While you may believe that playing video games is a way to basically teleport yourself to another planet, there’s no arguing that some games, though not all, aren’t all that fun to warp to. Some, unfortunately, are actually the opposite of that, bordering between frustrating and downright tedious. And when push comes to shove, some of these developers can get pretty mean when constructing their worlds, to the point of building an intentionally impossible experience.
As much as we love the challenge itself — it’s the constant battle to stay sane that manages to keep a firm hold on us and drive us a little loopy. But then, that’s usually more the reason to thrash it out and come out swinging, with all the trophies and awards that come with it. But getting there, now that’s not exactly a bundle of fun. Just take these five, for example. These games just want to watch the world burn, there’s no doubt about it.
5. Octodad: Dadliest Catch
On the surface, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a wondrous little platformer, with plenty of laughable moments and family-friendly shenanigans to keep the room engaged. At sea level, however, it’s perhaps one of the most frustrating pieces of work ever produced for a video game. Why? Because tentacles — that’s why.
As if having to slither from room to room as an octopus with a habit of causing havoc wasn’t enough. In Dadliest Catch, unfortunately, you’re asked to control each slippery tentacle, meaning anything from walking to gripping key items is made stupidly difficult. The goal of the game, of course, it to try and blend in with the human species and live a fairly regular life alongside your darling wife and two children. How that is even remotely possible I’ll never know.
4. I Am Bread
If you thought playing a game as a slice of bread would be an amusing little experience, then you thought wrong. The truth is, having to try and do something as simple as pop a slice of bread in a toaster or in anything else that has the power to cremate is actually a lot harder than you’d think. But that’s I Am Bread for you.
I Am Bread is perhaps one of the best examples of how not to make a fluid gameplay experience. With all four corners of the slice being assigned to separate buttons, you’re basically made to enter a trial and error phase, in which the only way forward is to toss the thing around and hope it sticks on anything that sparks or produces heat. Do that, and you’ll find yourself flopping over to the next level, ready to lose your temper all over again.
3. Surgeon Simulator 2
Operation was hands down one of the best games to play with the family back in the 60s, with relatives all coming together to try their luck (and patience) with a few rounds of surgery on the battery-powered buzzing board. Since then, game developers have only looked to recreate those thrills by throwing virtual reality and complex motion controls into the mix.
Surgeon Simulator 2, like most VR simulators, gives you the opportunity to dabble in professions you wouldn’t dare attempt in real life. And that’s probably for the best, seeing as you can pretty much get away with hitting your patients in the forehead with a slice of bread or whirling their intestines around like a Catherine wheel. But that’s just messing about for the fun of it. Completing the objectives, on the other hand, requires a lot more than a steady hand and a keen eye for detail, that’s for sure.
2. I Am Fish
If you thought I Am Bread was a pain in the backside, then wait ’til you get a load of Bossa Studios‘ next entry in the passage of passive-aggressive greats. On one hand, I honestly didn’t think it would be possible to hate a goldfish — despise it even. But on the other, I couldn’t wait to hurl it into the ocean after spending two hours trying to roll its bowl down a cliff face without killing it. And that was just the prologue.
I Am Fish is made up of several levels with a spool of fishy friends all trying to achieve one lifelong goal: to get to the ocean. But to do that, each friend must first tackle a heap of obstacles en route to the water. Obstacles such as oncoming cars, construction sites, seagulls, and even a few hungry fishermen. The problem is, everything that comes into contact with you hates you and your determination to reach the big blue. So, best of luck trying to make it to the other side.
1. Freddy Spaghetti
There comes a point in every developer’s career where the muse just flatlines for a lengthy period of time, and the only thing that effectively keeps the cogs turning is hashing out a simple-minded game that requires a couple of straightforward notes and a condescending narrator to bolster it. And that, to Playful Pasta, was Freddy Spaghetti.
Similar to I Am Bread in the fact that you control the noodle with both of its sides, Freddy Spaghetti will have you slipping, sliding and slapping about as you go noodle-to-noggin in a colourful world brimming with inconvenient obstacles. And that’s pretty much it. Of course, it’s certainly no global phenomenon — but it is an intriguing little string of fun to play through for a couple of hours. When you can actually control the thing, that is.