The vast majority of video games that are bought and played are never finished. There are many reasons for this, such as a game becoming too difficult for the player or just taking too long to reach its conclusion. The fact that you can quickly watch any video game ending on YouTube has also removed a lot of the incentive to overcome a particularly tricky end boss.
There are some video games that are actually impossible to complete, due to either serious glitches, a design oversight by the developers, or through issues with the hardware that it’s running on. Then, there are some video games that have no ending at all, yet the game still has a point at which you can no longer play them and are forced to return to the main menu, which we will also cover on this list. The ability to easily patch console games has meant that this phenomenon has faded away over time, which means that it’s mostly classic games that have kept the player from seeing the ending.
We are here today to discover which video games will prevent you from ever completing them – from the dog and the lightspeed ducks to the game that was so broken that it defied a working patch.
Here are the 20 Video Games That Are Impossible To Complete!
20 Robocop (Commodore 64)
There are some games that can’t be completed due to an oversight, but Robocop was intentionally made impossible to finish by the developer, as the rest of the game wasn’t playable and couldn’t be finished in time in order to meet a strict deadline.
The Commodore 64 version of Robocop has a timer on the fifth level that is so strict that you cannot actually complete the level on time, regardless of how skilled you are. It’s possible to progress to the next stage with the aid of a glitch, but the level is totally unplayable due to the graphics being corrupted. A fully playable version of the game wasn’t made available until 2012.
19 Duck Hunt (NES)
The infamous dog from Duck Hunt scarred the minds of an entire generation of gamers with his mocking laughter. He has since returned in the Super Smash Bros. series to make a new generation despise him for his trick-based fighting style. It seems that the dog is always destined to have the last laugh, howeverm as you cannot complete Duck Hunt due to the game freaking out.
If you complete level 99 in Duck Hunt, the next level will roll the counter around to zero and will cause the ducks to move so fast that you can’t hit them. The dog will also start laughing repeatedly, which the game classes as missed shots, which will force the game over screen to appear, as you won’t be allowed to complete the final stage due to his repeated bouts of hilarity.
18 Donkey Kong (Arcade)
The original Donkey Kong arcade game starred Jumpman as he climbed ladders and smashed barrels in order to save Pauline from the titular ape. There is a limit to how far you can go in Donkey Kong, however, due to a glitch prevents you from completing level 22.
The glitch causes the timer to move so quickly that you cannot complete the stage, as you have less than ten seconds on the clock, which isn’t enough to get you past the second girder. It’s possible to fix this bug in an emulator, but the game will still only reach level 99 and the counter will always repeat instead of going to level 100.
17 Last Ninja 3 (Wii Virtual Console)
The Virtual Console for the Nintendo Wii contained games from systems that were exclusive to different regions, such as the Commodore 64, which was only available in North America and Europe. One of the Commodore 64 games that was available on the Virtual Console was Last Ninja 3, which was a classic action/stealth game for the system.
The Virtual Console version of Last Ninja 3 was removed from the Virtual Console and everyone who bought it was offered a refund, as a bug in the game caused the screen to freeze after the first stage. The developers were originally going to release an updated version of the game that fixed the issue but they elected to just remove it instead.
16 X-Men (Sega Nomad)
X-Men for the Sega Genesis had an unusual puzzle that caught most gamers off-guard in the early ’90s. In order to progress through the game, you were given the message to “RESET THE COMPUTER NOW,” which most players assumed was related to computers that you found in the level.
The answer to the puzzle is that you have to press the actual Reset button on the Sega Genesis in order for the game to send you to the next stage. You had to press it for a brief second or the trick wouldn’t work, which meant that some people still screwed it up. If you owned a Sega Nomad (which was a portable version of the Genesis), then you couldn’t complete X-Men, as the system lacked a Reset button.
15 Bubble Bobble Revolution (Nintendo DS)
The original Bubble Bobble game was released in the arcades back in ’86, with new sequels being released as recently as 2015 for mobile phones. Bubble Bobble Revolution was released for the Nintendo DS in 2005 and it is often considered to be the lowest point for the series, due to its low-quality graphics and poor gameplay.
