The Worst Video Game

I once visited a friend who had the home version of Hologram Time Traveler, that Sega arcade game with live-action holograms that looked like a washing machine and cost as much as a coin-operated washing machine to play.

This was a fun gimmick to see at the arcade, but the game wasn’t any fun to play. The home version (which worked on PS2, XBOX, or any DVD player) lacked the hologram gimmick and also seemed to have less responsive controls. Which is not a good quality for a game that requires Dragon’s Lair-style timing.

Because this was possibly the worst video game I had ever encountered, I wanted my own copy. So I ordered it from

And then I guess I forgot about it. Weeks later, the following exchange occurred:

I came across my copy of the game this week while reorganizing all of my disc-based media. I was not tempted to play it, though. Maybe I should bring it to a future SB meet-up.


OH MY GOD I KNEW WHAT THIS WAS GOING TO BE ABOUT BEFORE OPENING THE THREAD I WASTED SO MUCH MONEY WATCHING THE TINY HOLOGRAM MAN GET SHOT please bring this to a meetup my favorite kind of nostalgia is non-traumatic horrible experiences

i was gonna say ‘well im glad they saved it’ BUT IM NOT AT ALL


fuck … this game

so many memories

because it was obviously so ‘high tech’ i just assumed that it must also be ‘good’ and that i was just an idiot for having literally no idea how to play it or even what aspects of it were like… interactive

both this and dragon’s lair bring back deep seated sense-memories of being left unattended with a modest sack of quarters in vegas casino video arcades on family road trips

this is a legendary thread please play it and post about what its deal actually is

this game persisted at sunnyvale golfland bc it was so eye-catching, it fooled EVERYONE whos never played it before. also its easier to reach than other cabinets.

when i heard that the owner of SVGL gave a ton of money to fight prop 8 i headcanoned it as he used all the money he ripped off from weird gay kids on the cowboy washer to donate to anti gay marriage bill

that story is better than the game.

It is impressive that this hardware only had two games, and both games are the worst game of all time.

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I have this on dvd but have never played it. wonder how it compares.

The Quiet Man

This is what it looks like:



The home version includes a making-of video from the year the arcade game was released. It’s more entertaining than the game itself, but that’s not a difficult feat.



They talk about how much money the game made (a lot), how they plan to make a holographic movie next, and how this could lead to video games maturing into an art form. Here’s a guy carrying a bag of quarters out of an arcade:



I played this a couple years ago at an NYC barcade at a party Warner Bros. threw for a Mortal Kombat 25th anniversary. The cabinet is this gorgeous, huge curved white plastic piece. I remember it as big as a TMNT 4-player machine but for no apparent reason (presumably it needs that much distance for the hologram effect to look believable).

It was the worst game in the whole place, and almost the most interesting


@BIGHEADMODE and I played the home version of this over a decade ago and it was a real experience. If you ever wonder why we’re friends, I think you can credit Time Traveler for our unbreakable bonds


Probably Sonic Blast for Game Gear.

Before I came across Hologram Time Traveler, I guess I considered Bethesda’s Home Alone for NES the worst game I’d played. We borrowed it from a neighborhood kid at some point. I hadn’t (and still haven’t) seen the movie, but the game was obviously a rushed cash grab. The good version of that game is Spy vs. Spy on the Commodore 64.

One game that I liked and didn’t find out until years later that I wasn’t supposed to is E.T. on the Atari 2600. It was awkward to play, but I admired its strangeness.


yeah ET is great! its by the yars revenge guy. i know this because there was a g4 commerical where he comes in with his weird hippy clothes and says ‘im ________ [I FORGOT HIS NAME]. i made yars revenge, the best game ever… and ET the worst game ever’

but they’re both really solid games i think he made my favorite atari games


I mean…Time Traveler and my inimitable charms, right?


I only meant that we have very different personalities and it sometimes surprises folks that we actually get along irl

My favorite part of your wedding was when I realized that you habitually downloaded horrible X-Arcade indie games and didn’t realize that the extent of this behavior was unusual.

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my memories of Time Traveler mostly come from my local Food Town (supermarket) as a kid. in the entrance to the store, they always had a few arcade machines and eventually they had this one, which in retrospect seems kind of weird, because i bet this was a really expensive cabinet.

eventually, they replaced Time Traveler with one of the other hologram games, Holosseum, a bad fighting game.

as a kid, i didn’t think these games were bad so much as i thought they were “hard,” in the way that kids under a certain age lack the awareness to understand that a game is poorly made

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