Once the subject of ridicule, the third Sony console has finally caught the attention of gamers thanks to a reduced price.

Sega/Platinum Games

Years ago, a team of developers known as Clover Studios released a Playstation 2 game called God Hand.  Designed to bring an old-school sensibility to modern styles of gameplay, God Hand was outrageous, challenging, and oh yeah, pretty awkward to play.  The clumsy over the shoulder perspective and badly dated graphics split the gaming community with all the violent precision of a freshly-sharpened axe, with fans and detractors on opposite sides of the rift.  God Hand’s supporters, typically members of the gaming counterculture, turned a blind eye to the game’s faults while praising it as an unrecognized masterpiece.  The critics were just as adamant in expressing their frustration with God Hand’s cumbersome control, an unwelcome holdover from the early days of Resident Evil and Tomb Raider.

Fast forward to January 2010.  The same studio, now known as Platinum Games, has taken another shot at the formula, serving up a double helping of the sweet insanity of God Hand while stripping away nearly all its flaws.  The robotic turn-walk-turn control has been replaced with satiny-smooth combos capped off by devastating finishing blows, and the graphics are vastly improved, shattering peoples’ expectations even in an age where technology has set the bar for visuals impossibly high.  The haters will recognize Bayonetta as the game God Hand wanted to be, while the fans will point to it as proof that they were right all along.  However, there will be no debate about its quality… Bayonetta is a very hard game to hate.

Just who is this “Bayonetta,” anyway?  Don’t bother looking to the game’s jumbled mess of a plot for answers… you’ll be even more confused than when you started.  All you need to know is that the star of the game is a brash British witch (or dominatrix… it’s hard to tell from the outfit) who’s not afraid to use sex- and anything that’s not bolted down- as a weapon.  Take equal parts Supernanny, Xena: Warrior Princess, and your favorite hardcore porn star, then pour them all into a skintight outfit, and you’d be on the right track.  Her enemies rain down from the heavens and come in the following varieties: angels who look like gold-plated turkey vultures, tiny heads with dove wings, armored griffons that fight with the ferocity of starved lions, and bosses so colossal they often rival the size of the stages themselves.

Don’t worry too much about the sultry sorceress, however… she’s more than prepared to take on these holy harbingers of death.  A gun strapped to each limb (yes, even the legs) allows Bayonetta to pick off weak enemies from a distance, without the hassle of locking onto targets.  The beefier foes will require strings of punches and kicks delivered at close range, followed by a death blow delivered by Bayonetta’s transforming hair or, once the magic gauge at the top of the screen has been charged, a torture device powered by hammering buttons on the controller.  When enemies strike back, you can tap the R2 button to slip through their attacks and activate “Witch Time,” which temporarily slows down the action and lets you pound your adversaries into angel dust as they’re stuck in molasses.

The combat system is both keenly responsive and brimming with strategic possibilities, a balance that’s hard to achieve in a beat ‘em up for a modern game console.  If you want to take a casual stroll through Bayonetta and power your way through fights with a minimum of effort, that option is available to you, but you can also take your time and learn to play the game like a pro, stretching your combos out to infinity.  This opens up the game to practically anyone who can hold a controller, but rewards those players who go the extra mile and learn the finer points of combat… the right combos to perform, the right weapons to equip, and the right time to dodge each enemy’s strikes.  Bayonetta encourages players to improve without punishing those who haven’t sharpened their skills to a razor’s edge, a far cry from the punishing God Hand and an excellent template for future releases.

Bayonetta also makes the wise move of breaking up the battles, not with cryptic and tedious puzzles like its kissing cousin Devil May Cry, but with fun mini-games that keep the action fresh and unpredictable.  The most frequent of these is Angel Attack, a simple shooting gallery with Bayonetta unloading a small clip of bullets into a circling swarm of angels, but at other points throughout the game she’ll hop on car rooftops in pursuit of her enemies, race a motorcycle over a crumbling freeway overpass, and do her best Dr. Strangelove impression, riding a missile to a mysterious island city.  These scenes play like Yu Suzuki’s arcade hits from the 1980s, complete with remixed versions of the Space Harrier, Hang On, and Out Run soundtracks.  This is a good thing for players old enough to remember them and an even better thing for Sega, because without these cheeky references, it would be exceedingly easy to mistake Bayonetta for a Capcom release.

