Top Ten Strangest Video Games

Many different types of videos games exist, with the most common being arcade, console, computer, and handheld.  The first commercially sold video game was an arcade game named Computer Space.  Computer Space was released in 1971 and the technology helped pave the way for video game expansion all over the world.  In 1983, Atari was mass producing large amounts of computer games and systems.  The company often times developed more merchandise then they could sell and this ultimately led to a collapse of the entire North American video game market.

However, the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 changed everything.  Video game manufactures became smarter and today the video game industry is one of the largest in the world.  In the last 20 years there have been incredible advances in video game graphics and technology.  Since the time of Computer Space, tens-of-thousands of video games have been released under various system platforms.  This article will be examining ten of the strangest and controversial video games.

10. The Great Giana Sisters

Video Game System: Commodore 64
giana sisters video game 302x400

The Commodore 64 is an 8-bit home computer that was developed by Commodore International in January of 1982.  The Commodore 64 is the best-selling personal computer model of all time.  In 1987, the German company Rainbow Arts developed a platform game named The Great Giana Sisters.  The game was made available to a wide variety of computer systems, most notably the Commodore 64.  However, due to the blatant similarities between the game and The Super Mario Brothers, Rainbow Arts was forced to withdraw all copies directly after its initial release.  The cover of the original C64 game poked fun at the Mario Brothers directly, by using the tagline “The brothers are history.”

Game Plot

The Great Giana Sisters has two playable characters, Giana and Maria.  The goal of the game is very similar to that of the Super Mario Brothers.  However, instead of collecting mushrooms from blocks, the sisters gather brightly-colored balls from blocks.  After gaining the power balls, the characters do not get large, but instead their hairstyle changes into a brightly colored Mohawk.  In both games, the advanced state allows the characters to break blocks.  The Giana Sisters break the blocks with their heads, while Mario and Luigi use their fists.  Most of the games enemies are extremely similar to those used in the Mario Brothers and the games interface and backgrounds are almost identical.

After the first two levels, the Giana Sisters breaks into a more original design.  The game was never made available commercially, but it has gained a large following over the years and illegal copies have been published on the Internet.  In 2005, a version of the game was made available for mobile phones.  A copy of the Commodore 64 version of the game was also released for the Nintendo DS.  It proved to be a success, so in 2009 an updated copy of Giana Sisters was made for the Nintendo DS.  The new Giana Sisters game features all new levels and a code to unlock the original game.

9. Metal Wolf Chaos

Video Game System: Microsoft Xbox

metal wolf chaos 533x400
The original Xbox is a video game console that was manufactured by Microsoft from 2001 to 2006.  In 2004, Microsoft released a game named Metal Wolf Chaos.  The game was only sold in Japan, but was made with a full English dialogue.  The Western World became aware of Metal Wolf Chaos by way of a series of YouTube videos.  The videos were poking fun at the games cheesy voice work and unusual plotline.  Over the years, Metal Wolf Chaos has garnered a cult following and has received many positive and negative reviews.

Game Plot

The game revolves around a fictitious United States President named Michael Wilson.  Michael Wilson is a relative of former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.  In the game, the U.S. Vice President is named Richard Hawk, which is a play on the phrase War Hawk.  War Hawk is a term that was originally used to describe the members of the 12th Congress of the United States who advocated waging war against the United Kingdom in 1812.  Over the years, the term has evolved to describe a political stance of aggression, which is used to improve the standing of one’s own government.  In the game, Richard Hawk decides to plan a coup against Wilson and succeeds in taking over the country.

President Michael Wilson survives the initial attacks and travels to the west coast of the United States and starts liberating cities by moving west to east.  The game is completed after Wilson battles his way to the White House, fights Hawk in space, and ultimately saves the U.S. from nuclear destruction.  During battle, President Michael Wilson wears a powerful armor that contains shoulder pods with weapons.  The character of Michael Wilson has appeared in other media and he was ranked #1 on Electronic Gaming Monthly’s list of video game politicians.

