I like to consider myself an above average gamer. Sure, I donít really have any proof that this is the case, but I tend to hold my own when playing against random people in games like Mario Kart online and uhÖ Smash Bro... ok, mostly just Mario Kart. But hey I have finished a few tough games in my times. I finished Metroid Prime on hard mode, that was tough, right? Iíve also finished all of the NES Mega Man games, even the first one, which many people think is impossible for some reason. Iím ok at video gaming.
However, looking back into my gaming past I canít help but notice a long line of failures. Some are games that were just too tough for me, while others are games that defeated me for a variety of other reasons. I had many to choose from, but here are my top 10. Well, my top 10 regarding games on Nintendo platforms. I have plenty more games I sucked it up at on other platforms too, but I'm trying to stay on topic here.
Man, I really hope my brother isnít reading this list. See, long ago he would endlessly rip on me because he finished all of the stages in the classic puzzle game Lemmings, whereas I had gotten stuck near the end and given up. I really loved this game and wanted to finish it, and I also wanted to shut him up about it, so much so that many years later, just a few years ago in fact, I decided to sit down and finish it off once and for all. And I did a pretty good job, getting past the stage I was stuck on long ago pretty quickly. In fact, I got to stage 125 of 125 in no time at all. And thenÖ I played the last stage for hours and hours and couldnít figure it out. I was pretty sure that I knew what to do, but if so, it required near pixel-perfect execution and it was tough to stick at it without knowing for sure. So I did something that I usually did not do back in those days. I looked up the solution in a guide. And well, it turns out I was right about what to do. With that knowledge, I was able to finish the stage soon after. But using the guide still makes this a huge failure in my eyes. Mostly because my brother will never shut up about it if he ever finds out.
Lemmings was actually pretty METAL. \m/
Final Fantasy IV (SNES) - Failed At: Realizing What Was Optional
So, Final Fantasy IV probably isnít a super tough game, right? I mean, Iíve successfully finished tons of Squaresoft / Squarenix RPGs, so why does this one sit on my shame list? Good question. See, this is what happened. First, I acquired the game through a shady deal where I traded a used skateboard to a classmate for his Super Nintendo and like seven or eight games, basically totally ripping him off because he didnít seem to understand how much an old skateboard was worth. Iím not particularly proud of this. After that I started playing Final Fantasy IV and got pretty far into it, before getting stuck at this Queen boss that seemed literally impossible to beat. So I finally gave up. And then, perhaps in an act of karma, the game cartridge erased my save file, and I never went back. So ends the quest.
A few years later my brother offhandedly informed me that the Queen was an optional boss. It would have been nice to know this at the time.
Pictured: Not the Queen. Probably some normal boss.
Pushmo (3DS eShop) - Failed At: Not Getting Stuck Right at the End
This one is particularly shameful to me mostly for how very close I got to finishing it. For those not in the know, Pushmo is a pretty spectacular block pushing / pulling puzzle game that came out on the 3DS eShop. You should probably buy it, if you have not already. All in all, including the unlockable stages, there are probably over 200 stages in this game. I finished all of them but four. And then I kept trying and failing on those four over and over and over. I think I may have beaten one of them since? I forget. I still tell myself that I will go back and finish them all up eventually, but I know deep down that this will never happen. I suppose I could try to redeem myself by actually finishing the Wii U eShop sequel Pushmo World, but that probably isnít going to happen either.
Sure it looks easy now, but just you wait...
Darkwing Duck (NES) - Failed At: Verticality
Darkwing Duck is easily one of my favorite cartoons ever, so many years back when this game came out, of course I had to play it. It didnít hurt that it was a pretty respectably made Mega Man clone. Anyway, this was the kind of failure that would probably never have taken place had I played the game in the age of the Internet and had access to Google. The game itself wasnít particularly hard. I got all the way to the end and faced off against the final boss, Steelbeak. He was up near the top of the screen, and I simply couldnít figure out how to shoot high enough to hit him. I could dodge his shots pretty well, I just couldnít do any damage to him. I would sit there for long periods of time just dodging, trying to shoot him but not being able to shoot high enough. What was I doing wrong? Who knows. I could probably Google it, but that wouldnít help me now. And unfortunately, due to the licensing, it is unlikely that this game will ever be rereleased on Virtual Console or anything like that. So unless I seek out a working NES and a copy of this game (or emulate it I suppose, but I don't like emulating games), this failure will never be rectified. Blah.
