The worst games you never played


What could have been: A profane, free-roaming urban adventure casting you as a young banger looking to succeed in the world of organized crime. Hardly a groundbreaking premise – but the Gizmondo had nothing else like it.

That doesn't sound so bad... It's a pity Colors wasn't released: that would mean Gizmondo co-founder Stefan Eriksson could have made big bucks off a game infamous for sensational depictions of prison sex, before himself going to prison on unrelated embezzlement charges. As it is, the irony isn't delicious, just vaguely tangy.



What happened? Imagine every Gizmondo owner you know all rushing out at once to buy Colors. Hopefully your vision – which obviously doesn't have any people in it – at least honors tradition by including an errant tumbleweed or two.

Above: Oohh, I'm picking “noncommittal!” 

The legacy: With Colors denied distasteful success, the game took its place next to fellow Gizmondo failures Momma Can I Mow The Lawn and Johnny Whatever, while players (wherever they may be) were stuck with Sticky Balls.

Above: It happens to be one of the system's best-known games 

Steven Seagal is The Final Option

What could have been: “No, it's not a movie,” gushed an EGM preview, “but it's pretty damn close to one.” What movie was that, exactly? After all, this is a game greenlit before Under Siege had anyone taking Seagal seriously (historical note: people once took Steven Seagal seriously). But hey, if you liked Nico: Above the Law, surely you'd buy Seagal's digitized Final Fight clone?

That doesn't sound so bad... Developed when “making a new title”  meant “doing the motion-capture thing with an old title,” TekMagic assured us the game had been developed with Seagal's “active participation.” This didn't extend to appearing in-game – that was just some guy with a ponytail. Seagal is (um, was) a busy man.

Above: Don't be looking like that, you stay in there and think about what you've done 

What happened? Chugging on until a 16-bit release was no longer an option, final or otherwise, TekMagic revived the dream of letting people ignore their game by renaming it Deadly Honor and promising release on PlayStation and N64.

The legacy: Deadly Honor, despite having a perfect name for a direct-to-video Seagal vehicle, was also canned.

Meanwhile, competitor Jean-Claude Van Damme's similar ventures met with universal approval.


What could have been: BFF with Nintendo after Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct, it was suggested in 1994 that Rare might like to visit the set of the new  Bond movie with a view toward making a Nintendo game out of the pic.

Above: No media was ever released for the SNES version of GoldenEye. Would you settle for a look at a painfully early N64 beta?

That doesn't sound so bad... No, not that game. This was to be a rail-shooter for the SNES. As if intentionally trying to waste as much potential as possible, it wouldn't even use the poor Super Scope – because the only thing that could improve the concept would be taking even more control away from players.

Above: The lack of support reduced players to shooting at Super Scopes, with other Super Scopes

What happened? After a few months busting their hump trying to do 3D on SNES, everyone at Rare (we like to imagine) simultaneously gasped “hang on...” and suggested to Nintendo that instead of competing with the console's nobly subpar Doom port, how about an N64 game that would revolutionize the FPS as we knew it?

The legacy: Nintendo (we like to imagine) exclaimed, “Well, when you put it that way, why don't you forever change the face of console action games? Here's an N64 dev kit – go nuts.” Around this time, the Virtual Boy driving game based on GoldenEye was also scrapped, because well, just reread that sentence.


  • mlounsbury - February 1, 2011 3:58 p.m.

    According to the Wikipedia entry for Tattoo Assassins, the skater was based on Nancy Kerrigan, not Tonya Harding.
  • shyfonzie - February 1, 2011 4:49 a.m.

    Can I please have the words "That scythe ain't for no wheat!!" be the caption for all images containing my likeness?
  • Crimmy - January 31, 2011 6:59 a.m.

    Wasn't SF 2 released in Japan? I'm pretty sure it was, but the port was too close to the release of the N64.
  • RaptorRider - January 31, 2011 4:32 a.m.

    I actually think it would have been great if these game HAD been published, if for no reason other than to stand as a testament to how not to do it.
  • willyfoureyes - January 30, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    Hey! Sonic Spinball wasn't THAT bad...
  • FauxFurry - January 30, 2011 9:36 p.m.

