Mostly, when game developers work on projects, they follow a straight and narrow design, creating an action tour-de-force, driving or sports title that they know will attract general audiences and draw big sales numbers. But, to be honest, we're just as happy about the "off-the-wall" developers who refuse to follow such a path, instead venturing out to create something far more original. Sometimes you end up with something truly fantastic. And other times, you wind up getting an incredibly screwy experience. If the developer's good enough, you might even get both in one shot.
We did some research through the annals of gaming history to find some of the most bizarre video game design you're ever going to see in this industry. From the old days of the Dreamcast to the current gaming scene, you're likely to agree that you probably won't see any stranger releases than these. Cue the head scratching and ridiculous music…
Boong-Ga Boong-Ga (Arcade)
We might as well start off with one of the most bizarre arcade releases ever, one that would never stand a chance here in a local bar. Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, made by the South Korean company Taff System, is a game where you punish all sorts of bad people, including a "Gold-digger", an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or even a "child molestor". But the punishment is what's really nuts here – instead of punching them around or something like that, you insert your fingers into a big plastic anus on the front of the arcade cabinet. Yep…you anally assault them. And if you, ahem, do good enough, you're awarded with a trophy that looks like a pile of feces. And with that…let's move on.
Incredible Crisis (PlayStation)
There are games you just can't help but burst out laughing to, and while Boong-Ga Boong-Ga hardly qualifies, Incredible Crisis certainly does. The game, made up of a series of wacky push-button mini-games, follows a group of four family members as they fight their way through ridiculous circumstances while attempting to get birthday presents for the grandmother before it's too late. Made up of a hilarious script by Kenichi Nishi and featuring a loopy soundtrack by Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, this game is certainly worth trying. And bless Titus Interactive for publishing it on these shores – it makes it much easier to find and play.
Catherine (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Catherine is such a nutty game, there are people who still can't quite comprehend what it's all about. But thankfully, Atlus looked past the skepticism and gave it the push it needed to somewhat succeed in our market. (And hey, the special edition with underwear and a pizza box doesn't hurt.) This strategy game has you maneuvering through dream-like states while trying to figure out your love life, all while wearing a hat that resembles a sheep's head. This one's sexy, difficult, and way beyond comprehension, but chances are it might just be your speed if you give it a chance. It's an uphill battle, but, hey, so is love.
Katamari Damacy (PlayStation 2)
The Katamari series has always been weird from the start, as you're practically putting together stars for your lazy father, the King of All Cosmos, using living organisms, plants, cars and whatever else you can find. And if that's not bad enough, the King barely grants you any sort of compliment for your efforts. That's okay, because the game is still ridiculously fun, as you struggle to build the biggest Katamaris available across a variety of worlds. And, for good measure, the music is awesome, ranging from funny techno pop to a operetta remix of the classic Splatterhouse theme.
Cho Aniki (PC Engine, PlayStation Network)
Cho Aniki doesn't hide its true intentions – it puts them right out there on full display. The game is built like a hardcore "shmup" shooter, with plenty of enemies to take down and neat power-ups to pick up. However, nearly everything in the game is made of muscle-bound men in tights, who can't help but grin at you and pose in a number of flamboyant ways. If you're a guy that needs to have some form of female in their game, Cho Aniki definitely isn't for you. However, if you don't mind the quirky style of "shmups" – Parodius, for example – then this might be right up your alley. You can download it on PlayStation Network now for $6 – a cheap price for "pahmping you ahhhhhp".
Custer's Last Stand/Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em (Atari 2600)
These games aren't so much weird as they are sexually perverse – and a bit disturbing for those expecting a good old fashioned kind of game. Custer's Last Stand is all kinds of offensive, as you send a naked general running across a field or arrows to – not kidding here – rape an Indian girl tied to a post. If you think that's bad, just wait until you get to Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em, a game that has you attempting to catch, um…something with naked girls. To go into further description might be repulsive, but let's just say the shooter is naked and, ahem, excited. Yikes.
Revolution X (Arcade, SNES, Genesis, Sega Saturn, PlayStation)
Putting a band like Aerosmith in a shooter sounded like a great idea, right? After all, if Journey can get their own video games, why not Steven Tyler and the boys? But Revolution X just can't get much right with its formula, having you fend off an evil group of NON soldiers who want to stop rock n' roll with bullets and CD's. Along the way, you'll rescue members of the group, who perform for you at the end in a little recorded snippet. The arcade game was tolerable, but the home versions – yikes. Without gun support – or, for that matter, production values – the Acclaim ports were beyond bizarre. If you paid full price for that game, well, you must be "Crazy."
Seaman (Sega Dreamcast)
Finally, we've saved the best for last, and there's nothing quite like Seaman. Featuring narration by Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy and the opportunity to command your weird human-faced fish with a microphone attachment, Seaman has some of the most head-scratching responses you'll hear from such a being, particularly when it curses at you. Sega did give this a chance in the U.S., though the game performed averagely at best, and the Dreamcast shop folded up soon after. Still, you probably won't meet any fish with as much personality as this one – though you'd flush him when you got the chance.