3. Rocky Rodent (1993)
The 90's were a minefield of attitude and anthropomorphism, and Japanese developer Irem's Rocky Rodent, or as it was known in Japan, Nitro Punks: Might Heads (alert: much better title), was one of the worst offenders.
Like all 90's videogame protagonists, Rocky's personality seems to have been picked at random from a dartboard labeled "ATTITUDE." Your main goal in the game is to rescue restaurateur Pie Face Balboa's daughter from the mafia in exchange for an all-you-can-eat buffet; and your main weapon in the game is hairspray, which you use to style your hair into one of four predictably outrageous hairdos.
So while Irem may have cranked out another failed Sonic clone with no future, the real losers are Sega, for not realizing how awesome a game about Sonic having to fight off all of his 90's doppelgangers would have been.
2. Boogerman (1994-1995)
Way back when, children's entertainment didn't have to be educational. It didn't even have to make sense. If you had a bucket of slime, you had a Nickelodeon show. Boogerman took that formula and went a step further. I can picture the meeting at Interplay: "What do 8-year-old boys like?" "Superheroes & grossing out girls." "Great, what if there was a superhero whose powers were all things that grossed out girls." Boom: Boogerman. He is the best at burps and farts.
But Interplay went a step further. They wanted to get the maximum amount of FPMs (farts per minute) out of their game. They made everything gross. You're not fighting cleanliness, little girls or anything that would make sense. You're fighting farts with farts. The final boss is a taller version of you with the same booger-powers. It's not clear why you're fighting him at all, except possibly to make your little sister throw up.
To be fair, it worked. When I was nine and I heard about Boogerman, I was like "Oh hell yes." Then I played it. Even back then the gross-out factor wasn't enough to overcome wonky controls and boring level designs. Boogerman's only other appearance was in Clayfighter 63 1/3. He was featured as Earthworm Jim's rival, which makes sense. Earthworm Jim was a creative, funny, well-made game. I can see why Boogerman would want to kill him.
1. Awesome Possum (1993)
If the artistic goal of the 1990's was to invent Sonic the Hedgehog only worse and two years late, then Tengen is Michelangeo and Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt is their Sistine Chapel. Not only is it another Sonic knock-off (a crowded category on this list), but it tries to shoehorn in an educational message (strike two) about recycling (strike three). This is a game about collecting empty cans & bottles instead of gold rings. It combines all the fun of trash collection with the environmental impact of playing videogames.
The graphics are terrible, the design is insipid, and Awesome Possum's digitized voice sounds like it's coming out of a robot's butthole. The game even stops being a platformer occasionally and just asks you depressing questions about the environment. Each questionnaire takes place in front of council of endangered species, which makes you wonder: if these guys are organized enough to interrogate a possum about deforestation, they should be smart enough to team up & maul some loggers to death.
This game was such a pathetic attempt at making environmentalism fun, each copy came with a hemp necklace and an apology note. For the record, it's way easier to brainwash kids if you hide your message inside a game they might play more than once. As both a mascot and an advocate, Awesome Possum backfired horribly: the only message this terrible game left children with was the subconscious desire to drive a burning Hummer over a styrofoam crate full of barn owls.