The 6 Worst Games Ever Farted Out by Beloved Franchises

#3. Donkey Jr. Math (1985)

The Classic Game

After Donkey Kong dominated arcades when, to be fair, there were only like three games in the world, 1982's sequel Donkey Kong Jr. was an absolute mindfuck. Mario was...the villain? Donkey Kong was...the helpless captive? Our hero was a gorilla...wearing a t-shirt?!?

For real, if you grew up during the Reagan years, Donkey Kong Jr. was like The Matrix, The Communist Manifesto, and the day you discovered masturbation all rolled into one. It changed the way you looked at the world, man.


But it was hardly the shameful stepchild of the franchise. No, that was still to come...

The Crappy Sequel

Imagine it's Christmas 1985 and your parents are the sort of magnanimous people who've already bought you a Nintendo Entertainment System. You know one of the NES' 18 thus-released games awaits you under the tree, but which one could it be? Excitebike? Duck Hunt? Motherfucking Ice Climber?

Wait! You suddenly find a game-shaped gift in your stocking. You tear the wrapping off, apoplectic with 1980s excitement, only to discover...Santa decided your stocking was the one he would take a dump in.

Congratulations, you're the proud new owner of Donkey Kong Jr. Math. Along with being perhaps the first educational game for the NES, Donkey Kong Jr. Math holds the distinction for being maybe the first wholly wretched game for the NES.

A single player could sloooowly solve math problem all by his lonesome, and two players could compete to see who could solve equations the fastest. The two-player mode was the only upshot of DK Jr. Math-- it allowed nerdy kids to sublimate suck-up behavior that might otherwise get them wedgied after class.

In truth, we'd be surprised if anyone learned arithmetic from this game. After all, kids were being taught by a goddamn primate.

So what did Nintendo to apologize for ruining countless Christmasses with their tedious education? They stooped even lower...

#2. Mario is Missing! (1992)

The Classic Game

The Super Mario Bros. franchise has one of the most unfuckwithable track records in gaming history. Hell, even the Super Mario Bros. movie is fairly tolerable...if you've been huffing glue.

And the Blu-Ray comes with free pint of turpentine!

The Crappy Sequel

Like Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Mario is Missing! is both an educational game and marks an important gaming milestone (Luigi's first marquee role). And like the former game, this game is painful. But whereas Donkey Kong Jr. Math is like shoving an algebra book up your urethra, Mario is Missing! is on par with cramming an entire atlas up your pee sluice.

The game opens with Bowser kidnapping Mario. Luigi must rescue his mildly obese brother by playing the world's dullest game of Trivial Pursuit.

It would be easy to mock Mario is Missing! for being an educational video game. After all, edutainment games are categorically abominable with the exception of Lara Croft: OB/GYN, which you can sadly only find at the Gamestop in the darkest corners of our minds.

No, this game earns our scorn for being the dumb child's version of Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? Did you once see the cover of a National Geographic at the dentist's office while reaching for US Weekly? Good, now you're patently qualified to beat Mario is Missing! in an hour or two. That is, as long as you're good with getting your clues in the form of ham-fisted racial stereotypes:


#1. The Legend of Zelda Phillips CD-i series (1993-1994)

The Classic Game

The Legend of Zelda series is basically the Criterion Collection of video games - very rarely is a Zelda title not "Game of the Year" material.


The Crappy Sequel

In the early 1990s, Nintendo allowed the Phillips CD-i gaming console to develop their own games using Nintendo properties. Phillips produced three Zelda titles: The Faces of Evil, The Wand of Gamelon, and Zelda's Adventure.

After all, the characters and gameplay are established as gaming gold. How badly can an outsider fuck it up?

Hoo boy. Let's just say that the previous five games in this article combined are still--by our sophisticated Cracked metrics--far and away less shitty than one Phillips CD-i Zelda game.

Why is this? The CD-i developers poured their budget into live-action and animated cut scenes. This gimmick could've been somewhat memorable, but production values were still so creepily low-budget that these cut scenes can easily be compared to the early oeuvre of David Lynch.

Witness the totally incomprehensible beginning of the Wand of Gamelon...

...the retinal-stigmata-inducing intro to The Faces of Evil...

...and the Monty Python-lite opening sequence of Zelda's Adventure.

Again, these horrid cut scenes took up a good chunk of this CD-i's computing prowess. The developers put even less effort into the actual games, which were Zelda games only in name.

After their trilogy of Zelda games, Phillips went on to make Hotel Mario (another game worth looking into if your childhood hasn't been irrevocably trashed yet) and discontinued the languishing CD-i in 1998. Nintendo has since ignored these games' existence, but the internet has a much longer, much stranger memory.

Benjamin also writes for

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