8. Monster Party

Video Game System: NES

monster party 280x400
The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit video game console that was first released in 1983.  The NES helped revolutionize the U.S. gaming industry after the crash of 1983.  In all, over 1,000 games were made for the NES and a particularly strange one is the 1989 release Monster Party.  Monster Party is a platform game that has gained a strong following over the years.  The game contains many standard horror themes and revolves around the story of Mark and Bert.  Bert is a monster who recruits Mark to help him save his homeland, called the Dark World.  Critics of the game note that many characters are extremely bizarre and disturbing, while supporters claim that the strange features make the game stand out.  It was a bit surprising that Nintendo released a game in 1989 that contained blood and the word “hell,” as the company was a strong supporter of video game censorship.

Game Plot

Monster Party begins when a boy named Mark is accosted on his way home from a baseball game by a winged, alien-like monster named Bert.  Bert speaks to Mark and asks him to assist in ridding the Dark World of evil monsters.  Mark is initially reluctant, but Bert insists and whisks him off to the evil land.  Upon arrival, the two are joined as one being and throughout the game Mark is occasionally allowed to transform into Bert.  The monsters and characters used in the game are quite strange.

They include mummies, giant spiders, zombies, Medusa, dragons, and the Grim Reaper.  Along the way Mark encounters a haunted well that throws giant plates, walking plants, oversized caterpillars, a bouncing piece of fried shrimp, and a huge cat that throws kittens.  Some other strange occurrences are killer umpires, masked elephants, imps, and a caterpillar named Rolls Royce. The game features eight levels and the final boss is named the Dark World Master, as is represented as a giant face that shoots eyeballs.  Many critics of the game have complained that it is too easy to master.

7. Revolution X

Video Game System: Arcade

revolution x aerosmith 305x400

Arcade systems are entertainment machines that are used to provide public businesses with a form of video game entertainment.  In the 1970s and 80s, the arcade industry exploded, but has since declined due to the expansion of home gaming entertainment.  In 1994, video game publisher Midway developed an arcade game named Revolution X.  It was a follow-up to the successful T2: The Arcade Game.  Revolution X features the rock band Aerosmith and was a popular game with a strange storyline.  Similar to many other arcade games, Revolution X was released on many other video game platforms, including the Super Nintendo, Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, and the PlayStation.

Game Plot

The storyline of Revolution X starts by describing an alternate version of 1996 where a corrupt group of military forces have taken over the world.  The group is known as the New Order Nation (NON).  The NON have waged war against the world’s youth and outlawed all music, television, and video games.  Everyone between the ages of 13 and 30 are at risk.  Right before the game begins, members of the NON kidnap Aerosmith during a concert.  Revolution X then takes the form of a rail shooting game and the goal is to shoot targets as they appear on the screen.  The five members of Aerosmith are hidden throughout the game and they all need to be found and recovered in order to win.

Many Aerosmith songs are included in the video game, including Sweet Emotion, Toys in the Attic, Walk this Way, and Love in an Elevator.  The final battle takes place in London’s Wembley Stadium.  During the game, after a large explosion, Steven Tyler can be heard saying “Toasty!” in a high-pitched voice.  This is a reference to an easter egg found in the game Mortal Kombat II.  At one time there was a plan to create a sequel to Revolution X.  It was set to star the band Public Enemy, but Midway thought the Aerosmith game was not making enough money, so the sequel was never developed.

6. Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors

Video Game Platform: Sega CD & PC
Penn and Teller Sega

Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors is a video game that was intended to be released in 1995 for the Sega CD, but was never made available for purchase.  The game stars the comedy-magician duo Penn & Teller.  It is regarded as the official video game of Penn & Teller’s comedy video Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends.  In recent years, Smoke and Mirrors has gained a significant following over the Internet, after being featured on various websites dedicated to unreleased video games.

