What's the deal with Deadly Towers?

Let this video retrospective explain it for you.

We love old games here on Retronauts, but there's no denying that some of them are just plain lousy. And then there are the games whose lousiness has taken on a life of its own, whose reputation for awfulness precedes them. Deadly Towers is one such game. It's so bad, it turns out, that it's notorious for being... worse than it actually is?

Deadly Towers (a Lenar/Irem/Brøderbund joint) was a mess of a game, full of useless content and riddled with hateful design choices. Underneath its patina of inadequacy, however, the game was trying to do something ambitious. It failed completely, but in the grand scheme of things it's hard to hate a game that aims high and falls desperately short more than you hate a game that doesn't even bother to make the effort and still turns out to be rubbish. Deadly Towers is not good, but by god, it tried.

So this episode is partially a retrospective on Deadly Towers, but it's also an overview of the factors that led to the game developing such a scathing reputation among NES fans. We look back at the early days of the retrogaming World Wide Web, to the works of one Seanbaby, who was looking back at the NES in retrospection back when you could still buy the system and its games brand-new at retail. Seanbaby's punchy jokes about Deadly Towers bring NES Works into a new aspect of video game history: The intersection between the internet, the impact of a highly visible opinion, and the way collective consensus can form around a memorable perspective.

As for Deadly Towers, it's not good or fun, but I'd still argue that it's a game worth experiencing (maybe with some cheat codes active) to get a sense of how big and bold old games could be. And how hard they sometimes fell flat on their faces.