Written By: Elijah Moon Blackwell
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
We’ve heard this cliche our entire lives and I do try to live by it. Well, what about logos? Do they fall under the same philosophy? If so, I have been violating it severely.
When I’m at thrift stores or flea markets sifting through piles of electronic artifacts, I look for tell-tale signs of quality. It’s not the most effective method but it certaintly gets me moving faster. There is only so much time and a ton of second hand shops.
So here I am deep into decades old junk looking for computer video games. I look for titles, interesting box art and, most importantly, logos.
A logo, I feel, tells a story. The company behind the logo has a history. Using the history as basis, you can sort of predict the quality of their products.
I still end up purchasing the games, as second hand vendors charge very little, but it doesn’t keep me from having an initial reaction.
The following logos are the ones that invoke a negative feeling. That type of feeling that makes me shake my head, grimace or show some other visible sign of disgust. The games behind these logos are probably garbage or are a pain to install on modern machines.
Honestly there are too many to list (or even fully remember) so for now just take six. They are in no specific order because I loathe them all equally.
It’s quite common to hear people complain about Electronic Arts. There is a genuine reason for it. As time passes their games get progressively worse and bloated with microtranscations.
As a collector, EA is a giant red flag. It’s not because their games are inherently bad; most of the time, in fact, they are really good. It’s due to the compatibility with modern hardware. Anytime I get an older EA game I know it’s not going to work on Windows 10.
An example of this is Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. MoH’s CD-ROM houses copy protection software. This particular software disagrees with Windows 10. This is present within almost every EA game from the early 2000s. There are fixes, but they don’t always work. I could not get my copy of MoH to work so I just bought it off GOG when it went on sale.
Sadly, this is just one reason why EA is a giant red flag.
Budget titles are the worst. Before holiday sales, shady websites and a vast indie game market, there were budget titles. As the name suggests, budget titles are video games made with little funding. These were games you’d find on the shelf at Wal-Mart that were considerably cheaper than their big budget counterparts.
ValuSoft is a publisher of these titles. They have unfortunately been in my life since I was a child. It all started with Prison Tycoon. Kid me loved that game as it was my first strategy game. But upon playing Age of Empires and Sim City 3000 I realized how garbage it truly is. The funny thing? I think Prison Tycoon is their best made game, though I question the premise of the game itself.
Most of ValuSoft’s games are short and bland. It’s hard to explain how garbage ValuSoft’s games are without showing them. So if you want an example, check out this Pokemon game that has ValuSoft’s name on it.
I have yet to play a ValuSoft game that I consider good and would replay. If I ever find one, believe me, it’ll be a big event. I’ll make sure this website, the Instagram and the YouTube channel knows about it.
It is important to note that ValuSoft doesn’t exist anymore. If you worked at ValuSoft and you are somehow reading this, please reach out to me using the “Say Wassup” section. I’d love to know what went on at that company.
So Activison is pretty amazing. They gave us Gun, the Movies, Solider of Fortune and many more awesome games. But like Harvey Dent of the Batman series, Activison has a dark side.
This side can be summed up in two words: budget titles. They have published an ungodly number of them. This is the biggest reason why the Activison logo scares me. If I don’t recognize the game and it has their logo on the box art, I begin to sweat.
See, with ValuSoft you know what you are getting yourself into. You can predict the quality of the game based on ValuSoft’s name alone. But with Activison, it’s a little different.
Activison has a record of good games, so there is a chance of the unknown game you just found being a hidden gem that the masses forgot about. Sure, you could research the game beforehand, but if you don’t, it’s like playing a massive game of chance.
Luckily for us, sometimes Activison will put “value publishing” under their logo. That’s helpful, as it highlights the games of questionable quality.
If you see a game that looks like a decent first person shooter with Mastiff’s name on it…beware. It’s actually an on rails shooter that is more boring that playing Euro Truck Simulator. On rails mean you don’t move, you just aim and shoot. Think of those shooting games found in arcades like Time Crisis or House of the Dead. Mastiff’s on rail shooters happen to be really bad. There isn’t a story or really much to the game. Take Reload for example. A game that boasts honing your shooting skills…but all you do is shoot at targets. That’s it. You are at a computer simulated gun range shooting targets. Does that sound like fun to you?
Okay, so this developer has some good games. It is more of red flag to me because of the genre. Point and click adventure games are my least favorite kinds of games. I can’t stand puzzles and usually point/click games are full of them.
Anytime I see their logo I shrug, buy their game and let it sit on the shelf. I will say, the box art for their games are really interesting. I also recognize that a lot of people find value in this genre, so I collect them for that tight knit community.
These guys made the Game Genie, the cart that let’s you cheat on certain NES games. They also published the first, and best, Operation Flashpoint game. However, they are also guilty for making trash. Rise of the Argonauts, Damnation and many more awful action games plague their development history. They should stick to what they know best, racing games.
But a company is dedicated to making good Formula 1 or Rally racing games messes up every once and awhile. Enter Colin McRae Rally 2013. You would think that a driving simulator would come packaged with a cockpit view and manual transmission but no, not in Colin McRae Rally 2013.
CodeMasters is the true definition of “hit or miss” as each year their F1 series ranges in quality.
F1 2013: Oh hey, CodeMasters is back with a good F1 game. Some minor improvements with some new circuits. Last year wasn’t so hot but 2013 is the begining of a new age of good…..
F1 2014: ……well nevermind, somehow in a year CodeMasters took a million steps backwards. What happened?
CodeMasters has a very rocky track record. Even in the genre they specialize in they tend to mess it all up eventually. Add that to the unlicensed NES carts they produced, and they just have a weird, shady aura surrounding them.
I feel like I would be giving a free pass to the other logos if I didn’t at least mention them. So the following are logos that make me shudder every time I see them. I won’t explain why, you just have to use your imagination (unless you’ve experienced their shameful practices first hand).
Want to let me know what your least favorite company logo is and why? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. Thank you so much for reading!