The main reason why Bubble Bobble Revolution is so disliked is due to the fact that the entire North American run of the game was faulty, as it had shipped with a serious bug that prevented the boss of level 30 from spawning, which meant that you couldn’t finish the game. The developers of the game issued replacement cartridges, but the process took almost two months to complete.
14 Tetris (NES)
There are two different versions of Tetris that were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System: the first was released by a company called Tengen and the second was developed by Nintendo themselves. The Nintendo version of Tetris is considered to be the inferior one, as it lacks multiplayer modes and can’t be played beyond level 29.
The Tengen version of Tetris has a top speed that is still playable for skilled players, while the Nintendo version of the game becomes so fast at level 29 that you can’t move the pieces to either side of the screen before they hit the bottom. This means that you can’t complete any rows and will quickly be seeing the game over screen.
13 Dig Dug (Arcade)
The reason why most arcade games will eventually prevent you from progressing is due to the limitations of the hardware, as the game can only calculate the numbers for so many levels before rolling over back to zero, which tends to cause all kinds of glitches.
Dig Dug is one such game that cannot be progressed beyond a certain point, as reaching round 256 will cause the protagonist to immediately expire and cause a game over to occur. The glitched version of round 256 only occurs in the original arcade version of Dig Dug and later versions of the game fixed the issue and allowed you to progress further.
12 Simon The Sorcerer 3D (Windows)
The Simon the Sorcerer series was composed of several point and click adventure games that parodied the fantasy genre with the aid of dry humor. Simon the Sorcerer 3D is regarded as the low point of the series, due to its terrible graphics (even for the time) and the fact that it was riddled with bugs.
Those who saw Simon the Sorcerer 3D through to the end could still have their experience ruined due to the nature of the final puzzle, which required you to open the CD drive on your computer. The problem with the puzzle was that the game couldn’t recognize if the drive had been opened if you didn’t have the correct computer configuration or were using a later version of Windows, which meant that you couldn’t finish the game.
11 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DOS)
The version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System has an infamous jump in the sewer stage that is incredibly difficult to pull off, as failure causes you to fall in the water and lose a life. The difficulty of the game didn’t prevent it from being one of the most popular titles on the system, due to how big the turtles were at the time.
The DOS version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was an inferior port for many reasons, the most prominent of which was the fact that you couldn’t complete the game due to problems with the altered design of the sewer level. The infamous sewer jump was made to be impossible in the DOS version of the game due to the developers pushing the platform too far to the right, which means that you can only progress with the help of cheats.
10 Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 (PlayStation 2)
There are some games that cannot be completed due to changes made during the localization process, which is what happened to Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 for the PlayStation 2. The version of Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 from Japan allows you to reach a maximum CR score of 100, 000, 000, which you need to reach in order to unlock the race against a driver called Whirlwind Fanfare.
However, the North American version of Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 added a cap to the CR score so that you could reach 99, 999, 990, which means that you can never unlock the final race without the aid of a Gameshark or similar cheating device. The CR cap was the result of a glitch, due to the game not being able to translate the yen amount into dollars.
9 MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries (Windows)
The MechWarrior series was part of the battle simulation genre where the player was put into the role of a mech pilot and was forced to deal with their machine overheating and preserving their supply of powerful weapons in order to complete missions.
MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat had two expansion packs – MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bear’s Legacy and MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. It was the latter expansion that could not be completed upon release, as one of the missions was supposed to end with the player meeting up with a dropship in order to escape a battle zone. The dropship arrives, but it won’t land due to a glitch, which means that you can’t continue the game without cheating.
8 Akira (Amiga)
Akira is considered by many to be the most important anime movie in history, both in regards to the incredible quality of its animation and the fact that it helped to bring the genre to mainstream attention outside of Japan. The Akira license has rarely been used for video games, despite the fact that its action-packed story could easily be adapted into a game.
