Right off the bat, we need to make one clarification:
We’re using “bad video game” to literally mean “bad gameplay”, or where actually interacting with the product was the worst part about the experience.
There’s a whole can o’ worms extrapolation as to what defines a “video game” in an age where the industry is borrowing more from Hollywood than ever, so let’s just nail that definition down right here, right now.
Any game where playing is what you slog through to reach the next cutscene or drip-fed piece of exposition – that’s what we’re focusing on. Cool? Cool.
Now we’ve got that out the way, it’s pretty fascinating how the very importance of a game story has waxed and waned over the years. Coming into vogue at the close of the 90s, the 2000s saw a boom in cinematic flair – your Uncharteds, Metal Gear Solids and Call of Dutys twinning cinematic spectacle with tight control schemes and player-driven responses to whatever was happening on screen.
Often it’s enough to make you forget you’re only pushing A or forward on the analogue stick to save the day, and it’s that sensibility that lets some absolute stinkers slink by.
The following titles might be terrible video games, but at least you still had plenty to talk about when the credits rolled.