15 Worst SNES Games of All Time

A collage showing a sad SNES console with some of its worst games behind it
Worst SNES Games

The total number of Super Nintendo Entertainment System games released during the console’s lifespan amounts to a little over 1,700 games. Considering how many of those are good or better, it’s inevitable that you’re also going to have some easy contenders for the worst SNES games ever made. For every Super Mario World or Donkey Kong Country that rocked the gaming world, there’s a story of a kid who was stuck with The Tick or the SNES port of Dragon’s Lair for the long, miserable weekend.

The Super Nintendo sold millions, proved Nintendo was more than a flash in the pan, and played host to a slew of games that are beloved and enjoyed to this day. It was also home to the sorts of games that seem designed solely to drain you of your will to live. That may sound extreme, but when it comes to games like Ultraman: Towards the Future or Faceball 2000, you could argue there’s not enough disbelief to convey how inept and sadistically difficult these titles felt to so, so many. We can only weep quietly at what these alleged video games have taken from us, or subscribe to AVGN and let him do the weeping for us.

Real 90s kids remember that one rental game your mom let you get on a Friday. Then you’d take it home, and it was Bebe’s Kids, and going back to school on Monday somehow felt more appealing. Those are the memories you’ll really treasure on your deathbed.


15. WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling

WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling
WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling

Developer: Beam Software
Publisher: FCI

For some, it’s entirely possible that the regrettable WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling was their first serious exposure to World Championship Wrestling. If so, this game would be just about the worst way to introduce someone to the promotion — before the year 2000, of course. WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling looks fine for a 1994 wrestling title, and there’s at least some match options to fool around with, but the fun comes to a violent, brain trauma-inducing stop when you actually begin a match.

Despite each wrestler getting their own unique finishers, every single character plays like a corpse with electricity running through it every few seconds. The in-game wrestling animation is jerky and unpleasant, even for the time, and the controls are more likely to remind you of garbage like Pit Fighter, as opposed to the at-least-playable WWF Royal Rumble or WWF Raw for the SNES.

Getting Ric Flair or Johnny B. Badd to do anything besides throw punches is an infuriating challenge with zero reward. The only thing that outpaces the crappiness of WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling will be your boredom, but hey — at least there’s no Disco Inferno.


14. Wayne’s World

Wayne's World
Wayne’s World SNES

Developer: Gray Matter
Publisher: THQ

Dreadful platformers based on movies were well-established in their wretchedness by 1993, when the embarrassingly bad Wayne’s World hit several consoles to disappoint as many children as possible. While the NES and Game Boy versions of this release are just as awful, they were developed by a different company. Gray Matter is to blame here, and it’s not going to surprise you to learn that these devils also gave us Dirty Harry for the NES, The Crow: City of Angels for the PS1, and so much more.

Wayne’s World on the SNES specifically is the epitome of mid-90s platformer ugliness. This certainly includes the nauseating backgrounds, but don’t forget about the difficult, confusing gameplay. You’re going to want to actually hurt Mike Myers after enduring his face and voice (repeating the same interminable phrases again, and again, and again, and again, and again) for even 20 minutes, everything about this game is offensive to the soul.

Listening to Bohemian Rhapsody after suffering through this game may end up triggering some deep and carnal in you like “Only You” does to the protagonist in Far Cry 5.


13. The Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz SNES
Wizard of Oz SNES

Developer: Manley and Associates
Publisher: SETA

There might be a small scrap of your humanity that wants to like this game on some level. It’s a fascinating notion to adapt the 1939 iconic MGM film The Wizard of Oz into an action platformer for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Visually the game is at least interesting, and there’s certainly something to be said for a rare female-starring platform game at this point in time. There weren’t a whole lot of them back then.

But then you begin to play The Wizard of Oz. You find that Dorothy moves with maddening slowness. The puzzles seem intentionally, mockingly obtuse. Dorothy’s slow speed, weak jumps, and complete lack of meaningful offense means dying. A lot. The enemies in this game are relentless and numerous, so good luck getting past even the first level.

Soon you begin to realize you were wrong to ever hope The Wizard of Oz would be anything but aggressively terrible. Play a little longer, and you’ll begin to wonder if you’ll ever feel hope again in any form — you may even begin to sympathise with the Wicked Witch.


