Have you ever played a game that had such a strange concept that you couldn’t help wishing you’d been at the pitch meeting? Even if the game itself is fantastic, sometimes you have to wonder if the publishers had reservations when the writers showed them their idea. “You want to make a game about what?”
Originally I wanted to make a list of some of the strangest games I’d ever played, but then I had a better idea. Instead of just flat-out saying, “X is a strange game,” I thought it would be more interesting to describe the concept & see if my readers can guess what the game actually is. I think that would better illustrate how jacked up some of the games we play are.
As with my other posts, I’m limiting this to games I’ve actually had experience with. I could list some other jacked up games that I’ve heard about, but they won’t be mentioned here. I’ll put the answers after my prompt, so you can highlight them to check your answers.
Let’s start with something easy.
You’re goal is to save the princess from an evil dragon. But instead of playing a knight or something traditional, you play as a fat, short plumber. You smash your head against bricks to get money that you can’t actually spend. You jump on people to kill them. Because you’re a plumber, you can travel down giant pipes that lead to treasure. And there are lots of mushrooms.
The game: Super Mario Bros.
Okay, that one was pretty easy. Let’s try something a bit more obscure.
You just wake up from a trance to realize you’ve murdered a man. In between keeping your sanity, dodging spectral attacks & learning why you killed someone, you have to throw the police off your trail — even though you’ll also be playing the police trying to track yourself down. Throw in a little girl deus ex machina, ancient shadow organizations, cyborgs, necrophilia, the end of the world, & Simon Says-gameplay.
The game: Indigo Prophecy
You play as a dolphin that has to travel back in time using a time machine left behind be the Atlantians to save his pod from aliens that have sucked them up in a harvest that occurs every 500 years. Oh, & you get to blow up aliens with sound waves.
The game: Ecco the Dolphin
In a world where pinatas are actually living creatures (that somehow still have candy inside them), you have to build up a farm to attract the creatures. After placing certain items they like, you can catch them, breed them & sell them off for money. Or, if you find that too much trouble, you can smack the pinata with a shovel until it explodes into a shower of candy & children cheering… & then the other pinatas perform cannibalism by eating said candy.
The game: Viva Pinata
Aliens have invaded & have taken control of their captives’ bodies. You are a lone reporter, trying to bring in more viewers with coverage of the invasion while simultaneously defeating the aliens & saving the captives with your awesome coreography. And there’s a space Michael Jackson.
The game: Space Channel 5
You are the father of Moses, a former scribe in Heaven who makes a deal with God that, in order to prevent His wrath from flooding the Earth, he will defeat seven fallen angels who have led mankind astray. Lucifer acts as your guardian angel, relaying messages from God via a mobile phone. At one point you’ll become corrupted by darkness & have to be saved by a pop star. And there’s a running side story about half-angels needing to be killed lest they continue to devour each other & plunge the world into fire.
The game: El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
You are a bounty hunter of secret origin. To save up for a life-saving operation, you take out bandits for the strange chicken folk, who you can also harass for fun & more money. But instead of using guns, you use a modified crossbow that uses live ammunition. You can shoot smack-talking squirrels, skunks, exploding bats, lightning bugs & spiders. You also literally shake off damage. In the end, you take on “the man.”
The game: Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
You sort of play as the voice inside a detective’s head as you help him solve a series of murders in a strange rural town. In between being attacked by the killer & having conversations with the strange locals, you’ll slip in & out of dream-like worlds, both heavenly & hellish, where zombies hunt you down by your breathing. But you area still human, & so you have to do lots of human things; sleep, eat, shave, do dry cleaning & put gas in your car.
The game: Deadly Premonition
These games had to have been conceived on the back of a napkin after a few too many happy hours. But these are just the ones I know about. Are there others that you guys think are strange?