It’s an improvement over Devil May Cry 4 and a quantum leap ahead of God Hand, but there are still some ugly wrinkles in Bayonetta that could stand to be ironed out in the sequel.  Some of these are unfortunately exclusive to the Playstation 3 version, which suffers from an abundance of load times and severe slowdown in one of the later stages.  Other issues are more deeply rooted, and annoying regardless of which system you own.  The mini-games mentioned earlier will bore you to tears long before they actually end, the developers are clearly more attracted to the cartoonishly sexualized Bayonetta than any player would ever be, and the ludicrous cut scenes can’t be skipped unless you sign forms in triplicate and hand-deliver them to the president of Platinum Games.  There are even life and death quick-time events that punish you harshly for missing a single button press in what appears to be another of the game’s many film clips.  It’s just Hideki Kamiya’s own little way of saying, “Don’t put down that controller!  Or else.”

For all its annoyances, Bayonetta is a big success for both Platinum Games and Sega.  It’s a tightly designed, lavishly illustrated, and richly rewarding action title that never forgets its roots or its obligations to today’s more demanding players.  In short, Bayonetta is everything fans of God Hand loved about that game, without all the stuff the critics hated.

Atlus/From Software

Comparing video games to drugs was probably clever once, but it’s become such a well-worn cliché over the years that you start to expect at least one reference to crack or heroin or at least a good stiff drink in a review of an especially addictive release.  However, Demon’s Souls is the kind of game that demands a narcotics analogy… for the worst possible reasons.  An unsavory friend will hand you a copy, probably hidden in a small paper bag, saying, “C’mon man, this stuff will blow your mind.  What are you, a mama’s boy?  I’ll even give you the first hit for free… if you don’t like it, you can just quit.” 

The horror stories you’ve heard play over and over in the back of your mind, but the curiosity and peer pressure are too much to resist.  You take the disc, stick it into your arm- er, Playstation 3- and for an hour, you’re consumed by feelings of exhilaration and joy far stronger than you’ve ever felt in your life.  Suddenly, you hit a brick wall, and the thrill is replaced by depression, confusion, and remorse.  So you give the game back to your friend and return home, hoping to forget the whole thing ever happened… and as you sit down to relax, a little piece of you begs for another taste.  You drive to the store and buy a copy of Demon’s Souls for yourself, covering your face with your jacket as the cashier runs it through the scanner.

Now your curiosity has blossomed into a full-fledged addiction.  With each passing day, the high gets shorter, the shame grows deeper, the craving more insistent.  You go back for another hit maybe two, three, four times a day, not because you enjoy it, but because a fierce compulsion has you by the throat.  During your rare moments of lucidity, when you’re not playing the game or passed out on the couch or fencing stolen goods to feed your addiction (okay, this stretches the analogy a bit), you realize that the only way you’ll ever be free is to quit, or when it all comes to an end.  The game, I mean.

This is what it’s like to play Demon’s Souls.  It’s an addiction, but an unhealthy, abusive one.  Even when the game no longer entertains you, you’ll keep coming back, either due to peer pressure (“This is a hardcore game!  If you don’t like it, you just suck!”), or because your own foolish pride refuses to abandon the progress you’ve made.  You’ll make excuses, telling yourself that it will be more fun to play once you’ve finished the next stage, bought the next magic spell, or gained the next level.  However, the excitement of reaching these milestones is fleeting, while frustration will nip at your heels with every step.

Demon’s Souls is an action RPG, fundamentally similar to the brilliant Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  However, there are three key differences between the two games.  Demon’s Souls takes most of the depth of Oblivion out of the picture… there is no alchemy, no lock-picking, and no involved conversations with non-player characters in the hopes of making them reveal key plot points or lower their shop prices.  Even the level design is comparatively linear, with five distinct worlds each split into brief stages with only a handful of detours.  Shortcuts can often be opened in these detours, making the road to the boss at the end of each stage less rocky.

