The Quick 10: 10 Bizarre Video Games

Everyone knows the video game classics "“ you can't go wrong with Mario, Zelda, or Donkey Kong. But there are some games out there that make you really wonder what the publisher was thinking when they green-lighted the idea. Although, to be fair, a couple of plumbers wandering around in a fantasy world jumping down pipes and talking to human toadstools doesn't sound very profitable either"¦ At any rate, here are 10 video games I thought were particularly strange.

1. Grey's Anatomy: The Video Game. IGN sums this up perfectly and eloquently with one word: Seriously? It's apparently a collection of mini-games that includes such thrillers as ripping up photographs, flicking away doubts and, yes, surgery (that part might actually be pretty cool). Seems slightly unnecessary.

ninjabread2. Ninjabread Man. The name totally made me laugh, but the game is definitely"¦ half-baked, if you will? Yes, you're a gingerbread man with throwing stars and a machete, which is sweet. But according to all of the reviews, the gameplay is terrible, the graphics are abysmal, and the bugs are rampant. But still"¦ it's a murderous pastry! How often does that happen?? Oh, wait"¦

3. Bible Buffet. This was for the NES circa 1993. And don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with games that reference religion. But I don't really understand the food reference. Evil food is out to get you, and you're armed only with utensils to ward them off (and nary a spork in the bunch). And according to the reviews, the most religious reference you'll get in this game is the title, so color me ultra confused.

4. Speaking of weird food-based games"¦ BurgerTime. The entire premise of the game is to build sandwiches while avoiding tyrannical eggs, pickles, and hot dogs (cleverly named Mr. Egg, Mr. Pickle, and Mr. Hot Dog). Despite the incredibly strange premise, this sucker is ridiculously addicting. Between this and Marble Madness, I lost a good chunk of my childhood to the NES. I can hear the music in my head right now. And I think you should too.

5. Captain Novolin. Diabetics, unite! We all know there's brand placement in video games, but this SNES game is ridiculous. The eponymous hero is diabetic and he's trying to rescue the mayor of the town, but aliens keep trying to thwart him by turning themselves into cake and cookies. He replenishes his life meter by eating healthy meals to keep his blood sugar at safe levels. It was sponsored by Novo Nordisk, the makers of Novolin insulin. Sounds like"¦ fun"¦?

journey6. Journey Escape. Yes. As in the band Journey. As in Steve Perry. As in Atari. You had to get each band member through a throng of obsessed fangirls and intrusive paparazzi. Every time a band member was held up by an obstacle, money came out of the bank account. Zero money = dead Journey. I think you'll agree that the likenesses are amazing, no? You can read more about it here and even play it if you want to download an emulator. If anyone does, please let us know how awesome it is.

7. Desert Bus. This was only one piece of a 1995 Sega game that actually never got released, but it's too weird to not mention. As part of Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors game, players had to pilot a bus through the desert from Tucson to Vegas. You have no passengers, and you can only go a maximum of 45 mph. And it's real time. Even worse, the bus veers to the right just enough so that enterprising players can't just tape the button down and go do something else for eight hours. If you do veer off the road, your bus gets towed back to Tucson"¦ also in real time. The scenery never changes. And if you make it to Vegas, all you have to look forward to is the return trip. You will score exactly one point if you make the one-way trip.

8. Custer's Revenge. Wow. This one is really bad. You're not even going to believe me. You're General Custer, clad in nothing but a hat, boots and a bandana. That's it. And you're, um, visibly excited. For the whole game. Your goal is to dodge arrows and cannonballs so you can have sex with (rape, according to some women's rights group) a naked Native American woman named Revenge. Despite the horrible and offensive plot line, the graphics are so pixel-y and, well, 1982, that it's not like you're getting much reality out of it. If you're looking for a pixel-y "˜80s game to provide that kind of entertainment, you'd be better off with Leisure Suit Larry.

9. Baby Boomer. I'm willing to bet this NES game was made solely based on the "clever" title. You use the duck hunt gun to shoot things in the path of a baby who is crawling along relentlessly toward his doom. Levels include both heaven and hell. You have to protect a baby in heaven? How is that even fair?

10. Mr. Gimmick! This one sounds like many sleepless nights to me "“ if it doesn't induce nightmares in a child, I don't know what will. A little girl receives a new doll for her birthday (a gimmick doll, apparently) and loves it so much that she starts to neglect her other toys. So, naturally, her other toys kidnap her and suck her into an alternate toy-only universe. I'm a little freaked just thinking about it. If there are porcelain dolls involved, just count me out.

I know you guys have played some doozies over the years. Share them in the comments! And have a lovely weekend.

Admittedly, these are Nintendo-heavy because that's my area of expertise. But be sure to share your weird games from any format "“ Sega, X-Box, heck, let's even go back to DOS. I know there must be some strange DOS games out there.
Have a Q10 request? I'm on Twitter and I'm all ears! Err... all keys. Something.

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



More from mental floss studios