrong ways. Still the over the top humor and general badasness is something to be admired.
At first glance this should be a hit with vampires, blood and gore, a sexy red head and a mature story. This was every 12 year old's buried treasure when it came out. But as much promise as it had at first glance, once you got into it, BloodRayne was about as interesting as drying paint on a fence. The bodacious goth babe on the cover might’ve fooled a lot of gamers into ponying up the cash, but they soon found out exactly what it was they paid for. A mediocre product that tried to get by on its over sexualized heroine by shoveling through wave after wave of shallow gameplay. The sequel was a little bit better, but if you want a good laugh then get your hands on the original.
2 South Park
Unlike Ubisoft’s The Stick of Truth, other South Park games in the past have not been met with such open arms. The series is one of the best satires on television and has become synonymous with pushing the boundaries and challenging multiple facets of everyday life. While The Stick of Truth stays true to the show from a design standpoint, as well as its narrative and dialogue, Iguana Entertainment’s South Park was nothing more than an out of place 3D mess that did nothing to capture the charm of its source material. The game was a generic first person shooter throwing you into a badly rendered South Park with horrific character animations and awkward gameplay. It’s a must for the South Park fans out there, but a pass for pretty much everyone else.
1 Deadly Premonition
This is the king among kings when you talk about bad games being so horrible that they actually manage to be somewhat competent. You could liken the game to Harvester in terms of its setting. But Deadly Premonition feels a lot more like an unlicensed Twin Peaks game that’s part fan fiction part original narrative. The game has bad mechanics all around. Shooting is harder to get used to than it should be and is often times awkward, driving is clunky and the voice acting is terribly out of sync and laughably bad. But the faults only add to the game’s charm and once you get past the rough edges, it’s a pretty unique survival horror experience.