Plumbers Don't Wear Ties
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is a video game released for Microsoft Windows in 1993 and ported to the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer a year later, the major reason for the 3DO's failure, and even GameFAQs founder CJayC's most hated game.
(The plot you're going to read is the normal path of the game. It's not important to follow the decisions, since you can also choose other outcomes for the story.)
John, a generic plumber, is forced by his mother to find a soulmate and Jane, a Daddy's Girl, is forced by her father to find a soulmate too. Both meet in a parking lot and when John sees her, he falls in love with her instantly. Depending on the choice made, either of the two make their first move and have a small conversation. Jane leaves shortly after, heading to a job interview. John decides to wait for her. She meets her boss, Mark Thresher, who after a short interview, asks her to strip. Jane declines the request and runs from Thresher who chases her with a pen. John sees Jane fleeing from Thresher and chases after him, eventually subduing him in a building. Thresher offers Jane up to $5 million for a night of sex, but John then says he wants Jane for a lifetime. Jane turns down Thresher's offer and before Thresher is arrested, he gets raped by a bag lady. The movie can end in two ways based on what the player picks:
The Hollywood Ending has John and Jane getting together.
Gimme Something Completely Different has Jane revealing that she plans to become a nun, and John is forced into a shotgun wedding with Amy by his mother.
Why It Sucks
- The game plays almost like a DVD menu or slideshow. The gameplay is so non-existent, at one time it could actually be played on YouTube.
- In fact, it is also hypothetically possible to port this game for Microsoft PowerPoint with no downgrades, just using VBA programming for the main menu and for the choices.
- Poorly written story-line that makes absolutely no sense and feels more like a bunch of random things happening than a coherent plot.
- The race/dream sequence in the beginning, makes no sense and is nothing but a bunch of images through filters, and adds nothing to the plot.
- At certain points in the game, the player can determine the outcome of the story by selecting a choice box. However, they can only make a selection after the narration for each choice ends (only in the 3DO version), and the player's "wrong" decisions lead to scolding by the narrator before returning them to the decision screen. Even more stupid and worse, the game gives the player either another chance and choosing the other choice from the wrong one, or restarting the game entirely. It could just be better to be scolded and lose points or the ending being "something different", no matter the future choices and not choosing to have another chance.
- The 3DO version's title screen looks like it was made by a kindergarten student in Microsoft Paint.
- Bad acting, with John's mother not being voiced by the same actress that portrays her.
- False advertising: Despite the 3DO version being advertised as a full-motion video, only the intro is FMV. The rest of the game plays like a slideshow with filler, and filters.
- The chase sequence has several images that look like they're taken from a vacation album, such as Jane hugging and shaking hands with strangers, Jane and John posing in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre (currently known as TCL Chinese Theatre), and even Jane and Thresher happily reenacting a "damsel-in-distress" scenario on some train tracks. These, along with the fact that the "normal" pictures feel very disjointed, only add to the confusion of the scene.
- A pointless blooper was left in where John, at one point, accidentally says he's "been searching for me" instead of "searching for [Jane]", followed by the rest of the cast and crew laughing at his mistake.
- For no reason other than most likely padding out the story, the game has an ongoing "battle of the narrators" in-between scenes.
- Random image filters that only make it look more bizarre, and perhaps frightening, such as with Amy's color-inverted picture while John and his mother converse.
- Badly cut-and-pasted images from the source images like the panda in a car during John's dream.
- John's dream itself is really weird. He watches himself racing in a NASCAR Winston Racing Series event, while the panda in a car and other stuff appear, ending the dream with a weird facial expression of John's mother.
- Generic and annoying music.
- The game's not rated 18+, but to beat the game, you have to select the choice that explicitly says that you have to be 18 or order to watch. In fact, one of the choices you can pick right after is even more sexual, but it's the wrong choice. This may have been made before the developers were even aware of the rating system, though.
- Worst of all, this was given a full retail price, US$57 to be more exact. To pour salt on the wound, due to being very rare, a copy of this game costs no less than US$100 nowadays!
- Players, who know the story of the game or don’t want to see it, can choose to go immediately to the first choice, which can be really fast (although it would be even faster if they avoid buying this game, to begin with.)
- The PC version is more self-aware, even admitting at one point that "[their] scoring system stinks".
- Jane's actress, Jeanne Basone, a former wrestler at GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling) where she was known as “Hollywood”, talked about her appearance in the game at GameFAQs. She said that she was in it only as a favor to a friend and that she didn't expect it to hit the shelves.
- The game was originally intended to be fully FMV, but was changed to a slideshow to avoid an "Adults Only" rating from the ESRB, since it was released around the time they were founded. The game never ended up getting an ESRB rating.
- Despite the name, John does wear a tie in one scene.
In giving the game a 15% rating, Diego Antico wrote: "It's hard to determine where Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is at its most horrendous. Is it in the pathetic music department? The graphics (or its lack thereof)? The awful gameplay?" Allgame gave the game one star. The site made note of how despite it being advertised as full motion video, it was simply a slideshow. In The Video Game Bible, Andy Slaven said that the "humorous" results from choosing the wrong option "can't save this title from being horrible." Video Games & Computer Entertainment magazine criticized the game for being all just "still pictures of the director's friends acting like goofballs and delivering bad voiceovers", also stating: "Not even the promise of some naked pictures could save this disc from becoming a joke around here. Avoid this one at all costs, it looks like a bad Public Access show and that's the pits." PC Gamer, giving the game a 3%, said that the game was funny for only 30 seconds, calling the game an "irksome and yobbishly executed pseudo-pornographic photo story with the wit and charm of an elephant's arse". PC Format rated the game a 4%, the lowest rating the magazine had ever given to a video game. The game was considered by German game website Nexgam to be "a single joke and objectively certain the most rotten game that has ever been on a console.".
PC Gamer dubbed Plumbers Don't Wear Ties a "shallow, hateful waste of a game, [that] may very well be responsible for having killed the 3DO, interactive fiction, and the whale", naming it #1 on its "Must NOT Buy" list in May 2007. It was #27 in UGO Network's 102 "Worst Video Games of All Time", concluding "If you have the patience, check out a video walkthrough online of either the worst storyline in gaming history, or a post-modern masterpiece", and #4 in Screen Play's, calling the game a "hilariously dodgy FMV adventure with actors who make Home and Away look like Shakespeare." The game was also put in 411mania.com's 2008 "Hall of Shame", with writer Vincent Chiucchi stating "By Jove, this could very well be the worst game ever!" Even the game's cover art was one of 1UP.com's "Worst Videogame Box Covers", criticizing its use of clip art and fonts.
IGN has cited Plumbers Don't Wear Ties as "a symbol for everything that was wrong with giving a license to anyone that wanted one"; referring to the fact that 3DO publishers only needed to pay a $3 royalty per disc and did not have to join a stringent licensing program like other game consoles, which led to many low-quality adult-oriented video games being released for the system.
James Rolfe in his Angry Video Game Nerd persona stated Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is "like a weird sort of college experiment [in art], if one can even count it as a game" and sees it as an achievement to have been the worst game he ever saw in his life, as well as the game "not play[ing] like a game, and it certainly does not feel like a movie", but rather "a slideshow that verges on being soft-core porn".