#2. Critical Path: For Players Who Found Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Novels Too Hard
The 1993 computer game Critical Path kicks off with an info dump explaining how future Earth will be devastated by a plague that drives most of the world's population insane. This sounds extremely exciting, until you realize that Critical Path was nothing more than a shitty 30-minute TV movie that required the player to click the mouse once in a while (21 times in the course of the game).
Of course, Critical Path was hailed as a high-tech groundbreaking novelty in its day, a distinction that provided no comfort to those thousands of players who shelled out $60 or so for what they thought was a real-ass video game. This "interactive movie" starred a soldier named Kat who gets marooned on a crazy dictator's island. The player's options throughout Critical Path are limited to "click mouse and help Kat" or "do nothing and let her die a painful death."
"I'm thinking, I'm thinking!"
In fact, the scope of Critical Path's gameplay was so limited that people have recreated the entire game on YouTube. You could give that simulator a whirl, or simply imagine you're playing a train simulator where you were repeatedly presented with two options: A) go forward or B) go flying off the rails into a canyon. Neither option gives you your money back.
#1. Soldier Boyz: Me So Horny, The Video Game
This 1997 PC game uses a bunch of footage from a 1995 B-movie of the same name that only the cast members' mothers remember. In Soldier Boyz, the U.S. military recruits six wayward youths from a California juvenile detention center to rescue a billionaire's daughter from guerrillas in Southeast Asia (the candidates are basically selected on how grumpy they are during their interviews).
"Lefteye. Uncle Sweater. Glad you could make it."
Like all of the aforementioned FMV games, Soldier Boyz is teeming with stinky video editing and odious acting (such as a scene of a guerrilla tying a live snake into a noose, and a minefield puzzle that must be navigated by flailing your mouse left or right).
We're positive there's a fetish site for this somewhere.
But Soldier Boyz hits its high point with a sequence that requires the player to play the shell game with the madam of a whorehouse. If you discover the condom hidden under the proper cup, she applauds you for practicing responsible intercourse with impoverished sex workers and then offers you your pick of the brothel's working girls.
"Wait, we're really doing this? Sorry, I thought you were joking."
Spoiler alert: Only one of the prostitutes will reward you with consequence-free, G-rated sex under a blanket.
Surely there couldn't be much of a brain trust behind a video game that turns the player into a gleeful sex tourist, right? Well, let's take a look at the game's credits ...
Well, holy shit. The end credits reveal that Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky -- of Black Swan and The Wrestler fame -- served as one of Soldier Boyz's directors and game designers before his 1998 math-thriller Pi became the darling of the Sundance Film Festival. Readers, please be aware that any future home video collections of Aronofsky's oeuvre will be woefully incomplete without copies of Soldier Boyz. Oh, and the seminal 1996 Coolio comedy, Phat Beach.
For more fictional awful live-action video games, check out The 5 Most Pathetic Video Game Acting Performances. Or read about 6 Video Game Endings That Are Clearly F#@%ing With Us.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 3 Details From the Saddest Government Auction Ever.