I am the winged scourge that... doesn't know what to do if you are on a high ledge.
Mike Tysonís Punch-Out!! (NES) - Failed At: Not Getting Progressively Worse
This is almost certainly one of my longest running failures. Mike Tysonís Punch-Out!! is one of the first games that I got into way back when I started getting heavily into video games, period. Back then I could never really get much further past Soda Popinski or so. Many years later I picked up the game again, and got all the way to Mr. Sandman. I think? Tough to recall. Iím pretty sure Mr. Sandman is where I was getting stuck though. So I put the game down again. Then many, many years later (Iím old) it rereleased on the Wii Virtual Console (sans Tyson) and I started playing it again. This time I didnít even get as far as Mr. Sandman. So Iím actually regressing now. Next thing you know I will be struggling to get past Glass Joe. Incidentally I never finished the also excellent Punch-Out!! on the Wii. I donít consider that one a failure yet though because I wasnít really stuck so much as other games came up and I havenít found the time and energy to go back to it since. I probably will one day. Hmm. Probably not though.
Who is this guy? I have certainly never seen him in the game.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (Gamecube) - Failed At: Lots of Things Really
Despite absolutely loving The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Iíve barely gotten halfway through it. This isnít really a failure from lack of skill. One part of the failure is my abject refusal to play the game alone. Four Swords Adventures was meant to be played with at least three people, preferably four. And that leads to the next failure, my lack of planning. Sure, Nintendo made it tough because you need four Gameboy Advances and 4 link cables to play the local multiplayer only game, but still, I could totally make it happen more often if I wasnít so lazy when it came to multiplayer get-togethers! I guess the last failure, except actually it is a success, is the fact that even when I do get people together to play this game, we barely make any progress because we are too busy playing it CHICAGO STYLE. I remember one night in particular where my cousins and I spent almost a whole hour on a single screen. Because, you see, there were a ton of bomb plants on that screen. Yep. Never going to finish this sucker.
Really though, failing at a game was never so much fun!
Most of the BIT.TRIP Series (WiiWare) - Failed At: I'm Honestly Not Sure What Happened
Those of you who know me well know how much I love the BIT.TRIP series. Did you know that I have barely finished any of the games? Sigh. To this day, the only BIT.TRIP games which I have finished are RUNNER, Runner2, and FLUX. I never even finished BEAT (or I never beat BEAT, seewhatIdidthere?), the one that started it all and made me fall in love! What is wrong with me?! In a few cases I have come pretty close to beating the games (BEAT and VOID), while in others, not so much (CORE and FATE.) But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Basically, I love these games, but I am terrible at them and I should feel ashamed of myself.
BEAT is so awesome. So awesome that I never finished it.
SimCity (SNES) - Failed At: Seven Digit Figures
I started playing SimCity at my cousin's house (on his PC) and quickly fell in love. It became one of the first games that I bought on the SNES and I played the heck out of it. If the Super Nintendo tracked play times for games like modern consoles do, SimCity would surely be at or near the top for me. In part because I played it a lot, of course, but also because even at the fastest pace the in-game time moved so slow in that game. I would often leave it on overnight just to see what my city would look like the next morning. Anyway, you can't really "beat" SimCity, but you know what you can do? Get a population of 1,000,000 citizens. I had always heard that if you hit 1,000,000 you got something special. Is this even true? I have no idea, because I never hit that mark! It was always my goal, and I did whatever I could to reach it, including using maps with no water for more building space and using the weird cheat that got you tons of money, among other things. All of it to no avail. The closest that I ever came to my goal was around 900,000. I will never know what, if anything, you get by getting 1,000,000 citizens.
That is an awful lot of big buildings there. HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS?!
Super Ghouls ĎN Ghosts (SNES) - Failed At: Using That Dumb Bracelet
I guess I shouldnít feel too bad about never finishing a game that is legendary for its toughness. But I do feel bad about how and why I never finished it. Itís that stupid f-ing bracelet. How on Earth do those of you who have finished the game use it? It makes the game nearly unplayable. For the uninitiated, Super Ghouls ĎN Ghosts is super tough Ďn stuff in large part because it plays like a Mega Man / shooter game with tons of projectiles flying around, yet the health works more like a Mario / platformer game where you can only get hit a few times before you die and have to start over from the last of the not so liberally placed checkpoints. Also the jumping sucks. Also you have to play through the whole game twice before you can fight the final boss. Also, during the second time through, you have to fight the final mini-boss using this crappy bracelet weapon that only shoots like an inch in front of your character. Ok I am exaggerating a bit, it goes more than an inch, but it doesnít shoot very far, which means you have to get up super close to him, which means, if you are me, you constantly die. Actually, you know what? Iím not ashamed that I never finished Super Ghouls ĎN Ghosts. This game can go to hell.
