Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto is the best-known video game designer on the planet, and for good reason! He created Mario and Zelda, showed everyone how to do 3D gameplay right with Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and introduced the world to motion controls with the Wii.
The man’s track record isn’t spotless though — despite his sterling reputation, Miyamoto’s turned out a handful of stinkers throughout his career. The following five games are the worst from the best…
Note – I’m only including games Miyamoto is known to have had a major hand in creating as either director or game designer, so certain games you might expect to see aren’t on the list. For instance, Urban Champion is one of Nintendo’s s–ttiest games, but Miyamoto had very little to do with it, so it’s not included.
Early on, before the success of Donkey Kong, Nintendo mostly made not-so-great Space Invaders clones. Radar Scope was one of those clones, and the fact that Miyamoto worked as a designer on it didn’t elevate it much. It’s slow, frustrating to play and it’s repetitive sound-effects wear out their welcome after about a second-and-a-half.
The game almost sunk Nintendo of America, which had ordered thousands of units nobody wanted. Miyamoto was tasked with fixing his crappy game, but instead of tweaking Radar Scope, he scrapped the entire title and made Donkey Kong using the Radar Scope hardware. So yeah, over the span of two games Miyamoto went from company-sinking failure, to billion-dollar franchise spawning mega-success. Not bad.
This bad Miyamoto game has always been the most baffling to me — Miyamoto was on fire around this time, churning out great games like Donkey Kong Jr., Excitebike and Super Mario Bros. and yet nestled amongst all those classics is this turd.
So, for some reason Miyamoto thought replacing breakout star Mario with a beekeeper named Stanley would be a great idea for this game. The lameness didn’t stop there — Donkey Kong 3 is an incredibly simple shooter that provides next to no challenge (stand in the right spot and spam the A-button and you’ll win easily every time). Basically, this game is just further proof that Miyamoto and Space Invader clones just don’t mix.
Yeah, this game has its diehard defenders, but no. Just no. The game sucks. Even the title is lame. “The Adventure of Link”? That’s the best you could come up with?
The whole RPG/side-scroller hybrid thing just doesn’t work. The game is confusing, frustrating and overbearingly, unfairly difficult. Not only that, but the game doesn’t look or sound all that great compared to most other top NES games that came out in 1988.
I’ve given this game so, so many tries, and it just never works for me. Just thinking about playing it gives me an icky feeling in my stomach. A weird blemish on what’s otherwise been the most consistently high-quality video game series of all time.
A failed experiment that somehow made it to store shelves. Wii Music combines annoying motion controls that poorly simulate real instruments, with a lack of any sort of structure or, I dunno, point.
Looking for a challenging rhythm game in the spirit of Guitar Hero or Nintendo’s own Rhythm Heaven? Don’t look to Wii Music. Looking for a music toy/app with some real depth that lets you unleash your creativity? Also don’t look to Wii Music. Bleh.
Apparently Steel Diver was a Miyamoto labor of love for nearly a decade before it was finally released as a 3DS launch title. What he was doing with it for all that time is a mystery, as the finished game is slow, dull and features uncharacteristically clunky controls. It’s also badly lacking in content — the game feels like it should be a 7-dollar 3DS eShop download, but because Miyamoto was heavily involved in its production Nintendo apparently thought they could get away with selling it for full price at retail.