Long read: Who is qualified to make a world?

In search of the magic of maps.

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

The worst games I've ever played, by Ellie Gibson

She says goodbye to Eurogamer in the way she knows best.

Clockwise from top left: Nail, Zelda, Gibson.

Ellie writes: Dear readers,

After nine years at Eurogamer, it is time for me to do one.

I doubt this will come as a surprise. You probably thought I did one years ago. It will simply be a shock in the way it is shocking to learn someone out of Dad's Army has only just died.

I am old and tired. It is time for me to slope off into the sunset, like one of those dudes in the Dark Crystal who look like a cross between Jimmy Nail and Zelda from Terrahawks.

I leave you with my legacy. I have played hundreds of video games over the last 10 years, three or four of which I enjoyed very much. But no one wants to hear about that, so here's a roundup of the worst games I have ever played.

1. Fighter Within

Fighter Within review (November 2013)

'Wrestling / Boxe'

What I said then: "There are so many things wrong with Fighter Within it's impossible to keep count... Microsoft needs its giant cyborg head examined for thinking this is a great way to show off the capabilities of its new hardware. It's like Tampax launching an ad campaign fronted by Danny Dyer."

What I think now: I probably went too easy on this game. I did attack the gesture recognition, the combo system, the power-ups, the cut-scenes, the racist caricatures, the script, the multiplayer mode and the writing on the back of the box, but I forgot to mention that the menu screens are really unintuitive.

My original score: 1/10
What I'd give it now: 1/10

2. We Dare

Like the corners of my mind.

We Dare review (April 2011)

What I said then: "Another rubbishy collection of simplistic mini-games. None of them will keep you entertained for more than 48 seconds and all of them are about as erotically charged as an afternoon spent reading out random item numbers from the Argos catalogue... The least sexy and most pointless thing to come into existence since the Femidom."

What I think now: Much as I hated this game, I will forever be grateful to Ubisoft for making it, and for producing that awful trailer. Because they gave me an excuse to make a video of Oli Welsh being spanked on all fours by Johnny Minkley. Probably the most arousing moment of my life.

My original score: 3/10
What I'd give it now: 1/10

3. Dead or Alive: Paradise

It's a fine line between sexy and what is that supposed to be?

Dead or Alive: Paradise review (April 2010)

What I said then: "It's hard to admire the women's graceful curves and smooth skin when they look like they've been cut out of a magazine by an enthusiastic six-year-old with a pair of Early Learning Centre safety scissors... Not worth taking your trousers down for."

What I think now: I was awfully forgiving of this game's rampant objectification of women. I was probably frightened of the internet calling me a fat ugly lesbian feminist b****. Ironically it did so anyway, just three weeks later, for giving Alan Wake 7/10.

My original score: 3/10
What I'd give it now: 1/10

4. Tony Hawk: RIDE

In the early 2000s, it was acceptable for all Tony Hawk screenshot captions to make a joke about Morris Minor and the Majors. A happier, simpler time.

Tony Hawk: RIDE review (November 2013)

What I said then: "'Battle for the highest score, the coolest combo and bragging rights!' says the manual. 'Laugh at the graphics, the gameplay and other players' desperate attempts to make on-screen actions correspond with their movements,' says reality... Don't buy RIDE unless you want to be taken for one."

What I think now: I remember the terrible plastic peripheral that came with this game sitting around my house for literally years. I think I ended up shoving it in the bottom of a charity shop bag. Goodness knows what the lovely old dears down Sydenham Scope thought they were supposed to do with a wheel-less skateboard.

My original score: 4/10
What I'd give it now: 1/10

5. Hasbro Family Game Night


Hasbro Family Game Night review (December 2008)

What I said at the time: "I understand nothing yet I know that everything is meaningless... I stare at the cover of the game box and the jumble of letters and shapes begins to merge into a mass of pulsating nothingness. I am reminded of the whores on the Rue Basse de Vielle as I gaze into the cold, dead eyes of Mr Potato Head."

What I think now: I am so old that I didn't have to pay to go to university. Whenever I hear someone saying it's fair enough that students today should pay fees, I show them this article. I point out that without my three years spent studying English literature and existentialist philosophy at the taxpayer's expense, this review of a Wii mini-game collection written in the style of Jean-Paul Sartre would not exist. Not that we can ever know whether anything really exists, etc.

My original score: 6/10
What I'd give it now: 1/10

6. Golden Balls

Here's what actually happens if you try to morph Jasper Carrott with Gollum. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Golden Balls review (December 2008)

What I said at the time: "This is the worst game I've ever seen."

What I think now: To this day my dreams are haunted by this game's main character, a terrifying CGI version of Jasper Carrott ("like what would happen if the real Jasper Carrott tried to morph into Gollum and got stuck half way").

Probably still the worst game I've ever seen, although I eagerly await the Oculus Rift tie-in for Take Me Out.

My original score: 1/10
What I'd give it now: Probably a 7

7. Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon

Whatever happened to Ruth Badger?

Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon review (February 2009)

What I said then: "A rotten, shuddering, shambolic fiasco of a game with less to recommend it than a weekend spent watching the Ocean Finance channel (Sky 888) while eating glue."

