Strange video games have existed since the dawn of gaming, but as they evolved from crude, pixelated graphics to slick realism, the Japanese have perfected the art of of the bizarre. Crude jokes, sexual humor, murder and mayhem – these are the elements used by Japanese designers to create some of the wildest video games ever made.
1Hatoful Boyfriend - A Pigeon Dating Simulator
Hatoful Boyfriend is an unusual take on the popular otome visual novel/dating sim that is so popular in Japan. The title is a play on the word “hateful”, and on the name of the game's creator, Hato Moa.
As the only human student attending St. PigeoNation's Institute, a posh school for pigeons, you flirt with fair feathered friends, interact with fellow classmates and solve a mystery all while being pursued by tiny bird brained male pigeons who want to be your boyfriend.
The first game has been fully translated into English and was released on PC in 2012. The Japanese language sequel, Hatoful Boyfriend HolidayStar was released in 2013.
2A Buggy Game That Totally Sucks- Mister Mosquito
Here's a game for players who don't feel like video games suck enough- Mister Mosquito.
In the shoes of a tiny bloodsucking insect (yes, it wears shoes), players terrorize a suburban family in search of human blood for the long, cold winter ahead. Your mosquito flies around a family's house draining their blood while trying to remain out of sight, so as not to be swatted out of the air.
The game came out on the PS2 in 2002, but die-hard fans still insist that the original Japanese version is better than the badly translated English version.
3Bodybuilders, Bears And Protein, Oh My!- Muscle March
Do you have what it takes to become a God of Muscle?
Muscle March is a game full of homoerotic overtones, machismo and a bunch of really buff, well oiled men – yet it still received an E-10 rating when it was released for the Wii console in 2009.
In Muscle March, you're a bodybuilder chasing after a thief who has stolen a bottle of the precious protein you've been transporting across the globe. You give chase through a variety of locations – from city streets to a space station – while overcoming obstacles like a real muscle hero.
4Seaman Is A Man Faced Pet For Your TV
Seaman is a strange little game which came out for the Sega Dreamcast in 1998.
The Seaman is a fish with a man's face, who you communicate with via microphone. As you learn about the Seaman species, you help him evolve from little more than a parasite to a full blown frogman, with your virtual pet slinging insults and random trivia at you the entire time. Some people found this virtual pet game to be quite delightful, and quirky enough to keep playing, but most gamers found the lack of action and in-game guidance to be too much to handle.
5Roll Up The Universe In Katamari Damacy
The Katamari Damacy series is probably the most well known of the strange Japanese games that made it to game consoles across the globe.
In Katamari Damacy you are a tiny prince who is sent by his father – an angry mustached man known as the King of all Cosmos – to recover the stars, constellations, and Moon after the King went on a binge drinking spree that destroyed the universe.
To replace the cosmos you have find and roll up various objects – trash, animals and even people – to form stars and planets that are then launched into space in order to impress your disapproving father.
Katamari Damacy games have been released on the Playstation 2, Sony PSP, Xbox 360, PS3, and portable platforms like iOS and Android. They are beloved by fans of both puzzle and adventure games due to the addictive gameplay.
6Dating Can Be A Total Nightmare- Catherine
Catherine is totally unique and fun virtual girlfriend gaming, unless you're expecting to do nothing but have pretend sex with a virtual girl. Catherine is different, because it is a puzzle-platformer game and offers compelling gameplay.
Players control Vincent Brooks, a man who begins having bizarre nightmares when his girlfriend Katherine starts talking about marriage. The matter becomes more complicated when he meets Catherine and begins and affair with her. As the nightmares become more intense, the player unlocks different endings and affects Vincent's morality meter, and thereby changes his relationship with the title character.
Catherine was released for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles in 2011, and features over twenty hours of gameplay, so if you're not currently in a relationship Catherine might be the girl for you!
7Be Careful Who You Love In School Days
School Days is a seemingly innocent and typical looking Utomo dating game on the surface, but as you play through the game trying to get girls from your school to like you, things take a very strange turn.
There is not much gameplay in School Days – you just make dialog choices and other plot decisions with little control over the character.
The game has multiple endings, including a positive one, referred to as the Harem Ending, where you hook up often with all the girls, and multiple bad endings full of murder, rape and suicide.
School Days was released on PC in 2005, and ported over to the PS2 and PSP in 2007.
8Get Angry At Your Family In Super Table Flip
Have you ever gotten so angry that you wanted to flip a table covered in dishes during dinner? That's the premise of Super Table Flip. You play an angry father who has just received some distressing news and totally loses his mind in anger.
