My Collection: Bizarre Games

Shaq Fu and Katamari Damacy
Image credit: Tom Ruddle/Delphine/Namco

So I could have just talked about something boring like ‘Games I Played In My Childhood’, but I’m in a bizarre mood. Some games (see Call of Duty) are pretty regular fare – guns, explosions, rampant patriotism – but many of the best-loved games are downright bonkers. I mean, look at Mario. He’s a plumber that takes mushrooms and jumps on the heads of turtles, mushrooms and bombs. And the thing is: we still love them. However, there are some games that really take the biscuit for their off-the-wall concepts, mechanics or story. Therefore, My Collection this week is going to be all the games where I’ve got a few minutes in and thought “What the hell?”.

Katamari Damacy - PlayStation 2

A Japanese classic, you play the Prince, son of the King of All Cosmos, who has mistakenly destroyed a galaxy or two and charges you with rebuilding it. You are given a small ball, which you are tasked with rolling around a house sticking anything and everything to its surface until it grows in size, when you can pick up houses, planes and trees with the aim of creating stars.

Killer7 - PS2/GameCube

The developer of this game, Suda51, is well known for his insane ideas. Between Lollipop Chainsaw (a schoolgirl fights off a zombie apocalypse with rainbows and chainsaws) and this (a neo-noir alternative history game, where you play 7 assassins that are part of the same consciousness in the middle of a Japanese-American war), Suda51 has a cult following, but it’s too outlandish for me.

Psychonauts - PC/Xbox/PS2

Most kids dream of running away to the circus, but Raz from Psychonauts runs away from the circus to join a psychic summer camp, where young children are taught how to enter people’s thoughts and dreams in order to help them with traumatic memories. I’m sure you’ve spotted the flaw already, so Raz has to stop the camp leaders from changing people’s thoughts for their own nefarious purposes.

Shaq Fu - Megadrive/SNES

How do you spice up an incredibly unoriginal fighting game when you’re a small developer? Get yourself a big name to splash on the front cover. Hence Shaq Fu, where Shaquille O’Neal is teleported to a different dimension and must use his basketball and fighting skills to save a young boy. This started a string of celebrity sponsored video games, including the abysmal and misogynistic 50 Cent: Bulletproof.

Space Channel 5 - Dreamcast/PS2

So dancing games aren’t unpopular, but they don’t get weirder than this. You play Ulala, a space news reporter who has been kidnapped by aliens and forced to dance against them for her freedom. It’s basically a glorified version of Simon Says but it’s very easy to get caught up in the music. Just when you think it can’t get any weirder, you get to the end of the game and who should appear? Michael Jackson. Obviously.

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