When I started writing these best games bits, I said that I wouldn’t try to do any snarky takedowns of awful games. While being clever and humorous might be difficult, hating on things is easy and not interesting. Pretending to hate things to prove your ‘cred’ is one of the more terrible aspects of human nature, so I made a conscious effort to avoid doing that. That said, there is some value in defining the bounds of the scale. Sonic Shuffle is the worst game I have ever played.
When I write one of these, I usually track down the game I am writing about and give it a quick once over. I’ll play it again for a few minutes, refresh my memory with some research, and collect my own thoughts on the game while trying to avoid other reviews and perspectives. Not this time. I could go and fetch the disc from the plastic bin it calls home, and I could either hook up one of the two dreamcasts in there with it, or attempt to run it on an emulator. I could search youtube for a commentary free playthrough of Sonic Shuffle. I could search out a review from the time that the game came out. I just couldn’t muster the interest. I couldn’t bring myself to devote more time than it takes to write this post. Sonic Shuffle hasn’t earned that.
There are a lot of games that are terrible. Some are broken messes. Some control poorly. Some are just plain boring. I guarantee you this, no matter how boring you think a game is, it is a goddamn rollercoaster compared to Sonic Shuffle. Zork is a rock concert shooting fireworks over a monster truck rodeo compared to Sonic Shuffle. If there was a game development flow chart where every branching path had an option to take more time and do less with it, Sonic Shuffle followed every single one of those. I have had more fun creating an Excel spreadsheet than with this example of entertainment software. That’s not a joke. That’s literally true.
Sonic Shuffle purports to be a party game, so maybe I would have had more fun with it if I had played it with a group of friends. That won’t happen. I like my friends, and watching them slide off a couch into a pile of disinterested disgust doesn’t appeal to me.
You might notice that I haven’t really gone into the card based mechanics of the game or the variety of minigames. The overarching mechanic is Nim as a multiplayer game. If the game succeeds anywhere, it is proving that Nim doesn’t work with more than 2 players. Go look it up yourself if you are interested. I won’t. I’m already bored from typing that sentence.
There you go. Now you know where the bottom of the scale lies. If I play a game that I don’t really like, I can always think “is it worse than Sonic Shuffle”. I can honestly say that nothing in the 40 plus year history of videogames is.
Sonic Shuffle is the worst game. Probably ever.