Best of the worst apps for 2011 (so far)

by Dan Kricke

With over 500,000 apps available to download, they can’t all be winners. But there’s a difference between an app with low ambition, like a particularly dumb soundboard app, and an app that could have been interesting but instead completely botched something in the process to become nearly worthless.

I think those app disasters make for much more interesting conversation. So far in 2011, we’ve had more than a few that would qualify, but below are my five favorite worst apps of the year as of the beginning of July.

Marquee News ($0.99)

Reading news stories on an iPhone is difficult enough. I’m constantly scrolling or flipping my phone to get the right amount of text on the screen at one time. That’s why it’s hard to imagine why anyone would want an app that scrolls news headlines via a gigantic ticker.

Maybe if you could run the ticker at the bottom of the screen no matter what you app you’re using, Marquee News might be worth a look, but to utilize an entire app where you have to stare at a headline as it scrolls by is absurd. Marquee News might be the worst way to waste time in an app I’ve seen so far this year.

Galaga 30th Collection (Free)

I feel like I’ve been picking on Galaga 30th Collection a lot lately, but it bears repeating how little it tries to accomplish and how it barely succeeds at that. A 30th anniversary should be special! You’re supposed to get diamonds for 30 years. If this is Namco’s idea of diamonds, they’re cubic zirconia all the way.

No special features or interesting tidbits about the series development, no trumped-up bonus features besides an online scoreboard and only one of the games in the package is actually free. I hope the next time I write about this app it’s because it has undergone a major overhaul.

StuffWeLike (Free)

StuffWeLike is the best app of the bunch in this list. That is, I’d be most likely to actually use it if it really worked properly. As an app blog that points out the best of the Internet, it could have become a one-stop shop for the latest in pop culture.

Instead, it’s an app that tells you about things like crazy YouTube videos and then doesn’t actually link to them. It’s the strangest app: like one long tease for the Internet you should be looking at but aren’t, because you’re busy looking at a bad app.

Blogging Ideas ($0.99)

It makes me angry to think that at least one person has spent a dollar on this app hoping to get some good ideas for their brand new blog. There are no ideas to be found in the Blogging Ideas app, just a poorly written history of blogging and a handful of trite, obvious pointers about writing. Nothing you couldn’t imagine on your own or stumble upon after a few too many drinks at a bar.

Rebellion ($0.99)

A free-falling style of adventure game that was so bad, it appears to no longer be in the App Store, Rebellion wins my award for “App that was least likely to be adequately tested before hitting the market.” This otherwise attractive game couldn’t run without repeatedly crashing and the game screen was only half viewable most of the time. Truly a special kind of bad.