Game Plot

Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors is composed of several small mini-games and magic tricks.  All of the games are designed to help the owner trick their friends in a variety of different ways.  The game contains many mini-adventure challenges.   The best known and most used mini-game is called Desert Bus.  The realistic objective of Desert Bus is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada.  The video game takes place in real time and the bus in not allowed to exceed 45mph.  In order to complete the task, the user must play the game nonstop for 8 hours, and it doesn’t have a pause option.  The bus contains no other passengers, no scenery or other cars.  It also veers slightly to the right, so it is impossible to tape down the controller button and finish the task.  If the bus fails to stay on the road then it will be stopped and towed back to Tucson, also in real time.

If you complete the task and make it to Las Vegas, then you get one point and the option to return the bus to Tucson.  The scenery never changes, but approximately five hours into the first trip to Vegas, a single bug splatters on the buses windshield.  On the return trip home, the daylight fades with dusk and at one point the bus travels on a pitch-black road being guided by headlights.  Penn & Teller have suggested that Desert Bus was meant to be used in video game competitions, with the winner gaining a free trip on a party bus between Tucson and Las Vegas.

In 2007, the first Desert Bus for Hope marathon was conducted.  The goal of the marathon was to raise funds for children’s charities.  Four players continuously played the game, while raising donations.  On November 20, 2009 the 3rd annual Desert Bus for Hope marathon was held.  The drivers reached a record breaking 14 points before the bus crashed.  The marathon lasted 5 days and 16 hours, and raised a total of $140,449.  The Desert Bus for Hope events have raised a total of $233,678 over the past three years and another marathon is scheduled for November 2010.  Some of the other mini-games included in Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors are Mofo the Psychic Gorilla, Buzz Bombers, What’s Your Sign, Sun Scorcher, and Smoke and Mirrors.

5. Communist Mutants from Space

Video Game System: Atari 2600
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The Atari 2600 was a video game console that was released in October of 1977.  In the early 1980s the Atari 2600 was very popular and widely distributed around the world.  In 1982, a U.S. company named Starpath developed a new video game named Communist Mutants from Space.  The game was made for the Atari 2600 and was compatible with the Starpath Supercharger.  The Starpath Supercharger is an add-on component that is used to expand the capabilities of the Atari 2600.  The Supercharger gives the Atari system higher resolution graphics by multiplying the consoles RAM from its built-in 128 bytes to 6,272 bytes.

Game Plot

The plot of Communist Mutants from Space revolves around a group of aliens from the communist planet of Rooskee.  The deadly aliens are on a mission to attack and destroy peaceful, democratic planets and turn the inhabitants into “Communist Mutants.”  The game is played in a similar manner as most space invader games created during the 1980s.  The player is given a cannon gun which they use to destroy all incoming alien invaders.  In the game, the communist mutant armies are controlled by a leader, who is known as the Mother Creature.  The ultimate goal is to destroy the Mother Creature and rid the planet of the communist mutants.

In another storyline twist, the Mother Creature is said to have gone insane due to irradiated vodka.  Communist Mutants from Space has been categorized as a propaganda video game, as the Cold War was really heating up in 1982 and 1983.  Interestingly, the game has a hidden easter egg.  If you hold down the fire button and then press the power switch on the Atari 2600, it will cause the “HI” on the high scores screen to change to “SHL,” which are the initials of the games programmer.

4. JFK: Reloaded

Video Game Platform: Windows
jfk reloaded

The online gaming world has really exploded in the last ten years.  Thousands of computer games have been developed and released under various platforms, with the most common being the biggest company, Microsoft Windows.  In 2004, a Scotland-based business named Traffic Games released a game titled JFK: Reloaded.  According to various inquiries, the company has said that the game’s purpose was to establish the facts surrounding what happened on November 22, 1963 in Dealey Plaza.  This was done “by running the world’s first mass-participation forensic construction.”  The goal of the game was to help prove whether Lee Harvey Oswald had the “means and the opportunity” to kill U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Game Plot

JFK: Reloaded places the games user in the role of Kennedy alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.  The player is scored on how closely his shooting matches the report of the Warren Commission.  The Warren Commission was the group of government officials assigned to investigate Kennedy’s death.  They ultimately named Lee Harvey Oswald the sole gunman.  The game is difficult to master because each bullet you fire has a random probability of where it will hit, making it is impossible to predict precisely where the bullet will land.  This means that there is a lot of luck involved with gaining a perfect score, especially in regards to the “magic bullet.”  Over the Internet, many people have argued that JFK: Reloaded is not a game, as much as a controversial simulation of a historical event.  However, various gaming websites have reviewed it, with some positive reviews.

