1. Alastair Sim City (1997) – Electronic Arts decided that the popular British actor of ‘A Christmas Carol‘ fame would make an ideal avatar for virtual lifestyle gamers. If the game had got past the blueprint stage, players would have been able to live in a small vicarage in Kent, ride a rickety bicycle, drink tea with Mrs Haversage and mutter veiled threats at over-officious post-office staff.
2. Knitmania (1999) – A knitting sim for the Playstation, gamers were required to learn various stitches before embarking on a scarf, a cardigan before meeting the end-of-game Boss – a sofa cover with matching anti-maccassar. The multi-player online deathmatch was seen as a potential killer app, with participants teaming up to knit jumpers in various historical locations.
3. KnuckleShuffle (2001) – Another Playstation game, but this one dealt with masturbation. A First-Person Shooter, players had to learn the basic moves before taking part in tasks involving accuracy, speed and technique. Fortunately, there was no multi-player mode.
4. Ripper! (2003) – Perhaps the most controversial game of all time that never was, Ripper! was a Vice City-style games based on the life of the notorious Yorkshire mass-murderer Peter Sutcliffe. The game never got beyond an email sent in the offices of EA Sports but such was the furore caused by its mere mention that the CEO, Pablo Nariappara, resigned and EA Sports were slapped with a $75m fine by the US government. Ironically, the game was rebranded under the name Little Big Planet by Sony a few years later.
5. Toenail Clipping ’05 (2004) – A game about toenail clipping. Beta-tested in Belgium – not a success.
6. Call of Duty: Norwich (2009) – In an attempt to make the franchise more of a hit with UK players, the East Anglian town was chosen as a archetypal British location that gamers could identify. Levels included guerrilla warfare around the Market, a running battle through Wilkinsons and a final shootout at the football stadium during an FA Cup tie with Ipswich Town. This game ranks with Grand Theft Auto Stow-on-the-Wold as the worst attempt at localising a global franchise.
7. Jim’ll Fix It (2012) – With almost 50,000 games all ready to deliver to shops Rockstar were forced to shelve their latest potential hit. Gamers could either play as Jim or a participant, battle through levels with the goal of ‘fixing it’ for someone. News events overtook it eventually. The sandbox element – access to British Television Centre and all of its secret rooms – was deemed too controversial.