10 Strangest Cult Classic Video Games
As gamers, we’re often attracted to the weird and the bizarre. The stranger a game is, the more we feel like we can get lost in a world unlike our own. While many popular franchises are content to set themselves in the real world and wallow around in it a la Call of Duty, others take the freedom given to them by the medium and create an entirely new experience, one that’s so strangely marvelous it earns itself a happy little legion of fans. With that in mind, we’ve sought out the strange, bathed in the bizarre, and wrapped ourselves in the weird, all to bring you, dear reader, the 10 Strangest Cult Classic Video Games!
This Super NES classic may be known for its colorful characters and funny writing, but let's not forget one of the key elements about Earthbound's charm: it's friggin' strange. You'll battle enemies like hippies, rabid dogs, and piles of belching slime, take down a happy happy cult, speak with so many weird people you'll lose track of all the bizarre crap they've said, and let's not even get started on the whole Moonside situation. That's why it belongs on our list of the 10 Strangest Cult Classic Video Games.
In Chulip, the player must help the hero get the girl of his dreams by running errands around town and kissing people. Seriously. If you kiss them inappropriately, you'll get a smack to the head — just like in real life! Most people didn't find Chulip to be that much fun, but its weird gameplay hook certainly earned it a place on this list.
Aliens! The Earth is under attack from an alien menace, and the only thing that can stop them is the flying, disembodied head of a samurai spirit. You'll fight all sorts of flying junk, spitting pellets at them to get the aliens to get them to bugger off, and every time you take damage one section of your life meter -- which is made up of tiny pictures of your flying head dude's head -- will turn into skulls.
System Shock 2
This ambitious sci-fi title acts as a predecessor to the Bioshock series. In it, players traverse a spaceship, growing ever more powerful while they uncover the mystery of what happened to the ship's crew. System Shock 2 didn't find much success upon its initial release, but since then it's gone on to be hailed as one of the greatest games of all time, earning itself a devoted legion of fans thanks to its dark, cyberpunk atmosphere, sharp writing, and general sense of weirdness.
Conker's Bad Fur Day
The first Conker game was a gentle, G-rated platformer in the vein of Banjo-Kazooie. Its sequel, Conker's Bad Fur Day, was a genre-mishmashing, M-rated fecal bath filled with crudeness usually reserved for an episode of South Park. The previously-sweet Conker swears like a sailor, enemies die in a bloody mess, and at one point you do battle with The Mighty Poo, who is a massive, living pile of crap.
Game creator Tim Schafer and his studio, Double Fine, have never been ones to shy away from the weird, and he definitely brought it out in droves in this quirky action-platformer. Psychonauts' story centers around Raz, a young boy at a camp for wannabe psychics (dubbed psychonauts) who has to rescue his fellow campers from their own tortured psyches once disaster strikes. As you'd expect from a Double Fine game the writing here is absolutely hilarious and filled to the brim with life. Every character, no matter how small, has a vibrant personality and a whole bag of idiosyncrasies to go with it. Like most of the other games on this list, Psychonauts didn't see much initial success, commercially speaking, but this critically-loved darling soon found a loyal group of fans who'd follow it to the ends of the Earth.
Ai Cho Aniki
While most side-scrolling shoot 'em ups put you in control of a spaceship, Ai Cho Aniki puts you and another player in control of flying, muscular dudes in their underwear. The sequels include additional characters like an Elvis Presley lookalike, a condom, and a girl/battleship who is transporting three naked dudes who're partying hardcore.
This on-rails shooter is a rabbit hole of craziness; the longer you play, the more insanity you'll uncover. The story is about... well, a whole bunch of wild stuff, but some of the key points include multiple personality disorder, assassins, dudes in bondage, and people whose internal organs double as bombs.
If there ever were a game to be considered a spiritual successor to David Lynch's bizarre masterpiece, Twin Peaks, it'd be Deadly Premonition. Deadly Premonition is like your seemingly crazy, overly-doting aunt. You can feel the love oozing out of its every pore, but half the crap it says doesn't make sense... until you think a little while and realize that everything it said made perfect sense. Deadly Premonition stars Detective York, who is called to investigate a murder in Greenvale. During his investigation, players uncover that the town, its residents, and even York himself, aren't quite what they seem.
Whoopsy-daisy! The King of the Cosmos has accidentally destroyed all of the stars in the sky, and it's up to his son to replace them. To do this he'll go to Earth, roll a ball around and stick things to it, like thumbtacks, people, mailboxes, and, well, everything, and use these balls as the new stars. Katamari Damacy revels in its strangeness like some kind of genius hipster artist. Every bit of dialogue, everything you do, and every cutscene is so wonderfully weird; when combined with Katamari's catchy tunes and unique gameplay it's no wonder why this #1 entry on our list of the 10 Strangest Cult Classic Video Games became such a strange (and popular!) franchise.