The Top 7... Least interactive games

Ask any gamer why we love to play, and sooner or later we're bound to start philosophizing about “interactivity.” Games, you see, are the only kind of entertainment that let the audience influence the characters' actions. You can't stand up in a movie theatre and tell the actors who to shoot next; how well would it work if comic-book writers asked readers to write in to determine characters' fates? We crave interactivity, and thus, we love gaming.

Above: Imagine the interacting you could do with that lot! 

But plenty of games aren't that interactive at all. Some are designed restrictively; others offer chin-scratchy commentary on the nature of gameplay; some were just made by folks who like cutscenes a bit too much. For whatever reason, plenty of software is less “game” and more “TV show with occasional button presses.” Interactive entertainment? Here are a few games that forget at least half that promise.

7. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

The game: Every once in a while, Capcom graces us with a new IP to add to their stable of zombies, zombie-killers, zombie-photographers, sociopathic street-brawlers, and Mega Man. A particularly novel addition has been the Ace Attorney series. At last, we could subject ourselves to the fun of negotiating the legal system, without the hassles of dealing with a lawyer's income or lifestyle.

Above: A joke about that lifestyle, courtesy of 1986 

What could you do? “You can't handle the truth!” “This whole courtroom's out of order!” “Yes they deserve to die, and I hope they burn in hell!” “Denny Crane!” Just a few of the legal-eagle catchphrases you were free to yell into the DS' microphone, enabling you to feel exactly how a real law-talkin' guy feels when he's legalin' it up.

Above (top): Dynamic legal action!
Above (bottom): Streamlined user interface!

What did the game do for you? Told quirky courtroom tales while you were hollering at your console and occasionally tapping the screen to move the story along. It's not that the game's bereft of things to do; there just tends to be one right way to pass a level, and once you've found that way, no real reason to go back. Unless you've got some choice new John Grisham quotes to yell, of course.

Above: Looks like a thought just hit him... fatally. [Don sunglasses, cue title sequence]

Seriously, this is less interactive than... Finding a reason to go to court, for reals. Have you been to court? Shit's better than Halo.

You may think this looks a lot like us advocating illegal activities, but you could not be more wrong. Please restrict yourself to confessing to other peoples' pre-existing crimes.

6. Operation Wolf

The game: Taito's jungle-infiltration actioner paid homage to balls-out action movies of the day like Rambo, Commando and the oeuvre of one Mr. Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris. The game adopted a then-rare first-person perspective, letting you see the whites of countless warmongering foreigners' eyes.

Above: It's you or Libyan Charles Bronson. Only one is getting out alive 

What could you do? Shoot them! Or, if you were feeling pacifistic, be shot by them!

What did the game do for you? The character parachuted behind enemy lines, sabotaged ammo depots, negotiated with civilians, shook down double agents, rigged explosives and more... but you didn't even get to tell him when to walk and when to stand still. Your sole responsibility was to aim the gun and hope someone was standing in front of it.

Above: Maybe someday a game will let you press the “Explode Everything” button yourself 

Seriously, this is less interactive than... Most of the variations that followed. Op Wolf didn't invent the rail shooter, but it breathed life into the genre. Later imitators would add small but vital ways for players to have a tiny bit more to do, culminating in the uber-bizarre Aerosmith vehicle Revolution X.

Above: The popular thing to say was, “Play it until the bit where you get to shoot at Steven Tyler" 

Shark firmly jumped, it would fall to Sega's Virtua Cop to bring rail-shooters back into the realms of “games people might conceivably want to play.”


Top 7


  • miasma - March 18, 2010 6:22 p.m.

    I remember Microcosm, these games suck.
  • DagDabreemie - March 17, 2010 12:22 a.m.

    If you all thought those 'least interactive' games were bad, then what about Star Trek: BORG ? Especially if you got one of the first copies that wouldn't play and needed the patch from Simon & Schuster.
  • IIIIIACEIIIII - March 16, 2010 11:26 p.m.

