Video games, as much as we love them, are certainly not infallible. Like any form of entertainment or, well, anything at all, they’re at the mercy of ridiculous error. Whether those video game fails come from the people making them, cruel fate, or just a series of unfortunate events, video game fails can strike when we least expect them.
The following video game fails are just a few of the times various things have gone awry and led to some truly ridiculous, and sometimes funny video game fails in the video games industry. Try not to laugh too hard at these poor video game fails.
Video Game Fails: TGN’s Top 10 Fails
10. Duke Nukem Forever
Announced first for release in 1998, development of Duke Nukem Forever began in the year prior, in ’97. Thanks to many, many delays and roadblocks not even Duke himself could blow to pieces, in 14 years the final version of this game would see the light of shelves only to promptly get lambasted with mediocre scores by just about every major gaming site and critic.
A woefully far cry from the rapturous success of the originals, which became smash hits in the gaming world, Duke Nukem Forever was hated for having clunky controls and being out-dated in general. In fairness, it was intended for a generation of gamers a decade prior. Duke Nukem Forever went down as a cigar-smoking, alien-blasting, stripper-ogling joke, at best, and one of the really, really bad video game fails at worst.
9. Nokia’s N-Gage
What do you do when you decide to enter into the handheld arms-race against Nintendo? First, you check your temperature because you’re clearly unwell. Should you choose to ignore your fever, for the love of Mario, don’t do what Nokia did and release the N-Gage. Pricing their system at roughly three times the price of their established competition, it’s no wonder the N-Gage sank faster than the Christmas bonuses of the executives responsible for it, and is one of the treasured video game fails.
Throw in a shameful advertising campaign wherein they first announced this price painted across the belly of a scantily clad female and you have some serious nightmare fuel for any businessman.
8. Making the N64 Cartridge-Based
The Nintendo 64 was the last major console to use cartridges instead of CDs and there is a damn good reason for that; cartridges are more expensive to produce and hold exponentially less data than their considerably less clunky disc counterparts.
With technology advancing at the time, Nintendo made the strange decision to stick with cartridges. One could argue it was this very decision that gave their competitors, Sony (who had opted for CDs), the heads up on Nintendo necessary to cement themselves as a serious competitor for the foreseeable future. Whether it was because of hubris (thanks to their utter destruction of their previous rivals, Sega), or just plain cluelessness, Nintendo missed out big-time jumping on the CD train late.
7. The Sega Saturn’s Surprise Launch
When competition heats up in the gaming world sometimes you need to do something drastic. As the hot lights of E3 bear down on you and thousands of attending gamers fix their gaze on you, you may take ‘drastic’ a little too far.
As was the case in 1995 when Sega, with Sony breathing down their necks, announced the release date of their new console, the Sega Saturn. It was now. No, really, they announced, much to the surprise of everyone, that it was already out.
Not only was it already out, but a few major retailers apparently weren’t clued into that. Walmart was among the several retail giants who didn’t have it on their shelves, and this, coupled with a $100 greater pricing than their competition, was a sure fire recipe for video game fails.
6. The Red Ring of Death
One of the most well known and feared video game fails in all of gaming is the infamous red ring of death. You don’t even want to mention it around a 360 for fear that invoking the name will cause your console to die of fright.
Though the 360 housed its fair share of classics for the duration of its shelf-life, many of those classics were suddenly cut short for gamers. The fun would stop, and the familiar green ring that surrounded the power button turned a chilling red, signalling their precious consoles’ transformation into a glorified doorstop.
5. Nintendo Double Crosses Sony
The ruthless business of the video game world can sometimes put to shame the phrase “dog eat dog”, and Nintendo are no strangers to this. In the early ’90s, Sony and Nintendo entered a partnership in the race for CD-based gaming over the usual cartridge format. Sony was aiding Nintendo in creating a CD add-on for the SNES.
So, you can imagine it didn’t go down well with Sony when Nintendo shockingly unveiled that they were in partnership with Sony’s direct rivals in almost every facet of business, Philips. This left Sony very red in the face and thirsty for revenge, and it was this decision that propelled Sony to adapt their work with Nintendo into their own console, the PlayStation. That’s right, Nintendo’s surprise double-crossing of Sony gave a super villain-esque rise to competition they never saw coming.
The cherry on the cake of Sony’s vengeance? They didn’t even rename this new console! The original project was called the “Nintendo Play Station”. The cheeky upstarts in the gaming arms race simply deleted the space between two of those words and became giants in the industry as a slap in the face to Nintendo. This is one of those video game fails we’re happy happened.
4. Nintendo’s Virtual Boy
Since its horrific failure, the Virtual Boy has cemented itself in gaming history as one of the greatest video game fails Nintendo has ever had, but it’s negative influence goes far beyond some bad sales.
Other than the abysmal sales, of which Nintendo made less than half their projections, this monochromatic monstrosity was universally panned for so many reasons. One such reason being discomfort to the user, an unfortunate side-effect of wearing a pair of heavy set binoculars to play video games.
Worse, though, was the fact that this piece of kit actually got its creator, Gunpei Yokoi (a legendary figure within Nintendo, who was responsible for their early momentum with the Game & Watch), fired from the company. Here’s hoping the Oculus Rift doesn’t go the way of its clueless grandfather.
3. The Video Game Crash of 1983
The crash of 1983 was the unprecedented event which saw the total revenues of video game sales drop from a staggering $3.2 Billion all the way down to $100 million in the span of two years. What caused this almost absurd loss in such a short time?
Many factors, actually, from surprise competition emerging in the form of home computers, to the high-profile failure of the Atari 2600’s rendition of Pacman (and the infamous game E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) rocking the industry. Even something as simple as the marketing failures, where there was a heavy influx of too many consoles flooding consumers with worthless choices. All these causes, and more, swirled into a vortex of confusion that saw the industry buckle under the pressure and falter in a way that it thankfully never has since.
2. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
With the monumental failure of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, president of Warner Bros. Manny Gerard learned a very important lesson, don’t allow your reach to exceed your grasp. This is one of the video game fails that actually has a funny ending.
Yearning to secure Stephen Spielberg as a producer for their studios, Gerard promised a game to the tune of one of his iconic movies, E.T., except he wanted it so much that he wildly overpaid Spielberg, allowing him to net $25 million plus royalties and massively overproduce the game. This led to the hilarious burial of countless E.T. cartridges in the desert, one that Gerard has no doubt had shoved in his face a few times since.
1. The Great PSN Heist
For six long, dragging days the PlayStation Network went down back in 2011. And for six long, dragging days, players were left completely in the dark as to what was happening and unable to access their online service. What happened after those six days?
They learned that they had personal information such as credit card details stolen. The PSN Outrage of 2011 saw Sony doing their best to scrape back some credibility after one of the world’s most widely used and followed online services got hacked. While there were no confirmed cases of people having their identity stolen due to this massive attack, Sony’s face was left beet red. One of the worst video game fails of all time.
But hey, this catastrophic news-making blunder is cool, right? They gave us a download code for Little Big Planet!
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Those are the video game fails we think were the most notable or memorable. Video game fails have given us some unexpected incidents, but do you agree with what we consider video game fails? Do you feel that we missed out on monumental video game fails or that we painted a few of these in a bit of a bad light? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!