My 5 Most Disappointing Ports of all Time!


Well we didn’t mean bad gun ports, we meant bad game ports…
Anyhow, just because the title of a game is the same it doesn’t mean that the game will be the same. Developers have had the daunting task of porting games to run on various platforms throughout time.

In the early 80’s programmers had to write a number of different versions since no platform was pre-eminent. There were Atari 800, C64, Apple, Mac and IBM PC versions of games, but because of the specific constraints of each systems, the games were not all the same. Some games were horrific excuses of a translation. One can argue that all of the games on older systems, Atari 2600 being the main culprit, made horrendous version of the arcade original. Ok, I can entertain that argument, but some were so disappointing that they deserve special mention here.

Admittedly, Atari 2600 games were never quite the same as their arcade counterparts. However some games like Missile Command, Space Invaders, Asteroids, and Defender still captured some of the magic of those machines, and were also fun as games all on their own.

Throughout the years the home console versions have caught up in quality, up to the point that arcades have all but vanished.

This article speaks about my most disappointing experiences with home versions after playing the arcade version. (With exception to #2 which is a recent disappointing version of Alone in the Dark on xbox360.)

5.  Donkey Kong (2600 – arcade)

I had three points of reference points during the 80’s:

– The high powered arcade version
– The Atari 400/800 versions (also Commodore 64) {Our family owned the Atari 400, then later the Atari 130 XE}
– The Atari 2600 versions {our cousins had the 2600}


What in the H… E…  (double hockey sticks) is this about? Donkey Kong looks like the result of someone’s stomach ache! I could not believe how poor the translation was when I first played it on the 2600. Was this rushed out to meet a deadline? Was this effort the best that could be done with the resources that the 2600 provided? Thank you Coleco Vision, no wonder your not around anymore.  They should have said, based on the arcade version of Donkey Kong.

Atari 400/800 version


Ahhh….this is much better, believe it or not, this is the Atari 400/800 home version. Almost as good as arcade quality but at home. My brothers and I played countless of hours of this game and thoroughly enjoyed this port.

Arcade version


And this my friends is the real McCoy, the best the game can get with the highest technological resources available. Even though I had the game at home, the crisp sharp cartooney graphics still garnered quarters from my pocket at the local arcade called “Big Mouth”

#4 Double Dragon NES – Arcade


Double Dragon is one of the most popular arcade-style action fighting games ever, and has been used as a classic model for subsequent beat’em-up games (River City Ransom being my favorite). Published initially as an arcade title only, it’s huge success has allowed the game to be converted across multiple platforms. I remember playing this game at the local bowling alley early Saturday mornings. You can imagine how excited I was when I heard the news about an NES version of the game! WOOOHOOOOO!


Wait a minute? Only 4 levels? What? you cannot play simultaneously with a friend in the main game. How was I supposed to defeat the bimbo with the whip without someone holding her down first? To make things worse, you couldn’t get through difficult bosses with a well timed elbow like in the arcade. Hey TradeWest, nice going! Why don’t you just take me out to back and kick me in the groin instead?

#3 Final Fight Snes – Arcade



Ah, Final Fight, I can remember the first time I played this game in a Showtime Pizza Place by route 4 many years ago. I was amazed with the large graphics and awesome raw power the game demonstrated during the fighting scenes. When Final Fight made it to my home console, I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait!  Then….it happened again!  No two player option? No Cody? I was so upset we named our new dog Cody in protest.  I wonder where that dog is now…What’s up with Beat ’em up games? I remember feeling equally disappointed when I started playing Final Fight, just like Double Dragon. Maybe its because I had two brothers and playing together really made it fun!

#2 Alone in the Dark – Xbox 360- PS3



Bad Ports didn’t always happen in the 8-16 bit days.  Gamers experienced a similar situation last year with the premature release of Alone in the dark on the 360/wii. Many criticized the gameplay problems, such as car physics, awkward controls, and a cumbersome inventory system to say the least. The PS3 version was halted and they patched up some of the issues and release a mega-hit game. Hey…what about me? I don’t have PS3? I’m an xbox guy…
Well I have seen articles on the web about a patch being released for the Xbox that would fix the problems, but nothing is definitive. I guess they figured, the roar of the release has gone and passed and it wouldn’t behoove them to release a patch now months after the fact.

# 1 Pacman – 2600- Arcade



Ok, we have made it to the most disappointing ports of all time and it was the easiest choice one can ever make. The game was released in 1981 for the 2600 and I was only 5, but I can remember thinking to myself, what is this?  The decent version of Ms. Pac-Man that would come later proved that limited technology was no excuse for this debacle.  From poor graphics, to poor audio, to flickering yellow ghosts to poor many to’s can I write? Overall a disaster, which was 50% responsible for the video game crash of 1983. (ET was the other 50%.)

Arcade Version


Well folks, this wraps up my 5 most disappointing game ports of all time.  Next time you pick up a game, please consider how good the game is as well as how good the game is on the platform you are running it on!

– Refugee (Perez Start Retro writer)

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. You’re right about Final Fight, I really was disappointed to see only 2 out of the 3 characters. He was actually a vital part of the arcade version since it WAS his girlfriend that was kidnapped. What the H-E- double “curling” brooms!

  2. Yes, Final Fight did fall short but it all started with Double Dragon. They opened the door for mediocrity!

  3. big rigs over the road racing is the worst game ever u need 2 know that

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