    For some reason I expected a joke about Sonic games playing themselves (the new ones of course, not the old ones). Incidentally, I picked up Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the master system for 50p today. I already had it, but now I have the case.
  • FoxdenRacing - March 16, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    I'm disappointed that failed experiment in hologram-tech games didn't make the list..."TimeTraveler", I think it was called. Granted, it was similar enough to Dragon's Lair to be considered a spiritual successor. Watch a FMV, push a couple buttons, lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Xeacons - March 16, 2010 5:12 p.m.

    When I bought Indigo Prophecy, everyone said to pick up the Strategy Guide, "You'll need it." So I did; I beat the game, and I still haven't opened the book. Considering how long it took to make the game (6 years) I was expecting more. Dragon's Lair: Just released on DSiWare. Not a 5 star game, but a must have for ANY historian!
  • philipshaw - March 16, 2010 2:35 p.m.

    Dragon's Lair had to be number 1, Indigo Prophecy shouldn't be on the list for the reasons mentioned in the article
  • jmcgrotty - March 16, 2010 8:04 a.m.

    You got a lot of damn nerve adding Dragons Lair to this. That game is legitimately kick-ass. And still being made. I own it on Blu-Ray. (Actually I screwed up my order and own two copies of it.) That being said, does it speak bad to me that I own 4 of the games on this list? Though, I don't like the other 3 I own. But Dragons Lair kicks the Llamas ass.
  • Irishranger - March 16, 2010 3:13 a.m.

    For years I wanted a way to be able to play the old laserdisc arcade version of Dragon's Lair again. Now, the older I get....not so much.
  • ScruffMoney - March 16, 2010 3:01 a.m.

    Holy Snappin' fox crap, I can't believe you didn't put Heavy Rain on the list, but I'm glad you didn't. All the shots the site's been taking at it since it's launch I figured for sure that it would be on here.
  • MetalGearFlaccid - March 16, 2010 2:54 a.m.

    Thank you GamesRadar, for not making an FFXIII joke. There has been too many jabs at the game lately, and I'm glad to see you are better than that.
  • Embolado - March 16, 2010 1:23 a.m.

    There is a warm spart in my heart for Revolution X. The only game where instead of bombs for a special you shot out CDs.
  • OneEyedGoon - March 16, 2010 1:14 a.m.

    If you want to see non-interactive gaming at its horrific worst, check out Plumbers Don't Wear Ties for 3D0. The AVGN has a video review of it, I believe.
  • gatornation1254 - March 15, 2010 11:54 p.m.

    Dragon's Lair for the NES means business. It's a bitch to play.
  • mEgAzD - March 15, 2010 10:59 p.m.

    @gilgamesh: the point of the joke was that although a DVD player can play Dragon's Lair, don't expect it to play MW2
  • sofaku - March 15, 2010 10:44 p.m.

    heavy rain?
  • gilgamesh310 - March 15, 2010 10:43 p.m.

    What was that last comment all about "Don't hold your breath for a modern warfare 2 conversion"?
  • JizzyB - March 15, 2010 10:39 p.m.

    Indigo Prophecy was a let-down for me. I was psyched after playing the demo but the full game seriously was a giant QTE. I felt like I missed the action because I was looking at the button prompts. The most interactivity I had with it was picking it up and throwing it in the trash!
  • ventanger - March 15, 2010 10:27 p.m.

    I actually bought Indigo Prophecy on XBL, I had to put the controller down once the hero was tormented by giant spectral fleas. Still haven't beaten it. recaptcha: doggone families YEAH! Damn families.
  • bonerachieved - March 15, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    OPERATION WOLF>!>!> holy bawls i havent seen that game in ages.
  • GrrSnort - March 15, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    Final Fantasy 12 didn't make this list? Ridiculous. That was the only game I've EVER owned that literally played itself.

Showing 1-20 of 37 comments

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