The 15 worst PC games of all time

Richard Cobbett at

6. Toilet Tycoon

Do I really need to explain this one? Unquestionably the nadir of the Tycoon world, this one literally plumbed the depths to bring us a game bogged down in its own crap rather than flushed with success, and I think you get where I'm going with this, so I’ll stop. The idea of this one is to run your own toilet empire, starting with empty stalls and kitting them out with seats, cisterns, condom machines and everything else a passing person may need for a truly satisfying dump. There may possibly be a less appealing premise for a management game out there, but only if someone had the equally misjudged idea to turn Concentration Camp Tycoon from sarcastic pub joke into an actual product. This may not be the worst management game ever made, but it's definitely the one I least want to spend my free time immersing myself in. Brr.

7. American McGee's Bad Day LA

“More like Bad Game LA!” quipped every single person exposed to it. But that’s fair. McGee’s one-man assault on his own reputation was the worst kind of bad game – the kind that could have been amazing. One man sees every possible disaster hitting town one after another – zombies, terrorism, earthquakes, the lot. That's a brilliant premise, something only games really have the budget for, and something I really looked forward to trying when I heard about it. Unfortunately, the game shared a very similar fate to the city, only with terrible graphics, even worse shooting, racism, bugs, and being about as funny as being force-fed leper vomit standing in for the different flavours of city busting apocalypse. At least we know who to blame. Not that it stopped McGee putting his name on future games or anything.

8. Catfight

Pity the poor nerds of the past, squinting at this low-resolution smut and trying to persuade themselves the effort of mowing those lawns and sneaking it past Mom was worth it. This all-girl Mortal Kombat rip-off is widely regarded as one of the most pathetic beat-'em-ups ever misconceived, even by people who've played Expect No Mercy. Even ignoring the insulting premise, it offers dismal AI, awful controls, and it's about as satisfying as its target audience's social lives. Worst of all, just look at it. Look at this game that someone thought people would actually buy. Compared to this rubbish, modern successors like Bikini Karate Babes are Street Fighter II – the ZX Spectrum port, anyway. Never mind the girls. Catfight is so bad, being caught masturbating to it would actually be less embarrassing than being caught playing it.

9. Critical Path

This is where PC Gamer would usually dropkick Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, but we're bored of talking about that. If you don’t know it, go here. Instead, I'll pick on a different interactive movie – issue 3’s cover star, which got... let's see now... 79%? Wait, what? 79%? Then the great Tex Murphy got 32%? This will not stand! Critical Path was a ‘control room’ game, much like fellow interactive movie pioneers Night Trap and The Daedalus Encounter, only much less accomplished. The whole game was spent trying to figure out which button to press to make the half-hour or so of story drone on to its dismal conclusion, though the only one you needed was the big one in the uninstaller. Like most interactive movies though, I can't deny there's some fun in laughing at the FMVs. At them. Not with them. Trust me.

10. South Park

Back in the day, any licensed game was almost guaranteed to be a generic 2D platform game. South Park's gaming debut made those days seem like some great Age of Enlightenment. Not only did it idiotically use primitive 3D to create the characters instead of sticking with the 2D look, this blatant cash-grab went out of its way to leave every stone unturned in its quest to turn the show into an FPS. That cutting sense of political satire? Comedy? Any reason whatsoever to waste your cash to hear Cartman say something racist when you can hurl snowballs at armies of zombie turkeys until your trigger finger develops RSI? Of course not. The kind of cash-in that gives other cash-ins a bad name, South Park offended people in ways the show never could. Who liked it? Only idiots, that’s who. Idiots, imbeciles, and people named Julian.