Games are full of moments that take our breath away, but not all of them leave us stunned for the right reasons. Sometimes a lack of budget, vision, or sense leaves gamers staring in wonder and scratching their heads. Here are the five most baffling moments in the last year.
The Long Road to Sonic Boom
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric had an uphill battle to fight even before it was released and turned out to be terrible. The iconic teaser image of four distorted silhouettes on a cliff face barely hinted at the insanity to come. From needless redesigns to new gameplay styles for each character to the use of Skrillex’s “Bangarang” as the trailer theme, Sonic Boom took a winding and confusing path on its way to mediocrity. Sonic Boom is a spinoff that everyone knew would do something…something wrong, and boy, we were right. The final product is a broken, buggy mess, but even when it was just an image this game disappointed gamers the world over.
Assassin’s Creed Unity’s Inexcusable Launch
Assassin’s Creed Unity might have been one of the year’s most hotly anticipated games, but no one could’ve anticipated how riddled with the glitches the game would be upon release. The number of technical issues in Assassin’s Creed Unity at launch was comical. While Ubisoft has released multiple patches to clean up these graphical nightmares, the world isn’t going to forget Unity’s awful launch. Ubisoft has turned releasing buggy, unfinished games into an art form (and we mean that quite literally).
Shaq-Fu 2 Is Real
We all thought it was a joke – how could we not? When Shaquille O’Neal casually let slip in an interview that Shaq-Fu 2 was in development, no one really thought he was serious, but here we are. Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn started an IndieGoGo campaign in March and successfully earned more than $450,000. Endorsed by O’Neal himself and helmed by alumni from Namco, Sega, and EA, Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn seems to have a goofy sense of humor, befitting the sequel to one of the worst games ever made. The fact that Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn exists at all threw everyone for a loop, but it’ll be interesting to see how Shaq and co will make sure they don’t (in their words) “fu it up.”
Twitch Plays Pokemon
What began as a “social experiment” quickly became a descent into madness. Twitch Plays Pokemon allowed millions of Twitch users to simultaneously guide a character through Pokemon Red. But it isn’t all that baffling that the stream was made or that the community successfully completed the game despite themselves: the truly baffling part is the mythology that grew around the event. The Helix Fossil, the False Prophet, the constant tug-o-war between anarchy and democracy – just about every innocuous thing that happened in chat became a viral phenomenon. Twitch Plays Pokemon may be a distant memory now, but it was one of the most monumental events in the internet’s short history.
P.T. Heralds the Return of Horror
When Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro revealed P.T., a free game that would later prove to be a teaser for the next Silent Hill game, gamers around the world were given a taste of true terror. Kojima and del Toro strung everyone along with one of the most cryptic, disturbing games in history. Though the string wasn’t nearly as long as they anticipated, it took a lot of effort to untangle. P.T. was completed the day of its release through sheer accident, but deciphering the actual solutions took weeks of work, and the logic behind it is still pretty murky. Many gamers have completed P.T., but few know why or how. Kojima and del Toro’s free horror game leaves nearly everyone who plays it baffled, but it also leaves them salivating for Silent Hills, making it one of the most impressive and effective PR tools in history.