The arcade cabinet for Super Table Flip featured (what else?) a table for you to flip as hard as you can, much to the horror of your virtual on-screen family and source of your seething anger.
Super Table Flip was released in Japanese arcades in 2009. Playing it is a great way to relieve stress.
9Old School Arcade Oddity - I'm Sorry
Retro wonder I'm Sorry is an arcade game released in 1985 that features a caricature of former Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. The game made its way to arcades in the U.S. despite the Japanese references that were hard for American audiences to understand.
In I'm Sorry, you play a greedy guy who runs around a town maze snatching up gold bricks and avoiding baddies like Michael Jackson, Carl Lewis and Madonna.
I'm Sorry has been compared to Pac-Man in terms of game play, but since American audiences didn't get the Japanese references it didn't do well in arcades.
10Japan World Cup 3 Is Yeti Racing At Its Finest
On the surface, Japan World Cup 3 looks like an ordinary horse racing game, but that's where the similarity to the popular sport ends.
You don't even have to be a horse to compete in this strange circuit. A Trojan Horse, a Yeti, a walrus and even a steam powered robotic beast that looks like a horse version of MechaGodzilla take to the course competing for the best time.
Simple in game play, and simply strange to watch play out, Japan World Cup 3 was released in 2012 on DVD for the PC.
11Cube Chomping Fun - Cubivore: Survival Of The Fittest
Fight your way to the top of the pixelated food chain in Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest.
You play a fledgling Cubivore trying to work your way up the food chain and grow to gigantic proportions by gobbling up every little cube shaped critter you come across. Your goal is to mutate into a cubic beast big enough to defeat the Killer Cubivore and restore the essence of the land gobbled up by the big baddie.
Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest came out on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2002.
12Spank The Competition In Boong-Ga Boong-Ga
Japanese boys play a game called Boong-Ga Boong-Ga which involves kancho – a prank where you poke someone in the anus with two fingers.
Sounds like fun, right? It gets even worse – the arcade cabinet for this video game features an actual butt complete with anus, so you have a good target for spanking and can really jam the attached foam finger in when it's time to simulate kancho.
There are eight characters for you to punish with spanking and kancho, including an ex-girlfriend, a child molester, and a mother-in-law, because who wouldn't want to give their in-laws a good spanking?
13Get Deep In Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou
Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou is less about goofy strangeness and more about taking a journey into the depths of your psyche.
It starts out like the stuff of fairy tales – your soul is taken to an island, so you have to steal another soul in order to get back to the soul-stealing island and make yourself whole again. From there things turn incredibly surreal turn – you discover that the soul stealing island is the game creator's giant head, which you have to literally go inside of to finish this virtual head trip.
14Incredible Crisis Proves Everyday Life Can Be Very Exciting
It's grandma Haruko's birthday and four of her family members forgot! They each run out to get her a present and have a bizarre adventure along the way in Incredible Crisis.
The game focuses on one family member at a time – the player guides them through their day, which starts out relatively normal but soon becomes an incredible crisis, like dad dodging a giant boulder tearing through his office building, mom dodging a bank robbery in progress, son escaping radioactive creatures in the park, and daughter battling a UFO.
Incredible Crisis brought the daily disaster to the PC and the Playstation console in 1999.
15A Game Full Of Crappy Enemies And Potty Humor - Toilet Kids
Not to poop on the fans of strange video games, but some games use strange or gross imagery just for the sake of shock value, which is definitely the case with . Toilet Kids.
It's a standard shoot ‘em up with a stinky twist – everything is poop themed. Enemies are shooting their poop at you, landscape details are shaped like poop, and there are enough added butts and fecal humor to keep an eight year old giggling for weeks.
Toilet Kids brought stinky game play and crappy graphics to the PC in 1992.
16Act Like A Creepy Old Pervert In The Houchi Play
This game title may not translate the same way in English as it does in Japanese, but hoochies are the name of the game in The Houchi Play.
Your character is a perverted and middle-aged Japanese man who plays a twisted little game with young girls who are trying to get dressed.
You sneak up on them when they're not looking, or stand still when they look your way. Occasionally, you down a bottle of alcohol that helps you build up your courage and then creep in on the young girls faster than before.
The Houchi Play is a novelty game at best, with totally creepy undertones about perversion. If you feel the need to get virtually lecherous, it was released in the Xbox 360 marketplace in 2012.