Be it a game or an actual, usable <gasp> utility or application of some sort for your computer (or console).
Since most of my software purchases are games, I’ll go with Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator III
It is a hardware hog, but that isn’t the only problem. Even with a fresh XP install and WHQL certified drivers all around, this steaming turd of a game has graphic anomolies and artifacts a plenty. It just plain doesn’t work worth a crap. It stutters so badly it makes flying an aircraft (which needs to be fluid to be somewhat believable) almost impossible at times. It’s so bad, Microsoft actually went so far as to release a patch for it, which is almost unheard of with their Flight Sims. Unfortunately, the patch hardly did anything to improve it. It was a crime that MS can’t make its own game happy with drivers they certified (especially those scarce Nvidia based cards). It’s really tragic that this came on the heels of the phenomenal Flight Simulator 2002. To make matters worse, a couple months later, IL2 - Forgotten Battles comes along and absolutely wipes the floor with it right out of the box.
Honorable Mention: Daikatana
The only reason this isn’t #1 is because I pretty much knew right from the get-go it would suck. I saw it marked down for $5 and bought it out of curiosity more than anything. It wasn’t even worth that. To this day, I think it is the only game I actually threw away.
Black & White, stinkiest pile of crap ever. Well, actually I wouldn’t know. See, I never got the damn thing to install properly. Everytime I tried to launch it it would hang up. Read as many MB’s and support information on it as I could to try and get it to work but it never did, and I tried it on two different OS’s. Gave up after about five days. A waste of $20.
Baldur’s Gate 1. Mind you, I like D&D. I like RPG’s. The story and writing in the game was pretty good. The artwork within the game was gorgeous. I loved the soundtrack. It was the heartbreaking number of poor design choices that made me regret that $30 I wasted on it…
The Streets of Sim City. I mean, this was supposed to be my dream game. Drive around in cities you created! Whoohoo!! Except…it was UGLY as hell. Everything was this nondescript brownish color, with thick fog everywhere so you couldn’t get a decent panorama from anywhere. The racing game portion of it sucked, too.
I’ve heard that Maxis was so embarrassed by this release that any employee that even mentions this game gets fired on the spot…
Koudelka for the PS. It was hyped as a survival horror RPG, which nearly made me piddle myself with excitement when I first heard about it because I loves both the turn-based, stat-building micromanagement and violently abusing the undead.
In the first disc goes. My party is assembled and I’m cheerfully applying the virtual whip to them (“The mAstEr commands you to auto-map the first floor, maggots!”) I have pea-shooters for weapons and no armor, but I’m confident that I’ll find some good stuff soon! And because this is a console RPG, it isn’t too long before I have my first… RANDOM ENCOUNTER! And it’s against Upside-Down Pistol-Wielding Corpse Guy! Yay for freaky Japanese goodness! I command my loyal minions to get medieval as they can be at Lev. 1; total damage is predictably low, not enough to polish off UDPWCG, whose turn it now is. UDPWCG advances, raises his pistol… and kills my party dead.
A mite annoyed, I restart and skip through the pretty cinemas so I can explore. RANDOM BATTLE! It’s UDPWCG again! This time, I defend… so UDPWCG can pick off my charas sssssslllllllllooooowwwwllllyyyy.
GODDAMMIT, are there no other enemies on this floor BESIDES Upside-Down Pistol-Wielding Corpse Guy? How the hell are you supposed to level up?! Survival horror encourages you to run away, but this is still a stat-building RPG! I must kill!
