Sunday, August 24, 2014

Personal List: 25 Strange Cult Classics

Cult classics. Whether you're talking about Birdemic or The Room, there's always something so oddly charming about their shortcomings and failures. Most of the time, however, it is largely contributed to the oddity of it, as is the case in cult video games. While some struck fortunes, others took years to be realized, and some are hardly even realized at all. Such games have everything from goats to half-naked men, flying aimlessly around the screen, yet regardless of the topic, many now admire them. Here are twenty games that break the limits, test the bar, or are just completely unexplainable.  By the way, around 15 are Japanese.... Shocker.
25. Sneak King (2006) - Xbox 360
Yes. The critically-panned game is somehow quite popular. I guess that could be contributed to it being cheaper than four Whoppers, but whatever.
Sneak King is a Burger King advergame released as part of a promotion alongside two other less-popular games, PocketBike Racer and Big Bumpin', both of which sound like rides at the local county fair. They sold for a mere $3.99 at Burger Kings across America, making it the best-selling game of 2006.
It was also, however, one of the worst-received. Scores included 6.7 and 5.8, as well as a well-deserved "BURN IT".
24. Naughty Bear (2010) - Xbox 360, PS3
If a game involving serial killing teddy bears isn't a sure sign for success, than I don't know what is.
The plot of Naughty Bear starts with a bear named, uh, Naughty Bear. He is the only bear on an island known as Perfection Island to not be invited to Daddle's birthday party. Being nice, he makes a gift anyway, but after being made fun of by some other bears, he sulks back to his house and plots a mass genocide on all the teddy bears.
Game critics rejoiced in saying that the game sucked. It got 3s and 2.5s and many awards for being the Worst Game of the Year.
Also; unrelated, but here are some fun reviews from a parenting website. (Indicated is the name, rating, age recommendation, review title, and review.) Enjoy!

Four Stars, 13+
13+ for violence and torture!!!
Fun but is actually quiet violent my character killed an un-ted with bone and jammed it down the bears throat. u can kill, murder, assassinate, snap, choke, and gag your enemys.

Unknown User
One Star, 16+

Five Stars, 2+
epic game
is teddy bears for god sake just let your kids play it

Unknown User
One Star, 17+
hate it.
hate it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i added it as a favorite by accident!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ugh! how do u remove favorites?????????

Unknown User
Four Stars, 12+
This is the whole story
Come on give the game a break ok you kill teddy bears I think your parents would rather have you playing this rather then far cry 2 or black ops 2 ok first of all I have the game not like these people ok the teddy bears you kill are all bullying you and they once did a really bad thing to naughty bear and he got so mad he killed them he has a point he kills teddy bears that where horrible mean to him so think about that first
Unknown User
Two Stars, 12+
teddy bears are supposed to be CUTE. what are they gonna imagine next, a FIG TREE?!

sounds very violent

Five Stars, 10+
I love this game! It is a great stress relief. Sometimes things in life are too cute and you just need to do something. I let the kids I watch play. It is just a silly game that doesn't have real violence in it. Naughty Bear is better than Sid from Toy Story and that is a beloved childrens movie. At least Naughty Bear has a reason.
23. Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire (1995) - Arcade
Wow! There's a game like Mortal Kombat but with not one, not two, but THREE JACKIE CHANS as fighters! This game HAS to be the best!
That's all.

22. Brutal Legend (2009) - PS3
Yes! We finally get to a game deserving of its cult status!
The game features Jack Black as Eddie Riggs, a roadie who somehow finds himself in a heavy metal-inspired world. It even featured, in the game, Ozzy Osbourne, a bunch of people nobody knows unless they live in their parent's basement (Sorry, that was mean, but you know who you are), and a soundtrack of one hundred songs across all the metal subgenres. Advertising included vinyl records, an attempt to break the world record for "most people air guitaring" (440 people showed up), and Jack Black appeared at the VMAs and on Jimmy Kimmel in-character to promote the game. It got astounding reviews.
It was, however, declared a commercial failure, selling 1.5 million units worldwide. (Doesn't really sound like a commercial failure, but whatever).
Despite this, its legacy lives on. Despite poor sales, it had a huge surge in popularity, collectively gaining numerous fans.

