What's the Worst Arcade Game You've Ever Played?

There’s tons of discussion and articles about worst video games in general, but what exactly is the worst arcade game you ever played?

I don’t even know the name of it, but an arcade I used to frequent had a bizarre thing I’ve only ever seen there and at just that one game but the arcade cabinet had a sign on it that said DOUBLE PLAY. PUT ONE QUARTER IN GET TWO PLAYS. Though when you finally played the game you’d realize why, because nobody would willingly play that game more than once so they had to trick you to do it.

Basically it was your standard arcade cabinet and the game was this third person tank game except with incredibly basic 3D graphics, think battlezone if there were colors but no textures. The combat was also similar to, well, combat for the Atari 2600. You and an AI tank were placed in a small green colored arena with a bunch of obstacles between the two of you and you would just slowly drive to where the enemy tank was, shoot it, and then you destroyed him and the map restarted. It was an ugly, basic, and boring game. It must have been made in the mid-90’s when 3D games were finally hitting it big but all looked ugly as sin. It literally was just Combat for the Atari 2600 but made 3D and they kept the basic color scheme. And no it’s not Cyber Sled, the game was even more basic than that. It just wasn’t fun to play at all and I literally never saw anyone else ever play that game besides me once or twice.

So what are your worst arcade games?

I know some people liked it and it was revolutionary for its time but Dragon’s Lair was just a money suck. Keep pumping quarters until you learned the pattern. It bored me after a couple of dollars.

That was exactly what I was going to mention. “Dragon’s Lair” was the absolute worst.

I have a lot of fond memories of Dragon’s Lair as a kid, but they’re almost entirely from watching some older kid play it. Shitty video game, but great cartoon.

Yeah, Dragon’s Lair was awful. Also - and maybe it was just me - “Ghosts and Goblins” was pretty much a “die multiple times within 30 seconds of starting” game too. There was no easing into it; it was just 1) Start, 2) Immediately lose your armor, 3) Immediately die. Bim bam crumble.

Re: the OP - I don’t know the game you’re thinking of but I loved Battlezone. Watching those little wireframe tetrahedrons slowly zip by was far more fun than it should have been.

I agree with Dragon’s Lair-- albeit, there was an NEW version that was vastly improved. The worst game, though, for people who encountered it, was the arcade prototype of Pong. It was and looked jerry-rigged, and was exactly as much fun as the Pong connected to your TV. But you got like 90 seconds of it for a quarter. Less, if you played well against a weak opponent. No free play awarded for good performance.

I was never crazy about screen games on the whole. Mostly stuck to pinball.

Don’t forget Time Traveler! It was the same kind of game as Dragon’s Lair, but it cost FOUR quarters to play, and instead of Don Bluth animation, you got a live-action cowboy in a cheesy community theater production. And it was it was 3-D! It said “Hologram” in big letters right on the cabinet! (It wasn’t.)

Dragon’s Lair is the obvious choice here. It’s gonna win in a landslide.

There was an arcade game called Journey. It was about the band Journey. I swear that’s true. It was not good.

I always hated Pole Position. Crap graphics, horrible controls. Impossible not to crash. Nothing fun about it.

Dragon’s Lair was a quarter eater just to memorize some patterns but it actually was fun to play and watch. If you can find it to play on a different platform where you don’t have to feed it quarters (I downloaded it on the Nintendo DS game shop) it’s worth the couple bucks to complete a game that seemed like the holy grail to complete back in the 80s.

I remember pumping massive amounts of change into Dragon’s Lair games (Space Ace too). And never got even halfway through the game.

A few months ago I bought Dragon’s Lair on my PS4 and beat it with in an hour.

Exactly! As soon as I read this post, I could smell the bowling alley where I watched an older kid play it masterfully. Cigarette smoke, lane wax, cue chalk, fried food, shoe disinfectant, beer…heavenly aroma :smiley:

For me, this took no thought at all: “Wizard of Wor”. Hands down, it was such a gruel-thin game even by contemporary standards.

Honorary mention to “Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja”. Unlike the title above, this wrapped around and became good for ironic reasons, but it’s a bad game, even when judged against its contemporaries. Poor animation, bad voice samples, simplistic gameplay. On the other hand, I did (with the help of a lot of quarters) rescue President Ronnie. They were simpler times when all you needed for justice was a good right cross.

I think I only tried Dragon’s Lair once or twice. The thing i disliked was that there was no feedback to tell me what I was doing wrong. Did I move the joystick too early, or too late? There was no way to know; you got the same death animation regardless.

And i didn’t need to finish it myself, just wanted to see someone finish it. I eventually did, but still haven’t seen the end of Space Ace.

Dirk’s death animations tho were worth the price of admission.

Yeah, “Dragon’s Lair” sprang immediately to my mind.

There are quite possibly some bad games that I just don’t remember playing; but “Dragon’s Lair” was both bad and memorable.

I think I played that - did it have a wizard telling you that you should “shoot faster” next time, every time you died?

Yes! I read somewhere that Rick Dyer, the designer, had heard complaints about the learning curve of Dragon’s Lair, and tried to incorporate helpful hints into Time Traveler. There was also a short tutorial available at the beginning of the game. I didn’t find any of that stuff particularly helpful.

Thanks. I played this one in the 1990s at Disney World and remember the wizard yelling “Criminy, next time shoot faster!” at me (repeatedly)

In retrospect, I have to agree with Dragon’s Lair/Space Ace. I call them reflex games. When X happens, do Y. You must do Y at precisely the right time.

Time Traveler had the 3-D illusion going for it. The image seemed to rise into empty space when you stood at the controls. I boughta version for the pc at Goodwill. I played it once or twice and remembered how I felt about reflex games.

I never played Dragon’s Lair (I thought it was too expensive at the time), but I remember hating Super Cobra. One quarter would last me about 37 seconds on Super Cobra.