This brings us to the second distinction, combat.  While swordplay was always a frustrating and awkward chore in Oblivion (and even worse in the previous game, Morrowind!), From Software has made the battles in Demon’s Soul clean, precise, and at times, incredibly satisfying.  This is due mostly to the third-person perspective that eliminates blind spots, but also because of a brilliant parry system that lets you shove an enemy’s sword aside, then jam your own through their rib cage while they’re reeling from your counter.  Finally, the evade button- used for both running and God of War-style rolls- makes your hero a great deal more mobile than the walking tanks in Oblivion.  Ranged attacks are similar in both games, but arrows in Demon's Souls tend to do more damage, making them a godsend for fighters who prefer stealth to brute force.

Finally, there’s the difference from Oblivion that makes all the difference in the world… the difficulty.  When video games first made the switch to 3D back in 1995, concessions were made in the following years to lessen the frustration of their awkward camera angles and limited depth perception.  Checkpoints became more frequent, falling off ledges no longer spelled instant death for the player, and the option to save freely rescued gamers from the agony of impossible situations.  All of these modern conveniences are absent from Demon’s Souls, along with a few you’ve known all your life.  Any items you’ve collected cannot be exchanged for souls, the game’s do-all currency, and you can’t even pause… the status window happens in real-time, so if there are monsters nearby, you’re helpless to defend yourself until the window is closed.

The stages also seem designed to torment rather than challenge the player.  Lethal booby traps are scattered throughout the world of Boletaria, with little or nothing at all to warn the player of their existence.  Climb a narrow stairwell and you’ll meet face to rock face with a boulder.  Chase after a “crystal gecko” (the only monster in the game that’s both docile and guaranteed to award you with valuable items) and you’ll be stabbed in the side by an undead knight hiding in a nearby doorway.  Touch a white trigger square and- oh, you have your shield up?  Sorry, the arrows lodged in your head came from the opposite direction… or all directions at once!  After you die, you’re sent back to the start of the stage (not the middle, not near the end) with zero souls, 50% of your maximum health, and all the enemies you killed resurrected.  Before you ask, they get all their health back, not half of it.

Even the online mode adds to the game’s considerable frustration.  Although you can call on the aid of two previously killed players, the bosses get a free hit point boost for every friendly “blue phantom” that fights by your side.  Conversely, you may get an unwelcome visit from a “black phantom,” bent on slaughtering you for the souls you’ve collected and a chance to return to the land of the living.  This infuriating X factor will leave less experienced players scrambling to unplug their Ethernet cables… the game’s hard enough without other players trying to sabotage your progress.

You can almost imagine the executive producer of Demon’s Souls watching games in progress from a secret base deep within the Earth’s crust, stroking a cat while cackling madly as players are pitted against players and brave knights meet their doom by a trap triggered just inches from a sparkling treasure.  His game may be the work of a twisted, heartless sadist, but at least it’s wrapped in a pretty package. Although astonishingly dark, the graphics are also astonishingly good, with life-like animation, commendable attention to detail (the hateful red eyes of gargoyles pierce the night sky, and squid-faced guardians desperately ring a bell to alert their comrades of your presence), and the largest, most fearsome boss enemies yet witnessed in a video game.  The majority of these foes are several stories tall; so massive that they won’t even fit on your state of the art high-definition television set without the camera retreating to an adjacent zip code.  The sound adds impact to the already hard-hitting atmosphere, and even becomes critical to your survival… the distant footsteps and labored breathing of the undead knights may be the only clue to their existence you’ll get before they use you as a sword sheath.

All this is quite impressive, but in the end, I’m not convinced the ambition of the game’s design outweighs its abundant and needless cruelty.  It brings back scarring memories of Shadow of the Beast, the Amiga computer title from the late 1980s that made a strong first impression before brutalizing the player with an absurd difficulty level and an overemphasis on rote memorization.  If you can adapt to that kind of rigid gameplay, or even enjoy it, Demon’s Souls is a smart purchase.  However, don’t let the needling from self-important “hardcore” gamers whose masculinity is entirely invested in their PS3 trophy case pressure you into a commitment with this game.  If you have a short temper, high blood pressure, or need a little flexibility in your gaming experience, just say no.


Sony/Q Games


Heat and cold have been bitter enemies since the beginning of time, battling to a lukewarm standstill for countless centuries.  There was a brief truce in the 1980s mediated by Jason Alexander and the McDLT, but twenty years later, they're once again at each other's throats, struggling for dominance in the game PixelJunk Shooter.

