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