Top 10 Worst NES Games of All Time



Top 10 Worst NES Games of All Time

VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis WRITTEN BY: Dimitri Vadrahanis
The NES brought us some of the best games of all time, but also some of the worse. Welcome to and today we'll be counting down our top 10 worst NES games of all time.

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Top 10 Worst NES Games of All Time

Not even nostalgia can save these duds. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 worst NES games of all time.

There are a ton of games that live on the system in infamy, but we’re excluding those notorious unlicensed games like “Action 52.” Yes they’re almost universally terrible, but that’s also probably why they never got the green light in the first place.

#10: “Friday the 13th”

Movies are not games, and that’s a lesson LJN learned when trying to translate the atmosphere and plot of the film into this confusing title. The gameplay revolves around powering up different counsellors to ultimately take on Jason, but despite seeming simple it ends up being cryptic, repetitive, and annoying. You’ll never find the items you need, and you’re constantly interrupted by Jason attacking different cabins. What are you supposed to do? Power up just one character, or share the items and make them all equally useless? It doesn’t seem to matter since any encounter with the masked murderer ends in death since he’s too damn hard to kill.

#9: “Tag Team Pro Wrestling”

It probably wasn’t easy to make quality action games in the 80’s, but this one goes beyond being simply bad, it’s closer to “broken” territory. Play this game with zero experience and you’ll just get your ass kicked over and over while being completely unable to fight back. And that’s because the main problem is the messed up control scheme. With only two buttons to pull off different attacks it’s nearly impossible to perform any moves you actually want to, and it makes pinning down your opponent a nightmare.

#8: “Total Recall”

Side-scrolling action games had seemingly been perfected, and yet 7 years following the release of the NES Acclaim managed to put out a game that failed in every aspect of the genre. It’s slow paced, ugly, and even the combat is incredibly tedious. The relentless enemies jump all over the place and force you to take damage as you try to get close to them to land Quaid’s punches or shots, while bosses are way too easy. It’s just as bland in the end as it is in the beginning, and will have even the most die-hard Arnold fans regretting their purchase.

#7: “Barbie”

Making a variety of games to appeal to different age groups and genders should never be taken as a bad thing, but just look at this. How good could this possibly have been? It’s one of the laziest platformers we’ve ever come across in terms of level design, and you can’t even attack any of your enemies! The only reason it exists is just to sell more dolls to the poor kids who had their hearts broken by this game. Seriously, this didn’t have to be Barbie, but how else would parents be tricked into buying it?

#6: “Where’s Waldo”

Calling this title a “game” would be doing it a favor, since what you’re really getting is a poorly digitized, awful translation of the book series. The eye-strain inducing levels are so low quality that to actually find Waldo you’ll need to be sitting two feet in front of your TV to examine every pixel on the screen before scrolling to the next section. Actually finding him is just trial and error, and after doing it just once you’ll turn it off to go do literally anything else. He’s annoying enough in the books. We don’t need him on our NES too.

#5: “Back to the Future”

Another hastily thrown together mess to cash in a blockbuster film success, Back to the Future may not be the worst title on this list, but it’s definitely one of the most annoying. The soundtrack loop is so short it will drive you insane, and considering most of the stages look and play the exact same way, you’ll feel like you’re never making progress no matter how much you play. It very loosely tries to re-create key moments of the film, like Marty playing Johnny B. Goode, but what’s the point? They’re not fun to play, so why should we care that they were included at all?

#4: “The Uncanny X-Men”

Probably the only title that could dethrone Superman 64 as the all-time worst superhero game, this one is especially disappointing since it had potential. There’s a small cast of your favorite characters each with their own stats to choose from, but it’s just a trap. Why would you ever choose Wolverine with his melee attacks when Cyclops has projectiles? That’s just the beginning though, because once you actually try to navigate through the confusing levels with your useless partner AI, you’ll quickly realize it’s the entire game that’s screwed up. It makes your favorite X-Men look pathetic and will probably have you hating most of them by the time you’re through with it.

#3: “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”

The novel inspiration for this one sure is a strange case since we were pretty sure it wouldn’t translate all that well to a video game. And it turns out we were right, because this title is straight up worthless. Stiff, unresponsive controls are a death knell in almost any game, but the real issue comes from the fact that you’re basically defenceless against everything and everyone in the game. Your attacks as Jekyll are pointless, and once you fill your anger meter and switch to Hyde you’re given no time to react to the completely different mechanics! You’ll just die again and be forced to start all over. No thanks.

#2: “Deadly Towers”

Don’t be deceived by its apparent Zelda inspirations, because Deadly Towers has none of the charm, or the polish. The first major problem comes from every enemy seemingly sticking to you like glue and draining all your health way too quickly. After dying repeatedly you’ll start racing to avoid the endless enemies that litter every screen in the game while navigating the maze-like rooms, until either you beat it, or do the sane thing and just give up. And trust us, after listening to the music loop the first twenty or thirty times you enter a room, you’ll choose to give up.

#1: “Ghostbusters”

We’re not exaggerating when we say this is the biggest waste of code to appear on the NES. Everything from catching ghosts to climbing stairs is a skill-less, boring exercise in patience and button mashing, with the worst offender being the game forcing you to wait before entering the Zuul building. You can play as long as you want, but if the game doesn’t let you in the building, you’re screwed. And all that waiting is just so you can go fight the disappointing, poorly designed final boss. Every phase of this game is a mess, and when combined the resulting product is hands down the worst game on the system.