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Attack of the clones: The 15 worst ports of beloved games

From Street Fighter to Skyrim, we look at the poorest ever conversions

Not all systems are created equal. Much as we'd love every console to play everything perfectly, developers often have to make concessions when porting games across different hardware.

This isn't a new problem. Ports have been commonplace ever since the genesis of Atari 2600 in the late '70s, with arcade favourites such as Pong making their digital emigration to home TVs.

In more recent years, multiplatform porting has been a financial necessity for publishers. The trade-off is that, more often than not, a port of a game will always be the inferior version. So below we have listed the worst game conversions ever, explaining what went wrong and why they an enfeebled experience.

Brace yourselves and enjoy the wince-worthy ride.


Skyrim (PlayStation 3)

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The fifth Elder Scrolls game was an enormous adventure, one initially released to huge critical acclaim. It quickly became clear however that the PS3 version wasn't quite as suited to longer adventures as the PC and Xbox 360 ones were.

Players started reporting dodgy frame rates on the PS3 version shortly after it was released, with things getting even worse and almost unplayable as the game progressed (see the video above for our own evidence of this). It appeared that as the game's save file exceeded 6MB, things would get even worse, with regular crashes added to the increasingly juddery frame rate.

A patch was eventually released, and while it did fix the frame rate to an extent (though not completely), the game's visuals were downgraded as a result.


Pac-Man (Atari 2600)

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We've seen some historically rubbish ports over the years but there aren't many that can claim to be partly responsible for a games industry crash. When Pac-Man fever hit the US in the early '80s, publisher Atari believed it was sitting on a potential goldmine.

As the only company licensed to make an official console version of Pac-Man, Atari set to work on a version for its 2600 console. Predicting huge sales, Atari manufactured 12 million Pac-Man cartridges. This turned out to be a little ambitious as "only" seven million copies were sold, though this still made it the biggest-selling Atari 2600 game ever.

The problem came when people took the game home, tried it out and were greeted with the eyesore you see above. Countless customers returned their games for a full refund and shops were left with countless unsold and returned copies of the game, even when Atari lopped as much as 95% off the full retail price.

Ultimately, Pac-Man was one of two games (the other being ET) that contributed most to the video game crash of 1983, where disillusioned customers were sick of being conned and stopped buying games altogether. If it hadn't been for the NES and Super Mario Bros, this game could have killed gaming. That's how bad a port it was.


Bayonetta (PlayStation 3)

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Despite being a fantastic game on both Xbox 360 and PS3, there was no denying that the latter's port was the poorest of the two.

As well as the odd frame rate judder, the PS3 version of Bayonetta suffered from dodgy controls, and muddier and lower-quality graphics, as the video above demonstrates.

Worst of all however was the loading times, which were so bad Platinum Games had to release a patch that allowed players to install the game in order to make loading quicker.

In an interview with Edge last year, Platinum Games' director Atsushi Inaba described the decision to outsource the PS3 port as "the biggest failure for Platinum so far". "Looking back on the result, and especially what ended up being released to users, I regard that as our biggest failure," he elaborated.

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