Games can certainly be weird. Even Super Mario Bros. is a strange game, if you stop to think about it for a couple seconds. Aliens abound and people have vertical jumps that are approximately 10 times their body height. That’s where the baseline is, and yet some games soar so high above others in strangeness. It can be a bit too much for some, but weird games often manage to find their audiences. Some even become iconic.
Here are five games or franchises that stand out for their weirdness.
Wikipedia tells me that the words “Katamari Damacy” mean “clump spirit,” which is extraordinarily appropriate, if accurate. In the game, you take the role of the son of a gigantic creature called “King of the Cosmos.” It’s a cute and colorful experience, but its primary mechanic is what makes it a true delight. You start out small, rolling a ball of objects over greater and greater sized objects until it is massive enough to create a star.
Metal Gear Solid
This series is a love letter to the 80s, with a particular fondness for Kurt Russell’s character, Snake Pliskin, taking center stage. Its stealth-based gameplay was a nice change of pace when the first game came out, but it also facilitated eavesdropping and spying on various NPCs. Believe me when I say that they are eccentric and say weird things. There’s also a fair amount of crazy technology, plot twists, and porno mags. It can be hard to follow at times, but for hardcore fans, the weirdness is extremely endearing.
I actually even enjoy the title of this game, so I always felt annoyed when GameStop customers would ask me for “Deadly Promotion.” Deadly Premonition is a surreal thriller of a game that draws inspiration from Twin Peaks . A deadly promotion is any promotion you can get at a soul-crushing GameStop job.
Anyways, the game casts you in the role of detective who must figure out what’s going on with the strange town. Like Twin Peaks , things don’t go how you’d expect.
There’s also something called the “Sinner’s Sandwich,” which is turkey, jam, and cereal. That sentence could be the pitch for the game.
Shadows of the Damned
This game is a bit like a Resident Evil title that is also a road movie mixed with Dante’s Inferno . That’s not weird enough, though. The Shadows of the Damned protagonist, named Garcia Hotspur, travels through hell with a talking gun that has a skull on it. This skull is the basis for crude, phallic jokes. Also unique? The game is a result of two legends teaming up: Shinji Mikami and Goichi Suda.
Wario himself is weird. He’s a nemesis of Mario who is vile, farts a lot, and makes weird noises; he’s the last person you’d want to sit next to on a bus. In WarioWare , he and a bunch of his cohorts make and host minigames. When I say minigames, though, I feel like I might be underselling it. Normally, minigames last more than a few seconds. These microgame ones don’t. They often focus on the banal, or they feature small clips of popular Nintendo games. The music is bouncy, and some titles have you blowing into a DS microphone or picking a digital nose with a stylus. It’s better than it sounds. Especially notable is WarioWare Gold , the latest and greatest installment.