Top Five: Unplayable Games

 Need an incentive to slam your controllers into pieces? We got you covered.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, NESJust about every gamer I come across has mixed feelings and memories of TMNT. It’s a game that you desperately want to love due to its tie to the beloved franchise, but spits at your face with broken gameplay. I always gravitate towards pointing the blame to the limitations of the NES hardware. However, I’m instantly reminded of the many other well designed games in the same genre that exists, running on the same exact hardware.

Those who are brave enough to stick through this will eventually make it to its completion. The rest of the pack will likely either quit, or smash their controller in utter frustration. TMNT is a prime example of software from an era that demanded precision from where it may not exist, in order to avoid punishment that is itching to fall on your lap, at the very first sign of your mistake.


4. Superman (NES)

Superman, NESThe height of frustration usually stems from a major disconnect about what you know to be true versus a highly obscure outcome in the scope of an established function. Superman on the NES does just that.

Think for a moment, about all of Superman’s greatest qualities. Now, picture a game based on these qualities. Your result, is likely not going to be this game. For starters, Superman’s abilities are all essentially “capped”. What this means is, every ability you want to utilize is not only temporary, but frustrating as all hell to acquire for  repeat usage. Want x-ray vision? Find the icon/item. Want to fly? Find the icon/item. Did your powers, in general, run out? Repeat.

The most frustrating moment in the game from my personal experience: dying from a stab wound.

You’re supposed to be Superman. Do the math.


3. Superman 64 (N64)

Superman 64, N64It’s almost as if a few evil people sat around a room and asked, “how can we top the train wreck that was the NES Superman?”

The answer is Superman 64.

This entry teases you with certain aspects that you would love in a Superman game, and turns it into a huge, pointless batch of code in a cart. The premise is simple: Lex Luthor has kidnapped all of Superman’s friends. In order to save them, he must solve all of Lex Luthor’s “puzzles”.

This leads you into what I would call an extremely broken and bastardized version on Nights Into Dreams. As Superman, you must fly through rings in a specific order, and sometimes you’ll even get to pick up a car. The issue here is, everything is pointless. The game mechanics, absolutely broken. The visuals, a total fog fest. The concept, absolutely stale.

Try to exercise all the patience you want, but at the end of your run, the only thing you’ll be holding onto is an N64 controller in three separate pieces.


2. Deadly Towers (NES)

Deadly Towers, NESKnown to be the worst NES game of all time, Deadly Towers sports some of the most horrendous perspective issues you will ever experience. Usually, I would say stay away, but in this case, I believe every gamer needs to experience it to witness it’s deadly construct.

And truth be told, the game, at least from my opinion, looks intriguing. That is, until you start to play it and come to the realization that nothing about it warrants you to be committed. Deadly Towers is broken beyond measure. In a huge sense, its almost as if they decided to forgo a reward system, and made it all strictly about punishing your every move and effort. One can go as far to say it’s the precursor to Demon’s Souls, except less forgiving.

Your chances of being able to survive without a space suit and oxygen on planet Mars are infinitely higher than you playing Deadly Towers without smashing your controller into a million pieces.


1. White Men Can’t Jump (Atari Jaguar)

White Men Can't Jump, Atari JaguarWelcome to the bottom. These is so much I can say about WMCJ, but I’ll save you the trouble by summarizing it in three words: F*CK OUTTA HERE!

Broken is too kind of a word to use when describing this title. Outside of the visual mudslide disaster, judging your perspective and distance is a zero sum game, which in a basketball game, is needed if you want to be able to make your shots in the basket. This game lacked that, and more.

The one thing that frustrated me the most about the title: half court basketball. Even NBA Jam on the SNES and Genesis had full court action. This game had NO BUSINESS not being more polished and approachable than the titles it was trying to compete against.

I suspect whoever was responsible for this is now doing hard time in Federal prison. If not, they definitely should be. I also suspect there was absolutely no quality control or testing when this game was conceived.

Word to the wise, you’ll want to smash that Jag controller, but I recommend you hold off on that idea. Finding replacements at this stage of the game is pricey, and you should not subject yourself to that kind of punishment.


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