The video game environment tends to ignore nuances, in the field of analysis, at almost all levels we tend to move away from the grays and closer to the extremes, extolling works that are forgiven of their minor sins (and major, sometimes) and burying products that, from the outset, arrive with a target on their chest. I would dare to say that it is something natural, the currents of opinion are there, waiting for us to meet them, and today more than ever, they flow with thunderous sound. Ignoring them is, at the very least, something that requires some individual effort. In my case, for example, when I am faced with a new product, I try to isolate myself from the noise that surrounds it until I have poured my reflection into a text. However, after a while, it may happen that my perspective on that cultural object has changed, either by the maturation of my own analysis, by the attention paid to other views, or by the evolution of its environment. This reflective process, deeper, that occurs in each one of us (or in the majority), also takes place in the general opinion of the public. It is handled on another time scale, and requires a lot more space, but it ends up coming. It is there when grays catch up with the popular gaze, when irregular works polish their virtues, when games classified as disaster become enjoyable. or when products, which hardly gave us something to hold on to, gain interest due to their value as a representative object of their time, or as a mere curiosity.
All of this, and a few more tags, is what we’re going to cover in this brief review of some of the worst best video games ever. Titles that, after a lukewarm or merciless reception, They have known how to overcome and gain prestige in the collective imagination, others who have not, and some who, on the contrary, despite being deficient in many aspects, had particularities that made them enjoyable. We begin.
Duke Nukem Forever
We start with a title that has caused people to talk from its genesis. From 3d Realms hasta Gearbox Software, its development became one of those sleepless stories that drag on for more than a decade. Without going into the details of stops and restarts, there is talk of up to fifteen years of distance between the planning of the project and its launch. The result? A simple and somewhat clumsy prank, an archaic game at the time of its release that, on the other hand, found its value precisely in the total absence of fear of ridicule.
Carmageddon TDR 2000
The siren song of a saga that was never seen well, but which enjoyed great popularity in the late nineties. The possibility of running over pedestrians and the red blood that arose as a result, placed Carmageddon in the center of the debate on the video game and on all the newscasts. In reality, the thing ranged from car races armed to the teeth (in a somewhat rudimentary way) on circuits framed in open environments that invited us, as in few occasions had been done, to enjoy the concept of sandbox. Carmageddon TDR 2000 hides behind its vulgarity and simplicity of its approach, a total taste for free play that got many of us to pass Olympically both pedestrians and competition, and dedicate ourselves to exploit your fun vehicle destruction system.
Final Fantasy XIV
The fourteenth installment of the legendary JRPG saga has an incalculable value as a sample of what the constant evolution of a video game as a service can mean. Originally released in 2010, Final Fantasy XIV he was received with torches by the public and critics. The control, the lack of accessibility and the numerous bugs sentenced to a title that left a lot to give. The franchise’s potential to create a great MMORPG was recognized, but little else. Just a few years later, He knew how to compensate with a relaunch that laid the foundations of what turns out to be, today, one of the best options of the genre.
MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch
One disastrous video game that turns out to be a great reflection of the popular culture of the time. MTV ‘s Celebrity Deathmatch is the adaptation of a TV show (shot in stop-motion) that faced the most representative figures of the mythical chain. It is significantly better today for its value as a time machine, as a box containing the pop culture that reigned in the American (and European, although to a lesser extent) collective imagination back in 2003. The controls are clunky, the graphics can be improved, and the playable options are limited, but you could pit Britney Spears against Mr. T.
Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M.
The division of the missing Acclaim, based in London, and Distinctive Developments (in its version for PlayStation) signed a video game that, despite being more than mediocre in many of its sections, delighted the kids who enjoyed Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers. We are talking about a quite limited first-person shooter in terms of weapons and environments, which paled compared to proposals such as those of Turok 2, but which became strong in its setting, taking advantage of the recurring fog and enemies who always managed to appear more intelligent than they really were. A clear example of enjoyable mediocrity of the time, a mediocrity of those that nowadays are no longer addressed, and with a split-screen campaign.
The Order: 1886
The paradigm of what the currents of opinion represent in the industry. The Order’s greatest sin: 1886 was being late for fashion. Released at the beginning of the last generation, today it is better considered. Saw the light in a context that came from strongly criticizing the short duration of many of the productions of the time, especially in relation to shooters (either in the first or third person) refers. The adventure steampunk is short and simple in the playable, something that was beginning to be perceived as intolerable back then. But he also left us a good gunplay, a scandal visual, an interesting universe and one of the best voice-overs in Castilian that are remembered.
The champion of cult video games and one of the most beloved works of Swery (Hidetaka Suehiro) one of the developers with the most personality on the Japanese scene. Deadly Premonition is known to be something like the unofficial Twin Peaks video game. And that is not something minor, because beyond the easy wink, he transfers the essence of the Lynch series to the video game, dressing with memorable and well-written characters, that serve as a handle for a narrative structure that knows how to carry the weight of the work. By cons, It shows a clumsy control (for being generous), on a technical level it is a disaster, and artistically it leaves a lot to be desired. But if you enter what he proposes, his overwhelming personality will get you to forgive almost everything.
One of the least named works of Shinji Mikami, and a video game as irregular as it is misunderstood. God Hand came out in 2006, becoming an equally loved and hated title, which meant (in turn) the latest work from Clover Studio (Viewtiful Joe, Okami). Under the watchful direction of Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil creator and Hideki Kamiya’s mentor) the title grew as a beat’em up completely focused on the gameplay that was too noticeable that it concerned, rather little, its fictional universe. To this day, with self-awareness as something more naturalized, perhaps he would have had better luck.
We began to come across works that perfectly represent the evolution of which I spoke at the beginning of the text, with a NieR that, despite its current fame, was ignored and condemned to oblivion at the time of its release. His graphic mediocrity, its combat system, and its production values they took him away from the spotlight, and deprived many players of enjoying one of the most attractive narrative structures of the video game in the present century, an author’s work from head to toe that you can enjoy today thanks to its remake.
Some will be surprised that Demon’s Souls appears on this list, but the Soulslike debut retains more value in the how than the what. Its development process and its final result, as a union of the leftovers of King ‘s Field reinterpreted for the occasion, is a demonstration of good know-how, of the ability to resolve and redirect. But that doesn’t remove from the equation your problems with control, the opacity of your playable system, or your technical limitations. However, its imperfections spring some of the concepts that have evolved this style of play that we love so much today. Demon’s Souls is, perhaps, the best example that imperfections can constitute an element of reflection from which you can take advantage, an ideal starting point to start improving what is present, and never a barrier that prevents us from enjoying the rest of the sections of a work.
Up to this point our little approach to the terrain of the most striking irregularities of the video game. These have been the chosen ones, but there are many more that could be here, if one occurs to you, do not hesitate to share it.