Everyone knows the video game classics – you can’t go wrong with Mario, Zelda, or Donkey Kong. But there are some games out there that make you really wonder what the publisher was thinking when they green-lighted the idea. Although, to be fair, a couple of plumbers wandering around in a fantasy world jumping down pipes and talking to human toadstools doesn’t sound very profitable either… At any rate, here are 10 video games I thought were particularly strange.
1. Grey’s Anatomy: The Video Game. IGN sums this up perfectly and eloquently with one word: Seriously? It’s apparently a collection of mini-games that includes such thrillers as ripping up photographs, flicking away doubts and, yes, surgery (that part might actually be pretty cool). Seems slightly unnecessary.
2. Ninjabread Man. The name totally made me laugh, but the game is definitely… half-baked, if you will? Yes, you’re a gingerbread man with throwing stars and a machete, which is sweet. But according to all of the reviews, the gameplay is terrible, the graphics are abysmal, and the bugs are rampant. But still… it’s a murderous pastry! How often does that happen?? Oh, wait…
3. Bible Buffet. This was for the NES circa 1993. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with games that reference religion. But I don’t really understand the food reference. Evil food is out to get you, and you’re armed only with utensils to ward them off (and nary a spork in the bunch). And according to the reviews, the most religious reference you’ll get in this game is the title, so color me ultra confused.
4. Speaking of weird food-based games… BurgerTime. The entire premise of the game is to build sandwiches while avoiding tyrannical eggs, pickles, and hot dogs (cleverly named Mr. Egg, Mr. Pickle, and Mr. Hot Dog). Despite the incredibly strange premise, this sucker is ridiculously addicting. Between this and Marble Madness, I lost a good chunk of my childhood to the NES. I can hear the music in my head right now. And I think you should too.
5. Captain Novolin. Diabetics, unite! We all know there’s brand placement in video games, but this SNES game is ridiculous. The eponymous hero is diabetic and he’s trying to rescue the mayor of the town, but aliens keep trying to thwart him by turning themselves into cake and cookies. He replenishes his life meter by eating healthy meals to keep his blood sugar at safe levels. It was sponsored by Novo Nordisk, the makers of Novolin insulin. Sounds like… fun…?
6. Journey Escape. Yes. As in the band Journey. As in Steve Perry. As in Atari. You had to get each band member through a throng of obsessed fangirls and intrusive paparazzi. Every time a band member was held up by an obstacle, money came out of the bank account. Zero money = dead Journey. I think you’ll agree that the likenesses are amazing, no? You can read more about it here and even play it if you want to download an emulator. If anyone does, please let us know how awesome it is.
7. Desert Bus. This was only one piece of a 1995 Sega game that actually never got released, but it’s too weird to not mention. As part of Penn and Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors game, players had to pilot a bus through the desert from Tucson to Vegas. You have no passengers, and you can only go a maximum of 45 mph. And it’s real time. Even worse, the bus veers to the right just enough so that enterprising players can’t just tape the button down and go do something else for eight hours. If you do veer off the road, your bus gets towed back to Tucson… also in real time. The scenery never changes. And if you make it to Vegas, all you have to look forward to is the return trip. You will score exactly one point if you make the one-way trip.
8. Custer’s Revenge. Wow. This one is really bad. You’re not even going to believe me. You’re General Custer, clad in nothing but a hat, boots and a bandana. That’s it. And you’re, um, visibly excited. For the whole game. Your goal is to dodge arrows and cannonballs so you can have sex with (rape, according to some women’s rights group) a naked Native American woman named Revenge. Despite the horrible and offensive plot line, the graphics are so pixel-y and, well, 1982, that it’s not like you’re getting much reality out of it. If you’re looking for a pixel-y ‘80s game to provide that kind of entertainment, you’d be better off with Leisure Suit Larry.
9. Baby Boomer. I’m willing to bet this NES game was made solely based on the “clever” title. You use the duck hunt gun to shoot things in the path of a baby who is crawling along relentlessly toward his doom. Levels include both heaven and hell. You have to protect a baby in heaven? How is that even fair?
10. Mr. Gimmick! This one sounds like many sleepless nights to me – if it doesn’t induce nightmares in a child, I don’t know what will. A little girl receives a new doll for her birthday (a gimmick doll, apparently) and loves it so much that she starts to neglect her other toys. So, naturally, her other toys kidnap her and suck her into an alternate toy-only universe. I’m a little freaked just thinking about it. If there are porcelain dolls involved, just count me out.
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