12. The Rocketeer

The Rocketeer SNES
The Rocketeer SNES

Developer: NovaLogic
Publisher: Information Global Services

The Rocketeer is an underrated 1991 action film from Disney. The Rocketeer for the Super Nintendo is a 1992 effort to introduce small children to disappointment and depression. Stripping away the aesthetic charm and clever superhero script of the movie, the video game opts for a tepid collection of hateful minigames that aren’t even interesting enough for a “So-bad-it’s-good” response.

The biplane race of the first level reveals The Rocketeer as an incompetent testament to frustration, setting you up with a plane that makes tank controls feel downright smooth, and giving you no instructions as to how you might win this race. Good luck trying to figure it out on your own. If you do make it past this visually unpleasant nightmare, you’ll be treated to various flying, fist fighting, and shooting levels.

All of them control about the same, but at least the game has fits of being so painfully simplistic, you can catch up on your sleep a little.


11. Rise of the Robots

Rise of the Robots
Rise of the Robots

Developer: Mirage
Publisher: Acclaim

Rise of the Robots was a hotly anticipated fighting game released across several platforms in 1994. It promised two things in the form of groundbreaking graphics and a degree of artificial intelligence never previously utilized in a fighting game. What we got was a game with abominable controls that turned every fight into an epic of bloody thumbs and button mashing seemingly without end. Getting through a single fight in Rise of the Robots accomplished little more than reminding you of the story of Sisyphus pushing a boulder for eternity. It’s going to feel like that if you feel like frittering the precious moments of your life anytime soon.

Rise of the Robots didn’t look too bad, but it wasn’t anything even remotely special in 1994 either. Many SNES games at the time looked as good, if not better, and it didn’t help things either that the characters themselves were comprehensively boring.

And that promised, enhanced enemy AI? About as bright as a broken flashlight, and nowhere near as fun to play around with.


10. Ultraman: Towards the Future

Ultraman Towards the Future
Ultraman Towards the Future

Developer: Nova
Publisher: Bandai

Ultraman, for many kids of the time, was an introduction to the iconic Japanese science fiction superhero. Unfortunately, it’s the sort of introduction that makes you hope you’ll never have to see them again.

It takes less than ten minutes of playing Ultraman: Towards the Future for the SNES to realize the game does nothing for the characters, the Super Nintendo, or even for any notion of enjoyment. Ultraman controls like a nightmare across stages in which the hero fights an assortment of considerably stronger monsters. You’re at a constant disadvantage in every possible way.

It’s not skill so much that will help you in Ultraman: Towards the Future as it will be blind luck and delirious repetition. The game was too difficult to be any fun in 1991, and Towards the Future now is a good example of just how unforgivable many titles were back then. There’s challenge, and then there’s games like Ultraman: Towards the Future seemingly dedicated to convincing you that there is no future.


9. Home Alone

Home Alone SNES
Home Alone SNES

Developer: Imagineering
Publisher: THQ

Home Alone for the SNES might just be the worst one in the deeply awful barrel of Home Alone 1 and 2 games. That’s almost an achievement. But really, no one wants to stand as the king of some of the worst licensed Nintendo games in the first half of the 90s. And Home Alone is an ugly, violently unlikable disaster that no doubt ruined a few Christmas mornings when THQ squeezed Imagineering’s hollow failure out of its ass in December 1991.

Battling an assortment of seemingly random standard platformer enemies (bats, spiders etc), Kevin must hide his family’s valuables from the Wet Bandits. This leads to confusing, infuriating gameplay, with the Wet Bandits themselves being virtually impossible to avoid, chasing Kevin across one ugly depiction of the McCallister home after another.

Nothing about this game is well-made or compelling, and it’s rare that something like a video game can leave you actively hoping that the bad guys win. But that’s Home Alone for the SNES: The hellish gift that keeps on giving.


8. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Volume One

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Volume One
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Volume One

Developer: Interplay
Publisher: Interplay

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Volume One is one of the worst games ever made, packed with rancid graphics and extreme tedium in every facet of its regrettable gameplay — it should chill you to your core that we’ve still got 7 more games to get through.

