The year 2012 marks milestone birthdays of many great video game franchises like Street Fighter, Kirby, Mega Man, and Castlevania. To celebrate such grandiose occasions, developers and publishers are releasing new games and arranging special events — like breaking a world record.
But what about lesser known, neglected, and forgotten games also reaching milestone anniversaries this year? No cake, no parties, no high-definition remakes … just sad memories and broken hearts.
The following gallery lights a candle for 10 games that won’t be opening any presents on their birthday.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (30th anniversary)
Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film about a stranded alien on Earth was a huge box office hit when it debuted in 1982, and it remains one of the top-grossing movies of all time. Why? Because it is fun, imaginative, and charming.
The Atari 2600 adaptation was ugly, tedious, confusing, and just plain boring. No wonder three million cartridges sat unsold and countless gamers demanded their money back.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial was a financial failure of galactic proportions.
Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind
Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind (20th anniversary)
As Mario and Sonic battled for 16-bit supremacy in the early '90s, Accolade introduced its own platformer game set to dethrone all other mascots. A wisecracking bobcat in a white T-shirt with a red exclamation mark. Brilliant!
The end result was a pathetic ripoff of Sonic, minus the entertainment. Clunky controls, repetitive enemies, and confusing level designs killed any chance of winning gamers' hearts.
Miraculously, Bubsy spawned three sequels, including Bubsy 3D on the PlayStation, one of the worst video games in history.
Air Zonk (20th anniversary)
You move Bonk, er, I mean Zonk, in any direction, avoiding enemy fire while shooting everything that moves.
Zonk's standard weapon is boogers. Really, he shoots green mucus from either his eyes or mouth.
Power-ups include smiley faces and crystal jars full of poo. Sometimes the poop inside the jar resembles a piece of dinosaur meat.
The best/worst enhancement is the one that summons friends to help. By friends I mean a bloated cow, a sea urchin, and a barking cat.
This whole game is a forgettable mess. If I want to play as a big-headed robot kid, I'll stick to Mega Man or Astro Boy.
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (20th anniversary)
Role-playing games were a big deal on the Super Nintendo, and no series drew bigger crowds at that time than Final Fantasy, at least in Japan.
While Japanese gamers enjoyed the epic Final Fantasy VI, Americans tried to make sense of Mystic Quest, a dumbed-down, bastard brother of Final Fantasy.
Squaresoft tried to lure new players by simplifying the combat and plot. In the end, it alienated hardcore fans and didn't generate interest in the main series by newcomers at all. That honor goes to 1997's Final Fantasy VII.
Bible Builder (20th anniversary)
Despite its title, Bible Builder has more to do with You Don't Know Jack than Minecraft.
Bible Builder is basically a Christian trivia game with moving pictures and heavenly chiptunes.
The angelic host bombards you with questions from religious events, and it's your destiny to guess the correct answer or face eternal damnation. Get enough right answers and you'll receive a verse from the Bible. Depending on your beliefs, that could be a reward or punishment.
You can still purchase the game's strategy guide at most bookstores for about $10.
Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude!
Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! (20th anniversary)
Before Sega officially named Sonic the Hedgehog its mascot, it gave Greendog the chance to be a star.
Greendog is a lazy, stoned beach bum with absolutely no appeal or goals in life. He takes a big dive from a wave and ends up in a crazy Caribbean jungle where 40-pound toads and kamikaze parrots are on top of the food chain.
The blonde sap fends off monstrous creatures with a flying hot dog, or maybe it's a Frisbee. I honestly can't tell. The gameplay (platform jumping) is so generic, boring, and bug-riddled that I'm surprised this title was even released.
No birthday cake for you, Beached Surfer Dude!
Gallagher's Gallery (20th anniversary)
For you lucky souls who don't know who Gallagher is, he is a prop comic, famous for smashing watermelons with a mallet. Yeah.
Twenty years ago, executives at American Laser Games thought it would be supersweet to make an arcade shooting game starring the beret-wearing "funny man." Historians claim this as proof that God doesn't exit.
The game forces players to watch awful full-motion video of Gallagher being unfunny before any shooting takes place. Nine out of 10 people shoot at Gallagher during this part, while 200 percent of them raise the laser gun to their foreheads.
Wally Bear and the NO! Gang
Wally Bear and the NO! Gang (20th anniversary)
Nintendo didn't hand out free licenses to every developer to create games for the NES hoping that atrocities like Wally Bear and the NO! Gang never got made.
Wally's uncle is throwing a party, and the skateboarding bear needs to personally invite his friends. The problem is that every one of them lives near a meth lab or crack house.
The game constantly offers Wally alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. I'd take all of it if I could to forget the garbage that I'm playing.
I seriously doubt a single kid stayed off drugs from playing this piece of crap.
Cho Aniki (20th anniversary)
If you like side-scrolling shoot-em-ups and semi-nude muscular men, boy are you in for a treat.
Masaya and NCS Corp's Cho Aniki series is an intense, surreal, bat-shit crazy, testosterone-charged trip to the darkest regions of the human soul. It's like Konami's Gradius, but instead of starships, it's loaded with beefy dudes in bikini briefs.
Your flying studs battle hoards of weird enemies, like samurai heads, man-plants, fairies, and crawling men stuck in a sexual position. Seriously.
Curious? You can download Cho Aniki Zero (PSP) from the PlayStation Network store.
Night Trap (20th anniversary)
I was too busy playing Mortal Kombat in 1992 to care about the Sega CD and its terrible full-motion video games, but I was always curious about Night Trap.
A bunch of girls in a house getting stalked by vampires doesn't sound particularly exciting, but it did catch the attention of video game-hater Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who got the game banned from stores like Toys 'R' Us.
A Kinect-enabled remake of Night Trap with a virtual Dana Plato would be awesome. Legions of tiny Joe Liebermans would terrorize the chicks instead of Augers (vampire ninjas). The final boss fight against a slightly larger Lieberman would play out like Punch-Out!!.
- Previous Slides
- Next Slides