Sometimes it's relatively amusing to see a massively hyped-up game fail, everyone's secretly rooting for the underdog after all...but this is a list that contains them all. From hardware idiocy to little games that just couldn't to massively engorged affairs that ended up strangling themselves. We've got the best of them here: from marketing fails to ridiculous deadlines to endless cash chasms. Some you'll laugh at, some will make you shed a tear, and some simply deserve a muttered 'good riddance'.
Let the countdown commence...
A contender for the Worst Game of All Time award (certainly the worst game on the N64), Superman took a hugely popular, critical darling of the animated world in Superman: The Animated Series and covered it in foggy excrement. Sadly, it's possibly the biggest success on this list (speaking relatively, in commercial terms) as plenty of bright-eyed folk who loved the source material and bought into Titus' propaganda went out to buy it in the first week. Only to try and return it as soon as they started to play it.
9. Tim Schafer
I love Tim Schafer's games. I love pretty much all of them - especially the ones that tanked. Grim Fandango and Psychonauts are, to this day, two of the finest games I have ever played. It's just a shame that no-one bought them. Both received massive critical acclaim, both won numerous awards, but they sold so very badly. The latter was such a commercial disaster that developer Majesco's stock went plummeting down, their CEO quit, and the company's stockholders took out a class-action lawsuit.
8. Nintendo 64DD
First announced at SpaceWorld back in 1995, the 64DD was then delayed for over four years, arriving in the middle of the N63's heyday. The idea was that it would allow the console to use 64MB optical discs for expanded storage. However, it was such a bad idea that even Nintendo themselves didn't think it would sell and therefore only released the thing via their subscription service - RANDnet - rather than letting retailers and distributors get in on the act. Only 15,000 sets were sold worldwide...with over 85,000 leftover for scrap.
7. Nokia N-Gage
You know something's gone wrong when your product drops $100 in its first week.
6. Virtual Boy
3DS giving you headaches? Pah! The Virtual Boy chundered up migraines for breakfast...along with seizures and epileptic episodes. Ridiculously expensive and horribly bad for you, there are rumours that creator Gunpei Yokoi never actually intended for it to reach market in the state it did, according to David Sheff's Game Over. The swift slump in sales, though, meant that Yokoi, the man behind the Game Boy, was out of the door fairly quickly.
5. Atari Jaguar
The Jaguar was essentially an enormous example of 'How Not To Launch A Console'. Not only was the marketing for it pretty senseless, but the operating system was a nightmare for developers - the hideous hardware making coding a complete nightmare. Then there was the high price tag and a controller so complicated it looked more like a scientific calculator than a gamepad. With just about one or two games released every month, the lack of software killed the console...and, ultimately, Atari...again.
Shenmue was supposed to save the SEGA Saturn...then it got delayed. Then it was supposed to save the SEGA Dreamcast...then it transpired that they'd merrily spent $47 million on it and that every single Dreamcast owner there was would have to buy two copies just for SEGA to even think about breaking even. That said, putting it this high on the list feels like something of a betrayal as it was a seriously impressive game, an important game, even. But, having spent an absolute fortune, SEGA asked a little too much of it. </understatement>
We just can't let him forget it really. Over a decade on and we're still chuckling over the fact that John Romero neither made us his bitch nor forced us to 'suck it down'. The only thing that sucked, ironically enough, was the game itself. Delayed numerous times over its three year development period, id had already surpassed it in the graphics stakes by the time Daikatana came out, and some of the gameplay choices were baffling at best and gamebreakingly horrible at worst. Still, the industry would be a far less entertaining place without it.
2. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
It's an Atari double -whammy here at the top and, to be honest, these two are pretty interchangeable. rushed out in a mere six weeks for the holiday season, E.T. is yet another contender for Worst Game of All Time. Let us not blame the developers, though. Six weeks is bugger all time in dev land, instead we should probably chuckle quietly at Atari, who forced the deadline, paid an exorbitant $25 million for the movie licence and then had to dump a vast percentage of the cartridges into a landfill site near New Mexico because, in the words of the CEO, 'nearly all of them came back'.
1. Pac-Man 2600
When a game doesn't sell badly, that's a flop. When a game sells so badly that it helps to trigger an enormous market crash it's like Jabba the Hutt falling off a 10m diving board, belly-first. First of all, 12 million cartridges were produced for an install base of only 10 million consoles, with Atari thinking that the hype would be so great, it'd drive system sales too. Yeah...about that. 7 million were sold, which is pretty good...only then Atari had 5 million left over that they literally had to dump. On top of that, the game was utterly rubbish. With this game Atari managed to kill themselves (for the first time), punch the industry in the balls, send the market spiralling downwards and give Pac-Man a bad name!
Have we missed any? Pop us a line with your thoughts in the comments box below...