The Amiga version of Akira might have soured the idea of an any more games based on the license, due to the fact that its almost impossibly difficult to progress past the first racing stage and the fact that some of the jumps in the later levels are physically impossible, which means that you have to use cheats to progress through the game.
7 Rastan (Commodore 64)
Rastan was a side-scrolling action game that starred a loincloth-wearing barbarian who was legally distinct from Conan. Rastan started out as an arcade game, but it was ported to numerous different systems, including an infamous port for the Commodore 64 that was impossible to complete.
The final stage of the Commodore 64 version of Rastan has a pit that you cannot jump across, as it’s just slightly wider than the length of your maximum jump. The only way to complete the Commodore 64 port of Rastan is either through a trainer program that fixes the pit or through cheating.
6 Gran Turismo 2 (PlayStation)
It’s impossible to achieve 100% completion in the first North American version of Gran Turismo 2, due to a mode that was cut late during the production of the game. Gran Turismo 2 was meant to feature a drag racing mode, but it was cut at a late stage in development, to the point that there are still references to the mode in the game’s manual.
The developers forgot to update the completion rate after the drag racing mode was removed which meant that the highest completion rating you could achieve was 98.2%. The later versions of Gran Turismo 2 fixed this bug, with all of the issues being fixed for the later PAL release of the game.
5 Impossible Mission (Atari 7800)
Impossible Mission was an action game for the Commodore 64 that involved searching through an enemy base and acquiring codes, while avoiding enemy traps. Impossible Mission was ported to several different systems, with the most recent coming to the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Portable.
The most infamous port of Impossible Mission was the Atari 7800 version of the game that was released in North America, as the game cannot be completed due to a bug. The glitch prevented you from acquiring key items from computer terminals, as you weren’t able to search them.
4 Jet Set Willy (ZX Spectrum)
Jet Set Willy was considered to be one of the best titles for the ZX Spectrum, as it proved that the system was capable of running high-quality platform games with huge levels. The original version of Jet Set Willy somehow managed to be incredibly popular despite the fact that it was impossible to complete.
You need to progress through The Attic screen in order to finish the game, but a variety of bugs prevent you from reaching the end without you losing a life or the game crashing. Jet Set Willy existed in the days before patches, but the fact that the ZX Spectrum was also a home computer meant that it was possible to fix the game with outside programs.
3 Universal Hero (Atari-8)
Universal Hero was an action adventure game for the ZX Spectrum where you played an astronaut who needed to fix his spaceship in order to go home, which involved searching levels and solving puzzles in order to find the spare parts you need for the ship.
You needed to investigate computers to proceed in Universal Hero, which brought up a separate screen and required you to input passwords. The Atari 8-bit version of Universal Hero had a glitch that prevented you from using the keyboard on the password screen, which prevented you from progressing through the game.
2 SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash (Nintendo DS)
Capcom once attempted to create a digital card game based on their various video game properties, which resulted in the SNK: Card Fighters series. The third game in the series was SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS for the Nintendo DS.
The North American version of SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS ran into the same problem as Bubble Bobble Revolution, as there is an important NPC named Jon who needs to be talked to in order to progress the story, but the game crashes whenever you talk to him. SNK had to issue a recall of the game and sent out replacement copies to fans and stores.
1 Revolution (Windows)
It has become a common practice for video game developers to release games with bugs and glitches, due to how easy it is for games on all systems to be patched. The practice of releasing glitched games has caused a problem for video game reviewers, as they might be playing a version of the game that doesn’t reflect the one that players will receive on launch day, thanks to day one patches.
Revolution received no such consideration from Gamespot during their scathing review of the game, as they had to resort to codes in order to finish the game as it couldn’t be finished through conventional means. A patch was released for Revolution that fixed these issues, but any pre-patch save that you had wasn’t compatible with the patched version of the game, meaning that you had to start over from scratch.
Are there any other video games that are impossible to finish? Let us know in the comments!