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Retro Games That Are Terrible: Why We Love Them Anyway



Do you have a favorite game that you know is objectively terrible but love it anyway? We all have at least one game from childhood that we remember fondly, even if we’re aware that it’s not a good game by any objective measure. We can’t help but love these retro games despite their flaws. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most notoriously terrible retro games and why we can’t help but hold them dear to our hearts.

 What are Retro Games?

Retro games are games we played in childhood or youth that we remember fondly. They are often associated with a particular time in our lives, and the memories we have attached to them are usually more important than the games themselves. Retro games can be anything from classic arcade games to early console titles to obscure P.C. games that only a handful of people have ever played.

 Why Do We Love Retro Games That Are Terrible?

There are several reasons why we can’t help but love objectively terrible retro games:

1. Nostalgia: As mentioned earlier, nostalgia is a powerful force that can make us overlook a game’s flaws. The warm feelings of nostalgia transport us back to a simpler time and allow us to relive cherished memories associated with these games.

2. Emotional Attachment: We often associate retro games with happy memories from childhood or youth, making them emotionally significant to us. These games may have been a source of joy and entertainment during formative years, creating a strong emotional bond that persists even if the games are subpar.

3. Familiarity: Retro games are often the first games we ever played, so they are familiar to us in a way that modern games aren’t. Their simplicity and straightforwardness provide comfort and ease that can be missing in today’s complex and demanding gaming landscape.

 Notoriously Terrible Retro Games

Here are some examples of retro games that are widely regarded as terrible:

1. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Atari 2600): Considered one of the worst games of all time, E.T. was rushed to market to capitalize on the movie’s success. Its confusing gameplay, unresponsive controls, and poor quality led to its infamy. It was so bad that unsold copies were buried in a landfill in New Mexico.

2. Superman 64(Nintendo 64): This game was so bad that it has become a meme in the gaming community. The controls were clunky, the graphics could have been better, and the gameplay could have been more exciting. It is often cited as an example of how a beloved superhero can be poorly represented in a video game.

3. Shaq Fu (Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo): A fighting game featuring basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, Shaq Fu was universally panned by critics and gamers alike. Its lackluster gameplay and unbalanced mechanics made it a frustrating experience. Despite this, it has become a cult classic among nostalgic gamers, partly due to its unintentional humor and the novelty of playing Shaq in a fighting game.


Q: Why do we keep playing retro games even if they’re terrible?
A: Retro is a powerful force that can make us overlook a game’s flaws. The emotional connection and fond memories associated with these games often outweigh their objective shortcomings. Additionally, nostalgia games provide a sense of comfort and familiarity that can be comforting in a rapidly changing world.

Q: Why do we associate retro games with happy memories?
A: Retro games are often the first we ever played, so they hold a special place in our hearts. The memories associated with these games are usually tied to carefree times, childhood friendships, and the joy of discovery. These positive experiences create a lasting emotional bond that makes us overlook the games’ flaws.

Q: Why do we find comfort in retro games?

A: Nostalgia games remind us of happy times from childhood or youth, making them emotionally significant. The familiar gameplay mechanics, art styles, and soundtracks evoke a sense of nostalgia and provide a comforting escape from the present stresses. They offer a sense of familiarity and simplicity that can be soothing in a world of complexity and uncertainty.


Objectively terrible retro games may not be good, but they are unique in our hearts. We keep playing them because they remind us of happy times from our childhood or youth, and we find comfort in their familiarity. So, the next time you find yourself playing a game you know is terrible, remember you’re not alone. We all have our favorite retro games that we can’t help but love, flaws and all.

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