The majority of people feel the game is in bad taste.  JFK: Reloaded even garnered a response from John’s brother, the late Senator Edward Kennedy, who called the game despicable and questioned why it was ever allowed on the market.  People have argued that the game’s manufacturers were only interested in making money.  Upon release of JFK: Reloaded, Traffic Games ran a contest that paid the person with the highest score a prize.  Ultimately, a man named Stephane Krupa won $10,712 with a score of 782 out of 1000.  The game is no longer available on its original website.  However, various computer programmers have altered the game over the years, and some versions include a motorcade, while others allow you to shoot from the Grassy Knoll.

3. Hong Kong 97

Video Game System: Super Nintendo

hong kong 97 video game
The Super Nintendo or Super Famicom is a 16-bit video game system that was distributed all over the world in the early 1990s.  The Super Nintendo was an advanced piece of technology and ended up being the best selling 16-bit video game console, eclipsing the highly competitive Sega Genesis.  In 1995, a Japan based company developed a game for the Super Nintendo named Hong Kong 97.  Since the games release, it has gained a considerable following in Japan and Taiwan.  Hong Kong 97 is routinely included on lists documenting the poorest quality video games, but many people feel that the game is so bad that it is good.  The game is controversial and contains many racial undertones.

Game Plot

Hong Kong 97s storyline is set around the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997.  On July 1, 1997 the United Kingdom officially returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule.  The introduction to the game claims that at this time in history many Chinese people moved to Hong Kong, thus increasing the areas crime rate.  In response to this, the game develops the character Chin, whose job is to wipe out all of the 1.2 billion Chinese people.  Chin is portrayed by Jackie Chan on the box and is described as a relative of Bruce Lee who is represented by British politician Chris Patten.  However, the Chinese have developed a plan to bring back the dead “Tong Shau Ping” (Deng Xiaoping) as an ultimate weapon.

Deng Xiaoping was the longtime leader of the Communist Party of China that passed away in 1997.  After the introduction, the game immediately starts with Chin trying to avoid and kill the Chinese populace.  The game is not very long, but extremely difficult to master.  The final boss is actually a picture of Deng Xiaoping’s head.  Hong Kong 97 can be played in English, Japanese, or Traditional Chinese.  In the English version, the first two sentences of the game are: “The year 1997 has arrived.  A herd of fu**in’ ugly reds are rushing from the mainland.”  A company named HappySoft Ltd. distributed the games themselves, but few retail stores purchased copies, so they are extremely rare and valuable.

2. Mystique Games

Video Game System: Atari 2600

Mystique is one of the first video game companies that attempted to use sex to sell games.  In the early 1980s, Mystique developed many pornographic video games for the Atari 2600.  Some of the most popular were Custer’s Revenge, Bachelor Party, and Beat ‘Em & Eat ‘Em.  These three games are known as some of the fist pornographic video games.  They were extremely controversial and contain many racial and sexual stereotypes.  The company Mystique went out of business during the video game crash of 1983, but many of their games have gathered a cult following over the years.

Game Plots
Custers Revenge 304x400

The most recognized Mystique game is Custer’s Revenge.  In the game, the player controls a man with a cowboy hat named Custer, which is an obvious reference to General George Custer.  Custer is naked and has to overcome many obstacles in order to have sex with a crudely depicted Native American woman.  The woman is shown with large breasts and is tied to a post.  Once the obstacles are completed, a visible erection appears on Custer and he continues to have sex with the tied up woman.  Almost immediately the game received strong criticism from Native Americans and woman’s rights organizations.  Many claim that it is a clear depiction of rape, while others pass it off as only a game.  The Native American woman is given the name “Revenge” in the game.  The booklet for Custer’s Revenge famously states “if the kids catch you and should ask, tell them Custer and the maiden are just dancing.”

