We love games at Dealspwn. So much so, in fact, we stomach their multiple and multifaceted flaws. Bad writing. Poor visuals. An over-reliance on bald space-marines and Tolkien's fantasy lore. But what we simply can't tolerate are broken games. Titles so ineptly designed you breathe a sigh of relief when the console actually recognised the disc/cartridge/ancient form of media.
So to protect you in your videogame-related travels, we've decided to devise a list of the Top 10 Most Broken Games, from the glitch-addled and buggy, to the severely ill and unplayable.
10. Red Dead Redemption
Yes, I know you love Red Dead Redemption. I did, too. But we can't deny it was so prone to freezing it was as if Rockstar had gotten so enamored with their beautiful recreation of the Old West, they kept dropping in snap-shots mid-game. Red Dead also suffered from some of the most odd bugs we've ever seen, from townsfolk flapping their arms like birds and taking flight, to what ostensibly appears to be a female character model merging with a donkey's, creating quite the unseemly sight.
John Romero's game is not only broken, it's just plain bad. Lofty promises, but a plummeting result. It was awful on the PC, but on the N64... Well, not only were all the levels coated in so much fog it was like an Amsterdam coffee-shop, but in order to squeeze the game onto Nintendo's console, Romero and co reduced the texture detail to a level of blurriness usually reserved for the blind.
8. Fable 2
Fable 2 was riddled with bugs. It had the usual list of chronic freezing, villagers trapped inside walls, to your wife and child mysteriously vanishing. Lionhead even had to patch the game within weeks of release, as a particularly nasty glitch was preventing storyline quests from activating. I once stumbled on a group of merchants who'd found an inanimate pack of Balverines in the woods. It was quite moving, actually.
For the sake of my sanity, I'm dubbing it Stalker. It's easier to write, and spares my full-stop button from sudden death. Stalker was as irradiated with bugs as its Chernobyl-setting. From reaching ostensibly unreachable locations in the game, to random bodies stuck between pieces of geometry, Stalker has a quite amusing glitch where if you set an NPC on fire with a recently detonated grenade, a combination of AI programming, commanding them to run when alight, and a glitch with the physics, ordering their bodies to move faster because of the explosion, sees them careening across the screen, on fire.
6. Bethesda RPGs
Again, we love Bethesda, too. All in all, I've probably spent upwards of a hundred hours wandering their Oblivions and Wastelands. But love must be tempered with reason. Bethesda, in their noble efforts to pump fifty-hour adventures onto a single disc, often release a multitude of bugs into the wild. Fallout 3, especially. From floating NPCs to Mr Fantastic-esque elongated limbs. Sometimes, you're character might simply get stuck on a particular piece of geometry, with nothing but an old save file to rescue you.
5. Two Worlds
Wow, we're not being especially nice to RPGs today! Two Worlds wasn't just crippled with bugs, it was weighed down by an excess of ambition and a lack of either talent or resources. As a result, it was quite bad, not to mention broken. NPCs might randomly wander through walls, quite casually, and items in the environment would suddenly disappear. But the weirdest glitch? Well, see what happens when this unlucky gamer bought a new weapon...
4. Big Rigs
Ah, Big Rigs. The Wiki entry alone is enough to justify a mention, "and the laws of physics can be violated frequently". Big Rigs problems stemmed from a real lack of effort from the developers. It's supposed to be a racing game, where you compete against rival trucks, yet they fail to move from the finish line as the developers forgot to add AI. But perhaps the best glitch is a spelling mistake. "You're Winner!" pops up, but not always when you've won. Sometimes it just materializes on the screen on the second lap... of a five lap course. Terrific, simply terrific.
With the success of the film, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial videogame was expected to be a hit for Atari. It wasn't, and as such contributed to their financial woes. It was developed in six weeks, but I'm not in a merciful mood. It was an awful game, the entire experience one giant bug. It was so bad, Atari dumped unsold cartridges into the New Mexico desert. If and when aliens decide to visit our planet, I hope they don't stumble on that particular closet-skeleton.
2. Superman 64
Superman 64 is so bad it's famous. It's known by many, reviled by all. Being Superman, it had to grant you the ability to fly. Except, if flying was this annoying, I'd rather be a slug. Notoriously difficult to control, the one saving grace of the entire game is the developers attempt to hide a visual flaw, the omnipresent fog, as a plot-point. Kryptonite-fog... Yeah.
1. Jet Set Willy
Oh, Jet Set Willy. It had to be you. Where to begin? The random deaths? The vanishing monsters? The arrow-sprite that ran too far into the game's video-memory and eventually ate saved game-data? Jet Set Willy was so bad, in fact, you couldn't complete it. It's the worst bug of all? I can deal with mutant donkey women, floating Wastelanders and piles of alien cartridges under tons of sand, but this? I cannot tolerate this. Jet Set Willy, you stand accountable for crimes against videogames. How do you plead?