21. Action 52 (1991) - NES
Released in the strange yet magical time of 1991, Action 52 is considered one of the worst games of all time.
The cartridge had 52 "games" inside. As such, it sold for a cool $119, or $4 each. That's more than the console itself with enough money for Super Mario Bros!
Furthermore, each game had a horrific quality. Two games crash when opened up, seven crash at some point while playing them, and the rest are glitch-riddled, broken, clones of other games, or impossible. It also attempted to spawn the "Cheetahmen" series, a blatant rip-off of TMNT. Heard of them? A sequel was made but never finished as the company, Active Enterprises, ironically became inactive after filing for bankruptcy. Zoom five years forward to 1996, where a warehouse with 1500 copies of Cheetahmen II was discovered and put on sale via the secondhand market. They are now among the most coveted NES titles and collector's items.
Regardless, Action 52 and The Cheetahmen somehow managed to gain a cult status, even getting a funded Kickstarter campaign with over 94,000 funded. Imagine how many Action 52s you could buy with that much moolah!
20. Deadly Premonition (2010) - PS3
An odd concoction of psychological horror, comedy, and open-world gameplay, Deadly Premonition was released in 2010 to some, err, interesting results. Review scores ranged from 2.0 from IGN to 10/10 from Destructoid. Heck, it holds the Guinness World Record for "Most Critically Polarizing Survival Horror Game". Some called it an artistic masterpiece; others called it a horrifically nonsensical pile of garbage. It was also a commercial failure, selling a whopping 50,000 in its first three months. However, an oddly large fanbase grew, spawning an HD remake and worldwide attention. Regardless of your opinion, though, one thing can be said: the Sinner's Sandwich is effing amazing.
19. Bible Adventures (1991) - NES (Unlicensed)
Largely unnoticed until recent years, Bible Adventures was an unlicensed NES game made by the Christian game company, Wisdom Tree. It had three different modes; Noah's Ark had you as Noah rounding up animals and food, Baby Moses is essentially a poorly-made Super Mario Bros. 2 clone, and David and Goliath retells the story starting with you as a sheep herder (riveting) and ending with you slingshotting Goliath to death.
The game did surprisingly well on the market, allegedly selling over 350,000 copies in Christian bookstores (my deepest apologies to all 350,000 little kids), but went largely unnoticed.
That is until the 2000s. EGM writer Seanbaby gave scathing reviews in two different lists (naming it the 19th worst NES game and worst game of all time), and the AVGN did his typical AVGN thing and went insane playing it in this video, his 17th episode. With this resurgence in notability, many flocked to play it to experience its true terror themselves, and history was made.
18. School Days (HQ) (2005/2010/2012) - PC, DVD, PS2, PSP
Oh, anime. I give you some bad cred. Maybe because half of your stuff is seriously effed up.
School Days is a visual novel game first released in Japan in 2004, later remastered in 2010 and brought out to the rest of the world in 2012.
Being a visual novel, the gameplay is about as demanding as watching a cat take a dump. You just sit and wait for stuff to happen, such is the gameplay in School Days.
The story unfolds with you as Makoto Ito, a high school student who gets around. (If ya know what I mean, wink wink.) As an adult game, there's a lot of eroticism tied around the plot, with frequent sex scenes. Oddly enough, in Japan everything is pixelated, but international release had no censorship. (Just wanted to mention that, because usually Japan is on the flipside.)
Anyway, the real reason it became so popular was its graphic and gory endings. While some are lighthearted and harmless, others just rub me the wrong way. One, entitled "Eternally," shows a character committing suicide and landing headfirst to the shock of fellow students. Another, "The Bloody Conclusion," besides having the worst pun ever, shows a character's neck getting slit open, collapsing, and drowning in his own blood to the maniacal laugh of his pursuer.
17. Surgeon Simulator 2013 (2013) - PC
Woah! I hear you angrily shouting at your computers, "Surgeon Simulator 2013 is NOT a cult game! It was a mainstream success!" Yes, my dear readers who clearly don't understand that I can't hear you through the computer, it was a huge success. To be fair, a "cult game" can be defined in many ways, such as being unsuccessful, overshadowed, or, the definition for this game, going against the expected conventions.
