The Naughty List: who’s getting an empty tree this year?


Christmas is fast approaching, which means somewhere in the cold, cold North there’s an obese senior citizen trying to separate the gift-worthy from the riff-raff before his arthritis starts acting up.

Being the swell guy that I am (and in a last ditch effort to get myself on the nice list), I’ve attempted to ease the old bastard’s workload by compiling the list of video game companies, people and things which deserve an empty space under the tree this year.

Whoever the hell made Ashes Cricket 2013

Apparently that was Trickstar Games. They also made International Cricket 2010, which I couldn’t find on Metacritic. I’m not sure what that means.

However, I’m pretty sure not being listed at all is better than rocking a user score of 0.8. Hell, even the previous holder of the “worst game ever” title, Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, managed a score of 3.9

As hilarious as this trainwreck was, it was probably a pretty upsetting release for the nine people who have been waiting for a decent cricket simulator.

People might have got their money back, but releasing games this broken is pretty unacceptable, so the reindeer can pass right on by anyone who contributed to this embarrassment.

Even the players can't bring themselves to celebrate.
One of the lesser known bugs is the players spontaneously groundsurfing.


Oh EA, where do we even start with you? EA might not be getting presents next year either.

To start things off, the publisher won the not-so-coveted Worst Company in America title for the second year running; something no one has ever done before.

Then there was the Sim City drama, where one of the most anticipated titles of the year turned out to have an always-online requirement that rendered it broken when the servers turned SkyNet and crashed, shut people out and randomly deleted everyone’s saves.

But hey, we’ve all had bad launches right? What puts EA over the top is the scumbag decision to make a quintessentially single-player game require an internet connection, and the even scumbaggier one to tell consumers that it was impossible to run the game offline – which was awkward when someone modded the game to do exactly that.

An appropriate metaphor for what EA did to an otherwise great game.
An appropriate metaphor for what EA did to an otherwise great game.

Adam Orth

This guy may have faded into obscurity, but his Twitter blowout was one of the worst displays of executive arrogance I’ve seen this year.

In case you’ve forgotten, this is the Microsoft employee who launched into an online tirade over fans’ disapproval of the Xbox One’s always-online requirements.

He flippantly disregarded places with limited internet access, mocked his company’s consumers and advised everybody to #dealwithit.

The internet responded predictably with insane overreactions, sending him death threats and ultimately forcing him to relocate his entire family to another city to avoid further harassment. Those people are on the list too.

What a swell guy.
What a swell guy.

Micro-transactions and the Free-to-Play Model

Don’t get me wrong, I love free-to-play games. Come to think of it, I’ve sunk more time into F2P games than any other. Which should tell you a little something about what I’m going to say next.

Many of these titles employ techniques which are borderline unethical. You may remember I wrote a lengthy piece on it here, if you haven’t checked that out I suggest you do – it makes for frightening reading.

For every one honest and legitimate F2P title, there are a dozen others attempting to manipulate you into spending more and more money.

The F2P model is a great one, and a profitable one, we just need to make sure the greedy and the ethically questionable don’t get any presents this year – or any of our money.

Never buy the five extra moves. Never.
Never buy the five extra moves. Never.

Microsoft’s Xbox One Reveal

The worst thing about this disastrous first look at the Xbox One was that Microsoft followed it up with increasingly worse PR decisions, like telling all their consumers the always-online requirement couldn’t just be “switched off” – and then proceeded to do exactly that.

As for the actual reveal, there was a whole lot of media streaming and “entertainment” system promoting; not a hell of a lot of games though. Perhaps Microsoft thought games were a given, but the reveal left fans disillusioned, disappointed and frankly confused.

Since they removed all of it, everyone has forgotten about the Xbox One’s somewhat draconian DRM measures, but I haven’t. I can’t help but feel a little sour that their greedy attempts to pull a fast one on us was so quickly forgiven when we got what we want.

That, unfortunately, is the gamer way, but it’s still not keeping them off my naughty list.