    It looks as if Campfire would be the playable epilogue of just about every open world game ever expanded into an entire game. That's kind of missing the point and primary appeal of those games entirely. That kind of dominance has to be earned for players to be able to enjoy it to its fullest. Maybe if it ramped up the 'Camp' aspect and downplayed the 'Fire' element a bit,it might have been the videogame equivalent of Scary Movie. Then again,if one's opinion of the Scary Movie series is particularly negative, that might make it the most horrifying videogame of all time. I'm surprised that Sonic 16 wasn't just called Metal Sonic or Sonic Gear and didn't feature Sonic with a headband, a spiny mullet and a several-pack-a-day candy cigarette habit. Who would have needed Solid Snake in Super Smash Brothers Brawl had Sonic developed along those lines? The cancellation of B.C. is a real shame,though. Molyneux could have played the role of a prophet/shaman who makes grand pronouncements and prophecies promising paradise then have to deal with the complaints of the angry mobs feeling cheated who will be more likely to resort to using sticks and stones to make their grievances felt instead of trying to hurt his feelings or reputation with words...maybe by siccing his pet dinos on them or promising something even greater which will only be delivered if they defer their punishment.
  • Smeggs - January 30, 2011 7:05 p.m.

    Seriously, BC and Campfire sound like they would've been good, had BC had more time or tech and Campfire's stalkerish serial-killeriness been done correctly.
  • GorditaSlim - January 30, 2011 6:07 a.m.

    I think B.C. had a lot of potential, and aside from gross muscular cavewomen, it looked like a lot of fun. That's a project I certainly wouldn't mind seeing revived in the future. I would DEFINITELY play a game featuring a digitized Steven Seagal, especially if there's a level with goddamn lava. Maybe we'll get a sweet 16-bit XBLA titled based upon Seagal's adventures in the world of policing. I think Thrill Kill gets shit on a lot, probably because of it's ridiculous history and the mass amounts of hype. I played the leaked game online, and it was moderately fun. I think it could benefit today from being a cool, super-bloody (a la Splatterhouse) "Power Stone" type fighter. I'm just a sucker for cancelled games, and I love reading about them, so this article was right up my alley.
  • razorwiretensho - January 30, 2011 2:23 a.m.

    @ Letter11 Don't worry, you're not the only one. I loved Sonic Spinball too... I was so proud of myself when I beat it, that game was bastard hard >.<
  • philipshaw - January 29, 2011 4:10 p.m.

    I do remember reading about these games back in the day, good to hear what actually happened to them
  • AngryScotsman - January 29, 2011 3:48 p.m.

  • hanktherapper - January 29, 2011 3:40 p.m.

    I remember B.C. Despite all the articles about the game, I could never figure out what the gameplay was about. I figured it must have been bad because the last article I read before it was canceled stated the game was done, they were just refining the code. Six months later B.C. was canned.
  • thedonut - January 29, 2011 12:35 p.m.

    That Sonic game didn't look that bad. I think it should've starred a different character though.
  • RiksK - January 29, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    Hey, but in the first picture there was Starcraft Ghost, I remembr I was so looking torwards that one, I think it would have come out great, it totally sucked they canned it!
  • Spybreak8 - January 29, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    Holy shit TA looks hilariously bad. At least you might get a few laughs while you tried to enjoy the game right.
  • jmcgrotty - January 29, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    Tattoo Assassin wasn't as bad as this article says it was. It's just a boring run-of-the-mill fighter, yeah, but no worse than the other 1,000 that were released. And it had at least one decent mechanic where you could choose a different specific tattoo to take advantage of each time. Again, I'm not saying it's a world-class game, but there were a shitload of other fighters that were made that were worse and that were actually released. And as someone else said, Thrill Kill has been way too distributed to be on this list.
  • Defguru7777 - January 29, 2011 7:53 a.m.

    Man, that Sonic 16 game looked really bad. The only game I'd heard of in this article was Star Fox 2. Interesting how much they got done before they canceled it. One game I was kind of looking forward to was the Kirby game for the Gamecube. I remember being really into Kirby then, and the prospect of a console Kirby (other than that Star racing game for the Gamecube) had me really excited. Then its development got pushed back from the Gamecube to the Wii. Then it just disappeared. It never even got a real name. All the Nintendo Power coverage just called it Kirby.
  • Darkhawk - January 29, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    Great article, but I'm taken aback by your comment on Maximo. Those games were great! They took the heart of the GnG series, and converted it into an excellent 3D pair (with a cancelled third game, by the way) on par with the best of the PS2. PSM (your pseudo-progenitor) gave both games a 9/10.
  • kicking222 - January 29, 2011 4:54 a.m.

    My god, a "Johnny Whatever" reference! When that game was first announced (keep in mind, this was 2005, and it was supposed to also be on the PS2), it looked so ridiculously cool. I mean, hell, the trailer had the White Stripes! I was really excited about that one for... a few minutes, at least.
  • 8bitBaby - January 29, 2011 4:31 a.m.

    HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLEEE CRAP! what fantastic rubbish!

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