Our Readers Write

Editor’s note: In the August and September issues of VCI, and in anticipation of this—for want of a better term—Disaster Issue, we invited our readers to write in and tell us which videogames, computergames and coin-ops were the worst they had ever seen or played. Stories of faulty hardware, company deceptions, and general incompetence were also welcomed. Our readers responded; their terrible vengeance is displayed here for all to read. “Tremble, ye mighty, and despair!”

To the Editors:

I got burnt on two Atari 2600 cartridges and I’m only too glad to clue you in:

Swordquest from Atari. Dull maze. No enjoyable sound effects. No feeling whatsoever of being in the Middle Ages. The hero is bland, not a brave knight. How can you care about him?

Amidar from Parker Brothers. Your ape looks like monkey doo. The cannibals and pigs hardly move and look like nothing at all. They should at least move their legs or something. The two mazes are static; the game got boring after about three minutes.

Edward Thomas Robinson
Reading, MA

To the Editors:

What bugs me most is the severe and rapid depreciation of videogame cartridges and systems. Cartridges I paid $29.99 for six months ago are now advertised at $4.99! And game systems such as the Atari 2600 now sell for the same price as a cartridge did a year or so ago.

As for the worst game, it would have to be a toss-up between Atari’s Home Run and Human Cannonball. These games aren’t worth the boxes they’re packed in!

The most annoying games in my book are those in the Swordquest series. I had the misfortune of playing Earthworld but was lucky enough to get my money back on it. It is not a game at all, but a pointless, frustrating torture chamber.

Things are looking up for me, however. I am now the proud owner of a ColecoVision and have not been let down yet!

William Simpson
Los Angeles, CA

To the Editors:

Here are a few of my pans for your future shattering expose.

Worst Audio!

1. Suicide Mission. Fingernail/blackboard equivalent.

2. Fireball. Uninspired, Pong-like annoyance.

3. Donkey Kong for Coleco. Repetitive, grating be-bop.

4. Riddle of the Sphinx. Especially hard to take while digging.

In all of these cases, the pathetic sound effects not only render the games virtually unplayable but make one want to bash one’s videogame against a nearby rock cliff.

Worst ColecoVision Games!

1. Space Panic. This one will drive you insane if you play it for longer than one hour.

2. Cosmic Avenger. Unfair game that desperately needs rapid-fire and new joysticks. Blinky, VCS-like graphics.

3. Smurf Rescue. The graphics (as with Zaxxon) do not live up to the publicity mock-up; after you’ve done it once, you’ve seen it all.

4. Pepper II. Another %*$#* maze game for Coleco. Enough already!

Worst Joysticks

1. Intellivision disc. Uncontrollable.

2. ColecoVision. “State of the art, arcade-quality.” My eye! Stiff, poorly-built fiascos. It tells you something when people use their Atari VCS joysticks to play Coleco’s games. I think Coleco should get the Audacity of the Year award for passing them off as real joysticks! Phooey!

J. Cirile
Yonkers, NY

While we're on the subject of rip-offs, chicanery and deception, Editor Jeff Rovin was touring the Connecticut arcades and discovered these suspiciously familiar coin-ops. Whoever “created” these games and cabinets probably thought they were being clever. ‘Leech’ is closer to the mark.

To the Editors:

Remember the television ad for Intellivision last Christmas? That was the lowest trick I’ve ever seen.

They showed us a beautiful keyboard and on the computer monitor was a baseball game (much like Coleco’s) with incredible graphics. They said, “Why buy the others when you can have this?”

Well, I’ve had a glimpse of the Intellivision keyboard in magazines and such and the question is: “Why buy that when I can pay for root canal work?”

They used the ad to keep people from buying the new third wave systems. That is all well and good…if they keep their end of it.

It was a dirty trick that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Mark Welfley
Akron, OH

To the Editors:

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even—is that the idea? Well folks, I am boiling mad and would just love to get even with Coleco Industries.

I am a ColecoVision owner and love the system. However, Coleco’s advertising and release strategy over the past three months gives credence to the saying. “The best laid plans of mice and men oft times go astray.” I think a pack of mice ought to take over Coleco management

In Coleco’s infamous two-page magazine ad which was all over the videogame mags in the spring, they showed off some amazing new hardware and software to be released this summer. Not a single item has come out according to their release dates. They should have used 75% of the ad to caution their expectant audience with the words: “estimated release dates!”

Then Coleco had their fans drooling over the Super Game Module which was supposed to be released in August. It died on the operating table! Why bother with all the hoopla when they can’t even produce it?

