In the court of public opinion, bad videogames are considered especially heinous. In the world of classic gaming, these games are often ignored by two separate, but equally important groups: the collectors who hoard them; and the gamers who avoid them. Now, a dedicated gamer, a member of an elite squad of DP columnists, will investigate one of these vicious travesties. This is his story.


JUDGE: The defendant is hereby charged with being the worst N64 game. Furthermore, Superman is charged with being the worst Superman videogame ever made, and the worst videogame ever made.


Matt Casamassina, IGN: “With horrible control, unforgivable framerates and more bugs than can be counted, Titus should be absolutely ashamed of this awful game, and the company should be doubly ashamed for pissing all over such a beloved license. Do not buy this piece of garbage.”

Joe Fielder, Gamespot: “This is easily the worst game I've ever played. To steal a line outright from a film review in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, it serves no purpose other than to firmly establish the bottom of the barrel.”

Kaine 23, Digital Press Forums: “sucktacular”

THE PROSECUTION: The prosecution calls the key witness, “The Big Ragu”, to the stand.


THE PROSECUTION: So tell us, “The Big Ragu”…beat up any fraternity brothers lately?

THE BIG RAGU: (looks puzzled)

(The defense objects “irrelevant”. The judge instructs THE BIG RAGU not to answer that question.)

THE PROSECUTION: So, “THE BIG RAGU”, tell us how many N64 games you have played?

THE BIG RAGU: I’d say about two hundred, sir.

THE PROSECUTION: You are under oath.

THE BIG RAGU: A hundred?

THE PROSECUTION: Not emulated?

THE BIG RAGU: (swallows) Fifty or so.

THE PROSECUTION: Played any worse than Superman? Any game that made you say, “Man, this is worse than Superman”?

THE BIG RAGU: Well Blues Brothers 2000 was pretty bad…

THE PROSECUTION: Yes or no will do.


THE PROSECUTION: You’re a gamer, right? Tell us how you feel about flying through rings.

THE BIG RAGU: Well….it was pretty cool in Master of Lamps. And Colony Wars.

THE PROSECUTION: (faces jury) Master of Lamps, ladies and gentleman. (faces The Big Ragu) So you’re comparing Superman to Colony Wars? Am I correct?

THE BIG RAGU: There weren’t quite as many rings in Colony Wars.

THE PROSECUTION: No? Do you mean to say you were not required to fly through rings AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY SINGLE LEVEL?

THE BIG RAGU: (wipes sweat from brow and looks around) What’s so terrible about flying through a few rings?

THE PROSECUTION: Mr. Ragu, can you tell us what happens at the beginning of the first level of Superman?

THE BIG RAGU: Lex Luthor hides Superman’s friends in a virtual world.

THE PROSECUTION: Who are Superman’s friends?

THE BIG RAGU: It looks like Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and…J. Jonah Jameson?

THE PROSECUTION: What happens next?

THE BIG RAGU: Lex Luthor says you must get through his maze.

THE PROSECUTION: And next you go through a maze?

THE BIG RAGU: No. That’s when Superman says “So there’s no time to waste” and you fly through rings.

THE PROSECUTION: And what happens at the beginning of the second level?

THE BIG RAGU: Superman says “So there’s no time to waste” and you fly through rings.

THE PROSECUTION: The third level?

THE BIG RAGU: Superman says “So there’s no time to waste” and you fly through rings.


THE BIG RAGU: Superman says “So there’s no time to waste” and you fly through rings.


THE BIG RAGU: I didn’t get to level five.

THE PROSECUTION: Really? Why not?

THE BIG RAGU: You have to blow these tornadoes away with your Super Breath. I…I couldn’t find the tornadoes.

THE PROSECUTION: Couldn’t you just use your radar?

THE BIG RAGU: No. There isn’t a radar.

THE PROSECUTION: How about just following the arrow that points to your next objective?

THE BIG RAGU: There is no arrow.

THE PROSECUTION: No arrow? Isn’t there an arrow that helps you when you are FLYING THROUGH RINGS?