This time, the battlefield is a vast cavern littered with treasure and stranded miners.  Repesenting heat are scalding pools and geysers of lava.  Playing for the cold team is water, the refreshing taste that goes down smooth.  As the pilot of a small spacecraft, you're caught in the middle of the conflict.  Your official goal is to grab all the miners in each stage, but the only way you'll be able to do this is to bring heat and cold together, transforming them both into harmless igneous rock which can be chiseled through with your ship's laser beams.

The water doesn't seem to mind your presence, doing no harm to you and even cooling your ship's hull after you've unleashed a storm of homing missiles.  However, the lava takes things more personally and will fry you to a crisp on direct contact.  Just getting close to a pool of lava is enough to raise your ship's temperature dangerously high.  Ultimately, your survival depends not only on neutralizing the molton rock, but keeping your distance from heat sources and taking frequent dips in water to keep your ship from reaching its melting point.

The interaction between fiery magma and life-giving water doesn't just make this game better... it makes the game.  Without it, PixelJunk Shooter would be a faintly modernized and thoroughly unremarkable clone of Atari's Gravitar.  The simple graphics smack of Flash- even Sega's Subterrania from the early 1990s had more detailed artwork than this!- and the soundtrack is all over the place, favoring tribal chants whose connection to the gameplay is strained at best. 

However, once you add lava and water to the recipe, practically everything changes.  The visuals come to life when waterfalls crash down from the top of the screen and streams of the bright blue liquid are diverted to a nearby lake of fire,  granting you safe passage to the next miner.  Handy items like alien sponges and the juiciest fruits in the galaxy add depth and a puzzle element to the unexpectedly sedate gameplay.  PixelJunk Shooter is the rare kind of shooter that's more likely to confound you with a seemingly impassable volcano or a perilously placed miner than overwhelm you with swarms of monsters.  The monsters are there, in all their dive-bombing, magma-spewing glory, but nine times out of ten, the devilishly crafted stages will be your downfall.

It's not the merciless assault on your senses that Geometry Wars and its many clones tend to be, but if you're looking for a laid-back game that challenges your mind rather than your vision, and brings something new to the table in a genre starving for new ideas, PixelJunk Shooter is a perfect fit for your collection.

Sony/Level 5

White Knight Chronicles is a hard game to rate. It's tough because most of the game will be spent playing the underwhelming story mode offline.  However, the online functionality is the best part of the game and ultimately redeems it. It was a tough decision to make, but overall I can squeeze White Knight Chronicles into the "worth the $60 purchase" category, provided you have online access.
If you enjoy RPGs for fantastic plots with memorable scenes and epic moments, don't bother with White Knight Chronicles. Despite a few plot twists, there's absolutely nothing here that anyone who has ever played an RPG in the past twenty years wouldn't be able to see coming. The main character is a young boy named Leonard who, for reasons that are inadequately explored, falls in love with Princess Cisna, because he saw her once when they were children many years ago.  He has taken it upon himself to save her from a group known as the "Magi," who wish to use her to awaken the powers of the "knights," large body armor suits a'la Escaflowne.

