I know what you're thinking. While yes, I do indeed have some out there entries on this list; I wanted to approach this concept differently. That is to say, I want to think outside the box and come up with video game types that just aren't made today. One genre all but left in the dust today, for example, is movie tie-ins. If you want to play a game based on a movie your best bet is some flash trash on Facebook, or a mobile game for iOS, or Android devices. I don't miss them at all, but I still can't believe the industry wised up. It was a thing from the Atari 2600 all the way up into the PS3 generation of consoles. That's like a thirty to forty-year streak!
So with an example like that, I'm going to try and figure out why these things were made. Who were they for? What was the goal and so on? I also have some entries with weird ideas like implementing special cartridges to sell a gimmick. That's just a tease, but it's enough where you probably already know the game I'm referring to. I hope you enjoy the journey just as much as I did researching and writing it. This may sound like another click-bait-style article, but I tried my darnedest to make it educational, in a good way, thought-provoking, and mildly humorous. Hope you learn something!
This entry isn’t on one game but four. See, after Nintendo dropped Sony as a partner to develop their SNES CD add-on, they went to Phillips instead for some business opportunities in the CD world. Well, not only did Sony counteract with the original PlayStation that wiped the floor with the N64, but the games for the Philips CD-i console were pitiful. Those games would be Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, Zelda’s Adventure, and Hotel Mario. I’m sure you must have seen Link from these games memed in some fashion over the years.
This is another entry that is about more than one game and is actually more about a genre that has since gone away. That would be religious games of which there were plenty of in the 90s. My favorite example to bring up is Super 3D Noah's Ark on the SNES, which reused the Wolfenstein 3D engine.
Instead of blowing through hordes of demons, you’re instead going around Noah’s ship and shooting animals back to sleep. I don't know what made companies with religious intentions think that they could compete in the video game realm.
Babysitting Mama is the biggest regret of my life. No, I didn't play it and no I didn't want to. I did, however, want to buy it for its sheer oddity. What makes it so weird? You put a Wii remote inside a plush baby and take care of it while this incredibly somewhat insensitive voice actor portrays this doting mother, instructing you. It's an awkward sort of funny that I love and it could have been all mine for $5, but now it's too expensive. I think Giant Bomb’s coverage is a good showcase of this disaster.
Theme parks, be they dry, or wet, are awesome. Can we all agree on that? Super. Can we also agree that playing a video game based on a theme park is a dumb idea? I think I hear a roar of applause from around the globe.
This year’s family trip will be on the GameCube.
Now I know we're not all lucky enough to be able to afford a trip to Universal Studios, but playing a game like Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure is far worse than not going. Bad idea.
This peripheral is literally the cause of THQ's collapse. They made too many of the cheap plastic pads and simply could not get rid of them so they dug a deeper hole by making new games to attach to these tablets, but they were all rushed and thus not good. I understand the idea of trying to capitalize on the tablet boom of the 2010s, but this was the worst way to go about it. Well, going out is one heck of a lesson.
Remember when fast food companies thought it would be a good idea to sell games to their clientele? Burger King was the last to do it with its three Xbox 360 games. In the 90s, which was the boom era as it were, there was McDonald's with a lot of shoddy shovel-ware. All product tie-in games deserve to be on this list, but the weirdest of them all was Yo Noid on NES. Hold on a minute Domino’s. I thought I'm supposed to avoid the Noid, not play as him.
Playing as food mascots is one thing, but this next genre example is a doozy. Why would kids want to play a game as Santa? Doesn't that ruin the mystique of the legend? Daze Before Christmas for the SNES is probably the best example of this.
Santa's sinister twin devil is trying to destroy Christmas so you need to save it. What kid dreams of saving Christmas as Santa. With Santa maybe, but all I know is that when I was a kid I just wanted the man to bring me loads of presents.
The one persona I can empathize with is playing as a sports star or celebrity. Most people, I venture, have dreamt about living the life of their favorite idol for a day. What is like life for them? Well Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City isn't a normal example of a Jordan-type day, but it is the game I'm going to tie this thought to. I mean, the box art says it all. Michael Jordan does not approve of this game. It almost looks like he is being forced.
Ballz. That's right, Ballz. That's not a misspelling of Dragon Ball Z either. There is a real game for your SNES, or Sega Genesis called Ballz. The point I want to make about Ballz is that it's the pinnacle of cheap fighting games of this era. Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat couldn't have been any bigger if they tried. When things are popular clones are bound to follow. The 16-Bit generation was lousy with fighters. Ballz is a funny example, but I know at least twenty others that would have worked for this list too.
Kingdom Hearts sounded like a crazy idea when you first heard of it, right? Even though I was a big Squaresoft and Disney nut, I had my doubts. They were alleviated when I played this beautiful crossover back in 2002. Well like I said about the fighting games, clones were inevitable.