But wait! You can play the same super games on the much-publicized Adam computer. Too bad it costs almost four times as much as the module was supposed to.

Finally, and most importantly: for all their talk, they just can’t seem to get any new games out there. New blood is needed. Over three months without a release is pathetic in today’s marketplace. I therefore suggest that Coleco put up or shut up…before Atari knocks them right off their pedestal.

Jeff Marx
Wantaugh, NY

To the Editors:

For the last couple of years, I have been buying every videogame magazine published, to my knowledge. I have always considered your magazine to be the highest in quality in all aspects.

In your September issue you asked for people to write to you to inform you of clumsiness and incompetence in the videogaming field. Well, I am sad to tell you that the very copy I am referring to, the September issue, had eight pages missing and eight others duplicated from the same issue in their place. I have no idea what the missing pages contained and, to be very honest about it, I was very mad when I discovered it.

I don’t know if this is the only copy like this. At three dollars per issue, any missing information is a loss.

Well, you wanted people to inform you of incompetence.

James A. Land
Logansport, IN

You bought a freak copy, Bill. It was an error at the printing plant. We’ve sent you a fresh and perfect copy of that issue. Our apologies.

To the Editor:

Make no mistake about it, the games Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween are harmful and dangerous. A disgrace. Jim Clark’s reviews and perceptive insights were right on.

My nomination for the biggest hype/biggest bust goes to the ColecoVision Donkey Kong.

Philip Edwards
Fresno, CA

To The Editor:

At fifty cents a pop, and with those iffy controls, Dragon’s Lair is a rip-off. I lost all my disco money in the thing before I discovered that it was more fun to watch than to play

D. Jannsen
Glen Cove, NY

To The Editor:

I still cannot believe that Fox Games took a property like Alien, with all its potential for horror, menace, suspense and claustrophobia…and turned it into a Pac-Man knock-off! I mean, the game is cute just like you guys said! I think I played the game once and put it in my drawer and spent the rest of the time I would have spent playing it plotting my revenge on Fox. This is it, I guess. Pretty lame too.

Look at a game like Wizard of Wor. The music alone makes my pulse race. Although I’m not crazy about that game either, at least it is suspenseful.

Fox has my twenty five bucks, and I’m angry about it.

Richard Faylin
Miami, FL

To The Editor:

Though I didn’t at first, I hate all videogames now. Hate them!

I gave my boyfriend an Atari for his birthday, and now, whenever people come over to visit us, he drags out the videogame and we play it for most of the night. We used to talk or play board games or the dictionary game (my favorite)…now we watch TV.

Your magazine, and the other ones, like to use the word ‘interaction’ as if you were proud of yourselves and computers and videogames. I just want you to know that conversation has all but died in my house. I feel like I’m brain-dead!

Name Withheld
Houston, TX

To The Editor:

Your adoration of Activision’s every release cost me money, and I’m mad at both you and that company. On your recommendation, I bought Oink! for my kids. I’d estimate that we played that turkey for all of three minutes (between the three of us) and we haven’t played it since. Talk about tedious! Monotonous!

While I’m at it, my kids wanted me to tell you that they thought M*A*S*H, Spider Man and Bugs are the worst games they’ve played. They played them at their friends’ houses. Maybe you’ll be getting letters from their folks.

Joseph Bruno
Maplewood , NJ

To The Editor:

I just wanted to write to your “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even” column, because I went out and spent my hard earned money on two home videogames that were absolute dogs. They were ET by Atari and Skiing, from Activision. The ET game had nothing to do with the movie, and it was pretty dumb. Skiing was even dumber, because there was nothing to it. From now on I’m only going to buy games that I have played first, and I recommend that your other readers do the same.

J.P. McClernan
Straftord, CT

To the Editor:

Since you invited us to not get mad, but get even, I thought that I would drop you a line and let you know about two games that I thought were very bad. The first one was StarMaster from Activision. I know that a lot of people like this game (including my husband) but I felt that the illusion of flying through space just didn’t quite make it. As far as I am concerned, we wasted our money on this one. The second game that was a big bust was Pac-Man. This has got to be the most boring game of all times. Both of these games were a while lot of nothing.

Lauren Foti
Westport, CT

To the Editor:

I can’t believe that I actually went out and bought the two Atari Swordquest games, Earthworld and Fireworld. These games were so bad they were unplayable. The directons were confusing, and the graphics were horrible. I was entirely unable to distinguish either what was going on, or determine if I was winning or losing.

Robert Jaye
Fairfield, CT

Source Pages

Continue Reading