12 Terrible Video Games That Actually Had Great Ideas

An open-world Norse adventure HAS to be good... right?

Viking battle for asgard
Creative Assembly

The gaming industry is filled with bright ideas, but relatively few evolve into great games. The journey from concept to reality is lined with pitfalls that include publisher intervention, going over-budget, or just an over-ambitious developer not quite being the visionary they thought they were.

But great ideas can also be found in games that, on the surface, don't seem to have that much potential. An utterly mediocre RPG might have a deceptively deep and brilliant combat system, for example, or a mobile tap-'em-up might have just the right mix of branding and easy rewards to enrapture millions of people, but not any objective positive qualities.

The 12 games listed here might not be 'good' by any objective standard, but deserve credit (or even playing, in some cases) for trying to do things that other games haven't dared.

12. Evil Genius - Be A Bond Villain, Dungeon Keeper-Style

Viking battle for asgard
Elixir Studios

Dungeon Keeper was pretty awesome, and it was still funny to make stupid impressions of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers in 2004. With these two things in mind, Elixir Studios decided to combine them by making a strategy game in which you play a comical Bond villain set on taking over the world.

Sounds good, right?

Sure, it would be, if it wasn't buggier than my compost bin, as well as being poorly paced. You'd spend long periods of time tapping your fingertips like a bored Blofeld while waiting to have enough money to build or do anything.

Once you got some cash in, Evil Genius had moments of brilliance, and it was fun building an underground base before watching super-spy heroes try to infiltrate in vein. It was let down by a campaign filled with underwhelming missions and too much downtime, but it was a noble effort, and makes you wish more developers tried refining that sweet Dungeon Keeper-esque formula.


Gamer, Researcher of strange things. I'm a writer-editor hybrid whose writings on video games, technology and movies can be found across the internet. I've even ventured into the realm of current affairs on occasion but, unable to face reality, have retreated into expatiating on things on screens instead.