Developer: Devolver Digital
Release Date: September 2015
If you're a fan of point and click games, you might appreciate this strange take on the classic formula. The main star of this game is a really creepy clown who explores a wondrous world of uncertainties and unique characters.
Developer: Cinema Keiba
Release Date: 2017
The title doesn't give much away for this game. World cup of what? Horse racing of course! This series sounds pretty straightforward until you actually check it out. It’s a browser-based game in which players were to bet on races. Sure, there are horses but there are also riders on the backs of other things...things that aren't horses. This game is hilarious and truly a strange experience. If you're ready to watch galloping giraffes and jockeys riding on two guys in a horse costume, it's time to check out Japan World Cup.
Developer: Double Fine
Release Date: 2012
In Stacking, players control a Russian nesting doll. The nesting ability is a core gameplay feature as hopping inside of other dolls can sometimes give the player special abilities as they hobble through the abnormal, creative environment created by the team at Double Fine.
Developer: David OReilly
Release Date: 2017
In this game, you play as everything and we mean that literally. One minute you're a bug then next you're a pebble rolling across the dirt. This game is bizarre with an exquisite soundtrack of narration from Alan Watts.
Developer: Ex Nihilo ARTE France
Release Date: 2013
You may remember the classic game Line Rider. This puzzle game pays homage to the classic title while bringing a strange twist that writers and literature enthusiasts can get behind. Everyone else will be left scratching their heads at why and how punctuation was chosen as the most suitable protagonist for this lively but far-from-normal, self-described typographic video game.
Developer: Kyle Seeley
Release Date: 2015
Ever wonder what it was like to instant message friends in the early 2000s? Maybe you don't have to wonder what it was like and just want to relive it. Either way, this unconventional title encompasses the essence of that classic experience, providing users with a story to explore through this classic communication platform.
Developer: Mighty Rabbit Studios
Release Date: 2012
Mighty Rabbit Studios unleashed a passion project mashup in 2012 with the release of Saturday Morning RPG. It's an exciting game heavily inspired by retro cartoons, games, and more with the kind of strange excitement you get from mixing soda pop at the fountain.
Developer: Sos Sosowski
Release Date: 2012
Mini-games offer plenty of opportunity for creativity, lending to the development of a few weird games like Wario Ware and in this case McPixel by Sos Sosowski. Players must complete mini-games with a 20-second timer to save the main character from exploding.
Developer: Necrophone Games
Release Date: 2014
Looking for a laugh? This crazy experience is known as Jazzpunk and it doesn't make much sense. Players control a limbless character in a fictional, cold war era setting. There are objectives to follow but passing through levels is anything but conventional. It was developed by Necrophone games and released in 2014.
Release Date: 2008
Players control a drop of water in this odd game developed by Exkee. It was released in 2008 but later delisted from the Steam store in 2014 due to maintenance issues. However, physical copies can be found in the UK. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a drop of water, this game should provide somewhat of a starting place.
Developer: The Neverhood, Inc.
Release Date: 1996
From the creator of Earthworm Jim, Neverhood follows the adventures of Klaymen: an interesting protagonist made of clay. In fact, this entire game is made of clay and features claymation (clay-based stop motion animation). It's a point-and-click style game that works great with this art style.
Release Date: December 1999
This game has a really bizarre art style accompanied by an even weirder soundtrack. You control a bunny named Vibri who runs along a mobius strip known as the Vib-ribbon. You must jump and avoid obstacles to the beat of the music. This is one game that's hard to describe. You have to see and hear it for yourself.
Developer: Bossa Studios
Release Date: 2015
I Am Bread is exactly what it sounds like. You are bread, and you must become toast! This bread simulator is an action-adventure title and one of the only food-person adventure games we've ever encountered. It was released in 2015 by Bossa Studios.
Developer: Asmik Ace Entertainment
Release Date: October 1998
Players don't really play this game; they experience it. It was first released in 1998. The goal is to wander through in-game environments that change as you move and interact with the world. This game is well-known for its surreal game setting and lack of overall objective.
Developer: Krillbite Studio
Release Date: November 2017
In this game, you play as a child who has woken up in the middle of the night. On a quest for your mother, this game invokes a nightmarish world filled with unexpected horrors. The child's perspective of this game and immersive world-building are truly unique but one of the most bizarre game experiences we've ever had.
