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There is no shortage of weird games out there.
And the shift toward strange games is not a new development. After all, we have devoted entire features to absurd indie titles and industry visionaries like Suda51 have built entire careers on doing things a little differently.
This list focuses on video games that have particularly odd objectives. In researching this topic, I found so many just plain weird games. It was pretty difficult to narrow it down to 10 that were not just odd, but had strange demands for the player to meet as well.
I was also scarred in the writing of this article by happening upon Seaman. I will give Seaman an honorable mention only because, while it is one of the strangest and creepiest games I’ve ever seen, the objective is not really any different from a Tamagotchi game. I also found many mission objectives within games that were far from standard, but to keep it focused, I only chose titles based on the overall goal.
Read on to see the top 10 craziest video game objectives.
10. Hatoful Boyfriend (2011)
Hatoful Boyfriend is in the style of visual novel dating simulators. Rather than vie for the affections of anime characters, you play as a girl who attends a school for pigeons who is trying to find the bird of her dreams. Oddly enough, even though they are pigeons they still display typical anime tropes like the childhood friend and the brooding mysterious love interest found so often in the games this title parodies.
To give you an idea of where the concept came from, the title offers a clue— “hatoful” is a play on the Japanese word hato (meaning pigeon) and heartful/hurtful.
If it isn’t weird enough for you, choosing certain paths can turn Hatoful Boyfriend from a dating sim to a thriller with a dark ending. The gameplay is limited compared to other entries, but a premise this ridiculous simply can’t be ignored.
9. Prison Tycoon Series (First in series in 2005)
Taking control of theme parks and cities are fun. Prisons are kind of depressing.
What’s more dejecting is your objective: turning your small-scale prison into a profitable maximum-security behemoth. This basically means you benefit from having more and more inmates.
While not particularly successful, credit can at least be given to Virtual Playground for coming up with a tycoon-style game that no one was asking for.
Perhaps I’m wrong though, as there is a game called Prison Architect available for Early Access on Steam. There must be a demand somewhere.
8. Tokyo Jungle (2012)
The basic premise of this quirky PSN title involves animals taking over Tokyo. Why humans are extinct is unclear, and you must fight to survive as various animals to find the answer. Various objectives include hiding from stronger animals, hunting those lower on the food chain, and attracting desirable mates by marking your territory and showing dominance.
For what it’s worth, it's a little too weird for Dan's dad.
7. Road Trip (2002)
This is one of those borderline weird titles. Many of the gameplay elements are standard fare, like racing and collecting coins. What makes it bizarre is the protagonist. You play as a car. Not as a driver in a car. Not even an anthropomorphic vehicle a la Cars. Just a car.
The President (of the world, apparently?) who is also just a car decides he doesn’t want to be in charge anymore, and arranges a World Grand Prix, where the winner will take over for him.
In this game, you talk to other cars, and not only race them but also play sports like soccer and golf. Granted, you’re still a car, so this means skillfully running over balls to participate.
To give credit where it’s due, the developers realized that as a car you would have some restrictions. Thus, one of the ways to earn money is by driving around with billboards of local businesses on your roof. However, this brings up even more questions as the advertisements depict things unnecessary in a world full of cars, like noodles and coconuts.
6. Catherine (2011)
I’ve mentioned my love/hate relationship with this strange title from Atlus before. Catherine is easily one of the most difficult titles to explain simply because identifying the genre is so tricky. You play as Vincent, a young man stricken with violent nightmares in which he must climb falling blocks and avoid getting killed by various disturbing foes like a zombie infant and a giant butt. During his waking hours, he is torn between long-time girlfriend Katherine and a one-night stand by the name of Catherine. If I had to describe it, I would call it a dramatic-erotic-horror-puzzle game.
In addition to being weird as hell, Catherine is also pretty difficult on certain settings. Thankfully, there is often helpful direction from the voice-overs like, “It’s the killer. Do not die.”
Up next: The top five weirdest game objectives.