The Top 7... worst release dates EVER

There has got to be a better day of the week, of the year to publish a game called Air Traffic Chaos. Chaos! Of all words, of all days to bring over popular Japanese franchise Air Traffic Controller. Yes, they added “CHAOS” to an airport sim launched on 9/11/08.

Technically it arrived on 9/9/08, but with shipping and stocking and all that stuff, this wasn’t fully at retail until the single worst possible day. Even 9/9 is pushing it – again, you have the entire year to put this out. Couldn’t have waited another week or two? We’ll freely admit Chaos is a decent game, but come on.

On the lighter side, let’s make fun of the box art, which had to have been designed specifically for “Worst Box Art” stories.

1 – Chaos is the largest, most visible thing on the package. Again, airport chaos on or around 9/11 probably isn’t the smartest choice

2 – That airliner is doing a loop. Assume those people are dead

3 – The controller is announcing what he is, on the box, in case the huge title and plain image of an airport wasn’t enough

4 – Despite saying he’s an air traffic controller, his facial expression and nervous sweat drops indicate he’s faking it, which explains problem number 2 AND...

5 - ...the fact that this plane is SIDEWAYS

6 – And he has three fingers on each hand!

Semi-related fact: The first Advance Wars released in the US was on 9/11/01. Yes, the 9/11. Nintendo’s official release dates say 9/9, but that’s a Sunday. Shipping and stocking times (not to mention GR’s ex-retail employees who actually placed the game on store shelves) move that to Tuesday, September 11. Given the absolute hysteria the country was in for a month afterwards, we’re honestly surprised a war sim managed to survive; are we ever glad it did.

In any other environment, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy could have stood out as a prime example of third parties approaching the same level of fun and inventiveness usually reserved for Nintendo. Reviews from across the industry hailed the game as “brilliant,” “epic,” “intoxicating,” “incredible” and “exceptionally well made.” What happened?

Try Jak II (10/14), Prince of Persia (11/6), Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando (11/11), Beyond Good & Evil (11/11) and every other adventure game spilling onto shelves in the fall of 2003. This is the same fall that killed Prince of Persia and BG&E, which were granted extended life thanks to Ubi’s deep pockets and desire to see the Prince live on. Even BG&E attained cult status and is getting a sequel – no such love for Sphinx and his mummy sidekick.

An untested, unknown property already has an uphill struggle during the holiday rush. Put it up against super-heavyweights like Jak and Ratchet, plus the return of Prince of Persia and there’s no hope at all, doesn’t matter how good the game is. Just ask Okami and Psychonauts.

There’s also the possibility the game looked too generic and potentially crappy to unaware shoppers. Given Sphinx’s lackluster copycat design, can’t say we blame ‘em.


Top 7


  • Scaves - December 14, 2010 2:41 a.m.

    Anyone here had Threads of Fate?
  • QuickDEMOL1SHER - October 14, 2009 1:53 a.m.

    Halo 3 vs Blacksite: Area 51 should have been on here. I don't know a single person who even noticed Area 51 before 2008.
  • abzu - November 15, 2008 4:30 a.m.

    I just caught this at 666 diggs! (Incidentally, I was digg #667.) Talk about Digging up the beast... screenshot here:
  • pot - November 15, 2008 12:36 a.m.

    Valkryia Chronicles is a great game, I hope it doesn't get lost in the shuffle too much!
  • mrmugen53 - November 13, 2008 7:26 p.m.

    How about adding Geometry Wars: Galaxies to the list? It was the first time Geometry Wars was available outside of the 360, it was at a cheap price point, had multiplayer for the first time, multiple levels with an upgradable drone ship, and has a respectable gamerankings score of 81%. Then it launched one week after Super Mario Galaxy and no one ever knew it existed. The Wii had been starved for games and Sierra shipped it on the coattails of arguably the biggest Wii release up to that point. Ugh.
  • StupidFaceXD - November 12, 2008 10:35 p.m.

    Eh... Not my favorite Top 7, but it's ok.
  • CAPST3R - November 12, 2008 5:56 p.m.

    resistance 2 kicks gears 2's ass. it's been rated higher. and i never liked the first gears. but i loved resistance
  • pdiddy0819 - November 12, 2008 1:30 p.m.

    these games looks awesome...and i will be able to get if for free just for filling out surveys at-
  • MobstahLobstah - November 11, 2008 11:28 p.m.

    Those Air Traffic CHAOS guys MUST have planned that. No one can be that ignorant.
  • jimsondanet - November 11, 2008 10:30 a.m.

    poor okami i think the word is spreading tho ...slowly and hey, look at all the flops that got a sequal 10 years later amaterasu will live again!
  • TrIp13G - November 11, 2008 2:57 a.m.

    Poor Curse of Darkness. I never played it much, but the people in my CV union at GS opine over it every chance they get.
  • AMayer - November 10, 2008 11:59 p.m.

    Well, "purpleshirt", There is a chance that all of those games are going to do well and you can't predict the future. Good article.
  • garnsr - November 10, 2008 8:26 p.m.

    I've actually played quite a few of these games. The big releases aren't always the most fun, and you can get lots of these cheap after a few months, while the big games still cost full price.
  • CoD_22 - December 3, 2008 6:53 p.m.

    theyve missed the worst possible one! nintendo released the gameboy micro AFTER the ds! idiots! did they really think they could sell a gba in miniture rather than a dual screen touch screen thing?
  • jackf-11 - November 13, 2008 11:04 p.m.

    Sad PS3 fanboys, you only didn't enjoy Gears because you didn't want to. But I figured it out, the Japanese were behind 9/11, even though they have no army other than ours.
  • Smiffy99 - November 13, 2008 12:42 a.m.

    Man, for me, the worst release date was Halo 3...right on the day an aqquaintance had a volleyball game. UNTIL FIVE O' FREAKIN' CLOCK!
  • J1mMy94 - November 12, 2008 5:52 p.m.

    i agree with Eo1 spy. ive been waiting for resistance 2 for ages and they release it about a month ahead in the US hardly fair:(
  • solidsnake_5552000 - November 12, 2008 2:32 a.m.

    Oh my poor dreamcast!! This great console didn't deserve that fate.
  • Spike_the_Dogg - November 12, 2008 12:47 a.m.

    Agreed, Okami is the best game in a looong time. Me. Want. Sequel. NOW!!
  • Corsair89 - November 11, 2008 11:55 p.m.

    Okami is one of the greatest games I've ever played. I want a freaking sequel. I've been talking about how great it is when ever I get the chance.

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