I never finished Ghosts 'N Goblins on the NES either.
We can all basically agree that the horrible bracelet is horrible. RIGHT?
Tecmo Super Bowl (SNES) - Failed At: That Very Important Thing in the Name of the Game
I donít know if Tecmo Super Bowl is necessarily my greatest video game failure, but it is certainly one of my most frustrating ones. You see, I have never won the thing which makes up two-thirds of the name of the game aka the Super Bowl. That would be fine if I just sucked at the game and never got anywhere near the Super Bowl. But that has not been the case. I have been there several times, and failed miserably each and every one of them. My brother and cousins and I have played through many seasons of this game. Pretty much every season I would be the front-runner coming into the play-offs, finishing the year with the best record of any team. Sometimes I would choke hard in the early stages of the playoffs. Usually, however, I would make it all the way to the Super Bowl. And then choke hard. Every. Single. Time. My brother won it once. I think one or two of my cousins did. Just not the person who dominated every single season we played, aka me. Mind you, sometimes it felt like the game was actively working against me, having my players just constantly fumble the ball and such.
Later I started playing Madden with my cousins and won the Super Bowl in my very first season. Bah.
@Zero Megalopolis is really tough to get if you're not playing on the map that has no water.
I just don't believe that you beat the world record, especially if you weren't using the population boost tricks. If you actually did beat the world record, then that is no gaming failure, that's one of the best feats ever! Got any proof?
I don't think it is a world record to get close to 900k, here is someone with 950k with no "zone stacking". (I forget what that means...)
Mind you that is after many, many years. This is interesting though, because it appears that 1 million is not this thing that everyone but me was getting after all, but might be virtually impossible.
Unfortunately I do not have any proof of my populations though, unless my SNES cart has managed to not delete everything like all of my other SNES carts I have tried in recent years have. But I guarantee I got up into the 800,000s. Leaning towards 900,000, I believe. Though I did use the money cheats and the no water map. No water map is essentially, water takes up like 10-15% or so of the map on most maps. I would also do things like build no roads and only a small amount of rails. Rails don't even really have to connect to each other to count in this game, as long as your piece is touching a rail it doesn't matter if it actually goes anywhere.
I must have been pretty damn good at the game! This list of failures has a success after all! Or maybe it is still a failure, the same failure I have in a lot of areas of my life... setting realistic goals.
This is interesting though. Clearly I'm either amazing or my memory must be off a bit here. Most likely the latter, but then... WHY IS THIS IN MY MIND?! I'm tempted to try to hook up my SNES and see if I have any saved games on there but I don't even have a TV with the right hook-ups for it anymore and it is highly unlikely the save battery thingy lasted all of these years.
@Zero That post is where I copied the link from. I guess he took the pictures and then got a slightly higher score after that.
I'm also curious about this now, because if you actually did get close to 900,000 on the console then Negative World would have a world record! Unless your TV has only HDMI then you should be able to hook up your SNES. It uses the same cords as the N64 and GCN, so if you have a composite or S-video cable for either of those systems, it'd work on the SNES too.
You might be surprised about save batteries. My copy of SimCity still works. Heck, my original Zelda 1 on NES still holds saves.
I think it is probably safe to say that I didn't blow away what is most likely the highest known score for the game. So my memory must be way off here. But I swear remembering thinking I was "so close" to a million.
Hmm. Maybe "so close" meant like 700k or something, ha ha ha shashashaha.
@Zero Yup, the gold Mario statue is for 500,000. I think Megalopolis may also have its own music too, like how every other population level does. If that counts as getting something.
I've never actually reached 500,000 myself though, I would always get stuck after a few hundred thousand when the demand for everything would just drop, and I never figured out how to get demand back up so that more people would move in. I guess the 500k really is a gaming failure for me!
I'm starting to wonder if it is 500k and not 1M that I was always close to and never quite hit. That would make all of this make a lot more sense. Because I know that I always came super close... and apparently it is nearly impossible to come super close to 1M.
And I can't honestly remember if I ever got the Mario statue. Seems like the kind of thing you would remember getting...