What I think now: I am sad to report that since I wrote this review, the Ocean Finance channel has shut down. And to think it almost outlived THQ. Today there is just an Ocean Finance-shaped hole in the Sky planner, between Psychic Today and Redhot Mums. All we have left is this clip of Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry on the Money Bus. If someone offered me the choice of spending my weekend repeatedly watching this video while eating glue, or reviewing another Destroy All Humans game, I would start making Pritt Stick sandwiches.

My original score: 2/10
What I'd give it now: 1/10

8. RealPlay

'Don't we need Photoshop to edit these press photos?' 'Nah, it's fine, just use Paint.

RealPlay review (December 2007)

What I said then: "Here comes the RealPlay range for PlayStation 2. Each game comes with its own wireless controller... [But] the RealPlay games are in no way an acceptable alternative to the Wii any more than two yoghurt pots and a piece of string make a decent iPhone."

What I think now: I find it astonishing that I gave a whole 2/10 to a racing game that had CARS WITH HEXAGONAL STEERING WHEELS. In TWO THOUSAND AND SEVEN. Never mind the fact the controllers were awful, and expensive, and had all the build quality of a £29 Ikea wardrobe held together with Post-It notes.

My original score: 2/10
What I'd give it now: 1/10

9. Game Party

'Hands up who would rather fellate a turd than play this game?'

Game Party review (March 2008)

What I said then: "According to the back of the box, Game Party is 'The Ultimate Party Experience.' No it isn't. The Ultimate Party Experience would involve fun and laughter and everyone you've ever wanted to get off with turning up... The Game Party experience is like going to a party where there's nothing to drink but Tesco Value brandy, and there are only four other guests, and they're all racist."

What I think now: Between 2007 and 2010, I spent more minutes playing Wii mini-game collections than I did having sex. I worry that this fact will haunt me on my deathbed. Along with that CGI Jasper Carrott.

My original score: 1/10
What I'd give it now: Anything it wanted just to shut up and leave me alone.

10. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust

Larry awaits the knock on the door from Operation Yewtree any day now.

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust review (April 2009)

What I said then: "It's impossible to understand why Codemasters plucked this from the rubble of the Vivendi-Activision merger, like a shellshocked Blitz victim retrieving the dead cat instead of the family jewels... Less erotic than psoriasis."

What I think now: God, I miss Vivendi. True story: one E3, I interviewed their head of strategic global corporate business operations or something while absolutely off my chops. I had spent all night hanging out a window at the Chateau Marmont, smoking fags with a nice man from CVG, while the PR whose room it was watched weird porn. I saw the sun come up over Santa Monica Boulevard, took a shower and went to the interview. I kept my shades on the whole time. The business executive didn't seem to notice anything was amiss, so busy was he telling me about the company's total confidence in the dramatic reversal in share price fortune that would inevitably follow the imminent release of Eragon: the Video Game.

My original score: 2/10
What I'd give it now: 1/10

Well, there you go. Thank you for having me. I'm off to have a baby and do some jokes about parenting (see scummymummies.com). But who knows? I might pop back now and again. Perhaps if they bring out a Golden Balls 2.


Eurogamer Editor-in-Chief Tom Bramwell writes: It's been nearly a decade since I first met Ellie Gibson, who happened to be sat across from me during dinner at a press event. I can't remember what we ate. I can't remember the game we were seeing. I do remember we ended up talking about masturbation.

Nine years later, we have stopped talking about masturbation - regular readers will remember we hit our peak strokes in 2010 when Ellie famously pondered a vehicle in Alan Wake that sounded "like a bear having a wank" - but the friendship we forged around our love of games, and writing about them in orgiastic terms, had no trouble surviving the dying splutters of recollected onanism.

Here's a clue as to the kind of thing you might see Ellie doing in the future. No idea.

So it is with great, albeit increasingly SFW sadness that I have to announce that Ellie is leaving us today to go off and do other things. I want to say an enormous thank you on behalf of the entire Eurogamer team for her many years of hard work.

When she first joined the site, her intrepid reporting, engaging wit and superb organisational skills were crucial to helping Eurogamer stand out among many other young gaming sites trying to make hay in the brave new world of internet publishing. Later she became deputy editor, helping us build up a lot of the structure that still governs the site today. In recent years, she has taken more of a background role, bringing long-form journalism to fruition, working closely with writers like Simon Parkin to tackle big subjects, and producing video series like Let's Replay.

Along the way she has written some of my favourite things we've ever published, including phenomenal pieces like A horse named Gizmondo and GamesMaster: The Inside Story, although it is probably a news story she wrote during a spell editing our sister site GamesIndustry.biz that I remember most fondly: Sony to conduct internal inquiry following dead goat incident. (Man, those were the days.)

If you've read the site for a while, though, I expect you know Ellie's work well and have your own favourites. Frankly she's written so much over the years, not to mention working on videos like the amazing GDC Apprentice, that it's hard to pick out just a few things. Post your favourites in the comments and we'll all reminisce.

In the meantime, it just remains to say goodbye and good luck, Gibson. Among other things, you're off to pursue your brilliant podcast and comedy act about parenting, Scummy Mummies, and everyone on Eurogamer wishes you nothing but the best in all your future endeavours. We also hope you will come back occasionally and join us in celebrating and making fun of video games and the people who create them.

Thank you, Ellie. You were the candle in our wind.