19 Bizarre Video Games That Actually Happened
It's no surprise that some video games are strange—like, say, the one about a boy dressed like a chicken who rolls eggs into enemies. But where some games are offbeat, others are downright bizarre. Sometimes you have to take a step back and ask yourself, "...why?"
1. Shaq-Fu (1994)
Shaq-Fu was released in 1994 for SNES and Genesis. The game centers on basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal after he is transported to an alternate dimension where he must save a young boy from an evil mummy. Unsurprisingly, it has been widely regarded as one of the worst video games of all time. There is even a website with the sole purpose of wiping the game out of existence.
The game was so horrible that it became legendary, and some people felt it was necessary to make a sequel. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, we can look forward to seeing the new game, Shaq-Fu: Legend Reborn, launched on a variety on consoles. Lovers of so-bad-it's-good video games rejoice!
2. Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City (1994)
Here’s another basketball star-themed video game courtesy of EA Sports. In this one, Michael Jordan discovers that the Chicago Bulls have been kidnapped by an evil scientist. You play as Jordan and roam the streets of Chicago, collecting keys in order to find them. Naturally, there are monsters you need to defeat, and, because you’re Michael Jordan, you defeat them with basketballs. These balls vary from ice balls to grenade balls.
The game was an overwhelming failure. It made it onto the 100th issue of Nintendo Power’s top 10 worst games of all-time list (Shaq-Fu is on there too).
3. Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit! (1994)
This game is (very loosely) based on the Tim Allen sitcom. You play as Tim "The Toolman" Taylor and defeat dinosaurs and mummies with power tools. This video game is (or attempts to be) an ode to masculinity. The instruction manual simply states, “Real men don’t need instructions.” It ultimately was a failure, probably because it had almost nothing to do with Home Improvement.
4. *NSYNC: Get to the Show (2001)
After popping this game in, Player 1 has the honor of being named *NSYNC's biggest fan. This entails driving the boy band around and doing menial tasks for them. After completing all the mini games/slave labor, the player is rewarded with a "live performance" from the band.
5. Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (1990)
This SEGA effort is based on the movie of the same name. Mr. Big, an evil drug dealer, is up to his usual antics and is stealing children. It's up to Michael Jackson to save the day... with dance. Jackson can also throw his hat at enemies, and if he saves the correct child, he can turn into a robot that shoots lasers from his eyes. Just like in the movie!
6. Kool-Aid Man Video Game (1983)
This game, for the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, had very little to do with busting through walls and disturbingly revolved around drinking from a swimming pool full of Kool Aid that also served as Sir Punch's life bar. The object of the game was to quench the thirst of thirty "Thirsties" using the pool of life matter. Confused? So was everyone who ever played it.
7. Coca-Cola Kid (1994)
This one never actually made it past Japan. You play as the mascot Coca-Cola Kid, who was the very embodiment of all that is cool in the '90s (check out that backwards hat and skateboard). The game is a transparent advertisement for soda, but you may recognize the plot: someone (his teacher) is kidnapped and you have to defeat enemies (by kicking them) and rescue her. Oh, and health is restored by reaching for a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola. I assume that all mascots are fueled exclusively by the item they are shilling, so no objections here.
8. March of the Penguins (2007)
While a surprise hit in theaters, you'd never expect March of the Penguins — a documentary about the bleak lives of emperor penguins — to translate into a fun video game. They tried, however, and in the game, you place objects in front of penguins to assist their march to the breeding ground.
9. & 10. McDonald's Treasure Island Adventure (1993) // Ronald McDonald in the Magical World (1994)
McDonald's has a surprisingly large collection of video games that you probably don't want to play. McDonald's Treasure Island Adventure is unapologetically capitalistic. Ronald McDonald goes around beating up tomatoes and penguins until they give up their pieces of the treasure map. This game is ruthless.
In Ronald McDonald in the Magical World, Birdie, Grimace, and the Hamburglar are sucked into a — you guessed it — magical world. It is up to Ronald McDonald and his magic umbrella to save them. Aside from clobbering small animals and collecting keys, the player also has access to two fast-food themed mini games.
11. Razor Freestyle Scooter (2000)
"They're not just for transportation anymore," the game declares. An evil robot has kidnapped your friends and it's up to the player and his or her choice of Razor™ scooter to save them. UFC fighter Tito Ortiz is a playable character, for some unknown reason. It plays somewhat like one of the popular Tony Hawk games, but with a decidedly less cool sport.
12. Grey's Anatomy: The Video Game (2009)
Who exactly is the demographic for this video game? Moms with kids who don't use their Wii anymore? The game is set up like a five-episode story arc and focuses on working in the hospital while trying to manage interpersonal relationships. The actual writers of Grey's Anatomy collaborated on the game to give it a similar feel to the show.
13. Alf (1989)
Alf had every possible form of memorabilia, from trading cards to slippers, so naturally they made a video game. In it, Alf makes half-baked jokes while searching for fuel for his spaceship. At the end of the game, Alf parks his space scooter on the moon's face and repairs his ship.
14. Wayne's World (1993)
Like many of titles on this list, the Wayne's World video game did not feel obligated to use its source material's plot in any way — it's much easier to just transport the characters to another universe with monsters that need to be defeated. Garth is kidnapped by a purple blob and now a bobble-headed Wayne has to fight evil bagpipes and Robo Elvis to save him with a guitar that shoots sound waves. Halfway through the game, the player is treated to the 16-bit version of the headbanging scene with a chiptune version of "Bohemian Rhapsody."
15. Playboy: The Mansion (2005)
The Playboy video game offers a voyeuristic look into the life of Hugh Hefner. It's like the Sims, just with more naked women. In the game, Hefner is just starting his magazine business and it's up to the player to build it into the pornographic empire we know today. The idea is to balance friends, romance, and business. Hef needs to hire writers, direct photo shoots, and — most importantly — throw parties. Soirées can be thrown at any time and the player needs to only specify the attire (usually lingerie).
16. Bible Adventures (1991)
The Bible comes alive as you play as David, Noah, and Miriam in this religious adventure. The game is separated into three games: Noah's collection of animals for a mandatory spin on his boat, David's exciting world of shepherding, and Miriam's dangerous trip to the Nile. Cracked named Bible Adventures the 19th worst NES game of all time.
17. Square's Tom Sawyer (1989)
This game was named the fourth most racist video game of all time by UGO, and it was banned from the United States. The character of Jim is portrayed with large lips and skin the same color as the black screen. And besides all that, the game mechanics were awful.
18. Yo! Noid (1990)
Though the 1989 DOS and Commodore 64 game Avoid The Noid had players delivering pizzas and dodging the annoying Domino's Pizza mascot, this 1990 game for NES let the player act as the monstrosity. Noid traversed through New York using a yo-yo to battle his evil duplicate, Mr. Green. Yo! Noid was essentially a modified duplication of another Capcom game from Japan called Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru. In case the pizza-eating contests at the end of the levels didn't make the player hungry, the game came with a whopping dollar-off coupon for Domino's. Though back in the early '90s that was, like, a dollar fifty.
19. Seaman (1999)
Truly the most disturbing video game on this list, Seaman is a virtual pet simulator for Dreamcast. Leonard Nimoy narrates, and the game's producer, Yoot Saito, lends his likeness for the face of Seaman, a talking fish-man hybrid. Seaman starts as an egg and the player can raise him to eventually become "Frogman." Other stages include: Gillman, Podfish, and Tadman. The mutating fish needs constant reassurance or it will die. Despite being dependent on the player, it does not stop him from insulting his caretaker. The game boasted state of the art voice-recognition and had a lot of hype and success in Japan.