The Lord of the Rings: Volume One at least knew to just stop before it could further butcher your appreciation of this story with additional releases. There’s a good idea trapped beneath the endless, boring fetch quests, but every fiber of this game’s being is dedicated to making it impossible to appreciate that. And with several actually good Lord of the Rings games to play these days, this title is little more than a surreal curiosity that still has the power to make you hate literature, the game itself, and every decision you’ve made that brought you to playing The Lord of the Rings: Volume One.

It says something when there’s a game that makes the recent Gollum look like a serious Game of the Century candidate by comparison. Maybe that’s a bit strong, but it definitely has some competition when it comes to the worst ever Lord of the Rings game.


7. Virtual Bart

Virtual Bart
Virtual Bart

Developer: Sculptured Software
Publisher: Acclaim

A sequel of sorts to the good-but-let’s-not-get-carried-away Bart’s Nightmare from 1992, the 1994 Virtual Bart doesn’t have a few scraps of entertainment to fall back on. Graphics that looked pretty food in 1992 look pretty awful two years later. If anything, Virtual Bart, which has Bart enduring a series of minigames while trapped in a VR machine, looks much worse than Bart’s Nightmare by contrast. The minigames themselves invite further comparisons, and this is another area where Virtual Bart seriously begins to fall apart.

From throwing tomatoes at his fellow students, to running around some of the worst platforming stages in SNES history as a hideous dinosaur, Bart’s virtual adventures are just boring. The only thing that ever breaks this monumental tedium is the frustration of unresponsive controls and gameplay conditions that create a perfect storm of every bad video experience under the sun. Virtual Bart feels half-finished, and that’s being kind.

Everything in Virtual Bart sucks and sucks hard, no matter what reality you’re in.


6. Race Drivin’

Race Drivin'
Race Drivin’

Developer: Atari
Publisher: THQ

The original 1990 Race Drivin’ from Atari was a solid 3D arcade racer. The 1992 SNES port that was released by THQ (again?!) and could very possibly have been made on a dare to create the worst arcade port imaginable.

This visual gibberish is so viciously choppy, everything in the world around it will seemingly come to a screeching halt. The game feels like a seizure, and as it turns out, plays like one deliberately going out of its way to kill you. The controls don’t particularly seem to care what you want your car to do across 1 or 2 laps of one of the worst driving experiences you will ever have. Every effort you make in Race Drivin’ feels like drowning. No matter what you do, you’re doomed.

Race Drivin’ clearly prioritized graphical prowess and 3D astonishment over something that could be called fun in some sort of context. The problem with that? It also looks awful. The graphics were blocky and unpleasant even by 1992 standards, supported by some of the most ungodly driving physics ever put to a console game, and those visuals have only gotten uglier and sadder with the onslaught of time.


5. Space Ace

Space Ace
Space Ace

Developer: Oxford Digital Enterprises
Publishers: Absolute Entertainment/Imagineer/Empire Interactive

There’s something mildly infuriating, even now, about the naked, wanton greed of releasing something like Space Ace to a console. Space Ace has no business whatsoever being translated to a considerably simpler hardware, and that fact punches you in the face with brass knuckles again, and again, and again. If these were actual blows, you would be dead within minutes.

Space Ace doesn’t try to completely recreate the interactive movie aspect of its original release. That’s good, but what it tries to do instead is combine interactive elements with basic platforming elements. Since the controls are simply dreadful, neither of these elements are fun to engage. Space Ace seemingly kills you at random, with little regard for actual skill or decision-making.

This port of Space Ace is an insult to not only Don Bluth, but to the creative concepts of the game itself. As you’re going to learn at the cruel boots of bitter experience, there’s nothing to do in Space Ace but watch your hero die in baffling agony. At least your own passing one day will mean never having to touch Space Ace for the Super Nintendo ever again.


4. Bebe’s Kids

Bebe’s Kids
Bebe’s Kids

Developer: Radical Entertainment
Publisher: Paramount Interactive

The 1994 Super Nintendo game Bebe’s Kids at least knows what the movie is about, since most of the eternity in the gaping maw of Hell you’ll spend playing this game is set in an amusement park. For at least the first minute or so of Bebe’s Kids, you might even feel a vibe similar to that of the Konami arcade beat-em-up classic The Simpsons.

