The Phenomenon of Bad Games

“What if your greatest feat is also your greatest failure?” This question was spoken by Greg Sestero, co-star of the film The Room, in a promotional video for his book The Disaster Artist: My Life inside the Room. For those who do not know what The Room is, it is a cult classic that is celebrated for how poorly made it is and sells out theaters. It falls under the category, so bad it is good. It has become popular to view poorly produced films to laugh at the ineptitude of the any of the elements these films possess. Some popular titles over recent years include, The Room, Troll 2, Rubber, and Sharknado. Though likely coincidental, there has been an influx of bad video games recently. Some titles that come to mind are the vampire stealth game Dark, Goat Simulator (though made intentionally horrible), the game based on the film R.I.P.D. and most famously Ride to Hell: Retribution. In gaming circles, people have begun to play through these games and post their reactions to all the game’s glitches, uninspired dialogue, and poor gameplay. Do these games have a place in a gaming community? I investigate this through my own playthrough of Ride to Hell: Retribution, a game I received as a joke for my 22nd birthday. Check out the Glitched Gameplay from Steven Bieber and Michael Rendleman that follows.

I will give credit to developer Eutechnyx and publisher Deep Silver, Ride to Hell: Retribution was an ambitious title. Originally slated for a 2008 release, it finally reached consoles and PC June 2013. Deep Silver tried to combine motorcycle combat, racing, 3rd person action, and compelling story to this title. The story centers around Jake Conway, a young man returning home from Vietnam after four years of duty. The first day he is back, he runs into a rival motorcycle gang who has a grudge against Jake’s father. The end result is the murder of Jake’s brother, Mikey. Jake swears revenge upon the rival gang, The Devil’s Hand.
So does RtHR deliver its promise of a compelling open world game? Absolutely not and it received a 19/100 on Metacritic to prove it. The gameplay is repetitive and broken, the dialogue is confusing and void of emotion and the graphics are lacking. All the characters, Jake in particular, have massive hands disproportionate to their body and giraffe necks. The dialogue seems ridiculous at points, highlighted by a prostitute asking me if I “Wanted to get greasy.” Many of the dramatic moments are undermined by bad voice acting, marked by Jake’s grunts and outcries of frustration.


Conway threatens a member of The Devil’s Hand

Gameplay does not save this game from the graphics and dialogue. The motorcycle combat is monotonous, consisting of button mashing. The gunplay on the motorcycle is undoubtedly the worst part of the game, with a shaky reticle and targets that seem oceans away. When Jake is on foot, the game does not exactly improve. Enemies seem to teleport around the map and run into bullets. Some enemies can take 50 bullets until they are floored or 3. A power known as, “rage”, is randomly prompted at times in which you can kill an enemy automatically. Another confusing aspect is environmental kills. The player needs to do nothing except press a button when close to an environmental hazard to instantly kill an enemy. Glitches louse this game and can result in some confusing deaths.
Finally, the game is incredibly misogynistic and sexist in its portrayal of women. There is one reward that awaits Jake when he helps a damsel in distress (spoilers, it is SEX!) The female characters have no personality and offer only one thing to the game. The game tried to instill a female character in Mikey’s love interest Ellie, but they fall short. I have to say, the sex scenes are at least hilarious, with all of them happening with characters fully clothed. The poor portrayal of women makes the game even worse.
So what is the verdict on these games? With experience in both Kalypso Media’s Dark and RtHR, I can say I had no fun playing the games. Going a little into the vampire stealth Dark, all of Eric Bane’s supposed powers do nothing to enhance his abilities to stealthily subdue foes. They just make him louder and take forever to use. Also, the stealth mechanics are insanely broken, with guards refusing to chase me into other rooms if I strayed from their predetermined path.


Dark’s attempt at Detective Vision, a la Batman: Arkham series. This mode is supposed to be advantageous?!

Despite my frustration with the games, I gotta say it was hilarious watching other people play it. To observe these games frustrate gamers is quite an entertaining night. So if you are a fan of bad movies or anything so bad it is good, I would recommend letting someone else take the controller and observe. Also, find someone willing to shell out the cash for the game, as it is certainly not worth for a few nights of hilarity.