Developer: Ice-Pick Lodge
Release Date: April 2011
Your goal is to use a catalog of building assets to construct abstract machines and vehicles to overcome obstacles in the game. The in-game world is inhabited by these strange, naked creatures called buddies. Your goal is to make them happy and restore gravity to their homeworld.
Developer: Flying Cafe for Semianimals
Release Date: July 2015
Cradle is an interesting creation, to say the least. It's not the most interactive game, but its story and artwork are definitely unique. The character designs are memorable, as is your main quest to build a robot lady and uncover the mysteries of her unknown past.
Developer: Choice Provisions
Release Date: March 2009
Rhythm games are open to a lot of opportunities when it comes to development. BIT.TRIP Beat combined the classic Pong with music for a rainbow, pixelated experience in space with an extra blast of techno. As fun as this game was, it's still an odd combination of elements that stands out against other games.
Developer: Ice-Pick Lodge
Release Date: April 2008
Some games have weird gameplay, while others are all about building up a weird setting—like The Void by Ice-Pick Lodge. This game is known for its creepy environment and unique, spooky atmosphere. The Void was first published in Russia but later made its way to the US.
Release Date: 1989
When researching for our list, one game kept recurring in my research and when asking around for ideas: A Boy and his Blob. This game was first released in 1989 for the NES. Players must feed their blob friend jelly beans to make him change shape. The blob takes the form of different tools that can be used to explore the world and solve problems. The game was later re-released for the Nintendo Wii.
Developer: Dejobaan Games
Release Date: September 2009
The weirder they are, the farther they fall. This game has unique gameplay in which players must carefully guide a falling character to specific landing pads. The entire experience is first-person and one of the strangest mechanisms for gameplay we've seen.
Developer: Alan Zucconi
Release Date: May 2015
Some games take skill; some take chance. 0rbitalis is like playing with a slingshot that can launch objects around a planet. The goal is to keep satellites in orbit as long as possible. It's a simple game but notably strange in a sea of platformers and RPGs.
Developer: Owlchemy Labs
Release Date: April 2016
Want to know what it's like to work? You need to check out Job Simulator—a VR experience from the future with a bizarre take on what it was like for people to work in the 21st century. Enjoy all the tedious labor of a cubicle with the delightful narration of a misguided host.
Developer: iNiS Corporation
Release Date: November 2006
Saving the world never looked so...groovy? In this game, you're spies. Funky spies. And you've got to dance your troubles away. The game features motion comic stories that don't always make sense as to why they require secret agents to help save the day, but any excuse to play Sk8r Boi again on the DS is good enough for the dev team iNiS Corporation. Overall, Elite Beat Agents is a genuinely fun rhythm game that still holds up in 2021.
Developer: Chris Chung
Release Date: August 2013
In this game, you are a cat, and your mission is to knock everything off the table...and the counter...actually, all of it must go. Knock everything over and get the highest score you possibly can! This might be the most accurate cat simulator we'll ever experience in our lifetimes and definitely stands up as one of the weirdest games around.
Release Date: December 1996
There's never been a rhythm game as fresh as PaRappa the Rapper for the PlayStation. You play as PaRappa, a dog learning how to rap, training under a master teacher. Buttons must be pressed at the right time to complete a song successfully. It was released in 1996 and is definitely a product of the era. We love PaRappa, but it's one of the strangest titles you'll ever come across.
Release Date: October 2001
One of the most creative yet strange virtual worlds is found in the Pikmin franchise. In the original game, you play as Omar, a little guy who crash lands on an unknown planet inhabited by cute little creatures with leaves and flowers on top of their heads.
Release Date: 2003
Donkey Kong is well known for chucking barrels and kicking it with his simian friends in Donkey Kong Country. But one of the weirdest side games in the Donkey Kong franchise was Donkey Konga. Players use a special controller shaped like bongo drums that respond to taps and claps. It featured popular songs from modern artists at the time, like R.E.M. and Good Charlotte.
Developer: Absolute Entertainment
Release Date: April 1995
Magician duo Penn and Teller are the masterminds (if we can call them that) behind Desert Bus. The player drives a bus in real t-time from Tuscon, Arizona to Las Vegas, which takes about eight hours. There are no other characters, and the scenery is limited to the occasional tree or rock. The vehicle constantly veers to the right requiring the player's full attention, or they risk being towed back to the starting point (again in real-time). One point is scored for a successful trip down, with another point available for completing a subsequent trip back to Tuscon.
