Not every game is going to be a winner. But, with production costs through the roof for a mainstream release, you don’t see that many stupid, outright bad video games. Oh, sure, you’ll get the lame, nothing-special-about-it-sequel that will sell a million copies no matter what. But you don’t get the “what the hell were they thinking?” type of games like there were when these four stupid games came out:
Taboo: The Sixth Sense
NES – 1989 – made by Rare
This was a title designed to capitalize on the tarot card craze of the late 80s/early 90s. Oh, wait. That wasn’t actually a thing? Well, then we have no idea why this game was made. Interestingly enough, this title was created by Rare, who would go on to create Donkey Kong Country, Perfect Dark and Goldeneye 007. Essentially, the game gives the “player” (if “playing” is what you can call what you do in this “game”) a tarot card reading, supposedly predicting their future. A program that would probably cost less than a dollar on your Android phone was a full priced cartridge back in 1989. See how far we’ve advanced?
The time machine on Nintendo! In it’s defense, the music is kind of cool:
Wall Street Kid
NES – 1990 – made by Sofel
So, there’s kind of this trend in Japan in terms of making video game simulations of otherwise boring things. There are sims for gardening, cooking (think Cooking Mama), dating (OK, not exactly boring, but still…), etc. With games from Japan being popular in America (as that’s where most were being made), this simulation of Wall Street investing didn’t exactly go over well with the action obsessed American NES crowd. This isn’t to say that a stock market simulator is a bad idea for a game… just not a good idea for the NES.
Where’s Waldo?/The Great Waldo Hunt/Various Other Titles
NES/SNES – 1991/1992 – made by THQ
Where’s Waldo? was a pretty popular series of books back in the day. Kids in the early 90s would spend hours trying to find the red & white striped shirt wearing Waldo in large, overly detailed drawings. The series was almost Harry Potter-style huge – the only thing it was missing was a movie and a video game. Except both of those ideas are insanely stupid. Luckily, a Where’s Waldo? movie never materialized, but we were still subjected to a number of video games.
The concept is more or less what you’d expect – players basically try and find Waldo in various scenes. That’s it. THAT’S WHAT YOU DO IN THE BOOKS.
Just… just watch this…
SNES/Genesis – 1994 – made by Electronic Arts/Delphine Software
Oh, man. Where to begin. Shaquille O’Neal, a true Irishman if there was one, was a great NBA player and a genuine media personality. But like basketball players recording rap albums, Shaq decided he’d be the perfect foil for a fighting game. SPOILER ALERT: he wasn’t.