Of course, "because I saw her once a few years ago" hardly justifies involving yourself in such important matters.  In any realistic scenario, the Princess would be more likely to issue a restraining order than wait to be saved by her shining "prince" Leonard.  Anyway... along the way you'll meet the usual ragtag cast of heroes, most of whom just tag along "just because."  The only truly interesting supporting characters are Kara and Eldore, whose mysterious personalities barely hold the plot above water during your quest.
The terrible pacing of an already humdrum, paper-thin plot only compounds matters. Once the party arrives at the city of Greede about halfway into the game, I nearly quit as the storyline comes crashing to a screeching halt and the game enters "fetch quest hell."  Four or five hours of the game are spent backtracking to previous areas to find a plethora of items the party must obtain before finally progressing to the next chapter of the story. This wouldn't be such a problem if the storyline budged even a little while hunting down these trinkets. There's no character development, no new areas to explore, no meaningful backstories revealed.  This seemingly endless scavenger hunt exists only to pad the length of the game.  Once it finally comes to a merciful end, the plot does pick up, but the threadbare middle of the game will have many less patient players crying foul.
Fetch quests are nothing new to RPGs, but they're especially bothersome in this game due to its length, or the lack thereof. The main quest takes no more than twenty hours to complete, so when nearly a quarter of a game's plot is relegated to fetch quests, it's impossible not to notice.  Once it’s finished the game feels like a TV dinner for starved RPG fans. It briefly satiates those looking for a next generation RPG, but they'll quickly hunger for a more satisfying storyline.  The story ends on a cliffhanger, which hopefully will lead to a more intriguing plot in future installments. Sadly, what's offered here in the first installment of the game was a complete waste of time as the only worthwhile moments could be summed up in about five hours.
Fortunately, the gameplay is vastly more interesting than the scenario. Once the game begins the player must create an avatar for both the story mode and online play. This is an exciting feature that is sadly underutilized by Level 5.  Often times during scenes the avatar is barely seen in the background and has virtually no involvement with the plot whatsoever. The idea of the avatar being not the main character but rather an "onlooker" to the events unfolding isn't a particularly bad one, but the problem lies in the fact that the other characters in the story never acknowledge the avatar’s presence. The avatar never expresses any kind of emotion and is just a doll that happens to pop up in a frame from time to time.
The structure of White Knight Chronicles is similar to that of Final Fantasy XII, with combat offering both free-roaming and turn based elements.  When a timer on the screen is filled, the player can execute a variety of commands previously assigned in the menu screen. Unfortunately, the battles are merely a poor man's version of the ones in Final Fantasy XII, without its refinement or challenge.  A simple task like changing targets is made ridiculously cumbersome as it requires a few seconds of fumbling around in the menu systems to find the right command.  A "hot key" that instantly allows you to switch targets would have been much preferred.  On the plus side, the amount of customization available is extremely impressive.  You can build your party members however you like as you earn ability points to spend on various skills and magic.  Weapons each have their own class and abilities, allowing for a large amount of flexibility and strategy.  You can even create and name your own combos by stringing together abilities and assigning them to command slots, provided you have enough Action Chips stored to do so.

Not that you'd need to employ any strategy.  White Knight Chronicles is so ridiculously easy that you can skate through the entire game just by teaching the party healing spells and giving them the strongest equipment and weapons.  Once the lead character transforms into the White Knight armor, the game becomes borderline broken.  I never once had to transform into the knight unless forced by the game. Magic doesn't even become a factor until the final area, when the game presents at least some modicum of challenge.  RPG fans looking for the deep strategy and challenge of Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne will be sorely disappointed here.

White Knight Chronicles' best asset is its creativity.  How creative of a person are you?  That's the question to ask yourself before pulling the trigger on a purchase. The game's best moments come when it lets you color outside the lines. The game lets you create your own town and populate it with residents.  You can find materials to build houses and other structures, and assign residents to cultivate the town... hiring different professions yields different items.  Your town can then be uploaded, and you can either invite players to visit your town or drop in on other players’ villages. You can take materials and items and combine them to create new, more powerful weaponry. Up to four people can go on assigned quests purchased in the story. Eventually you'll receive a camera that lets you take pictures of your party and upload those online as well.  If you get involved and make friends online you can have tons of fun playing the game, and its many shortcomings become less noticeable.

Even though you'll have fun going on quests with other players, once you return to the story mode, you'll be reminded of the game's total mediocrity. 
 WKC isn't awful by any stretch of the imagination, but you can't help but notice that Level 5 had a ton of untapped potential here and coming from them, that's a disappointment.  Considering their past output, Level 5 also did a surprisingly subpar job with the visuals.  Rogue Galaxy and Dragon Quest 8 are among the most breathtaking games on the Playstation 2, but White Knight Chronicles doesn't even come close to harnessing the full power of the more advanced PS3.  The graphics aren't bad, but this game is seriously behind the curve visually, and the fact that this was finally released in the United States a year after its Japanese debut doesn't help matters.  Still, there's fun to be had in this title, provided you've got a lot of online friends who also enjoy the creative aspects of the game.  You can also unlock even more items and equipment on a second playthrough, but suffering through it once may be enough for most gamers.  Level 5 and JRPG fans who are more interested in expressing their creativity than pushing their skills to the limit will get the most enjoyment out of this game.  Everyone else is better off looking to the horizon for their RPG fix.


