Classic video games are all the rage these days. Microsoft and Nintendo regularly trot out old titles for obsolete systems and offer them for download on their new consoles. Online networks such as GameTap charge users a subscription fee to play classic titles. And developers regularly release "greatest hits" compilations of vintage time-wasters to play on current systems. But here are five old games that we hope never to see brought out of the vault, along with the reasons why.
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker1990 Sega Genesis
Objective: Help Michael rescue kidnapped children from the bad guys using magic powers and killer dance moves.
Why not: It's actually not that bad a game, but child-molestation accusations in the following years have diminished Jackson's kid-saving appeal.
Shaq Fu1994 Super NES, Genesis, Amiga
Objective: Basketball star Shaquille O'Neal enters an alternate reality to save a boy using "Mortal Kombat"-type fight moves.
Why not: "Fu"? More like phooey. Wretched game play and a ridiculous plot make the NBA all-star a no-star loser in this misconceived video-game outing.
E.T.1982 Atari 2600
Objective: The extraterrestrial star of the blockbuster film must find the missing pieces of a communication device so he can "phone home."
Why not: Rushed out to capitalize on the movie's popularity, this game was so bad that it's widely credited with killing Atari. Millions of unsold copies were crushed and dumped in a landfill.
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon1993 Philips CD-i
Objective: Princess Zelda embarks on an adventure to find the missing hero Link and her father.
Why not: Nintendo would rather you forget that it once sold the rights to its hugely popular "Zelda" games to Philips, which created this embarrassing entry -- poor game play, lousy graphics, laughable voice acting -- for its failed CD-i system.
Custer's Revenge1982 Atari 2600
Objective: A naked Gen. George Custer must get past various obstacles to have sex with a nude Indian woman tied to a cactus.
Why not: A lame attempt to produce porn video games in pre-ratings days, this despicable title would be even more notorious if the characters had looked like anything more than pixelated stick figures on the 2600. Still, "Grand Theft Auto," anyone?