7 Video Games We Refuse to Play (and Why)

Some people think that to be a truly rounded gamer, you have to sample as many games as you can. I say that’s bull. We only have so many hours of free time, and a lot of games take a ton of time, so there’s no reason to waste them on games to which, for one reason or other, we’re categorically opposed. Here are seven games you won’t find us playing.

1. Desert Bus

Have you heard about this nonsense? Desert Bus puts players in the driver seat of a bus as it motors through the desert from Tucson to Las Vegas. The game takes place in real time, so the journey lasts about eight hours. You can’t pause it. There are no other vehicles on the road. Your bus is a beater, so its max speed is 45 miles per hour. It also pulls to the right, meaning players have to keep edging to the left to stay on the asphalt. If you jerk the wheel, the bus stalls, and you have to start over. Completing an eight-hour run rewards you with nothing but a single point.

If that sounds like a blast to you, give it a shot; you can play the game here. And if you’re interested in why Teller — of Penn and Teller fame — created it, The New Yorker has you covered here.

2. Alone in the Dark: Illumination

No one wants to play a bad game. Which means no one needs to waste time playing Alone in the Dark: Illumination, a game so bad it was unanimously voted the worst game of 2015. Not only did critics give it an average score of just 19 out of 100, but players thought even less of it, rating it 1.5 out of 10.

What’s so bad about it? Literally everything. The gameplay is so repetitive it would put you to sleep, if only the constant bugs weren’t so infuriating. Instead of playing Alone in the Dark: Illumination, you’d be better off doing just about anything else.

3. League of Legends

Another reason not to play a game is because it will absorb an unhealthy number of your waking hours. That’s what happens to a surprising number of people who play League of Legends, an extremely popular massive online battle arena (MOBA) that has practically become an industry all its own.

Not only does this game seem to brainwash players into playing it and only it, but it also has nearly fathomless depth, meaning it takes time and energy to learn its rules and best practices. Plus, some people have been playing it daily for years, which makes competing against them seem like an impossibly daunting prospect. I’m not saying League of Legends is bad or not worth your time. I’d just rather play something less intimidating instead.

4. Dwarf Fortress

If I’m going to harp on complexity, I’d be remiss not to mention Dwarf Fortress, which just might be the most complex video game ever made. Starting with a band of dwarves, your job is to create a fully-functioning civilization in an underground fortress. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it might sound.

To do so, you have to collect and manage resources, assign jobs, build structures, and fend off attacks from powerful enemies. The game’s creators have embedded system on top of system into this game, adding so many layers of complexity that it would even boggle the mind of Stephen Hawking. And on top of all that, the graphics are downright ugly.

5. Steel Battalion

For the original Xbox, Capcom made a game so hardcore that it appealed to only a sliver-thin slice of the gaming audience. It was Steel Battalion, a game about controlling giant mechs using an absolutely ridiculous controller.

This controller was no ordinary peripheral. It was a gigantic, multi-part monstrosity that included 3-foot pedals, two joysticks, a gear shifter, and several dozen buttons. You practically needed a degree in engineering to figure out how to play this game. Oh, and it costs hundreds of dollars, so there’s that too. The game even spawned a Kinect-based sequel for Xbox 360. Unfortunately, everyone hated it.

6. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

This Atari game is infamous for being among the worst video games ever made. And for good reason: It totally is! But as a young child who was enchanted by Atari’s newfangled technology, I didn’t know how bad the game really was. And since I had unlimited free time, I poured hours into this wretched waste of 1’s and 0’s.

I love going back to revisit classic games, but E.T. isn’t a classic. I’ve already devoted more of my life to this game than anyone should.

7. Enviro-Bear 2010

This mobile game, which looks like it was created in MS Paint, has you control a bear that’s driving a car. Your goal is to eat fish and berries to fatten up, and then steer into a cave to hibernate.

The problem is that it’s nearly impossible to control. With a single paw, you have to press the gas, steer the car, shake off rabid badgers, and toss out pinecones and rocks that fall through your windshield. OK, it’s actually a pretty hilarious game, but I’d rather watch someone else play it than play it myself.

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