Great Old Gaming FAILS – Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing

There are a fair few contenders for the title of Worst Game of All Time. Is it ET for the Atari 2600? A game that was so bad they buried all the evidence in the desert. Or is it Big Rigs? A game that is, in a word, broken.

Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing was released in 2003 for Windows PC and the box made some pretty big promises. You were to race a big truck, with a trailer full of illegal goodies, whilst trying to stay away from the police. The cover artwork depicted one of the trucks smashing in to a police car. The 1980s and 90s were over. Surely cover artwork in the new millennium couldn’t lie as it had done all to often in the old one?

This game went straight to the bargain bins and it went there for a reason. As such, however, it’s pretty hard to find a version nowadays. I remember being passed it at University to give a go by a mate who was smirking. So I installed the game, chose my truck and course, and the game crashed. Ooo bad start. Let’s try again. Same crash. It turns out one of the courses would always crash the game if you ever tried to select it. Okay let’s pick a different course. Ooo I’ll pick that truck. There’s my opponent. Here we go…. Wait a minute? Isn’t this meant to be a race? Why was my rival truck not moving? Hmm.

Now that I think about it why does turning corners not slow me down at all? Bit random that. Same with the fact that the only sound in the game was that of the truck accelerating. Ooo damn I crashed in to a… wait a minute here… I went THROUGH the building? Through it?! Am I a ghost truck?! And it didn’t slow me down at all?! This was actually kind of fun. Nothing would slow you down. You could drive up mountains at a 90 degree angle and still not slow down. At all. Ever. And you could just keep on driving a a steady 70 miles an hour (the games top speed) in any direction almost for ever as you could just drive outside of the game world and keep on going. Fun times! No matter what you did, or where you went, because your opponent never left the starting grid you would always, always, win. And you’d win to the now infamous words “You’re Winner!”

A patch was released that let you select the crash stage but made no other gameplay fixes. Hmm… Okay. Maybe the 2nd patch would fix it? Your opponent truck now started off the race. Ooo we have a race! There was still zero collision detection mind you so there was that. Oh and there was another bug… If your rival made it to the finish line before you he’d pull up a foot short meaning that it was STILL impossible to lose this game no matter what you did.

I was taking the game back to my mate when he asked me something… Had I played the game in reverse? Huh? He just said hold the reverse key and see what happens. Okay. Fair enough. I started the race, put my truck in to reverse, and accelerated. Oh by the gods did I accelerate. My speedo was whizzing round and round. First the speed of sound went by, then as I kept accelerating exponentially faster, I took my hand off of the reverse and instantly stopped. Were I real person in that truck the whiplash of that instant deceleration would have instantly liquefied me.

So the question then is just how fast could you travel backwards? Some smarter people than me worked it out. You could reach 1.23×1037 mph. That’s 1028 times the speed of light. So 10, followed by 28 “0s,” times the speed of light. Wow. If you reached that speed the game would stop and you’d instantly automatically win. There was some seriously wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff going here.

It’s for all these reasons that many regard it as worst game of all time. There isn’t any game to play. It’s an experience, a surprisingly fun one at times, but nope. Definitely not a game.

I was going to leave this review here but then it got me to thinking… How can a game like this get made? Well it was all about the money. Typical small budget PC Games of the early 2000s had budgets of around $250,000 dollars. California based developer Stellar Stone had an idea that’d make development cheaper. They’d hire a small team in Ukraine to make the game for them on a budget of just $15,000.

Then, upon receiving the alpha game (the earliest playable version), they simply decided to release that to cut costs. And it’s bad. So very bad.

But the thing is to me, despite how undoubtedly awful the game is when reviewed as a game, there is still a part of me that finds it very fun to play. ET for the Atari 2600 might have been a more completed game (a sentence that logically shouldn’t exist) but it’s a drain to play. Fun wins out every single time.