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By 17 February 2014 | Categories: feature articles

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A game developer requires many skills, the ability to tell a story, design innovative gameplay and drum up original content. Sometimes however, the idea behind a game is so original, it borders on lunacy. Here’s our list of the oddest, craziest, outlandish and weirdest gaming titles spanning the gaming world, crammed full of WTF moments.   

Seaman

Vivarium/Jellyvision, 1999

Anyone who has played a pet-oriented game can safely say that there is very little in terms of original gameplay or edge. The same cannot be said for the first entry to our list, Seaman, released on Sega Dreamcast in Japan in December 1999. The premise of the game sees users given the responsibility of caring for and interacting with genetically altered species of fish known as ‘Seaman’. Your pet goes through multiple stages of development, its final stage resembling a mix of an Anglerfish body and human face.

What makes Seaman particularly weird is the pithy and often rude dialogue it has with players, all in a sombre, monotone voice. Seaman was able to garner a small cult following, receiving the Original Game Character of the Year Award at the 2002 Game Developers Conference. It is Seaman’s behaviour and mannerisms that place this title head and shoulders above many others, making it one of the weirdest games ever.  

Check out just how strange the Seaman's dialogue is in this YouTube upload, courtesy of Ebola World. 

The Graveyard

Tale of Tales, 2008

Conjuring up equal parts beauty and melancholy, The Graveyard may just be one of the saddest games ever. Thankfully, an average game’s length is only around ten minutes. This title from Belgian game developer Tale of Tales, chronicles the last few moments of an elderly woman’s life as she walks through, you guessed it, a graveyard. The objective of the game being to reach a bench located somewhere in the graveyard. Once there a subtitled song plays and then the elderly woman leaves. From time to time, the elderly woman does not make it out of the graveyard, dying from natural causes.

The game was released on both PC and smartphone platforms in March 2008, receiving a nomination for the Innovation Award at the Independent Games Festival. What makes this game so weird is its dark, depressing undertones set against the stark black and white design, leaving players with a lot of unanswered questions and a bit melancholic.     

LSD: Dream Emulator
OutSide Directors Company, 1998

As the name would lend you to believe, this game is a pretty surreal experience, as players are made to navigate through a psychedelic, trance-like dream world filled with abstract objects and images. If that sounds like someone’s hallucinogen-induced dream, it kind of is. Hiroko Nishikawa, an employee of Asmik Ace Entertainment, who published the title, got the idea for the game from the dream journal she had been keeping for a year.

The game was released alongside a CD and the journal itself in Japan in 1998 on PlayStation. The purpose of the game is to simply explore and interact with objects in the dream, being transported into deeper layers of the dream, one more stranger than the other and lasting up to ten minutes at a time. The wild and crazy visuals of this game made it a cult classic and is definitely hard to top in the weirdness stakes. We were not surprised to find out that this game stemmed from someone’s deep subconscious, the jury is still out however, on whether any LSD was actually used in the production of this game.      

Have a look at the reaction to LSD's gamplay from 2GuysGaming.

Mister Mosquito

ZOOM Inc, 2001

Perhaps a bit of a PG-rated version of any games involving blood sucking vampires, Mister Mosquito involves a blood sucker of a different variety. Players assume the role of a mosquito, with the objective of sucking blood from every member of the Yamada family, who are Mister Mosquito’s only source of food. Gameplay involves sucking blood from specific body parts of different family members in an effort to collect enough blood to last winter. Players also need to avoid detection, running the risk of being swatted by flailing limbs.

Released on June 2001 on PlayStation 2, the game deals with a rather sensitive subject, considering millions of people die from malaria each year. That did not hamper sales as the game sold roughly 160 000 copies by the end of 2001. Mister Mosquito will go down as one of the weirdest games of all time and even spawned a sequel in 2003, as players once again targeted the Yamada family, as they moved to Hawaii.

Here's a small snippet of some of the gameplay in Mister Mosquito.

 

Goat Simulator

Coffee Stain Studios, 2014

Goat Simulator is hands down, the craziest sandbox-style game. It features a goat with a penchant for trampolines, licking, dry humping and complete destruction of anything out there. Said to draw inspiration from skateboarding titles like Tony Hawk Pro Skater, this game sees players assume the role of a rampant goal with the objective of exploring the utopian suburbia you find yourself in. The other, far more gratifying objective, is to create as much havoc and chaos as is humanly ‘goatly’ possible. Players can also interact with objects, thanks to their trusty tongue. Yes … tongue, with the ability to wield objects like axes and picnic tables.

This game is best described as utter insane randomness, and is currently available on Steam pre-order come this March. We haven't gotten our hands on this title yet, but by all accounts, it will top pour game of the year list in the category of best goat game you can buy for $10. Coffee Stain Studios has thrown the gauntlet down, so it's up to other indie developers to step it up.

  

Papers, Please

Lucas Pope, 2013

Xenophobia and stereotypes abound as Papers, Please taps into Eastern Bloc paranoia and fear. This game centres around the daily exploits of a border checkpoint immigration officer, who has to follow a rigorous in-game rulebook with instructions of screening procedures and practices. Each day, players are given a different set of criteria to carry out when checking the information of people looking to enter the fictional state of Arstotzka during the Cold War in 1982.

The game is influenced by international geo-political happenings, most noticeably, the war with the neighbouring state of Kolechia, which took place six years prior. Players have the additional objective of successfully processing as many individuals as possible, in order to earn enough money to feed their family.

With multiple game modes, the main story mode has anywhere up to 20 different endings, all dependent on player actions, including how many individuals pass the border checkpoint, number of warnings players receive for failing to keep out illegal immigrants and changes to the Arstotzian government.

Added to the peculiar gameplay and strange game concept, Papers, Please has an 8-bit style look and feel which is in keeping with the 1980s overtones and issues. Billed as dystopian thriller, Papers, Please should offer a grim, bleak outlook on life… if that is what you are into.

That completes our roundup of the weirdest games we have ever encountered. If you think we’ve left out something weirder, let us know in the comments.

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