Obscure Classics

Games I love that are less than popular and/or unforgettably weird

List items

  • Mike Jones!

  • Excellent isometric puzzle adventuring.

  • Billy "Big Bang" Blitz vs Tom "chief of governors" Guycot. A classic action side-scroller! With a non-linear map to boot.

  • The first game with cutscenes? Great character animation in the tradition of Prince of Persia, gorgeous environments and a great sci-fi storyline.

  • A spoof of the Gradius games, with spacecraft replaced by penguins and flying heads.

  • A game with a strange, almost feminist angle. You play a little girl with a sort of possessed scarf that can grab and stretch anything in the environment. Your sisters have been turned into bizarre exaggerated creatures and you have to fight through a world of weird big-breasted women to save them. You attack by pulling on things and allowing them to snap back.

  • This game is a lot of fun. The troops-orders mechanic reminds me of more recent games like Freedom Fighters and Full Spectrum Warrior.

  • Bizarre side-scrolling platformer in which you play as Chuck D. Head, a sort of headless mummy with a set of eyes in the middle of his chest. Your primary weapon is your severed head.

  • Something of a product of the Tomogachi/Furby craze, you raise a series of smartass talking animals with disturbing human faces as they evolve from "mushroomers" into a frog form. You have to have the DC mic for this one and there is little interaction beyond talking to him and feeding him moth larvae you raise in a nearby cage. Leonard Nimoy greets you as you enter each session of the game. There was a sequel where Seaman returns as a seagull and helps you raise a caveman, but I never played that one.

  • A crazy, fast-paced collection of minigames strung together by a plot about one day in the life of a Japanese family, the proto-warioware.

  • Probably my favorite rhythm game ever. You must rock out on the guitar in competition with diaper-clad demons, alien invaders and black elvis impersonators in bee costumes. Made even funnier by how incredibly self-depricating the protagonist is throughout the game.

  • Probably the best handheld rhythm game ever. Popularized in the US as Elite Beat Agents, but the original is far superior.

  • Evolution Action!

  • Sort of has a Harvest Moon vibe but more fantastic. You live on a farm and have to go through a series of levels herding little chickens and other animals into pens before these big pink bear things can eat them. Though the gameplay leaves a little to be desired, the art and animation are astounding.

  • A caveman simulator. Hunt and explore different climates. Make sure your people reproduce and as you become more intelligent your weapons and skills are more refined. The ultimate goal of the game is to build a totem of mammoth bones.

  • Probably the most crazy stupid game ever made. GUITAR WARRIOR!!!

  • You are a reporter on an artificial island that is sinking into the ocean after an earthquake. You have to keep moving to the high ground while avoiding aftershocks and finding clean water. It's like Silent Hill with the zombies and fog swapped out with a natural distster. The coding is messy and the framerate often drags, but a great concept and worthwhile game. Ubisoft is apparently working on a similar game using the Assassin's Creed Engine for 2009.

  • an unusual FPS where you play a cartoon rabbit who can jump really high. Never played the first one.

  • Better than MK? The Senator needs a page.

  • This game is hilarious. The isometric view makes the control a but kludgy but once you get the hang of it it's a lot of fun.

  • Spend a season terrorizing the Yamada family as a pesky mosquito. This is mini-stealth. Drain as much blood as you can without getting swatted. Create distractions whenever possible and don't get too violent with the sucking.

  • This is one of my favorite games ever and it's one of the few I can recommend from the boom of Myst-style cd-rom PC games. Based on Japanese folktales, You navigate through a demon haunted Kyoto where you are forced to make moral decisions and avoid danger. This is probably one of the first true sandbox games. You are never forced into a linear storyline, but events are triggered when you reach certain locations. You can die easily, but that's not the end. Depending on your decisions, You end up in various levels of hell where you can navigate back to reincarnation.

    I'd love a current-gen remake of this one.

  • Polar Bear Karaoke. Weird Synth voices. Not much else to say about this one.

  • Anyone who thought the look and feel of Parappa were unusual should see how much further these games take simple art and musical gameplay. I wish so bad there had been an American release of these games.

  • See Vib Ribbon

  • Parodius meets space harrier.

  • The original RTS? There need to be more RTS games with transforming robots.

  • Similar in many ways to Flashback, this early effort from Blizzard was decidedly more badass.

  • A pretty basic Contra-style scrolling shooter, except for the fact that you play a football helmet-wearing chimp who battles with spit.

  • You play a girl with a history of abuse that has to find her lost friends in a horror theme park by entering attractions alone. You don't fight much but have to watch your senses on meters at the top of the screen and if you see, smell or hear anything you can brace yourself for a scare. Upon failure to brace yourself, your heart rate rises and you eventually pass out or die. To protect yourself, you can upgrade your organs and senses with cyber-replacements as you advance in the game. On top of it all, when you get hurt you gush impossible amounts of blood.

  • An instant classic. I have never laughed out loud as often while playing a game.

  • The proto-disaster game. Play one of four different characters on a Posiedon Adventure-like sinking cruise ship.