With all the quality reviews, delightful columns, and hard-hitting game journalism you can find here at GameCola, it’s sometimes hard to believe that the site’s written by regular people like you and me, and not a race of evolutionarily advanced superhumans. To help bridge this divide between staff and reader, we’ve set up this column so you can get a look at our staff’s personal opinions on serious issues. Serious issues like the following:
What is the strangest game you’ve ever played?
I feel like the only games I play are strange games, like point-and-click adventure games based on the Beavis & Butt-head cartoon, first-person FMV games starring Tim Curry, and of course Kissypoo. But the one weird game that’s coming to mind right now is Chulip, a PS2 game that came out in 2007, way after the PS2 stopped being relevant. You play as a young man in love with the girl next door, and you’ve decided that the best way to win her over is to, I’m so glad I’m not making this up, kiss literally every other person in the entire town. You spend the whole game trying to figure out what makes everyone happy, making them happy, and then making out with them, so that the girl you actually like will fall in love with you…which of course makes a lot of sense.
Chulip also bears the distinction of being the only videogame I’ve ever pre-ordered, because it came with a cool keychain. Another fun fact? The only way I could get my PS2 to actually run Chulip was to flip the console upside-down.
(Paul is GameCola’s Editor-in-Chief as well as author of “Minus the Pudding: The Best of Xbox Live Indie Games.”)
The strangest game I have ever played is also one of my all-time favourites. Samorost is a beautifully original point-and-click adventure game in which your character has to protect his home planet from an imminent collision with a spaceship. “Sounds like a reasonably normal premise for a game,” I hear you say—and you would be right, except your character is a pajama-clad gnome, and his home planet is a moss-covered lump of tree-trunk which is about to be hit by rocket-shaped foliage. Each level of this game is more surreal than the last and uses a mixture of animation and still photography to create some seriously awesome environments. A couple of hours with Samorost made my experience with magic mushrooms seem positively normal, and I spent that entire night staring at a packet of cookies, utterly convinced that I looked like Ozzy Osbourne. Which I loved.
Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!
Games based on media tie-ins are known for erring on the side of ridiculous, but this Home Improvement-based failure goes one step beyond. Gameplay issues aside, Tim wields a nail gun, a flame-thrower blow torch, and a beam-wave chainsaw to fight against dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs. All this and more in the slowest Sonic ripoff ever created. Prepare to get killed by an ant while you’re trying to hit a pterodactyl with your particle-beam chainsaw. Wikipedia tries to tell you that there were mummies and robots, but you’ll never get far enough into the game to find out that those levels don’t exist.
(Jeddy is the host of The GameCola Podcast.)
Linger in Shadows
Strangest game? Now that’s a tough question, because in my line of work strange games are like furniture. They come fitted as standard and you’re too scared to go searching in them for lost change. Picking the strangest game is like asking me which piece of furniture is least likely to have some kind of dead animal stuffed inside.
Of all the games I have played, perhaps the most disappointingly strange is Linger in Shadows. It doesn’t try to be anything even remotely playable in the slightest. The game exists for two reasons: one is to show what the PlayStation 3 is capable of, and the other is to hand out Trophies like a stranger giving away candy. The electric chair is too good for a game like this.
Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road
This game just blew my mind when I was a kid. It’s a top-down shooting game where you must fight against a variety of alien creatures, and collect the hearts of everything you kill. I’m not talking about cutesy heart-shaped icons; I’m talking about weird-looking red palpitating hearts that enemies leave behind when you kill them. And you have to collect them because they serve as the game’s currency. That’s strange, right?
For the longest time I couldn’t remember this game’s title, because the label of the cartridge that was lent to me was gone. For several years I kept asking any NES-savvy person I knew if they ever played a game about a guy collecting enemies’ hearts, entering bars to buy items (with the hearts), where you could even pick a fight against any of the other clients (for hearts!).
“Oh!”—I always mentioned—“and at the start of the game, the character yelled (in a poorly synthesized voice from the NES era) furgsraurgsrr fight!” Nobody ever knew what I was talking about.
I like weird—weird is my beat—but figuring out exactly what’s the weirdest game I’ve ever played is impossible. Though, there is one that sticks out in my mind. It’s a PS1 game that proves my theory about Japan that if you censor a country’s porn, you will slowly drive everyone insane. Incredible Crisis is the manifestation of that insanity.
The game is basically a bunch of minigames strung together to form a story that reads like a drug-addled maniac penned it. It follows a family of four through their day and begins with you doing dance aerobics in your office. You eventually escape a giant runaway globe, balance on a flagpole, stop a gang of furries from robbing a bank, find a flying, robotic alien clam who shrinks your brother to the size of an ant and turns your teddy bear into Godzilla, get cannonaded by a construction crane, and find a terrorist’s G spot in a ferris wheel right before she tries to blow you up. It’s actually a pretty fun game, and all the music is by Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, who I’m a big fan of, so that’s a plus.
While other staff members have their obscure games, indie games, and foreign games to provide a steady supply of strangeness, “strange” for me is a game that doesn’t involve Mega Man. I keep a list of such games to review for my “Flash Flood” column that I swear I’m still writing, but CannonCrotch easily thrusts its way to the top.
As everyone knows, Adolf Hitler was cryogenically frozen at the end of World War II; the Nazis revived him, and Lt. CannonCrotch (who, ironically, has a cannon for a crotch) must infiltrate their base, Contra-style, to put an end to their nefarious plot to fire a devastating superlaser at the moon. To top it off, the cutscene music is an 8-bit remix of the windmill theme from Ocarina of Time. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose it’s more ridiculous than strange, but somebody’s gotta choose a game that doesn’t have “Wario” or “Cho Aniki” in the title.
You guys did choose at least one of those, right?
Crud. I get the feeling I just wasted a perfectly good vote for a WarioWare game on CannonCrotch.
Gotta go with Katamari Damacy. The name alone is intriguing enough to give the game a spin. What more could you ask of a game where your mission is to roll up sushi, milk cartons, cats, people, and rainbows into a giant ball? The King of Cosmos is about as close as you’ll get to The Burger King these days.
Chō Aniki: Kyūkyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyō Otoko
Considering I’ve played too many odd games to recall in order to write my monthly “Gamera Obscura” article, this is a very difficult decision. It is, however, a possible decision, thanks to the PlayStation Network. The strangest game I’ve ever played is Chō Aniki: Kyūkyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyō Otoko for the PlayStation, originally only available in Japan, but subsequently released overseas 15 years later, courtesy of the demented minds at MonkeyPaw Games.
The Chō Aniki series is entirely strange and features far too many muscle-bound men in less than flattering poses with each other, but this entry is in a league all its own. The introduction alone is strange, featuring pictures of bodybuilders amidst a dancing blue creature; the sequence looks like it was strung together in a few minutes in Flash. Surprisingly, most of the graphics in the game look realistic, as if cut and pasted in via Photoshop. The gameplay involves you taking on the role of a rather large man (taking up a significant part of the screen) who must fight his way through hordes of other men and strange creatures in horizontal shmup fashion; more grandiose foes include a giant half-cyborg with a smaller man as a penile implant, and an enormous frog in a snail’s shell. This…is…strange…and unusually homoerotic. Wait…did I pay money for this?
(Jeff is the author of “Gamera Obscura.”)
Do you have something you want to ask the GameCola staff? Get it off your chest and we’ll answer it. E-mail your questions to email@example.com.