THE BIG RAGU: Yeah, but…it goes away.

THE PROSECUTION: So, flying through a city the size of Metropolis…

THE BIG RAGU: A virtual world.


THE BIG RAGU: You are not in Metropolis, you are in a virtual world.

THE PROSECUTION: Yeah yeah yeah. Okay. Flying through this “virtual world”, there is not any indicator that helps you to find an object that might be difficult to locate such as… A TORNADO. And failing this objective, what happens next?

THE BIG RAGU: You have to fly through the rings again.

THE PROSECUTION: I imagine Superman is quite frustrated at this point. Does he say “I’ll destroy you, Luthor!”?


THE PROSECUTION: How about “I’ve got to find Lois!”?


THE PROSECUTION: “Those tornadoes are dangerous!”?


THE PROSECUTION: Doesn’t Superman have anything to say?

THE BIG RAGU: Yeah. He says “So there’s no time to waste”.

THE PROSECUTION: Does Superman ever say anything besides “So there’s no time to waste”?

THE BIG RAGU: Not in the first five levels.

THE PROSECUTION: And, subject to your own interpretation as a master gamer, Mr. Ragu, why does Superman say “So there’s no time to waste” at the beginning of every level?

THE BIG RAGU: He doesn’t. Sometimes he doesn’t say anything. Sometimes he says “So there’s no time to waste”, and sometimes he just doesn’t say anything and just…just stands there until you press the Z-button. To answer your question, I’m not sure why he says that. Or doesn’t say it.

THE PROSECUTION: Is it safe to assume then, if one is a fan of flying through rings, disappearing tornadoes, and the phrase “So there’s no time to waste”, one will really enjoy Superman 64?

THE BIG RAGU: That’s one way of looking at it.

THE PROSECUTION: And shall I waste the court’s time with the other things that take place in this game besides those three things?

THE BIG RAGU: Other things do happen. You save people from getting run over, you duke it out with a bunch of goons, you save a police car from missiles…

THE PROSECUTION: Oh, I was getting to that. Let’s talk about the people getting run over for a minute. Who are these people?

THE BIG RAGU: I dunno. Just people. Citizens of Metropolis. (The Big Ragu smiles at the jury and they laugh).

THE PROSECUTION: Just people you say. And who are the people doing the running over?

THE BIG RAGU: I dunno. Bad guys. (The Big Ragu smiles at the jury and gestures the “devil sign” with his hand. They laugh again.)

THE PROSECUTION: And how do you save them?

THE BIG RAGU: Easy. You just fly to the car, pick it up, and throw it aside.

THE PROSECUTION: And then it blows up?


THE PROSECUTION: Then you rip off the doors and haul the driver to jail?


THE PROSECUTION: Well, what happens next?

THE BIG RAGU: Nothing.

THE PROSECUTION: Does the car land upside down in a smoking heap?

THE BIG RAGU: No. It just lands there.

THE PROSECUTION: Then why doesn’t the car just simply turn around and try again?

THE BIG RAGU: Maybe they’re scared.

THE PROSECUTION: What if you don’t reach the car in time?

THE BIG RAGU: If you don’t reach it in time you hear Lex Luthor laugh, and then you have to fly through the rings again.

THE PROSECUTION: But that’s not a problem for Superman, right? Can’t you reach the car every single time?

THE BIG RAGU: No. Sometimes when you start the level, you’re facing the wrong direction and you can’t actually see the cars.

THE PROSECUTION: And then you can’t complete the level, and then you have to fly through the rings again, correct?

THE BIG RAGU: No. Sometimes it lets you just try to stop the cars again.

THE PROSECUTION: So it gives you a continue?

THE BIG RAGU: No. It’s kind of like the “So there’s no time to waste” thing. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t.

THE PROSECUTION: So it basically defies the laws of computer science.

(The defense objects to this as “speculative”. The prosecution withdraws the statement.)

THE PROSECUTION: Never mind. Tell us about the second level. Besides the flying through the rings thing, what happens next?

THE BIG RAGU: You fight goons.

