Video game designers long ago realized that video gamers will play just about anything if it is fun to play and replay value. This allows designers to create some rather strange and unusual games that often are surprisingly popular. In a video game world filled with plumbers fighting walking mushrooms, giant monsters smashing buildings, and cars with machine guns and oil slicks, it would seem very little would seem strange.
Still, a few games stand out as some of the strangest video games ever.
5. Zero Wing (Sega Mega Drive)
The original version of this game is actually a rather normal shooter. When ported to Sega, an English introduction was added and translated very poorly. The resulting introduction is so entertaining to have become an internet phenomenon and includes phrases like “All your base are belong to us” and “You have no chance to survive make your time.”
4. Rez (Playstation 2)
This rail shooter has mind boggling wire frame graphics, an excellent electronic sound track and everything in the game beats in time with the music. This is odd, but not really that strange in the gaming industry. The real oddity was the accessory device sold with the game. Called a “Trance Vibrator”, it vibrated in time with the music. Officially designed to be put in a pocket and provide a physical component to the game, unofficially, it became a masturbatory device for many women playing or watching.
3. A Boy and his Blob (NES)
With the help of a blob from the planet Blobonia, a young boy tries to stop the plans of an evil emperor. This absurd plot frames even more absurd game play. The boy feeds jelly beans to the blob to cause the blob to transform into things like a ladder or a hummingbird. These transformations are used to traverse two worlds and find vitamins that are lethal to the emperor. Despite the strangeness, the game was oddly compelling.
2. Space Channel 5 (Dreamcast)
The main character of this unusual game is Ulala, a pink haired reporter in an orange miniskirt and halter top. When aliens start forcing everyone to dance, she fights them with her “groove energy”. Even compared to Parappa the Rapper, this is by far the strangest of all rhythm games. The final bit of strangeness is the cameo by Michael Jackson as Space Michael late in the game.
1. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (Arcade)
Michael Jackson seems to have a talent for showing up in strange games. In Moonwalker, Michael Jackson (or multiple Michael Jackson’s if multiple people are playing), dressed in his “Smooth Criminal” outfit, fights gangsters and rescues children using his magic power. His best magic power is his “Dance Magic” attack that makes all enemies dance with Michael. It is implausible beyond belief and vaguely disturbing, especially in hindsight. Yet, with all of the best Michael Jackson music and reasonably good game play, it was a fun game to play.