As Edge sorts out the top 50 developers, Brian Howe sets about toe-tagging the bottom 50
50-41. Dishonourable Mentions: Thunderdog, Ninjatoad, Bubblegoat, Starduck, Snarkhog, Candyhorse, Battlebird, Ticklefish, Chubbyshark, Sumowolf – your names suck.
40. Creationism Software: Notable for shoddy Bible-themed knock-offs like Tomb Riser, Sonic The Mennonite and Pokémoses.
39. Titan Interactive: Acquired the rights to Marvel Comics icon Professor X. Made a platformer.
38. Maniac Studios: Suffers from high talent turnover due to 130-hour weeks and overtime pay in the form of energy drinks.
37. Facsimile Designs: Its attempt to copy America’s Army in collaboration with the US Postal Service was met with indifference.
36. Attractive Games: To keep payroll down, recruits all programmers straight out of school – cosmetology school.
35. Visionary Entertainment: Tragically ahead of its time, went bust trying to develop games for the rotary-dial phone.
34. Reflection Gaming: Pushed the ‘secondperson shooter’, which never took off.
33. XD3: As many of its competitors adopted Unreal, tried to mask its broken engine by releasing Journey To The Centre Of The Code.
32. Enigma: Once a giant of licensed games, ruinously optioned The Criterion Collection and made a ponderous MMORPG based on Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal.
31. Monkey Factory: Cursed by its own sensibleness in an insensible genre, it made point-and-click adventure games with logical solutions no one thought to try.
30. 33 bottles: Dragged down by a CEO rumoured to believe game mechanics are implemented via magical rites.
29. Super Fly Studios: Notorious for trying to use a Kickstarter campaign to fund a mini-doc for a larger Kickstarter campaign.
28. Virtual Playground: Crushed by a class-action lawsuit after releasing a figure skates peripheral for Oksana Baiul’s Pro Skater.
27. Philatelist HQ: Its line of stamp-collecting games became popular as a deterrent to bad behaviour in public schools.
26. Gradual Revolution: Seems to think a release date is the day when you issue a press release announcing delays.
25. Tesseract Phoenix: Employees complain its HR dept is staffed by basilisks.
24. Rockin’ Role Technologies: Famed for the failed Ska Band franchise; gamers declined to play endless quarter and eighth notes on a single-buttoned guitar.
23. Infolandcom: Predicted the Power Glove was the future of gaming. Wound up with warehouses full of unsold Power Scarves.
22. Silicon Conquistadors: Squandered millions trying to bring next-gen graphics to Tiger LCD handhelds.
21. Global Developments Ltd: All decisions are dictated by upper management, many of whom are buckets with mean faces drawn on set on brooms in Italian suits.
20. Zilch: As the rest of the industry moved on to graphical interfaces, this text-game dev went the other way, embracing hexadecimal.
19. Infodatacom: Produced compelling titles, but all for the Apple Pippin.
18. Seldomsoft: Bankrupted by trying to revive Leisure Suit Larry as an all-ages series.
17. Totem Games: Its games were so hard that, until the Game Genie, nobody realised they were three minutes long.
16. Team5Axis: Experiments in axonometric perspective resulted in game environments requiring a graphing calculator.
15. Undercooked: Seems to have lost the will to live after a Digital Crafts merger.
14. Digital Crafts: May actually be some kind of vampire hive mind.
13. GoGoGames: Signed a 20-year exclusivity deal with the Nokia N-Gage.
12. Blood Punch Games: Sadly, the whole design team was institutionalised after focus groups demanded an open-world side-scrolling shooter with dating-sim elements.
11. Geo Neo: Fought the Neo Geo, a cabinet that housed six interchangeable cartridges, with the Geo Neo – one cartridge that came with six cabinets.
10. Someindiecompany: Missing the point of BioShock’s success, grafted a generic shooter onto a macroeconomic strategy game based on the work of Friedrich Hayek.
9. Tinysoft: A reverse halfway house leading from a game development career to divorce and type-2 diabetes.
8. DenialWare: Refused to admit that its games caused not only seizures, but also alopecia and rickets.
7. Japan: Their games suck, according to a guy who almost killed himself making Fedora.
6. Your little cousin: Yes, he’s only like six, but his LittleBigPlanet levels are crap.
5. Bernie Madoff: Massively defrauded investors; never released a single game.
4. Suicide Studios: Very high turnover.
3. Cthulhu: Less of a game company than a malevolent cosmic entity out of nightmare.
2. Führersoft: Before turning to monstrosity, he was a frustrated developer.
1. NStorm: Making Elf Bowling once is an accident. Making it twice is a declaration of war against humanity.
Illustration: Marsh Davies