Prior to the game's release, not many simulation games had stepped out of the respected fields. Early on were god games, followed by games like The Sims, but it wasn't until recently that games made simulations in the form of "rage games," categorized by seemingly-impossible gameplay, most of the time due to unresponsive and poor controls. Such games include Cat Mario, Impossible Mario, The Impossible Quiz, and sims like Surgeon Simulator.
So..... can it be categorized as a cult game? Well... kind of. It certainly fits in due to its ridiculousness. Seriously. You are a surgeon and tasked to do heart transplants and stuff your hand inside peoples' bodies while in ambulances or space, causing crap to fly all over the place. It's insane.
16. Chulip (2002/2007) - PS2
Developed by a Yoshiro Kimura, a former employee at Love-de-Lic (not heard of it? It made titles only in Japan, many of which are highly praised themselves), Chulip is an adventure game with a strange twist.
It starts with you as a man moving to Long Life Town with his father. There, he meets the women of his dreams, but is rejected for coming from a poor family. (Gold digger.) Taking advice fro his father, he sets out to smooch the people of Long Life Town to improve his reputation. (FYI: Tried it, was sent to a correctional facility.) Following a series of bizarre and random events, he eventually succeeds in marrying the girl.
Despite some praise for its charm and strange Japanese humor, it got fairly lukewarm reception. Some scores were mediocre, and others were scathing. Game Informer called it one of the worst games of 2007. Harsh. To add insult to injury, it sold a whopping 6,645 copies in its first week.
On the bright side, it became quite popular against the odds, a sequel was contemplated for development, and it inspired the likes of Little King's Story. You can't go wrong with that, can you?
15. Great Giana Sisters (1987) - Commodore 64
Great Giana Sisters is a game by the German company, Time Warp Productions, and was published by Rainbow Arts, which made such classics as Grand Monster Slam, Mad TV, and M.U.D.S. (Mean Ugly Dirt Sport). True classics.
Gameplay is simple; jump on enemies to kill them or shoot at them with projectiles, get 100 dream crystals for an extra life, and find hidden "Warp Blocks" to skip ahead in the game. Huh.... Seems familiar.... I feel like this was done before....
The game became infamous because of an alleged lawsuit from Nintendo over copyright infringement. While this is not actually true, they urged the game to be halted in production and disappeared from store shelves. It effectively became a valuable collector's item, selling for over $2000 on Ebay!
For being a clone game, though, it received quite critical praise. A cult following soon followed, with fans citing its charm and sweet soundtrack. It led to several unofficial sequels and was brought back for Giana Sisters DS in 2011. Not long afterwards, Project Giana was Kickstarted, earning $186, 158. For being a clone, it's doing pretty effing good.
14. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (2014) -iOS
Oh look! A game about everybody's favorite, untalented reality TV star!
KK:H revolves around you climbing up the corporate ladder after being noticed by Kim. Sounds mind-numbingly dumb, right? Kim didn't even have to do that, she just acted like a %#$%^& on TV and everybody loved her! What if I told you that it's earned over 200 million?
The game is one of the top-selling titles on the Apple Store. In late July, the developers at Glu Mobile announced it was the fifth highest-earning game on the Apple Store, further proof that stamping a game with Hollywood dust makes it one of the best games ever. I literally can't even.
13. Catherine (2011) - PS3
Catherine is an odd mix of a dating sim, puzzle, and psychological horror game. You play as a man named Vincent, contemplating marriage with his beloved Katherine, but feels pressured to marry her. During the following night, he encounters an illustrious girl named Catherine who seems to have much in common with Vincent. Somewhat playful and sexually charged, Vincent is trapped deciding which girl to go after.
Then comes his nightmares. When he sleeps, he enters nightmares where he becomes a sheep and must scale towers, avoiding eminent doom which could kill him in real life. The game gets trippier as he struggles to juggle the two women.
The game got high praise by critics but celebrated a modest success, selling around half a million copies in 2011.
