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The Elements Of A Great Bad Game

After recording over 200 episodes of Replay and around 150 episodes of Test Chamber, us Game Informer editors have run into our share of terrible games. Many bad games are fail to impress even in terms of their inadequacy, but other stinkers can wind up being memorable and hilarious experiences. What makes a bad game worth playing (or at least witnessing and mocking)? Let’s take a look at the building blocks.

A ridiculous story

I remember being sold on 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand from the moment it was announced. As soon as I heard “50 Cent travels to the Middle East to retrieve his diamond-encrusted skull from terrorists,” I knew I was in for a good time. Sure enough, it’s a consistently entertaining experience thanks to how downright ridiculous it is. For more along these lines, check out our Replay of Rising Zan: Samurai Gunman.

Wonky physics and glitches

Some of the most “out of left field” laughs come in the form of unexpected graphical freakouts... Odd animation loops, weird clipping issues, and insane ragdoll effects are staples of bad games, and can often lead to funny results. Few games featured these laughs more than Jurassic Park: Trespasser, and you can see them in all their glory here.

Hilariously broken gameplay

One of the most obviously important elements of a great game is that it plays well, so the opposite holds true with terrible games. When a game fails to function on a core level, it’s easy to stare in wonder and laugh at how it ever got released. We’ve had plenty of fun with this kind of game on Replay, from the broken platforming of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero to the all-compassing awfulness of Superman 64.

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