Today's gamers are quick to dismiss Sega as withered and irrelevant; a former giant eroded by a series of reckless mistakes and claimed as a trophy by a corporation on the fringes of the video game industry. All this may be true, but there are still traces of the old Sega buried under all those terrible Sonic sequels... the Sega that did what Nintendon't, even if it couldn't match Nintendo's polish. The Sega that took risks on new ideas and crazy peripherals, years before the Wii was a twinkle in Shigeru Miyamoto's eye. The Sega that took those first timid steps into online gaming with Phantasy Star Online, and into total player freedom with Shenmue. That crazy diamond has lost most of its shine in recent years, but still catches the occasional glint of light from games like Yakuza 3.

Like its predecessors, Yakuza 3 carries on the tradition of the Shenmue series as a narrative-driven adventure fully immersed in Japanese culture.  After spending the first two games busting heads, lead character Kazuma Kiryu has sworn off organized crime, retiring to the sleepy island of Okinawa to manage an orphanage.  Those carefree days of kissing boo-boos and playing stickball with the kids don't last long, however... a crime boss has his eyes on Kazuma's property, and attempts to force him out so the whole neighborhood can be bulldozed and replaced with a military base.  After a few hours of wading through tutorials and dealing with petty preteen issues, our hero boards a plane to Tokyo and the game gets serious, making a sudden shift in tone from "very special episode of Full House" to "season finale of The Sopranos."

Much of your time in Yakuza 3 will be spent watching cut scenes, engaging in lengthy conversations, and stocking up on items in the city stores.  When you're not knee deep in plot outlining or buying enough energy drinks to keep Lance Armstrong on his bike for days, you'll break out the brass knuckles and mix it up with thugs on every rung of the criminal ladder.  Fights are most fun against young, inexperienced street gangs with no hope of beating Kazuma, because you have the freedom to improvise.  The crowds of mostly harmless foes let you charge up your Heat meter quickly, granting you access to the game's delightfully savage finishers.  There's nothing quite like throwing a thug over the railing of a two-story building, or hobbling him with a flagpole!  Unfortunately, all the fun of fighting goes out the window when Kazuma locks horns with a boss. These bruisers have three life bars, the most impenetrable defense this side of Fort Knox, and a temper that flares when they're near defeat, turning them into adrenaline-fueled killing machines. Before you even think of picking a fight with these guys, you'd better bring along a whole lot of power-ups. And weapons. And an exorcist, just to be sure.

What's even more frustrating is that out of the dozens of shops lining the streets of both Okinawa and Tokyo's Kamarocho district, only a small handful are open for business. So many of the doors are welded shut that the cities start to feel like a movie set in a cheap western, with each living, breathing building separated by dozens of flat cardboard facades. Granted, a lot of content was removed from the Western release, but even the mahjong parlors without mahjong in them have doors. This leads to the uncomfortable conclusion that even the Japanese game has a lot less to offer the player than the colorful downtown scenery would suggest.  What Sega has done is stretch the cozy towns of Shenmue out to a more realistic size without broadening the experience accordingly. It's the kind of deceptive shell game that players have come to expect from the Sega of today, rather than the brave ambition that defined the company in the Dreamcast days.

Honestly, there's a lot about Yakuza 3 that could stand to be improved.  The escape sequences which force you to chase after your enemies, or run from them, are a clumsy means of advancing the plot and not much fun to play.  The graphics are inconsistent, alternating between realistic environments and long strings of boxy buildings with textures slapped on the sides.  Finally, the mini-games are kind of crummy... why settle for three frames of bowling when you can play the whole game with motion controls in Wii Sports?

Yakuza 3's shortcomings keep the game from reaching its full potential, but at the same time, it just feels right that they're here.  Even in its best moments, Sega was never perfect, but its willingness to reach for the stars and pull back a hand full of tempered brilliance was what made the company a legend in the 1990s.  Yakuza 3 is a return to those days of high aspirations and unrestrained- if undisciplined- creativity, and a welcome break from Sega's current modus operendi of half-hearted spin-offs.

Playstation 3

tech specs


STI "Cell" Processor




256M+256M for GPU


Blu-Ray (25Gb)






1080p (1920x1080)


True Color (>16M)




275M per second

best games

Little Big Planet
Street Fighter IV
Valkyria Chronicles

(note: best games selected by common consensus. I'm still catching up!)

worst games

Cross Edge
Hail to the Chimp
Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
Sonic the Hedgehog ('06)
Vampire Rain

(note: worst games selected by common consensus. I'm still catching up!)