Over the next few hours of play, I learn:
The game enjoys pitting you against powerful enemies right off the bat;
Because the entire game takes place in a rural monastery, you are almost completely at the mercy of random post-battle spoils for your equipment and items;
Weapons %$?@!!#! BREAK AND DISAPPEAR after so many uses, which the game does not keep track of for you, and they can and will break even during fights with bosses so you can conveniently be stranded up Doody Creek without a paddle;
The game has propertied weapons. It has weapons with the property of “Heal” (smack yourself, regain HP; smack the monster, cure its HP). It has the aforementioned random weapon distribution system, which can strand you with no other weapons BUT healing ones, so that you are forced to fight barehanded;
When Sacnoth thought up Koudelka, their goal must have been to create the most monotonous, slowest-ass battle engine in history 'cause attacks and moving around the battle grid take an eternity. And when an enemy dies, it doesn’t instantly vanish in a satisfying bamf like in other console RPGs. No, it just stands there for literally thirty seconds, too stupid to jump off its mortal coil.
::thinks to self:: Koudelka: Intriguing story; sucky gameplay. Want see more story before I foist off on Software Etc.
::cracks knuckles:: Time to break out the game enhancer. Input MAX HP and optional No Encounter codes, aaaaaaand…
Nope, no good. How it did it manage to score a sequel?
Jurassic Park: Trespasser.
The tale of an intrepid amputee with a creepy morphing tattoo bravely piling boxes on top of each other.
All the while battling with poorly animated dinosaurs and horrible frame rates.
A double disappointment because most of the publicity screenshots were doctored.
Games that I hate could be a 6 page thread featuring only me - but I’ll be brief(ish) - honest!
The Getaway - They managed to model miles and miles of London but forgot to actually put a game in there - just lots of memory tests, too-much random chance and BUCKETS of frustration - a STAGGERING waste…
GT3 - I loved GT - completed 100% at least twice. GT2 I also completed (yes, including the 2 hour races!!) and loved (almost) every minute. GT3 - erm - it looks nice and - erm - it has fewer cars, fewer tracks, nothing new in gameplay terms - erm - erm - I take it there is no Japanese word for the opposite of progress then?
Primal - This is probably my fault but with Sony putting the concept art into an art gallery, publishing the soundtrack, running features on TV about it’s advanced content etc, I expected more than a “Scott Adams Adventure with a pulse”. It’s not actually BAD per-se - playing it can be quite ‘soothing’ even - but it’s a VERY basic puzzle solving ‘find the key’ game with a dodgy combat system and - erm - erm - not much else really!
All three are examples of what happens when you give too-many people too much ‘power’ and too much time to create something.
The results are unfocussed and caught up in the things which are less important like graphics and ‘creating entire cities’ whilst the gameplay is just ignored…
I’ll second the vote for OUTPOST. It sucked. Bad.
Black & White was the worst game I ever liked. I still play it sometimes… until it inevitably crashes, irretrievably. Something about training a giant cow to eat villagers and crap on the ones who survive his fireballs and lightning bolts. Ahh… good times, good times.
Battlefield 1942 was my worst purchase, however. $40 for it, new, and it’s never once run properly, even for a little while. Grr. Same old ‘minimum requirements’ on the box don’t even come CLOSE to what you really need to play it.
Most recently, Simcity 4. The combination of trying to landscape umpty different regions to make an interesting whole, micromanaging every school and hospital’s funding individually to try to squeeze profit out of the unforgiving budget and so forth made the entire play experience feel more like work than play.
Some may be surprised at this but I was dissapointed in “Battlefield 1942”. It was unstable, the multiplayer didn’t work behind a firewall, although the textures were kinda nice, the models were blocky as hell, it didn’t have AI in the sense that there was nothing resembling intelligence in the actions of computer players (one guy ran right past me while I was shooting at him with my rifle: I ran out of bullets and pulled my pistol, emptying it at him. He was still alive, and still completely ignoring me. So I chased him down with my knife and stabbed him to death. Even then he didn’t notice me!), and finnally all the violence was completely unsatisfying. Give me CS any day.
Another one was a not-so-popular game called “Fragile Allegiances”. It actually turned out to be a really good game… three years after I bought it, when I was actually able to find a computer on which it worked. That really pissed me off, and I was only 12 or so at the time, so it was a lot of money for me.