Worst Videogame Power-Up: And the Winner Is…


?Oh, I know I’m going to get grief for this, but I’m a little swamped — actual Topless Robot shenanigans, and not just me overnapping during lunch — plus my inability to properly define power-ups versus items (since they often overlap) mean that this winner announcement will like leave everyone unsatisifed and pissed off (much like my sex life! Beat you to it, bastards). My only main criteria was that the item/power-up must have been intended by the gamemakers to be a benefit, but actually sucked.

Now, I do have a few Honorable Mentions, because I know you’d skin me alive without them, but you’ll have to find them in the entries. RobP, Gamer, Meddler, LazerWolf, Nephilim of Sin, JOE, Julian, This Charming Man, The Rain King, DangU, sweetestsadist and Lily412 all had massively entertaining entries if not the shittiest power-ups. Now for the winners — and I decided to award two in hopes of quelling some of

Quixotico said:

Arkanoid. The Multi-Ball power-up.
No, you can’t juggle three of those damned balls at once.
No, you can’t manage two for more than a couple bounces.
But you’re gonna try your damnedest, aren’t you? And you know what you get for trying?
You end up stuttering between two diverging balls and lose them all, plus a life.
Congratulations. Better hope the next power-up is an extra life.

You’re exactly right, Quixicoto. It sounds like a benefit, in that you have more balls to break blocks with, but in trying to keep them, you inevitably lose all of them. Good call. Exactly what I was thinking of.

SplingyDingy said:

The Cloak of Darkness from Wizards and Warriors on the NES.
You labor to get this thing, thinking “wow, cool, I can hide from enemies!” Nope. You use it, your enemies can still see you, only you can’t see yourself on the screen anymore. That’s an important little datum one needs when playing a game, it turns out.
It’s the programmer’s equivalent of a smack in the back of the head. Which would have been more useful, thinking of it.

A lot of people suggested this item, but SlingyDingy got it first. I have zero doubt this was also intended to be a benefit, but the gamemakers forgot to program it to make the wearer invisible for the enemies. Or didn’t know how. Like jumping on those goddamn trees wasn’t impossible enough.

All right, congratulations to the winners, and the rest of you canheap your scorn and rage on me in the comments. I have it coming. And it’s not like I mind. I mean, I have to watch Heroes later tonight. There’s nothing you can say that’s going to hurt me worse than that.