It's a sad truth indeed that some terrible games in the past have actually had seriously solid ideas. A good idea does not automatically mean a good game, as demonstrated countless times by an industry that, more often than not, produces the very best products when creativity is all but bankrupt. A real shame, but that's the truth of the matter.
Budget constraints, technological problems, or a simple case of being too ambitious for one's own good can all have an effect on a title, meaning that no matter how deep your narrative, unique your gimmicks, or breathtaking your vision, concept alone cannot save a game. With that wretched fact in mind, let's take a look at some examples of absolutely killer concepts that went wrong somewhere along the line and ended up as bad videogames.
Fragile Dreams is an amazing experience. Engaging, isolating and even tear jerking, Fragile Dream's post-apocalyptic world and perpetually depressing story make for a hauntingly beautiful videogame. Unfortunately, its insistent backtracking, inconvenient menu system, and mediocre combat mean that Fragile Dream frustrates and exhausts more than it evokes and engrosses.
It's a real tragedy, because Fragile Dreams has one of the saddest, most charming narratives you could hope to get from the medium. It also stands out as one of the more original titles on the Wii. Sadly, Fragile Dreams' gameplay treads on all the amazing accomplishments of the story, meaning that very few will consider wasting their precious time on it. The worst part is, anybody who skips this game is justified, even if they are missing out on a game that, at times, manages to be an introspective stroke of inspiration.
Call of Cthulhu is a shame. So much promise, so much amazing atmosphere, yet such an awful, dreadful excuse for a game. There's no denying that this dark and grisly first-person horror tale has heart and a strong sense of character, but it's a frustrating mess of bugs and glitches, not to mention that it throws all the horror out of the window once it puts a gun in your hand and becomes a shooter.
This game has been installed, deleted, and re-installed on my computer at least half a dozen times, because its oppressive mood and Lovecraft-flavored story demands forgiveness. Then there is, of course, the famous "chase" sequence in which the player escapes a murderous mob of demented villagers in what could be the most thrilling, intense, terrifying event a videogame has ever thrown at somebody. Still, the bugs, rubbish stealth sections, and overall garbage gameplay manages to wear out Call of Cthulhu's welcome in the end. It could have been fantastic, but it was not.
Wait, what? Yes, it sounds mad, but go with it for a second. Despite how atrocious we all know Rise of the Robots to be, it was still a pretty badass idea. A fighting game featuring giant (and very cool looking) robots that smash the shit out of each other! That's surely a fantastic concept by anybody's standards.
Unfortunately, the game itself was total drek. Despite trying to cash in on the fighting game craze of the mid ‘90s, Rise of the Robots' frustrating controls and bizarre playable character options (one player always had to be ECO35-2 while the other controlled a completely imbalanced enemy droid) led to it being torn apart by critics. The ludicrous controls and dull movesets did little to help its cause.