One of the fondest (and funniest) memories from my honeymoon involves trying to explain the plotline of an old video game to my partner. We were driving from our cabin/resort to a city about forty miles away. We hadn’t slept much, predominantly due to the season finale of The Legend of Korra followed by a Netflix binge of the show Leverage.
So there we were, driving down the road, and the conversation somehow landed on the video game Banjo Kazooie. Des (my partner) had not played the game before, so I decided to explain the story. I say, completely genuine with my expression completely serious:
“Well, you’re a bear named Banjo. And your sister is the cutest bear in all the land.”
We laughed for five uninterrupted minutes.
Seriously, the plot of this game is ridiculous. An evil witch captures your bear-sister to suck out her cuteness, and you have to stop her with the help of your weird bird pet who lives in your backpack and a shaman who turns you into a bumblebee. As a kid, I was just like “yeah, okay, seems legit.” But now I can look back and see that the story of this game cannot be explained with a straight face.
I remembered that memory this morning and it got me thinking about what other video games from my childhood might have had unusual storylines. The number is pretty high, so for your enjoyment, I offer to you the plotlines of some of the weirdest games I ever played as a child.
Chameleon Twist tells the story of four chameleons, Davy, Fred, Jack, and Linda, who are just doing their chameleon business when they suddenly see a white rabbit hopping through the woods. Curious, the chameleons follow the rabbit to a large vase filled with glowing rainbow colors. Davy leads his friends into the vase, and the four chameleons plunge into an alternate world where they have become anthropomorphic. The humanoid chameleons then have to find their way back home.
Now besides the fact that this game basically stole the entire plot of Alice in Wonderland, there are a lot of weird things about it. First of all, the anthropomorphic chameleons still have massively long tongues. And they use these tongues to fight, slurping up porcupines and other things that would definitely hurt your tongue in order to spit them back out at enemies. Speaking of those enemies, they include such terrifying bosses as a giant ape that you shoot off of a cliff with butterflies and a ballerina ant with a giant tush that you have to make trip and fall.
Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon
If anime was a video game, it would be this video game. The game tells the story of Goemon and his partner Ebisumaru, two ninjas (?) living in the town of Edo. One day while Ebisumaru is doing his super special thong dance (or something like that, it’s been a few years), Edo Castle is attacked by a giant UFO. This UFO blasts Edo Castle with an Instant Stage Beam, which turns the castle into a giant theater to be used by a Native American villain named Spring Breeze Dancin. Goemon and Ebisumaru, along with their allies Yai and Sazuke, have to stop Dancin and his Stage Beam in order to save all of Japan.
Guys, if you have a working N64 and can somehow obtain this game, you have to play it at least once. It is absolutely hysterical. Besides the painfully offensive Native American stereotypes demonstrated by Dancin and his wife Tiger Lily, this game includes multiple androgynous villains who gets offended at being called “weird” and attack you with giant robots. That’s right. This game has periodic breaks from the action for giant robot fights. And your robot? He’s an American movie star with his own theme song. Mystical Ninja even includes canned laughter like a television sitcom. Seriously. You have to play this game.
Crossing the threshold from “funnily weird” to “just plain creepy,” Mischief Makers tells the story of Marina, the ultra-intergalactic cybot G (I think) trying to rescue the professor who invented her from an evil emperor who kidnaps him. Sounds pretty simple and relatively normal, right?
First of all, the action of the game takes place on planet Clancer. The weird thing about Clancer? Every single thing on the planet has the exact same horrified expression on their face. The people, the animals, the bricks on the buildings, even the pottery has the same screaming face plastered all over it.
During your adventure through this nightmare-inducing landscape, you use the power of shaking things to create new weapons. Put enough flowers in a pot and shake it up and you create a ninja star. Mix up enough ninja stars and your create explosives. That’s the power of science, readers.
Finally, the weirdest part of Mischief Makers, the villains. Oh dear, the villains. The cast list includes a series of anthropomorphic Power Ranger type characters who shout dramatic things like “through fire, justice is served!” and “to punish evil forces, I have been charged!” When you overcome these machine-gun wielding crazies in fair combat, they summon a giant robot (again?!) to try and crush you. But it turns out (SPOILERS AHEAD) that these were all super nice guys turned into animals by the emperor, and if you gather enough magical crystals they’ll turn back into human beings.
Now these aren’t the only weird villains in this game. One enemy you have to face is a small white cat who has been sent to assassinate you. But the cat is too weak to fight you one-on-one, so instead he comes up with a plan. He challenges you to a dodgeball game, and if you can’t beat him in this fierce duel of rubber spheres, you die. You die playing dodgeball. With a cat.
Oh, and the emperor? You defeat him by catching negative words like “hate” and “sadness” and shaking them until they turn into words like “love” and “joy.”
Need I say more?
Those are some of the weirdest games I’ve ever played, but what about you? Did I miss any unusual titles that deserve to be on this list? Let me know in the comments so we can share in the weirdness together.
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