It’s a risky move, porting a well-loved cartoon onto a console. And let’s face it — that risk is even higher if said cartoon is boasting well over a billion followers worldwide. I mean, while the ambition is definitely admirable, some cartoons just weren’t meant to be video games. Unfortunately, many money-hungry devs don’t tend to think along the same lines. Because when a cartoon reaks of unlimited resources and income — the dreaded video game adaptation is never usually that far away.
We’ve seen thousands of cartoons being shipped over to our neck of the woods over the decades — many of which sadly flopped at the first hurdle. Of course, there are plenty of well-rounded titles that not only maintain the reputation of the show — but also dish up genuinely compelling experiences. But as it stands, the scale is definitely lopsided, with the questionable games sinking the ship as a whole. Take these five, for example.
5. The Simpsons: Skateboarding
Back in the early noughties where skateboarding and wrestling went hand in hand, Fox made their attempt to cash in on the trend by porting The Simpsons onto the notion. Of course, this was around the time where Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was completely crushing the extreme sports market. Only, in a bid to dethrone the Neversoft kingpin, Fox delivered something that was anything but radical. In fact, it was downright awful. Skateboarding — just why?
We get it — if it’s a thing — The Simpsons probably has a video game for it. But we can’t pretend that Groening and friends haven’t ripped off a concept before. Take Crazy Taxi, for example. Or WWF SmackDown. Both of these were able to inspire The Simpsons: Road Rage and Wrestling, which were both as diabolical as the ‘edgy’ skating chapter itself. But concept aside, The Simpsons: Skateboarding suffered from ridiculously wooden mechanics, forgettable areas and tedious one-liners — leaving the Hawk man himself in stitches as he retained the crown without breaking a sweat.
4. South Park 64
While the minds behind South Park were able to resurrect the potential of the series with The Stick of Truth, entries that came before that were, if anything — some of the worst cartoon video games anyone has ever laid eyes on. Of course, I’m talking about the god-awful Nintendo 64 title, which has gone on to amass quite the reputation over the years as being the worst game to ever hit the platform. And that’s just it. It really is that bad, and there’s nothing more we can say to try and change our minds on it, either.
Assuming the role of one of the familiar faces, South Park 64 lets you slump through the beloved mountain town with very little to shove you forward. With little to no story slotted within the game, what you’re essentially left with is a blank canvas and a spool of mundane mechanics. Throw a snowball at a turkey. Do it again. And again. Oh, there’s Kyle. Now throw a snowball at an even bigger turkey. Rinse and repeat for a lengthy period of time, and there you have it — game over. I’m yawning just thinking about it, to be honest. Of course, South Park is, and always will be a fantastic cartoon — though that doesn’t make up for the poor quality of the earliest game.
3. Spongebob Moves In!
Ah yes — the feared city-building game that every mobile gamer tends to steer clear of. But as with any game that hands you the keys to whatever city it is you’re rebuilding — you really only need to play one to get the gist of it. And the same goes for Spongebob Moves In!, which, if anything, is just as shockingly bad and money-hungry as the other titles in the genre. With premium content practically shoved down your throat every few minutes, rebuilding Bikini Bottom from the ground up becomes the chore nobody really wants to accept willingly.
As with any game that falls under the same domain — you can really only get so far before the story courses towards the pennies in your back pocket. Tasks grind to a halt, and whatever it is you want to do is effectively paused until you either shell over your wallet, or hang fire for six hours. And, you know, nobody enjoys either of those. And so, while Spongebob is a celebrated figure with some pretty good games under his belt — Moves In! definitely isn’t one of them.
2. Superman 64
Let’s not beat around the bush here. You saw this one coming, didn’t you? I mean, with the amount of hate it gets from all corners of the gaming community, how could you not spot this one coming a mile away? Superman 64, although not claiming the top spot on our list — is dreadful, to say the least. From the endless waves of game-breaking bugs to the sloppy mechanics, this Nintendo 64 title has pretty much wound up almost every nineties gamer on the block.
Contrary to what the advertisement showcases, Superman 64 is a clunky mess with zero ambition to boot. Gameplay-wise, it’s uninspiring and wooden, and almost every playable portion of the game is practically an endless slog without the big payout. That being said, it’s probably best to tuck into the game and experience its ingredients for yourself. Of course, I’d love nothing more than to say you won’t be disappointed. But you will be. And then some.
1. The Simpsons: Wrestling
The Simpsons: Wrestling is, without a doubt, the poorest cartoon video game to ever receive a greenlight. In fact, ever since the horrific chapter left the studio, players all over the world have only continued to mock every square detail of it. And for good reason too. I mean, looking at it plainly — The Simpsons: Wrestling is a blatant copycat of other fighting titles, but without so much as an original notion to make it remotely unique.
It should’ve been at least a little entertaining, right? After all, The Simpsons is such a cherished show around the world, and so you’d automatically assume that fans would swarm the game like a moth to a flame. But even the Springfield fanatics knew when to call it a day after sinking into the poor excuse of a wrestling entry. Thanks to the underwhelming nature of the modes, characters and gameplay in general, The Simpsons: Wrestling was able to flop at the first hurdle without so much as a toe to keep it standing.