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The 25 Most Unnecessary Games of All Time
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 11, 2007   |   Episode 69 (Show Archive)  

   


If this list was about the 25 Most Unnecessary Video Game Accessories then this Nintendo DS Magnet Stand would surely be on the list!
Every year hundreds of games are unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Some of these games are must-own titles that, while others are so painfully bad that you wonder how anybody could release such garbage. But every so often a game comes along that is neither bad nor good, it's just plain unnecessary! These could be perfectly good games that are released on the wrong system or at the wrong time. Or, in contrast, they could be terrible games that nobody cares about that should never have ever seen the light of

Say what you will, but there was absolutely no reason for Hollywood to make a sequel to Weekend at Bernies!
day. Defunct Games has decided that what the world really needs is a list of these unnecessary games. So what we did was put our heads together to compile one of the most important lists of all time ... The 25 Most Unnecessary Games of All Time!

What makes a game unnecessary? When you think about a game being unnecessary you probably think about the thousands of movie licensed games coming out each year, or maybe the Spice Girls or *Nsync games pop into your head. While those games are certainly unnecessary, we decided for this list we would avoid pointing out the countless licensed products that weigh this industry down. If I wanted to I could have made this list with nothing but licensed games, but what's the fun in that? Instead we have created a list the includes 25 unique games that are all unnecessary for different reasons. We tried to feature a list of mostly big titles, so while there are plenty of smaller obscure unnecessary games, we chose to focus on the high profile games. But enough about our decision making ... isn't it about time you actually started reading out list? That's what I thought, so sit back and enjoy The 25 Most Unnecessary Games of All Time brought to you by Defunct Games!
All Jackie Chan Games

Despite the fact that Jackie Chan is loved the world over, there's really only one reason people watch his films. It's not because he's this talented thespian who is able to make you believe in his characters, and it's certainly not because the script writing is at the top of its game. Instead you watch his films because they are full of well choreographed martial arts battles where the Hong Kong superhero is able to take out dozens (if not hundreds) of enemies using only his hands, feet and whatever item just so happens to be lying around. These battles are not only exciting, but they are also extremely fun ... especially since it's widely known that Jackie Chan does all of his own stunts (which has caused him to break every bone in his body at least once). Jackie is a trooper, he may not be the world's greatest actor, but there's no denying his greatness when it comes to his fighting abilities.

The problem with having this kind of talent is that it doesn't directly translate to a video game. No matter how hard they try, it's almost impossible to capture the fun and excitement of one of those great action sequences in video game form. While Jackie uses dozens of different moves, gamers are used to playing with characters that have nine or ten moves ... at most. It's also extremely difficult to give a game the same ballet-like feel that many of Jackie's movie fights offer. It's not impossible, but finding a way of balancing complete user control over a character and making it still look like a real Jackie Chan fight is something that nobody has yet to accomplish.

But being able to program a fight that looks like a Jackie Chan movie is doable, it may take some time (and a really talented development team), but it's conceivable to turn some of Jackie's best movie fights into stunning game moments. What is impossible to translate, however, is the sense of dread and realism that you get from the Jackie Chan movies. Since Jackie is known to do all of his own stunts part of you worries that it will be the next jump, the next kick, the next time he dangles from a ledge that will sent him to the hospital. Try as you might, there's just no way of recreating that sense of realism to a video game. If a character falls off a building and dies its okay, we know he'll just need to continue and everything will be okay. Watching a Jackie Chan movie is different, it makes sense to be a little concerned about what happened to our hero when he landed the wrong way after a fall. As long as games can't convey this sense of dread it's not even worth trying to make a Jackie Chan game.

Shaq Fu

Just because you're one of the biggest sports stars of the 1990s doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want. Take Shaquille O'Neil as an example, here's a guy who is at the top of his game when it comes to the basketball court, yet for some strange reason he's completely useless everywhere else. If you've seen either of his movies or listened to his rap albums you'll know that this is one man who has no artistic value whatsoever. Sure he's a great basketball player, but whatever you do don't give this guy any money to sing or act.

Unfortunately Shaq's non-sports interests don't stop at music and movies. In 1995 the Big Baryshnikov found himself starring in one of the worst fighting games of all time, Shaq Fu. I can only hope that a slow and painful death came to the person that decided that it would be a good idea to feature the biggest basketball star of the 1990s and turn him into a tiny little character in a one-on-one fighting game. It's hard to believe that anybody would actually think that a fighting game featuring the seven foot tall basketballer would be a good idea ... but then again, his rap CD sold well enough to warrant a follow up, so I guess stranger things have happened.

Unfortunately the poorly conceived concept was just the start of Shaq Fu's problems. Part of the problem with Shaq Fu was that everybody involved (from Electronic Arts to Shaq to Delphine Software) had no experience in making, promoting or publishing a fighting game. The game play was absolutely horrendous, featuring tiny little characters with unresponsive controls and nothing in the way of interesting moves. The story was also outrageously bad, featuring a plot that makes Mortal Kombat look like Shakespeare. Did we really need another 16-bit fighting game? Of course not, yet Electronic Arts gave it to us anyway. But this isn't just some random bad fighting game; it's one of the worst playing beat-em-ups you'll ever see. And the fact that it also features a completely out of place Shaq is enough to consider this train wreck one of the most unnecessary games ever produced.