Sega thought they could try and ape this cutesy, action RPG idea with their Virtua Fighter characters. Maybe if Virtua Quest was all of Sega, it would have succeeded, but unfortunately, it wasn't that.
The early era of console gaming had a lot of weird problems, which I've gone over already. That said I don't think a worse generation could exist other than the Wii's. Now hear me out. I'm not a huge fan of the Wii mostly because of the forced motion controls, but it is a good system with some awesome games. It was unfortunately too successful causing shovel-ware to explode on the system. There is a game called Swords. That's it. Need further proof? There is literally hundreds of generic trash like this.
I'm not done ragging on the Wii yet because even Nintendo internally got a little too into themselves. The best/worst example of this is Wii Music. Just watch how they presented it at their E3 2008 show. Doesn't that sound make your ears bleed? If I know one thing for sure, Nintendo burned every copy of that post-release. If they had access to a time machine this would be the game they erase. The Philips CD-i games were bad, but at least they know they didn't make them, unlike this disaster.
Another genre that exploded, akin to fighters, during the 16-Bit era were platformers. Specifically, I'm referring to mascot platformers like Bubsy that not only wanted to take over Mario's throne, but Sonic's as well. The hubris within these companies and the marketing behind games like Bubsy were astounding.
Perhaps young Tristan circa 1993 was fooled. I cannot say as that was twenty-five years ago! Not all mascot clones were bad, but there was definitely more disasters than victories and Bubsy was the king fool.
The best thing about the Wii was the Virtual Console. It was not, however, the first time Nintendo tried to reissue old NES games. A generation before this they made a handful of ports for the GBA like Castlevania, Metroid, Super Mario Bros., and the list goes on. They were not enhanced in any way. Well, they are a little brighter, but that's it. $20 is highway robbery just for that though and it was a mistake like this that we can at least be thankful for as they learned their lesson for the Virtual Console pricing.
No, I'm not saying Super Mario Bros. 2 should be stricken from the record. I dig it. I bring it up only because it's the most famous example of what I want to talk about. It's a subject I covered a while ago: changing Japanese games for the West. Super Mario Bros. 2 was called Doki Doki Panic in Japan but was converted into a Mario game when it crossed over. This happened a lot back then and basically stopped in the 16-Bit generation. I can't imagine any company doing this today.
The N64 wasn't a disaster for Nintendo by any stretch, but they were struggling in some regards. Their identity was a subject that they felt needed to change. The PlayStation was kicking their behinds and was viewed as more mature.
Nintendo fell victim to this and tried to appeal to this generation with games like Conker's Bad Fur Day. They couldn’t have been more obvious with that, which was huge at the time, but now it's pretty embarrassing. Presenter day Nintendo would never stoop to this level.
Metroid: Other M sort of falls along the same lines as the Philips CD-i games. The overall theme you could place this track on is first party companies, like Nintendo, or Sony, giving one of their IPs over to a third party developer. Team Ninja, a division of Koei Tecmo, helped Nintendo make this game. Prior to this they were most widely known for being the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden team i.e. they had high prestige. Metroid: Other M isn't the worst gameplay wise, but the story is so misogynistic toward Samus it isn't even funny.
Most of my entries aren't on single games. They're on genres. I'm sure you've figured that out by now. Anyway, this next one is actually a legit, baffling idea no one would dare try today. Let's talk about Boktai from the mind of Hideo Kojima. On the back of the GBA cartridge, there was a small solar panel. In order to fight vampires and other monsters, you needed sunlight. What kid is going to go outside to play this? What if it's raining constantly? It's a cool game, but I had a heck of a time playing this legitimately as a kid.
I just did a piece somewhat recently on educational video games. That basically what this entry is going to center on because thankfully they've all dried up except for some PC, or phone stuff. Educational games aren't really my problem though.
The thing I have an issue with is making ones starring familiar video game characters like Mario Is Missing. Imagine the shock of opening this game up, being excited for a new Mario, only to find out it’s educational. That's worse than no gift at all.
The Game Boy Advance is a fantastic system, home to many amazing games. That first model kind of stunk though because it had no backlight, but I digress. The one type of game you wouldn't want to play on any of the models would be a first-person shooter. Yet there were quite a few, like the GBA version of Medal Of Honor Underground. It not only looks like a pixel nightmare, but it also plays like one too. The D-Pad and limited buttons just weren't made for shooters.
We live in an age of reboots. Are you sad Firefly got canceled? Don't be. It's going to be revived any minute now. Nothing stays gone in media forever. I might even, gasp, play Mega Man Legends 3 one day. Point is, we are never going to escape reboots. Here's where it ties into games. Who was The Adventures of Gilligan's Island on the NES made for? That was a 60s show. What kid in the 90s was craving a game based on a 60s show? Reviving old properties in video game form was huge on the NES, but don't ask me why.