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A year of crap: the worst so far


In its first year, the Wii has changed the video game landscape. It's brought people in who never thought they would care about video games. New methods of interacting with onscreen events have been invented. The image of the video game has started swinging away from the nerd-basement stereotype and toward a more family-friendly, even trendy experience.

But the Wii is still a game console, and it can't be completely different from every other console. It's a universal rule that all video game systems must be populated by a bunch of really terrible games, and the Wii has certainly done an admirable job of attracting cheaply-made, ill-conceived, untested, embarrassing garbage. It's really a mark of a system's popularity that so many publishers have come running with their shovels. It's a mark of the Wii's strength as a platform, as well, that it has managed to survive despite the existence of some of these games.

We decided to celebrate this aspect of the Wii by highlighting the five lowest-scoring games on Metacritic's list of reviewed Wii games. The bottom five epitomizes pretty much everything that is terrible about games: hastily thrown-together licensed games, cash-in ports, and games whose ambition far outweighs their budgets. And Chicken Shoot. The worst part? In ten years, every single one of these games will be an extremely rare collectors' item, drawing several times its retail price on eBay, or whatever the future space version of eBay is. And you will want to buy them.

Everyone get your Funnoodles and Floaties! It's time for a ... oh. Despite the summer-fun name, this game is actually about billiards. We suppose it would have been hard to build a game around the concept of hanging around a pool -- for that matter, it's easy to build a game around the concept of playing pool, and Evolved Games managed to fail at that. The game is unable even to outshine Wii Play's mediocre pool minigame.

Here's how we can best describe Pool Party: It's a port of a sleazy PSP pool game, with nothing where the sleaze used to be.

Choice review quote: "There can be a ball six inches from the hole with the cue ball two feet from that ball and the computer will literally shoot in the opposite direction, ricocheting the ball off two, three, or even four rails before striking the ball and sinking it." (Game Chronicles)

Legend of the Dragon
We're Wii Fanboy, and we didn't know what Legend of the Dragon was until doing research for this article. To put that in perspective, two of our most anticipated upcoming Wii titles are a game that used to be based on a long-dead Taito license, but isn't anymore, and a remake of a Japanese freeware shooter.

It's also a fighting game, which, though it's not in our job title, is also an interest of ours. We've spent hours playing Time Killers; we've hunted down the Sega CD version of Eternal Champions, and we've never even seen a screenshot of Legend of the Dragon until today. For us to have completely missed this means that it truly deserves to be missed.

Choice review quote: "Even Tattoo Assassins, a game so lousy that Data East threw the entire project in the trash bin, had that goofy figure-skating character." (D.F. Smith, G4)

Tamagotchi Party On!
Tamagotchi Party On!
actually looked like it had a chance. It featured the unbearably cute new Tamagotchi character designs in a concept that was beyond adorable: competing in minigames to determine the president of Tamagotchi Planet. The minigames were even campaign-themed: shaking hands with voters, and taking part in photo-op activities around the community like picking up litter and washing trucks. It was a unique conceit for a minigame collection, and, combined with the graphics, promised to be a very cute and light party game.

But that's how disappointment works: you have to have a reason to care in order to be disappointed.

Choice review quote: "More tedious than a party political broadcast and about as interactive, the minigames are distressingly awful." (NGamer)

Escape from Bug Island
Everyone knew Necro-Nesia was crap. Anyone who saw a screenshot or video could tell that it was nothing more than an ugly, cheap survival horror game. Shane Bettenhausen and Seanbaby lambasted the game on Broken Pixels. Eidos even built the game's American localization around its crappiness, creating a B-movie identity that accurately encapsulated its shlocky horror-movie sensibilities and, they hoped, explained away the glitchy graphics and useless controls. But an ironically bad game is still a bad game.

Choice review quote: "Finding friends and hunting down keys make up the bulk of the progress, while one big twist will have fans of backtracking thrilled. If only such people existed." (Greg Ford, 1UP)

Chicken Shoot
No matter what the content of the game, something called "Chicken Shoot" is destined for the bottom of any list to which it could be added. How much detail do you need to know about what makes Chicken Shoot bad? Nobody ever saw Chicken Shoot in the store and thought "Huh, Chicken Shoot. I wonder how that is." Chicken Shoot is almost as bad a title as Momma Can I Mow the Lawn, and that game not only never came out, its system was discontinued within a year and its company's CEO was put in jail.

Choice review quote: "Hey, there's a chicken reading a newspaper, and there's another one that's some kind of alien just standing around idly. Better shoot 'em! Wait, what? Why?" (Alex Navarro, Gamespot)

Every console has it scrap: the NES had LJN's entire lineup, for example. The best we can hope for with any console's lineup of rushed, pointless garbage is that a) nobody will give it to us, and b) it will at least be funny. The Wii, in its first year, has definitely accrued especially humorous crap. We can thank the comparatively cheap development cost and the wacky controller for that, we think; rather than being forced to pour a big budget into a safe, mediocre genre game, the Wii really allows developers to throw anything at the wall, no matter how experimental, ill-advised, or Chicken Shoot, and see what sticks.

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