?There are plenty of strange videogames out there, and with the rise of indie gaming, there are more and more every day. And why not? If you and your friends are making a game for your own entertainment, you might as well make it as strange as you want.
On the other hand, most major videogame publishers play it pretty safe, sticking to tried-and-true formulas like sports games, military shooters, sci-fi shooters and… other kinds of shooters. So when a truly strange game does get released into the mainstream video game market, well it tends to stand out.
The following 10 games were all released in the U.S.– by legitimate video game publishers. There are no indie games on this list, nothing unreleased and nothing exclusive to Japan. You could go to the game store and pick up any one of these titles — if you’re into that sort of thing.
10) Typing of the Dead
It’s an idea that’s as bizarre as it is brilliant: type to kill zombies! Typing of the Dead is literally Sega’s House of the Dead with a keyboard instead of a gun. Typing of the Dead was released for Dreamcast and PC, and it was awesome no matter where you played it. It did well enough to earn a couple sequels, most of which were available in Japan only.
Cubivore is a game about cute little box-shaped animals… who rip each other’s limbs off and eat one another. The goal of the game is to evolve into the King of All Cubivores, or at least sire it. Sometimes, your Cubivore can’t evolve enough on its own, so you’ll need to mate with another sexy box to produce more powerful offspring. So, it’s like Spore, but with hard edges.
8) Ribbit King
It’s like golf, but with frogs. is basically a sports game, if sports games had giant worms, bonus bubbles and a creepy alien ref. This PS2/GameCube game came with a bonus disc of CG movies about its bizarre characters, which could only be watched after finishing certain matches. Who doesn’t love swapping discs?
7) Killer 7
The gameplay of Killer 7 is strange. It’s an on-rails combination of a first-person shooter, third-person action and adventure puzzle game like Myst, and it centers around fighting bizarre creatures called “Heaven Smiles.” Who are invisible, by the way. As strange as the gameplay is, the story is weirder. The Killer 7 are the seven different personae of the main character, a wheelchair-bound assassin. But he actually transforms into his alter egos, each a killer in their own right. Killer 7 has been widely praised as an “arthouse game” and an important milestone in gaming, thanks to its daring and unconventional content.
6) Tail of the Sun
Build of pyramid of mammoth tusks high enough to reach the sky. That sounds like a fun goal for a game, right? This Sony-published oddity seems like a bizarre collection of busywork today, but it’s free-roaming, unguided experience was pretty groundbreaking when it was first released back in 1997. You can download it as a PSOne classic on PSP or PS3 if you’ve got a thing for mammoth tusks.
5) Mr. Mosquito
You’re a mosquito, and you suck. Blood, that is. Your goal is to suck enough blood from the Yamota family to survive through the winter. Get noticed, and you enter “Battle Mode,” in which you must calm your victim down by stabbing them in pressure points. Because, as we all know, mosquito bites are so soothing.
4) Dog’s Life
As the name suggests, you play as a dog in Dog’s Life. But not just any dog – you’re a dog on a mission to save the other local dogs from an evil cat food company! Who really cares though? All we really care about is the fact that you can poop in this game. Then pick up the poop in your mouth and throw it at people. BEST. GAME. EVER.
To win the heart of the girl you love, you must improve your reputation — by kissing every man, woman and alien you encounter! This simple role-playing game was released in the US in 2007 — five years after it came out in Japan. I guess US audiences weren’t clamoring for a polysexual romance simulator.
More a virtual pet than a video game, the infamous Seaman is one of the best-known Dreamcast titles as well as one of the strangest games ever. You’re tasked with raising the human-faced Seaman from a “Mushroomer” to a “Frogman,” and you primarily interact with your pet with your voice. To make things even stranger, your Seaman is kind of a dick. But Leonard Nimoy is there to give you helpful advice on how to raise him! That makes sense, right?
1) Deadly Premonition
The most divisive game in years is also one of the strangest. Deadly Premonition has been called “awful in nearly every way” and a “beautiful trainwreck.” It’s been called one of the worst games ever and one of the best games of the year, with a handful of 10/10 reviews mixed in with the failing grades.
Why such a mixed response? Well, even its biggest fans will admit that Deadly Premonition is an ugly, broken mess of a survival horror game. What players are really responding to is how batshit crazy the game is. Heavily influenced by Twin Peaks, Deadly Premonition is the story of FBI agent Francis York Morgan his investigations of a murder in a small town. However, Morgan has a split personality named Zack who he converses with openly in front of the the locals. In other words, you character is mentally ill, and everything about the game’s story reflects that. It’s one of the weirdest, most bizarre games ever released on a console, but some people claim that it’s one of the finest examples of video game storytelling yet. You decide.
We’ve provided two clips for Deadly Premonition, because you can’t demonstrate the weirdness of this game in just one video.
Jeremy Zoss is editor of Topless Robot’s sister site Joystick Division. For more video game news, features and lists, check us out here!