I think it’s safe to assume that popular opinion rankings are viewed by most people as just that: Popular opinions, not holy writ carved into stone. That’s partly why I enjoy when people reflect on the year past and rank their favourite and least favourite entertainment.
While the West has Metacritic for its game rankings, in Japan, there is the Kusoge of the Year Wiki (クソゲーオブザイヤー Wiki (Literally: “Shit Game of the Year Wiki”) abbreviated as KOTY): A wiki page devoted to the worst games released in Japan each year. The game also has a sister site devoted to the worst handheld games.
The basic rules are simple:
- Only games released between January 1 and December 31 of the specified year are eligible.
- Games are chosen by compiling user reviews posted to a dedicated thread and not by popular vote.
- People must actually play the games they review.
- Indie games are not considered eligible.
For 2012, the following games were nominated by users for KOTY:
Duke Nukem Forever
- “The maps are unnecessarily large with no hints as to where to go or how to solve puzzles, save for a “check the web Q&A” during load screens.”
- “The game would frequently freeze as well as load times well over 30 seconds for loading, retries, and area changes. The autosave timing was extremely unfair and installing would take a monstrous 4.6 gigabytes.”
- “Limited ammo and a weapon capacity of only two weapons. Enemy AI is incompetent with enemies running straight at you, yet with impeccable aim.”
- “Not only are there no DLC or patches for the Japanese version, but it was announced on launch day that online servers would be isolated, making online play impossibly a mere few weeks after the game’s release.”
Heavy Fire Afghanistan
- “Graphics are pretty, but enemies move like robots and even at close range will shoot like they’re blind. Production and sound effects feel cheap and ruin the atmosphere.”
- “No invulnerability after taking damage, and yet several scenes take place in areas with no cover. Damage is also retained after retries.”
- “Quicktime events seem to have no impact on events afterwards and the story is nonexistent. Difficulty level only changes the number of stages and the brightness for some reason.”
- “The UI is terrible and controls are uncomfortable, very little weapon customisation, multiplayer is shared-screen, the promotional video is a lie, the game is pretty much rapidfire shit in all directions.”
- “Not enough cells make movement seem jerky and a lot of reuse makes things look unnatural. Battle scenes are like watching the ‘legendary shit anime, Gun-Doh.'”
- “Jokes and gags don’t fit with the world tone.”
- “The balance is off with enemies having HP in the tens of thousands, and while physical attacks will only do damage in the hundreds, even elementary level magic will deal five digit damage and using support magic will reduce damage received to zero.”
- “Dialog is only semi-voiced and goes beyond just ignoring the character mouth movements. There are only 11 event CGs with DLC that adds only about 10 minutes of gameplay and 1 new CG priced at 500 ($5) apiece.”
Taiheiyo no Arashi -Senkan Yamato, Akatsuki ni Syutsugekisu!- (太平洋の嵐～戦艦大和、暁に出撃す！～ (Pacific Storm – Battleship Yamato, Deploy at Dawn!-))
- “The graphics are something from a decade old TV reenactment rendering, some of the ships models are reused, tanks and troops seem to move by hovering. Sound effects are poor… It’s understandable the game is only 597 megabytes.”
- “Initial unit positions in battle are random with things like supply ships at the front or unarmed enemy ships piloting straight into battle. It’s also impossible to decipher how and which stats affect anything.”
- “Supplies require one ship per unit of supplies like something out of an 8-bit NES game, and destroying trade routes by sinking a single ship can render and entire fleet neutralised. On the other side, enemies will warp seemingly at will making the concept entirely moot.”
- “Even the most menial tasks will require abnormal amounts of time and effort, the UI is so bad that the official homepage admits it, the cursor will stick to things and navigation routes must be set at millimetre unit precision making the whole thing nothing but stressful.”
The fact that people had to play the games they reviewed made the final results more interesting. The winner of the 2012 KTOY, after thread after thread of comments tearing the nominated game apart, an apparent 60 days of writing and a detailed indexed report that when converted to a word document is 48 pages long, was none other than Taiheiyo no Arashi -Senkan Yamato, Akatsuki ni Syutsugekisu!-.
After reading everything that was wrong with this game, I could only applaud those who had endured it, and, for their sake, swear never to play it myself.
Top picture: chert28/Shutterstock