Unfortunately, that minute is nothing more than a brief respite from a game so thoroughly terrible, the normally milquetoast reviewers of Nintendo Power brutalized the game in its review. Even going so far as to call it the worst Nintendo game ever in their 100th issue.

They’re being kind. The game is so slow and so unresponsive, you may suspect it’s actually broken. It’s not. It’s just that Bebe’s Kids looks awful, plays depressingly slow, and maintains an almost feverish degree of difficulty to the end. This game wants you to remember the fleeting nature of existence, and to feel the void of oblivion itself wrapping itself around your aging, weary body. Bebe’s Kids will take you to a very, very dark place.


3. Batman Forever

Batman Forever SNES
Batman Forever SNES

Developer: Probe Entertainment
Publisher: Acclaim

Batman Forever as a video game proves that even the simplest concepts can be completely destroyed by hubris and other factors that generally create the worst SNES games. Even bad video games usually require an exceptional amount of work from everyone involved, so we can’t describe the dismal fighting game mechanics and controls of Batman Forever as lazy. The motion capture work for this game alone indicates an effort to create something interesting, even if the graphics look pretty bad even by 1995 standards when the SNES was on its way out.

Yet while we can try to keep in mind that a group of people clearly worked hard on this game, Batman Forever is still an exercise in immense, blood-pressure shattering frustration. The hideous sprites could be forgiven if the hit detection was even 10% accurate. Or if any effort to jump or move in the platforming portions didn’t result in the desire to travel back in time and commit a few felonies at the Acclaim offices.

Alas, nothing in Batman Forever is worth appreciating in detail. Even by the standards of Acclaim, who turned out so many bad games in the 90s and 2000s, this is garbage on a staggering level.


2. Shaq-Fu

Shaq Fu
Shaq Fu

Developer: Delphine Software
Publisher: Electronic Arts/Ocean

People obviously have the right to like what they like. A rare potential exception to this fact is the notorious 1994 dud Shaq Fu. The game received a baffling sequel in 2018 that reminded most of the world that this fighting game in the style of Street Fighter 2 or Mortal Kombat that some things from the 90s should simply stay there to rot.

Yet this game has its (probably ironic) fans, and as you stagger through Shaq Fu’s hilariously incompetent controls for yourself, you must resist the temptation to tell its admirers that they are objectively wrong for deriving any sort of pleasure from this ghastly pop culture mistake.

Again, people are entitled to their enjoyment in this bleak, dying world of ours. But also again, as you try to overcome the permanently flawed gameplay and hellacious difficulty, you may want to scream “No! This is not a good game, even in the most ironic approach to pleasure imaginable!” The screaming part at least makes sense. That’s almost certainly going to be your emotional state after a single round of near-broken combat.


1. Pit-Fighter

Pit-Fighter SNES
Pit-Fighter SNES

Developer: Atari
Publisher: Tengen

The 1990 arcade release Pit-Fighter received good reviews and sold well. Porting this early example of digitized live actors competing in fighting contests to various consoles was inevitable. Unfortunately, a decent and visually unique fighter from the arcades was only going to look and play but so well on the young SNES (Pit-Fighter was ported to 11 other consoles between 1991 and 1992). Yet Pit-Fighter promised early adopters of Nintendo’s hottest new system one of the most impressive fighting games they had ever experienced in the home.

Clearly, that worked out so well for all of us.

Pit-Fighter consists of different chunky morons punching each other to death in blurry, aesthetically disgusting arenas, while other fuzzy imbeciles in the crowd convey a sense of sweaty, slobbering delirium at your frenzied efforts to end another person’s life for no particularly interesting reason. It’s a game that was hard to look at even in 1991, but it gets so much worse when you actually try to play.

Nothing about this game particularly works. Every controller function is a crapshoot that will almost assuredly end in a deeper immersion into a game so bad, it may qualify as a legitimate atrocity. A shoddy port in every sense, Pit-Fighter is virtually impossible to play, let alone finish. The sheer terribleness of Pit-Fighter actually detracts from the overall legacy of one of the greatest video game systems of all time.

Because after all, someone might ask, if the SNES and video games are worth a damn, how do you explain Pit-Fighter? You simply can’t. You can only grab the sides of your head, look downward, and pray blood doesn’t start shooting out of every orifice.

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