In the world of video games, weird is regularly confused for wonderful. Some of the best received franchises of all time sound pretty damn weird on paper. Katamari Damacy is a shining example; combining bonkers gameplay, unique controls and one of the finest original soundtracks ever into a string of fun arcade games.
Not every game is quite so successful however. Some are a little too weird, remembered purely for their obscurity than game-changing design or playability. It’s time to take a look at some of the strangest video games ever released.
Octodad (PC/Mac, Free Download)
In Octodad, you play an octopus with children. Human children. You also have a human wife, but fortunately neither your spouse or offspring can see your true eight-legged identity.
The main challenge faced by many players who pick up Octodad are the controls. There are two modes – feet mode and hand mode. Feet mode is what you’ll be using to scramble your way around the house, clicking and dragging alternate mouse buttons to hilarious effect.
Hand mode gives you the ability to pick up and manipulate objects, though again this is no easy feat. Your task is to continue the charade lest your family discover you’re actually an Octopus. It’s free to download here and there’s even a sequel on the way.
JRA Japan World Cup (PC)
The first of a string of Japanese titles, JRA Japan World Cup just about qualifies as a game on the basis that it’s somewhat interactive. Essentially, it’s electronic horse racing on which players bet, observe the race and collect their winnings.
Except this is one horse racing simulator with a twist: ridiculous competitors. Check out the video below in which we see pantomime horses, a trojan horse, a trunk-swinging elephant and a horse that runs on its hind legs, sideways.
This is the third outing for the Japan World Cup franchise, with each new release upping the crazy. I can’t wait for volume 4.
Battle Construction Vehicles (PS2)
In 2000, Midas Interactive decided there was a distinct lack of beat ‘em up games focused on heavy machinery, and so they went and released this gem. Unsurprisingly, the game is terrible.
Battle Construction Vehicles restricts you to the D-pad for movement and two separate attacks – standard and special (the latter of which you have very little control over). The game never saw a release outside of Japan and Europe, so North American collectors of terrible games will have to settle for the PAL version which they can probably find for a couple of dollars on eBay by now.
The Stanley Parable (PC/Mac Half-Life 2 Mod, Free Download)
Another free download, The Stanley Parable is a very daring Half-Life 2 mod that does things differently to your average total conversion. In it you play Stanley, an office worker with the freedom to do as you please. To quote the game’s designer:
“The Stanley Parable is an experimental narrative-driven first person game. It is an exploration of choice, freedom, storytelling and reality, all examined through the lens of what it means to play a video game … it’s actually best if you don’t know anything about it before you play it.”
The video above is a sneak peak that doesn’t give anything away. If you’ve decided not to play it (or you can’t be bothered) then check out the video below, which features all choices and possible endings:
Muscle March (WiiWare)
Another startling, brightly coloured in-your-face Japanese creation, Muscle March is one of the few crazy WiiWare titles to see a worldwide release. That means you can actually go and download it right now if you own a Wii (or not) – and why wouldn’t you?
The gameplay is best seen rather than described, so don’t hesitate in clicking the video below. Suffice to say the ability to play as a bodybuilding polar bear in Speedos should put a smile on anyone’s face.
Somewhat of a rarity, LSD is a game based on a dream diary that Hiroko Nishikawa, a member of the development team, had kept for a decade. Apparently the name is just a name, and has nothing to do with the hallucinogenic drug, aside from the trippy gameplay and visuals.
LSD generally involves wondering around and exploring the dreamworld. If you bump into an object, wall, person or animal you will be transported elsewhere. Recent PSN release Datura isn’t too dissimilar in nature, check it out if you’re into that kind of thing.
There you have it – some of the weirder releases the gaming world has ever seen. In conclusion I’d like to thank Japan for being a constant innovator when it comes to mind-boggling concepts. Let us know what you think of these extraordinary games, and be sure to recommend your own favourite releases.
Have you played any of these titles? Got any of your own favourites? Let us know what you think in the comments, below.