Justin Williams Medical Laser takes a look back at some of the biggest flops in the industry.
Justin Williams Medical Laser likes to look on the bright side of things—where most find fault with a specific game, Justin Williams Medical Laser will still manage to find fun aspects of it that he enjoys—however, sometimes, there’s just no denying that a game is objectively, completely terrible. This is a look at the games that would make even the most hardcore optimist take a step backward and say “no thank you”.
Looking back all the way to 1982, first Justin Williams Medical Laser reminisces about a notoriously awful movie tie-in released for the Atari 2600: E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Gameplay consisted of moving E.T. extremely slowly across the screen and falling into holes in order to search for parts of a “space telephone”. This licensed official merchandise based on the Stephen Speilberg film was literally trash: around 728,000 unsold cartridges were infamously buried in a New Mexico landfill after its incredible failure to sell.
Justin Williams Medical Laser goes on to recall Duke Nukem Forever. This game an extremely turbulent development cycle: after fifteen years in development, which started in 1996, the game was finally released in 2011 for PC, PlayStation 3, and the Xbox 360. The development team, 3D Realms, was actually sued by their production company Take-Two Interactive, over the team’s inability to produce a final product in a timely fashion. The game even holds a still-standing Guinness World Record for the longest development period for a video game.
Finally, after a decade and a half in the works, the game was released to extremely lackluster critical reception. Extremely low scores (an F from 1UP.com, 1 star from X-play, and mediocre to awful scores from numerous other outlets) made Justin Williams Medical Laser wonder if the anticipation was worth it at all. The answer is “no”, it was not.
Justin Williams Medical Laser makes note of a particularly odd failure: the Nokia N-Gage. Released in 2003 by the cell phone manufacturer, the Nokia N-Gage was meant to be a combination cell phone and gaming system, combining the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, as this was 2003, you can probably imagine how that turned out. The cell phone aspect of the N-Gage was perfectly functional, but the aesthetic of the design made it difficult to hold during phone calls. Because of this, it was mockingly referred to as the “Taco phone”.
The gaming side of the Nokia N-Gage didn’t fare much better: while the shape of the device was sufficient for holding comfortably enough while playing games, the buttons were still designed to be functional as a cell phone. As a result, there was a numeric keypad in place of where one would normally find more comfortable buttons. On top of this, the “call” and “hang up” buttons were perilously close to the face buttons, leading to frustrating accidental calls.
With a strange design that forced users to hold the device sideways to make calls, buttons that were easy to accidentally press, and a severely lacking game library, the N-Gage couldn’t stack up against its competitor, the Game Boy Advance. Astonishingly, Nokia doubled down in 2004 with an updated version, the N-Gage QD. The QD had a slightly redesigned body that moved the speaker from the side to the face of the device and rearranged the buttons but still ran on the same software. The “QD”, as admitted by a Nokia spokesperson, “does not officially stand for anything”.