Naturally, due to its unorthodox storyline, charming characters, and occasionally bizarre visuals, it has become an extremely popular title on the PS3.
12. Goat Simulator (2014) - PC
Goat Simulator is an odd game. The game was made by Coffee Stain Studios, which previously worked on the Sanctum games. Made as a joke prototype and displayed in Youtube videos, it miraculously accumulated an outcry from fan to make it a real game, and that they did. To this date, it has sold over one million copies, making back its funds within the first few minutes of it going on sale.
While critics greeted it with mediocre scores, its Internet presence is huge. I like to call games like it "Youtube Games." They're dumb, silly, and idiotic for people to exploit in videos and collect piles of money and roll around like Scrooge effing McDuck. It's filled with stupid gameplay, manufactured glitches (c'mon, you can't make them on purpose. That's dumb.), and cheap laughs. That's just my opinion anyway.
11. Mister Mosquito (2002) -PS2
Made by the oft-forgotten company ZOOM Inc, most well-known for Phalanx (dat box art tho), Mister Mosquito has Japan written all over it. In the game, you play Mister Mosquito himself, sucking the blood of the Yamada family. Get a certain amount of blood and you advance to the next level, but if you get spotted, you enter battle mode, flying around them in search of pressure points to calm them down before they mash you into an insect pancake. The game is most well-known for its infamous bathtub scene, in which you suck blood from the naked Yamada daughter. Kinda makes you feel pervy.
Despite good sales in Japan, it didn't exactly sell elsewhere. Years later, though, it finally found its audience and has since become a guilty pleasure of sorts to devoted players and is considered a "hidden gem" on the PS2.
10. Katamari Damacy (2004) -PS2
What would be a list of strange cult classics without some Katamari sprinkled in?
The plot revolves around a prince. (He has no name.) His father, lovingly called the King of All Cosmos, accidentally destroyed a bunch of stars, constellations, and the Moon, and the prince is set out to fix that. With a magical ball with adhesive powers, he must roll up increasingly larger objects until they are big enough to become a star.
I swear, I could not make that sound more Japanese if I tried, and trust me, I have.
It sold moderately well in Japan and won several awards there, and was soon sent over to the US of A. Many sellers were unsure of how such a weird game would sell, so they only took a handful of copies, but as soon as those reached the shelf, they flew right off like some kind of sorcery. The game is called one of the sleeper hits of 2004, selling 120,000 units, won even more rewards, and years later became a part of MoMa's permanent collection alongside other games such as VibRibbon (another cult classic), The Sims, Passage, and a select others.
Furthermore, the game's popularity is showing no sign of slowing down, if anything getting bigger by the year; while most quickly die out, this one's going full throttle.
9. Zombie Nation (1991) - NES
One of the more popular cult NES games, Zombie Nation is best known for how ridiculous its story is.
You are Namakubi, a disembodied head (whose also a samurai, mind you) with the mission of acquiring a samurai sword (Look, ma! No hands!) and defeating an evil alien known as Darc Seed. Where's Giorgio Tsoukalos when you need him?
You attack by firing eyeballs and vomiting at random stuff, destroying the city skylines in the process. (Geez, dude! Keep your cool! You're supposed to be the hero!)
The game, despite sounding like the greatest game ever on paper, was met with some rather killjoy reviewers. Despite this, it has lived on with its large cult following, though still remains a relatively obscure and zany title. Also, just like almost every cult game released in the 90s, it's got quite the intimidating price tag.
8. Earthbound (1995) - SNES
Do I really have to say anything about Earthbound? You KNEW, just by the title of this list, that it would be on here! It is the quintessential cult classic, the best example, and arguably one of the most important SNES games of all time, I daresay.
The game starts with Ness, a young boy who sets out to examine a meteorite crash with his close friend and future scumbag, the fat ol' Porky. They soon discover that an evil creature known as Giygas has wrecked havoc on the world, turning peaceful people, animals, and regular objects into evil creatures.
