It's that time of year again - a time for holiday happiness, heartfelt hospitality, and of course, hefty humbugs from the Scrooges among us. If that last one sounds like you, then you're in luck, because I've got a sure-fire way for you to give a little Christmas cheer this year while still being a complete jerk to all around! So before you head out for your last minute purchases of framed self-portraits, take a look at this handy guide for giving your enemies what they deserve most - a holly-jolly helping of games they're sure to hate!
For the fighting game fan...Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
Though difficult to pull off, The Worm isn't a useful special move in a fight.
It's probably safe to say any fighting game fan worth his or her salt knows about Mortal Kombat, if they're not a fan of it themselves. If they are, you can change that for good this year by dropping this hot lump of coal in their stocking and watching the Christmas tears roll! Rather than sticking to the one-on-one fighting he's good at, Jackson "Jax" Briggs takes on a third-person action shooter that tries to combine Mortal Kombat with Metal Gear and ends up an unrecognizable mess instead. The game is basically anti-fun, and you can feel yourself aging as you realize your own mortality with every moment spent playing this abomination. Perfect for letting your worst enemy know their time is running out!
In a pinch: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero will also do, as it is soul-crushingly terrible in every conceivable way.
For the platformer fan...Bubsy Two-Fur
Bubsy: something to sneeze at.
Like a stray cat that you put out food for one time, Bubsy just keeps coming back. His infamy will always live on thanks to the so-terrible-it's-almost-art Bubsy 3D, but someone still thought it was a good idea to say "you know what people want right now? The first two Bubsy games on Steam." And lo, did the Greenlight Gods vomit out this unholy mess of pixels known as Bubsy Two-Fur, and yea, did the people graciously vote it onto Steam, because playing terrible games ironically is apparently a national pasttime. Now you and your hated ones can relive the glory days of horrible controls, cheap deaths, and annoying catchphrases long before Sonic the Hedgehog took up the mantle for all of those things. (ba-zing!)
In a pinch: Speaking of our pal Sonic, if your nemesis doesn't use Steam, you can always "treat" them with a copy of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric or Sonic the Hedgehog '06. These are two games that, had they been released in the same year, surely would have invoked some ancient ritual and caused the apocalypse.
For the adventure game fan...MacVenture Series
Thanks for paying.
The MacVenture series consists of Shadowgate, Deja Vu, Deja Vu II, and Uninvited, and that last one basically sums up how each one feels about the player - it doesn't really want you playing it and enjoying it, and it's going to do everything it can to make the experience as miserable as possible. It doesn't matter which one you're playing; basically everything can kill you or otherwise cause you to lose even without much input on your part. They are the oldest of old-school adventure and each is a veritable exercise in frustration, which is great if you want to be really snarky about getting someone an "exercise machine."
In a pinch: the 2014 version of Shadowgate is basically the same thing but with better graphics, so if your enemy refuses to play "old-looking" games, give them this instead. It's just as sadistic and just as fun for you to watch when they fail a puzzle repeatedly!
For the action game fan...Ride to Hell: Retribution
Drinking game: take a drink every time the player makes this face.
If you threw the terms "bikers" "the 60's" and "revenge" into a pot and stirred it, you'd probably come out with a pretty cool game or movie. If you threw those same terms in a trash compactor and turned it on, you'd get Ride to Hell: Retribution. This game had no idea what it wanted to be, so it tried to be everything and ended up as nothing. Stiff animations, disjointed story, unresponsive controls, and just a general sense that the game could collapse on itself at any given moment will have your enemies wrenching in disgust, but at the same time racing to complete the game before it implodes. You can probably find this game in every $1 bargain bin across America, so if you're trying to be evil on a budget, look no further.
In a pinch: If, however, you have so much money that you just need to rub it in, pick your enemy up a disc copy of Devil's Third. Due to limited release in the US, the game is already selling way over MSRP, despite the fact that it's probably about as much fun to play with as a broken bottle. At least the bottle can only scar you physically.
For the racing fan...Garfield Kart (non-mobile versions)
Oh, that wacky Garfield. What will he get up to next?
Yeah, I could have just put Big Rigs here and called it a day, but I'm not taking the easy road, at least not for two more entries. Anyway, if you hate someone as much as Garfield hates Mondays, then you just know they'll "love" zipping around the track as one of their favorite comic strip characters. The best/worst part about this game is that there's absolutely no multiplayer at all - you know, the main reason people even play kart racers - so you can cackle maniacally as your new arch-rival races circles around the the AI, locked in an eternal struggle for dominance with a cold, unfeeling computer dictating the behavior of the only friends they'll ever be allowed to have again. Until they turn the game off, anyway.
In a pinch: Flatout 3: Chaos & Destruction is the lowest-rated racing game on Steam, and there are a lot of bad racing games on Steam. For a series that prides itself on hilariously over-the-top crashes, this one landed with an underwhelming thud before being towed back to the starting line, where it waits for someone to care. That someone could be your newly acquired adversary!
For the RPG fan...Hyperdimension Neptunia
Which button do I press to skip the rest of the game?
To be clear, I mean the original release, not the Re;birth version. While that version is at least moderately entertaining, the first release of Hyperdimension Neptunia was more of a chore to play than a race to see who can sort the recycling the fastest. It certainly works as a parody of the game industry in one way, in that it proved "if you keep buying them, we'll keep pumping them out" and finally gave the series a chance at mediocrity. But, like the body pillows owned by fans of the series , this first one should be shoved in the closet and hidden from from the eyes of decent society.
In a pinch: Unlimited SaGa is basically the anti-RPG - freedom of exploration now limited to board-game like movement, combat almost entirely determined by luck rather than proper planning and good tactics, and a story that doesn't care to involve you and instead jumps around as it pleases. In other words, it's a perfect way to make someone you think wastes too much time on RPGs waste too much time on an RPG.
For the FPS fan...Duke Nukem Forever
In a pinch: Aliens: Colonial Marines (see above)
So there you have it, the perfect gift guide for enemies, frenemies, or people you just plain don't like to show them that, despite your differences, you can still be a good sport and get in the giving spirit this Christmas, as long as you're only giving pure agony in digital form. So what do you think? What games would you give to someone you don't like? What games have you gotten as gifts that you wish had stayed on the shelf? Be merry and share your stories in the comments below! You might just give us all the best gift this year - the gift of laughing at other people's misfortunes.