THE PROSECUTION: Goons…you mean bad guys? Super villains? The Legion of Doom?

THE BIG RAGU: No, they’re just these guys with guns.

THE PROSECUTION: Guns? Do guns normally have any effect on Superman?


THE PROSECUTION: So you say you “fight” these goons.

THE BIG RAGU: Yeah. You press the B button and punch them.

THE PROSECUTION: Did you find that challenging in any way?

THE BIG RAGU: Oh, wait a minute…that’s the third level. The second level is where you save the police car from the missiles.

THE PROSECUTION: Okay. Tell us about saving the police car from the missiles.

THE BIG RAGU: There’s this police car, and it’s driving down the road with tons of terrorists firing missiles at it. So Superman has to pick up the police car and fly it to the goal.

THE PROSECUTION: What is the goal?

THE BIG RAGU: It’s like a gate. It’s like this…gateway.

(The prosecution rests)

THE DEFENSE: State your name.

THE BIG RAGU: The Big Ragu.

(The Big Ragu objects that this is “badgering”. The judge informs The Big Ragu that he cannot make an objection.)

THE DEFENSE: Mind if I call you Big?


THE DEFENSE: Big, is it true that you are a 3DO collector?

THE BIG RAGU: Yes, dear. I mean yes, sir.

THE DEFENSE: Ever played a 3DO game worse than Superman 64?


THE DEFENSE: More than once?


THE DEFENSE: Any chance you could name a dozen of them in eight seconds? Go.

THE BIG RAGU: Dragon Lore, Johnny Bazookatone, Cyberdillo, Jammit, Doom, The Daedalus Encounter, Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, Cyberia…

THE DEFENSE: Good enough. Ever play Superman for the VCS?


THE DEFENSE: If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather have Atari Superman or N64 Superman?

THE BIG RAGU: N64 Superman.

(The defense rests)


Superman 64 should not have been placed on store shelves. One gets the feeling that even if the game were completely finished, it would still be exceptionally poor. But it was not finished. It plays like a prototype smuggled out of the developer’s offices in the dead of night. Most of the game consists of flying a poorly controlled, spastic shape through rings in a dense fog. Before anyone tells you it’s so bad it’s good, consider how frustrating it is to fly through a series of thirty rings, be given an objective that must be completed in twenty seconds, fail (because the controls are so poor, because you begin the level facing the wrong direction, because you can’t see through the fog, because the game bugs out and instantly ends the level, take your pick), and then be forced to fly through the rings again. Your progress through the game does not depend on skill; you must be lucky enough that the program’s various bugs don’t act as a hindrance to your progress. If you think it’s “funny”, consider how “funny” it was for the parents who purchased the game for their children. Superman is clearly the worst N64 game and the worst game to bear the Superman label. Furthermore, if the average individual were to pick up and play this game it would most likely be the worst they have ever experienced, although a number of cellar-dwelling, eight-thousand-game-owning man-children may disagree.


There was a time when the name of every videogame ever produced could be contained within a single book. We don’t live in that world today. To single out one game as the “worst EVAR” is simply ridiculous. Are we to believe that Superman 64 is worse than the worst Channel F game? The worst CD-I game? The worst cell phone game? If we narrow the field to only Nintendo 64 games, it’s still highly questionable that Superman is the worst. What if we are just talking Superman games? There are five or six Superman games and they all stink. Which smells worse, human feces or vomit?


On the charge of “worst N64 game”, the court finds the defendant GUILTY. At no point in these proceedings did the defense present a lesser N64 game.

On the charge of “worst Superman game”, the court finds the defendant GUILTY. One may find the N64 game superior today, but the court takes into account the stature of the Atari VCS title at the time of its release in 1978 as one of the groundbreaking games to feature multiple playing fields.

On the charge of “worst videogame”, the court finds the defendant NOT GUILTY. The court recognizes dozens of lesser games. The court finds the defense was negligent by failing to invoke the “Plan 9 Defense”, in which the title’s shortcomings become virtues based on their entertainment value.


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Last updated: Monday, March 06, 2006 12:20 PM