Duck Hunt, Wii Play, a Mah Jong game for Nintendo, E.T. for Atari and more.
Yesterday, I read that Wii Sports has passed Super Mario Bros. as the top selling video game of all time.
The blasphemy there aside, it led me to tracking down a massive list of the best selling video games in history, in order. And that led to this 11 points entry.
Because some of the games on this list are horrendous. And someone needs to point that out. Sure, almost 1,000 games made the list, having sold more than one million copies. But not all of them deserve to be here. Not even close.
So here are 11 video games that sold astronomical amounts of copies… that are flat out horrible. In order of sales rank…
1 | Duck Hunt (NES)
5th highest seller of all time
Like Super Mario Bros. and Wii Sports, Duck Hunt is ranked this high because it came bundled with one of the two best selling consoles ever. And a lot of us have strong Duck Hunt nostalgia. But… by all objective measures, this game was horrible.
The gun was unreliable and inaccurate. Eventually you’d just get bored and touch the gun to the TV screen so that whenever you pulled the trigger it automatically killed the ducks. The clay pigeon shooting was stupid.
And worst of all, that effing dog laughing at your shooting impotence may have inspired a whole generation to want to commit cruelty to animals. How often did you try to shoot that damn dog? And then how many warped kids took that too far, grabbed their BB gun and went outside to shoot at real dogs? I bet it ain’t zero.
2 | Wii Play (Wii)
9th highest seller of all time
This one is even more insidious. They didn’t bundle this with the system, Nintendo bundled this with an extra Wii remote. And the Wii remotes are so expensive that, instead of buying one separate, you figure “might as well throw in the extra $10 and get a game along with it.”
Turns out that game SUCKS.
We have this shitfest on our Wii. We played it once because it was so awful. Seriously, today’s kids would probably rather read than play Wii Play.
The table tennis is jerky, the air hockey is unresponsive, the fishing is more boring than actually fishing, the shooting is repetitive, the tanks gets very boring very quickly and the find the Mii game is filler.
The only decent game is the one where you ride around on a cow and try to knock stuff over. But should the 9th best selling video game of all time have its only redeeming quality be a minigame where you ride around on a cow?
3 | Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (PS1)
51st highest seller of all time
Of all the attempts to create a Mario franchise ripoff (including Sonic, Bonk, Alex Kidd and oh so many others), I always thought Crash Bandicoot was the lamest. He’s such a transparent attempt at middle aged executives trying to create a character that’s “cool.” Crash Bandicoot is the equivalent of Poochie on The Simpsons, all the way down to the sunglasses that some corporate suit added to give him 13 percent more attitude.
I picked Crash Bandicoot 3 because it sold more than the original Crash Bandicoot; this third installation moved 7 million copies, putting it nine spots higher than the Legend of Zelda. And that’s not right.
4 | Luigi’s Mansion (GC)
170th highest seller of all time
Back when the Gamecube came out, there was a problem. None of the games that debuted simultaneously was appealing in any way. So Nintendo loyalists who bought a Gamecube did the only thing they could do: Cling to a familiar face.
In this case, that familiar face was Luigi, the Roger Clinton of the video game world, headlining his own crappy game. In this game, you were Luigi and you had a vacuum cleaner. Which you used to vacuum up ghosts. That’s all. And it still moved more than 3.5 million copies.
5 | Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (360)
280th highest seller of all time
I know this game is awful from first hand experience. It comes bundled with one of the versions of the Xbox 360. We got an Xbox 360 at my office a few months back and it came with two games: This, and the video game version of Kung Fu Panda.
Lego Indiana Jones is so bad… HOW BAD IS IT??? It’s so bad that it actually makes me resort to playing Kung Fu Panda.
It’s so bad that it actually made me play Kung Fu Panda so many times that I ended up renting the movie Kung Fu Panda because I was so invested in the story.
It’s so bad that it makes Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull only the second-worst Indiana Jones release of 2008. There it is.
6 | Imagine: Babyz (DS)
315th highest seller of all time
You may not know this game because if you’re in the demographic of my readership, odds are, you’re not in the Imagine: Babyz demographic. So I’ll fill you in.
This is a game where you play an imaginary nanny and you have to look after six babies. You feed them, you change them. These are called “minigames”.
I’m not sure who the target demo was for this game… but let’s say I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo packaged this game with a limited edition watch that ticks along with your biological clock.
Anyway, this mess sold 2.44 million copies. To put that in perspective, it’s ahead of Ice Hockey (2.42 million)… and only a few hundred thousand behind Super Mario Bros. 2 (2.65 million), Mortal Kombat for Genesis (2.67 million) and Metroid (2.73 million).
7 | Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast)
321st highest seller of all time
Dreamcast. Ha! The fact that 2.42 million people bought this means that at least 2.42 million people bought Dreamcasts.
8 | Mah Jong (NES)
402nd highest seller of all time
OK, so this sold 2.13 million of its 2.14 million copies in Japan. But still. Even your grandma would be embarrassed if she found out you spent money on Mah Jong for your Nintendo box doohickey when she had a perfectly good set of Mah Jong tiles in the closet and if you want to play Mah Jong you and your cousins should really go over to her house and she’ll set up the card table and you can all eat Werther’s Originals and drink tap water and she’ll teach you how to play.
9 | 50 Cent: Bulletproof (PS2)
578th highest seller of all time
In the game, you are 50 Cent, off on a mission to hunt down some guys who shot you. It has cameos from Dr. Dre, Eminem and all of the G-Unit crew.
The show X-Play on G4 called it the worst game in the history of the PS2.
Mostly, it features embarrassing graphics, 30-second loops of beats that sort of sound like 50 Cent’s hits, levels including a meth lab, and just a whole lot of shooting guns at random enemies over and over and over and over.
I actually played this, and to me, it’s only the second-worst rap video game of all time (Get on Da Mic, a rap karaoke game that constantly loses sync with the beat easily is the worst). But this one sold 1.59 million copies and I’m fairly sure Get on Da Mic sold 15 copies, so this makes me angrier.
10 | South Park (N64)
846th highest seller of all time
This debuted during that brief period in the late ’90s where you could slap the South Park characters on any piece of shit and it would sell. And the game might be the best example of all. It was a first-person shooter game that looked like it only spent about three weeks in development before they rushed it out to the shelves.
But it was South Park back in the “rainbows I hate those frigging things” era, so it sold 1.14 million copies to 1.14 million very, very disappointed people.
11 | E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (Atari)
961st highest seller of all time
In order to capitalize on the runaway popularity of the movie E.T., Atari paid $25 million dollars for the video game rights (which was insane by the standards of the time)… then rushed the game to market in 1982. The premise: Collect pieces of a phone so E.T. can build it and phone home. Unfortunately, the game was an abject disaster (and is still considered one of the worst games of all time); so even though it moved a million copies, that left about one million copies unsold.
Those unsold copies were buried in a landfill in New Mexico… Atari lost so much money on the game that the company began falling apart… and a few years later Nintendo swooped in and took over. And now you know… the REST of the story.