"Don't read the comments" - well yeah, I broke that rule, but bear with me, I'm going somewhere with this.
So I was looking at the Steam discussion forum for a recently released game and found someone loudly proclaiming that he'd played many RPGs and this was THE WORST rpg he'd ever seen. Given that the game appeared to be a complete and playable title, I find the idea of assigning the 'worst' tag to it pretty laughable. I mean, there's impressively bad things out there. Try harder!
But then... what *is* the worst RPG? Either in general or for me personally?
The problem is that many RPGs which would fall into my 'worst ever' pile are going to be things that I disliked strongly enough to give up on after less than five minutes of playing. Sometimes that's just because they were super-super-oldschool games whose control schemes I could not figure out! (Lack of clear manual) Terrible experience for me that I hated, but known to be great games by people who managed to get into them.
So which would you rate as 'worse' - a game that I couldn't figure out how to get started and immediately abandoned, or one where I enjoyed the first hour or so but things went progressively downhill until I eventually gave up in despair? I obviously got more enjoyment out of Lionheart than I did out of Deep Labyrinth, but I don't feel like I can give any meaningful commentary about Deep Labyrinth because I didn't play it. I looked at it, said "No", and moved on.
I could point to some renowned kusoge and claim them as the worst RPGs ever, maybe even read some reviews to have a bit of context for that judgment, but even then the ones that we hear about enough for them to become legendary bad games are often filled with interesting-but-failed ideas that made them worth talking about.
If a game has okay elements but the gameplay is so poorly placed that it will bore you to tears, is that still not bad enough because there were some things in it that might have been usable in a better game?
Since games which ARE unplayable do exist, should the title of 'worst' should be reserved for them? Or are they at that point no longer games?
Naturally, a google search for "worst RPG ever" turned up 'Oblivion' in the top results. Yeah. Those multimillion-copy-sellin games are just the worst, aren't they?