College Slam

College Slam hit at just the right time, it was released right around the time that NBA Jam was starting to lose some of its importance and the new systems (in this case the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation) were starting to gain traction. Hyped as the spiritual successor to the NBA Jam series, College Slam was introduced mere months after NBA Jam T.E. Worse yet, it was launched on every system that already had an NBA Jam game, including the Super NES, Genesis, PlayStation and Sega Saturn.

But if you can get past the stupid cover art and the boring name, College Slam ends up being one of the most unnecessary games of all time for a number of obvious reasons. For starters, College Slam looks and plays exactly like NBA Jam T.E. Every dunk, special move, and character animation has been stolen to make this game what it is ... a truly heinous color swap of NBA Jam. The only thing remotely new and original in this game is that you can pick from over 40 college teams, you get younger cheerleaders, and there are school fight songs. That's it.

But don't be fooled by the large amount of teams and the younger cheerleaders, because none of the teams have real college players and those cheerleaders look exactly like the cheerleaders in NBA Jam. Part of the reason that the NBA Jam series was so cool was because Midway (and later Acclaim) recreated real life players and gave them superhuman abilities. But that's not what College Slam is about; instead you get made up characters that don't look anything like the real college athletes. Worse yet, you don't get the cool secret characters or funny cheats. All you get is NBA Jam with different clothes on. But we already have NBA Jam, so why should anybody bother with College Slam? Apparently the rest of the world agreed, because this was the first and last time Acclaim decided to go after the college sports market.

Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing

Big Rigs sucks. You know it, I know it ... even non-gamers who it. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, is easily one of the worst racing games of all time, if not the single worst game of all time. Every inch of this game is completely broken, from the fact that your speed doesn't decrease when you drive in reverse to the ability to just drive right through mountains and other objects. And let's not forget that when you drive up steep hills you're going just as fast as you do going down that steep hill. Big Rigs is so flawed that I have trouble even calling this a racing game, especially since there really aren't other people to race against and you don't win by completing all of the laps. This game is broken beyond belief.

It almost feels unfair to even complain about Big Rigs, it's clear that this Stellar Stone developed PC game was not completed. There's no way that any company could call this game finished, the publisher (GameMill Publishing) must have stopped production and sent this game out to die. This game is so bad that I'm somewhat surprised that the people who had a hand in making this piece of garbage didn't just take their name off the "game" and insist on being credited as Alan Smithee!

But Big Rigs is not on this list because it's a bad game; I could appreciate it if it was just some incomplete game that tried to be something it wasn't. The problem with Big Rigs is that there was no reason whatsoever for Stellar Stone to even start this game. While I would agree the PC needs more racing games, do we really need another racer starring a large truck? I'm not talking about some Chevy Avalanche or something; I'm talking about the cabin of a big rig. You know, an 18 wheeler! Easily the slowest vehicle on the roads today. The kind of vehicle that is incredibly hard to steer and maneuver. Why not just make a boat racing game out of an air craft carrier while you're at it!

Razor Freestyle Scooter

Picture, if you will, how peaceful and nice everything was back in August of 2001. The United States had yet to endure the tragic events of September 11th, nobody cared about Paris Hilton, and there were still only five Rocky movies. But most importantly, everybody still loved the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series. At that time only two Tony Hawk games had hit the market (with a third only months away from release) and the idea of grinding on railings and tricking off giant ramps was still fresh and original. Ah what an amazing time, I get teary-eyed just thinking about all of the hope and optimism I had back then. What I would give to get back to that simpler time.

Thanks to the overwhelming success of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, gamers around the world were introduced to a number of different knock-offs. Everybody from Sony to Electronic Arts threw their hat in the ring to see if they could capitalize on the success of the Hawkman ... and each and every one of them failed. While it was clear that these games were trying their hardest to be the next Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, every company decided to go about it a different way. Sure they were rip-offs, but I would be remiss if I didn't point out that they all tried to tackle the genre in different ways, which actually made for some interesting (if not completely flawed) variations on the Tony Hawk formula.

One game that didn't even try to be different was Razor Freestyle Scooter, a game whose imitation was so glaring that it might as well have been released as a Tony Hawk's Pro Skater mod. The only thing keeping you from confusing this with Activision's long-running franchise is that this has the Razor scooter license, and Tony Hawk wouldn't be caught dead on one of those. Everything else is exactly the same, including the graphics, the levels, and, most importantly, the way you control your character. It's as if Shaba Games decided against even trying to add something new or original to the gameplay, they just took what Neversoft had created and threw the Razor license over it. Most people will never fully appreciate how big of a rip-off this game is because of the silly license, but to anybody who has experienced this Tony Hawk carbon copy you will already know that there's no need for this as long as the Hawkman is still making games.

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