It’s Bullshit, I did not hit her, I did nooooot. Oh, hi Mark! The legendary wise words of the avant-garde visionary film maker Tommy Wiseau still live on after almost twenty years. His film, The Room (2003), meant to be a serious relationship drama, became a cult comedy with its own fan following, and has become the definition of a movie so bad it’s good. Whereas The Room is undoubtedly the king of good bad films, what is the ultimate good bad game? Welcome to the emotional journey to the world of bad games. I shall introduce several good bad games and use a not-at-all arbitrary scale of 2–13 to rate the good-bad qualities of these games.
Honey, I Forgot to Code the Mechanics
In Agent Hugo (2005), the beloved once TV game show character becomes a secret agent and protects the city of Aquapolis from bad guys that love wearing spandex. What a great premise, the good old secret agent stealthy spying recipe, what could go wrong. Well, for some reason the game makers forgot to implement the stealth function. The several disguises do absolutely nothing, the enemies will always notice you.
A fun little game with distinct ridiculous qualities and (for me) a lot of nostalgia: 10/13
What about the game, which isn’t necessarily even a game since it’s totally broken and has no rules to play by? Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (2003), a game with a name so fitting, that the player cannot drive over anything else other than roads, not even bridges; there is no collision detection. It’s a lorry racing game but it seems like they have forgotten the racing aspect completely since it’s not possible to lose the game. There is a single opponent that stops just before the finish line to let the player win.
With Big Rigs, there is no redeeming factor, it’s fun for five minutes to just drive through everything and reverse at light speed (they forgot to limit the speed in reverse) but other than that, the game is just boring since there is absolutely nothing to do: 4/13
What were they even thinking?!
What could go wrong with making a simple children’s point and click game based in a forest filled with animals that can speak. While exploring, the tasks are somehow educational teaching, for instance about art. I don’t know, maybe add a nightmare episode straight out of a horror movie. In all so cutesy Forestia (1998) one morning the player wakes up in a nightmare where everything is red, the other characters are frozen like after staring at Medusa, and some jump scaring wizard wants the player dead. In the next episode, it’s all back to the talking animals and all. Who thought that spicing up a kids’ game with a hint of The Conjuring was a good idea? This combined with the eerily empty forest are a recipe for a game that completely misses its target audience.
Not funny, just spooky but still oddly fun: 8/13
Bonetown (2008). The name is a hint. Whereas human anatomy is often explored in the game, no femurs or clavicles are seen. The goal of the game is to beat up people and have sex to “grow balls” – as one does. Is it sexist? Absolutely. Is it racist? For some unexplainable reason, yes, they went for it. This game is a spectacle, as in how everything can be so out of place and odd, while also being a game development mess: the controls are bad, the story makes no sense, and the camera shakes like a teen guy’s hands on a first date. The dialogue and plot are straight out of a bad porn film. The nonsensical one-liners that come out of the blue are absolutely hilarious and coming across Jesus with his bong in the middle of the woods is just comedy gold in its obscurity. The main selling point (outside of its inherent comedy value) of Bonetown are the sex scenes, which end up being awkwardly long and boring, and the over-the-top vocal performances in those scenes do not help at all.
So stupid and absurd that it’s fun, unnecessarily offensive though: 7/13
The writing masterpieces
Bad Day in L.A. (2006) starts with the main character getting diarrhea in the middle of a highway. No explanations, just farts with souvenirs. Absolute genius writing. The rest of the game is filled with jokes executed like the aforementioned bowel movement, unnecessary edginess, and hilariously bad voice acting. Surviving a biological weapon attack, our hero with food poisoning, Anthony must save himself and maybe even the whole country from a variety of disasters. The game tries to be political and criticise the American society but because of being the epitome of bad jokes, it fails miserably and just becomes unintentionally funny. The game itself is not bad at all since the gameplay is interesting and fun, the writing and its execution are just…different.
Hilariously bad execution but still fun as a game: 12/13
Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties (1993) starts with our main character John dreaming of pandas racing on a go-kart. He then gets a call from his mother that she wants grandchildren. The same happens with Jane who gets a call from her father with the same issue. And well, we know what happens. This game is one of the most well-known bad games out there. This visual novel plays like a movie, except that the whole game is just photographs. The plot is very simple yet very adult entertainment-ish with some minor nudity. There is no gameplay for the first 15 minutes and then on, it’s multi-choices which lead the story to a certain direction. Despite the lack of gameplay or visual content, this is one of the funniest games there is, especially when watched together with other people. The straight up absurdity is close to the work of Tommy Wiseau.
Basically, a movie without moving picture, so just e. Still one of the funniest game experiences ever: 13/13
Based on these reviews, I crown Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties as my personal king of good bad games. Its absurd yet somehow mundane story together with the 90s USA vibe are an impeccable combo. It’s a feel-good game where the player can see that the actors were there to just have a fun time together, which is unexpectedly wholesome.
Images: Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, Mobygames, contributed by Zeen
Forestia, Mobygames, contributed by Kennyannydenny
Bonetown, Mobygames, contributed by MichaelPalin
Plumbers don’t wear ties, contributed by the author