Look, we all know Japanese video games are a bit... well, weird. Starting with a plumber who fights a frog/turtle/monster thing, to a pink bubble that eats people, to whatever the hell Catherine was, Japanese games aren't your typical fare. Just how odd does it get, though? We're here to resoundingly tell you... pretty fucking odd. From ornithological dating games and LSD simulators to something involving Michael Jackson, we've compiled a list of the 8 weirdest titles in Japanese video game history.
8. Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire
THE GAME: Who doesn't love a good fighting game (besides pacifists, and they don't count because they are weak willed and soft)? Jackie Chan may not, as evidenced by this bizarre sequel to the arcade game The Kung Fu Master: Jackie Chan. Fists of Fire is your typical fighting game fare with one very odd distinction: an army of Jackie Chans. Not one, not two, but THREE playable Jackies (not including the final boss) make this game one of the stranger offerings from the land of the rising sun.
THE WEIRD: To win the "story mode", the gamer (as Jackie Chan) must defeat four "variant costume edition" Jackie Chans to finally face off against the main boss, who shockingly enough just happens to be Mrs. Chan's beautiful baby boy. It's weird enough that a man known for "prop fighting" is front and center of a Mortal Kombat style, uber traditional fighting game; add in the Chan-Clones, and you've got a uniquely Eastern title that we almost don't deserve to get to play.
WHY YOU HAVE TO PLAY IT: Jackie Chan vs. Jackie Chan vs. Jackie Chan vs. Jackie Chan. And we hear the soundtrack isn't too bad either (we're lying).
7. Hatoful Boyfriend
THE GAME: Not your average dating sim (unless you have "different" tastes when it comes to dating - we're not judging), Hatoful Boyfriend casts the user/potential pervert into the role of a new female student at St. PigeoNation's Institute, a high school that is populated by birds. Like... actual birds. Pigeons and doves and fucked-up looking birds that we can only hope and assume don't exist in real life. Right. The game challenges you to pick a boyfriend out of the potential avian flock of suitors. Again... said suitors are birds. Like, with wings and beaks and diseases.
THE WEIRD: High-school full of sentient, anthropomorphic birds? Check. Interspecies love triangles? Oh hells yeah. Dating games are "questionable" to begin with but add in a menagerie of feathered friends (and lovers) and you've got one of the stranger video games in history.
WHY YOU HAVE TO PLAY IT: Did you not read the part about how this is a bird-dating simulator?
6. Mister Mosquito
THE GAME: Japanese gamers love simulation titles. From golf, to farming, to dating birds (that's called a call-back), Eastern gamers can't get enough of these realistic "escapist" titles. While we can understand dreaming of being a pro-golfer, or the hottest chef in the world, Mister Mosquito is a title that truly perplexes us. Want to escape your boring, stressful life? Always had aspirations of being a malaria-carrying winged pest? Fire up that PSOne and prepare to enter the world of Mosquito'dom: we promise it might possibly (probably not) be a lot of fun!
THE WEIRD: Flying around draining helpless victims blood as a cute, leisure time activity. The point of the game is to fly around an average Japanese home and suck up as much blood as humanly (insectically?) possible.
WHY WE YOU TO PLAY IT: Upon finishing the game, the user is treated to a family portrait, complete with bloody and awful mosquito bits covering their happy pixilated faces. And you thought Mario's stars were cool.
5. Takeshi's Challenge
THE GAME: "Beat" Takeshi Kitano is a man of many hats: Actor, filmmakers, art historian, video game impresario. That's right, everyone's favorite "Bad guy from Battle Royale" was given the 8-bit treatment in his very own title, Takeshi's Challenge - which is pretty close to Takeshi's Castle, the TV show of the same name (and, another name - Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, which aired on U.S shores for many years). The game follows the same format as the aforementioned program, in that-... wait. No. No, this game is complete nonsense. The user assumes the role of Takeshi, who is drunk and hates everyone. Punch, kick and karaoke sing your way to confusion!
THE WEIRD: EVERYTHING about this game. From a story-line that makes zero sense (even to a Japanese audience), controls that are consistently rated as some of the worst ever, and confusing gameplay so frustrating, you'll want to Beat Kitano yourself (we couldn't help it)
WHY YOU HAVE TO PLAY IT: In the grand tradition of "Best-Worst movies", if the world tells us that a video game is one of the worst ever made, we HAVE to play it. Throw in a cultish beloved Japanese personalty like Kitano, and you've got what promises to be the most puzzling and utterly frustrating video game experience since that second level of TMNT for NES. We still get nightmares.