Release Date: June 2001
This game is really weird and totally sucks but not in the way you might expect. In this title, you play as a mosquito sucking blood from people without getting their attention. Apparently, mosquitos stock up on blood for the winter, and it's your job to help get ready for the cold season. Be careful to go unnoticed, or the humans you're feeding on will become hostile.
Developer: Venezuelan Sega Genesis Team
Release Date: 2004
This title hardly qualifies as a game, but user input is required, so we're putting it down! The Sega Genesis team in Venezuela created this demo. Users choose from a list of busses and drive them across the screen to the horrifying audio screeching sound from the Genesis sound card.
Developer: Yoot Saito
Release Date: July 1999
Who needs Neopets or a Tamagotchi when you could get Seaman for the Dreamcast? For a virtual pet, these guys aren't exactly cute, but they sure are involved. These virtual fish have human-like faces and need daily attention, or they might die.
Release Date: 1999
How are you going to stop the zombie apocalypse? By keeping your pointer fingers on F and J, of course! Instead of shooting zombies to take them down, this game requires the player to type words without error to defeat these horrible undead foes. Is this a trick to get kids to practice typing? Who cares! Who wouldn't want to learn with software as fun as this?
Release Date: 1994
Mini-games go with Nintendo titles like sprinkles on a cupcake. Warioware is nothing but minigames, and boy, are they strange! Players have seconds to grasp the goal of a random minigame and complete it before the timer runs out. They range from reasonable things like hula hooping and frying vegetables to crazy games that require the player to shred an alarm clock with a cheese grater or pull nose hair from an oversized nose.
Developer: Davey Wreden, William Pugh
Release Date: July 2011
The Stanley Parable is a weird game, and it isn't. Just kidding but not really. You play as Stanley and explore the world around you while a narrator comments on your actions every step of the way. There are 19 possible outcomes and plenty of ways to play. The most notable part of this game is the narration, which features the voice of Kevan Brighting.
Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
Release Date: April 2014
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a goat? Goat Simulator won't help you in any way, shape, or form despite the name. It will, however, provide one of the most memorable experiences you can have while gaming. You play as a goat, exploring the virtual world and racking up points doing who knows what without so much of a nod to the laws of physics. This game is hard to explain. You just have to check it out.
Developer: PigeoNation Inc.
Release Date: July 2011
There's really nothing out there like Hatoful Boyfriend and it's easy to say it isn't for everyone. In short, this is a pigeon dating simulator. You read that right and we don't have much of an explanation. It plays like your typical visual novel but all of the love interests are pigeons with notably distinct personalities. You play as the only human attending St. PigeoNation's Institute.
The name is a play on words that doesn't translate directly to English. The word ハートフル (hatofuru/hatoful) can translate to heartful or hurtful while 鳩 (hato) means pigeon.
Release Date: March 2004
The name of this game translates literally to clump spirit. The player's goal is to roll things into a giant ball. Anything smaller than the ball will stick to it. Katamari is well known for its bizarre character design and colorful environment. Katamari Damacy is a well-established classic revered for its fun and experimental gameplay.
Developer: Namco Bandai
Release Date: May 2009
Muscle March was made for the Nintendo Wii and released in 2009 on the official Nintendo Wii store. As the name suggests, it's got muscles but what it doesn't have is march. That is to say, all of the playable characters in this game are bodybuilders, but the player must copy the position of the front-most character as the team runs single-file through walls chasing down wrongdoers. You must move the Wiimotes to match the arm position of the broken wall to get through. If you mess up too many times, you have to start over. The best part of this game is the crazy soundtrack, which helps create bizarre, immersive gameplay.
Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: February 2009
This game comes to us from the same team that made Katamari Damacy. You play as Boy—a long fellow that looks caterpillar-like. You must stretch and accumulate as much as you can to earn points that can be spent on Girl, the game's main love interest. The characters exist in a strange realm with lots of bizarre characters and assets roaming about, like a giant carrot car with square wheels. It's hard to wrap your head around what's going on in Noby Noby Boy, but understanding isn't necessary to enjoy this bizarre creation.
Some of the best and worst parts of gaming are the nonplayable and playable characters we collect in our brains along the way.