A couple weeks back I wrote an article about the mini-collections in my game collection. It was great, you should definitely check it out. Something that piece made me realize was I have a lot of video games. Something else it made me realize is there are a lot of really weird games in my collection.
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise I suppose, I’ve been enjoying finding and picking up the weird and unheard of games for years now. For every Street Fighter I love, there’s a Vs. and Barbarian right around the corner. Why play Mario Kart Wii when we could be playing M&M’s Kart Racing? Oh, it’s because that game sucks? Got it. Who needs Mario Part when you’ve got Pac-Man Party to keep you company? The list can go on and on.
I wanted to take some time to highlight the weird, odd, and generally unknown games in my collection. I cannot speak for the quality of these games though: purchase or play at your own risk! For me, though, finding these games randomly sitting on the shelf is just as rewarding as finding a great deal on a Triple A title!
Mad Maestro (PS2)
You may have heard of this one if you were interested in the PS2 around it’s launch. There were a series of Japanese games brought over as budget titles released near the beginning of the PS2’s lifecycle, with Mad Maestro being one of them (another memorable game from this line was Mister Mosquito). In this game you are an orchestra director/composer who must save a historical theater from being demolished and losing the magical power of music forever. It’s ridiculous, but a nice way to get you engaged in tapping away in rhythmic succession to make music!
PenPen Trilcelon (Dreamcast)
Sometimes you see a game on the shelf and can’t help but cringe at the cover art. This is the case with PenPen Trilcelon, an early North American Dreamcast launch title. Why you would buy this on launch over a game like Sonic Adventure or Power Stone is beyond me, but here we are. If you couldn’t decipher from the cover, this is an arcade-like sports/racing game where you play as these semi-deformed looking penguins?? I’m really not sure, it’s weird.
Phix: The Adventure (PS1)
What? You haven’t heard of this mascot platformer on the PS1? No, not Crash Bandicoot. Nope, not Croc or Gex. It’s not even Bubsy or Spyro or Glover. It’s Phix, the weird mouse-like… thing, living in a world with magnets. The gameplay here had potential, but the controls really held it back. A positive-negative puzzle element gives a unique gameplay mechanic to puzzles and combat, but tank-controls and a way too zoomed in camera hamper this game greatly. But the cover has Phix looking so optimistic I had to give it a shot!
Courier Crisis (PS1)
Courier Crisis is the game I think Paperboy probably should have evolved into. In this PS1/Saturn title, you are tasked with delivering a variety of packages around a large city setting. Switching to an open-world 3D setting was a smart choice, and borrowing gameplay for the classic Paperboy is great. But the real reason I bought this one was the sheer absurdity of the cover and premise. Bicycle couriers have a rough time out there apparently.
James Pond: Codename RoboCod (DS)
James Pond has been around for a long time: I remember playing the games on the Sega Genesis back in the early 90s. This DS game is a port of the second game in the trilogy, also called Codename Robocod. You can see it too: this is definitely a retro game on the DS. The parody of James Bond and that series’ over the top characters and gadgets might be lost on today’s gaming crowd, but if you’re a fan of classic spy movies (and humor), you’ll find something here to enjoy. I’m a fan of puns, so I’m all about this game.
Domino Rally (Wii)
The Wii is a multiplayer console. There are dozens upon dozens of games to play with friends. That’s a good thing too: The Wii was objectively at it’s best when you were doing something unique and fun with your pals. Domino Rally is none of those things. It is a single player puzzle/action game, and a spiritual successor to the PS1’s No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!. I’m all about games with bizarre and unique premises or gameplay experiences, and this one delivers.
Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl Gold (Switch)
A relatively new game, and one by well-known developer Level-5, Snack World is an RPG with a food-theme. You don’t even need to say anything more and I’m already intrigued. Sadly, the game wasn’t incredibly well received (and I’ve yet to play it to draw my own conclusion), but I’m all about the fun world this game builds. For every Skyrim and Mass Effect world out there, I like to balance with a Mushroom Kingdom or, in this case, a world where foods can be your allies.
Stake: Fortune Fighters (Xbox)
A friend of mine gave me this old Xbox game, and I had never heard of it. He was shocked. He compared the game to the Dreamcast’s Power Stone, and he didn’t need to sell me on the game anymore than that. Stake is a multiplayer fighting game with a big emphasis on combat you’d see in Power Stone. Though my friend really enjoyed the game growing up, apparently the critics didn’t: This game was not well received at all, and was forgotten about seemingly right after release.
Bee Simulator (PS4)
How many games let you play as another animal or insect in the traditional sense? I don’t mean playing Simba the lion in The Lion King on SNES. I mean a game where you can be a spider and do spider things (like the Wii’s Deadly Creatures, for example). Enter Bee Simulator: an open-world RPG where you play as a normal ol’ bee doing normal bee things. Collecting nectar, avoiding death swipes from humans, aiding… squirrels? Okay, it’s not 100% what you’d expect a game about a bee to be like, but it’s weird enough to be unlike anything else you’ve ever played.
Mort the Chicken (PS1)
And then we’ve got Mort the Chicken on the original Playstation. Mort is a chicken and does chicken things, but unlike Bee Simulator, this isn’t an accurate representation on what the life of a chicken may be like. Or at least I don’t think it is, I don’t know I don’t own chickens. Maybe chickens do run around the world, collecting baby chicks, avoiding obstacles, and jumping ala Super Mario. Regardless of the life of a real chicken, this is what you can do in Mort the Chicken.
Those are a few of the titles I’ve played and enjoyed as much as any triple A, high Metacritic score video game. When it comes right down to it, if you like a game and have fun with it, does it really matter what other people say about the game’s quality? Maybe I want to play as a spy fish or a weird penguin creature running a triathlon. You never know. We have video games to let us live and enjoy these fantasies, and I love this hobby for it.