bachelor video game
Bachelor Party is a Mystique game that was loosely based on the 1984 comedy film starring Tom Hanks.  Bachelor Party is a simplified version of the game Breakout.  Breakout is one of the first video games ever made and is similar to pong.  A large collection of bricks are situated on the top of the screen and the user has to bounce a ball and destroy all the bricks without letting the ball hit the bottom of the screen.  However, in Bachelor Party the ball looks like a nude male body, while the bricks are females.  The naked males also bounce from left to right, rather than up and down.  The game is very simple and the goal is to let the bachelor have a final fling with a room full of nude women.  A reversed version of the game does exist, it is named Bachelorette Party.

Beat em and eat em
The dirtiest pornographic game developed by Mystique is named Beat ‘Em & Eat ‘Em.  The game was released in 1982 and originally was an extremely poor seller, but with the expansion of the Internet, the game has become a cult classic.  However, similar to other Mystique games, Beat ‘Em & Eat ‘Em is regarded as one of the worst quality video games ever made.  In this pornographic game, the player controls a pair of nude women who move back and forth underneath a building.  On top of the building a man with a large penis is masturbating and the player’s objective is to maneuver the women so that they can catch the man’s semen, which is colored yellow before it hits the ground.  To make things a bit worse, when the player is successful, the two women look at the screen and lick their lips.  In the game, a score of 69 points and every 69-point interval receives a free guy.  The gender reversed version of the game is called Philly Flasher and it includes two men who are trying to gather drops of breast milk lactated by a witch.

1. Super Columbine Massacre RPG!

Video Game Platform: Windows

Super Columbine Massacre is a role-playing video game that was developed by Danny Ledonne and released in April of 2005.  It was made available on April 20, which was the 6th anniversary of the school shooting.  The game was released as a freeware and a donation of $1 was requested upon download.  Danny Ledonne originally attempted to avoid controversy and the game was released anonymously.  However, after a donation was made through PayPal, Ledonne’s identity was made public and he began to receive calls from mainstream media outlets.  In the game’s first year of release, it was downloaded only 10,000 times, but after it became a large news story in the United States, the game exploded with over 400,000 downloads.

Game Plot

Super Columbine Massacre recreates the events surrounding the 1999 Columbine school shooting.  The game’s players assume the role of gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and ultimately act out the massacre.  Super Columbine Massacre has a pretty extensive plot, and starts as Eric Harris’ mother wakes him up on April 20, 1999.  Harris phones Dylan Klebold, and the two meet in Harris’ basement to plot the attack.  The two boys think about their past bullying experiences.  They make a video and load up their bags with guns and bombs.  Once the pair arrives at the school, the player has to enter the cafeteria and plant bombs without being detected by the school’s video cameras.  After the bombs fail to explode, the goal is to enter the school and shoot as many innocent people as possible.

At the end of the first part of the game, the two gunmen commit suicide.  The second part of the game places Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in hell.  The pair continues by fighting demons, monsters, and Satan.  They also travel to the Island of Lost Souls and meet historical figures J. Robert Oppenheimer, JonBenét Ramsey, Malcolm X, Ronald Reagan and John Lennon.  The media reception to Super Columbine Massacre was generally negative and many people were offended by the game.  Victims of the shooting came forward to express their disgust with Danny Ledonne.

In many interviews, Ledonne claimed that the game was made out of respect for the memory of the victims and that he personally knew a girl named Rachel that died in the massacre.  In Super Columbine Massacre, players have the option of killing Rachel over and over again, which is disturbing.  CNN labeled the game as something that a subculture that worships terrorists would play.  Other people praised the game for opening up the dialogue about the problem of school shootings.  In September of 2006, a man named Kimveer Gill killed Anastasia De Sousa and injured 19 students at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  After it was revealed that Gill was an avid player of Super Columbine Massacre, the game was taken down from its original website


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