Trying To Play One Of The Worst Games Ever Made

No... not Desert Bus. Not Superman 64. I'm talking about E.T., the Atari 2600 game notorious for being so dramatically unsuccessful that a millions of unsold copies were poured into a hole in the desert and buried. Over at the A.V. Club they have a very interesting piece about a man trying to play this game, and I really liked it.

It's sort of part history lesson, part experiential piece about a terrible, terrible video game. It's really worth reading.

E.T.’s propensity for spending nearly all of his time falling into wells and wandering around crudely digitized landscapes ostensibly representing different scenes from the film began to feel like the game’s commentary on the fundamental loneliness of existence, on the way we’re born alone, die alone, and are doomed to spend the unhappy moments between scouring the earth in search of candy and telephone components. I grew so lonely and frustrated playing and failing miserably at E.T. that I came to welcome a trenchcoat-wearing FBI agent and scientist who serve as the game’s primary antagonists. True, the FBI agent is a villain and confiscates pieces of your precious telephone, but in a world seemingly devoid of anything but the agonizing silent scream of eternal loneliness and an endless series of wells, it’s nice just to see a human face, even if it’s patently unfriendly.

The piece got me wondering about the games I've really struggled through in the past for review. An old PS2 game 25 To Life is probably the worst. But more recently I think Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust may be another contender.

Any other nominees?

Landfill-Ready Case File #13: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (Atari 2600) [A.V. Club]


    The Last Report on PSX, so ridiculously bad and broken. No matter what you did you ended up losing.

    Custers Revenge, Pac-Man, Mass Effect 3...

    Mostly kidding about that last one.

      and to follow up, Desert Bus isn't a BAD game, it was an experiment, one which was very...weird. But the game does what it promises. Recommended buy from me :D

        I wouldn't call Desert Bus even an experiment, it was just trolling like everything in the Smoke And Mirrors game.

          Man, I never thought of Desert bus as being explicitly an example of trolling. but wow - this is totally a nail - head situation.

            even using cheatengine to make the game run at 10x speed(max i could do without failing) it took ages to beat part 1, such a troll game.......

    The problem with the question is that if the games are that bad then there is a chance we've not persisted to try and finish it. Demos weed out alot of that, I know that some games have gone from "interested in" to "never looked at again" based on a demo. Asura's Wrath would be a recent example.

    Sonic (2006) would be up there on the list though, the loading in that game is enough to kill the most patient people

      goddamn it. . . you beat me to it

    My vote goes for Stonekeep (PC 1995)...

      Aww Stonekeep was a great Eye of the Beholder clone =(

    A doped up Spoony did a Lets Play/Review of E.T.

    Secret of the Magic Crystal... Originally started as a joke to make it the most played game on my steam list. Became an experiment in how much bad game I could make myself endure - a game within a game.

      My daughter plays this regularly and loves it to death. It boggles my head because she usually has decent taste in games.... Unless there are horses.

    Ahh Superman64... The game I borrowed once...


    There are worse games out there, but Lunar Genesis on DS is easily the worst game I've been stupid enough to actually pay for.

      Was that the one you couldn't even choose which target to attack? Sounds like the one and only time I've ever used EB's 7 day return policy.

    I... ummm....oh god.

    Master of Orion 3. I returned it it was so bad. And after MOO2 it was a letdown that ME3 people can't even imagine.

      This. I grabbed it even after the reviews warned the ecoomics were at a macro level. After about 8 hours or so I gave it to my dad in disgust who promptly played it for 15 minutes before telling me it was crap and going back to MOO2.

    Big Rigs: Over the Road ( is fairly notorious for being one of the worst, buggiest POS games ever made.

    I kinda want to play it one day just to see how bad it really is.

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