Sounds like a run-of-the-mill game, no? Wrong. While the surface looks like a cutesy, harmless RPG, the game turns into a breeding ground for symbolism and fan theories. For example, Giygas is based off of Shigesato Itoi's (the creator of the games) traumatic childhood experience of walking into the wrong theater at the movies and accidently watching a murder scene from Japanese horror movie The Military Policeman and Dismembered Beauty. Thinking it was rape, he was deeply affected by it. And you thought your childhood was cruddy!
Despite fair sales in Japan, it sold poorly in the states. This is possibly a result of the bizarre advertising campaign in the states, including pamphlets designed to smell terrible, with the tagline, "This game stinks!", as well as coupons saying "Cut this coupon, not the cheese." There's also the fact that RPGs didn't quite catch on yet in the West. As such, despite critical acclaim, the game sold around 140,000 copies in the US.
Of course, years later, when RPGs became more popular and well-respected, some guys picked it up and were all like "Holy crap, this game is awesome!" As such, the game has become one of the most famous cult classics of all time, and the crown jewel on the SNES.
So.... why is it number eight instead of number one?
Despite being the greatest example of a cult game, it is far from the most bizarrre.
7. Animal Soccer World (2005) - PS2
Phoenix Games. Oh, how I fail to understand you.
The now-defunct Denmark-based game company became famous through its series of terrible "games".
One such example is Animal Soccer World.... It's essentially a glorified cartoon. That is, if your definition of "cartoon" is a terrible mess that could've been assembled by a five year-old. Accompanied by some horrible one-liners ("I don't wanna be the goalie.... They will shoot the ball against me and it hurts!") with equally terrible voice acting and animation that's somehow worse than everything I just mentioned.
That being said, you may be wondering "Then how the heck is this gargantuan turd a cult game?!" Well, for the very reasons I just explained. The game has that "so bad it's good" charm to it, and apparently that's all it takes for people to notice it.
6. Yume Nikki (2004) - PC
Yume Nikki is a strange game. I've already talked about it waaaay back (classic blog moment! It also sucked.), but I love the game to such an extent that I have to keep talking about it.
You control a young girl named Matsudori, a girl locked up in her small apartment and refusing to leave. Other than walking around to a small extent, the only thing you can do is sleep.
And when that sleep happens, some serious crud happens.
The story has no narrative and no explanation; you are simply thrust into the game world with no idea what to expect, which is a real shame because I have no effing idea what the heck is going on. Seriously. Look at that picture. DO you know what's going on? Do you? I thought not.
You aimlessly wander around the mostly empty dreams of Matsudori, through mazes and deserts with dismembered limbs jutting out of the ground. The only goal is to explore and collect the various "effects" which transform Matsudori into, err, things. (Look it up, it's weird.) The effect these effects (see what I did there? That was lame.) have on the game is very minimal, but by collecting all of them, you beat the game. That is, if jumping off your apartment balcony to your death counts as beating the game.
Weird game, right? Well, there's five more that are even weirder.
5. Toilet Kids (1992) - PC
Toilet Kids is an odd game. A seriously odd game. You can tell just based off of the story.
The opening cinematic shows the main character, a little unnamed boy, sleepily climbing onto his toilet to take a dump, when SURPRISE! The toilet water shoots him up to an alternate universe. Happens all the time, I can say that through my experiences.
So.... what kind of game is it? A shmup. Bet you couldn't have guessed that. And what exactly do you shoot? Piles of poop, poop gods, butt spiders, butt helicopters..... You get the idea.
My research for this entry is very minimal, possibly because no matter how hard I try to explain it, it makes no sense. Seriously. I dare you to read some reviews online. I promise they make no sense. SERIOUSLY.
......Moving on.
4. Cho Aniki (1995) - PS1
...JAPAN?! You again?! Who knew?!
Cho Aniki can be summarized in one word: men. Half-naked, flying men. I wrote about it before and I'll write about it again.
The game is a side-scrolling shmup where you control a naked guy flying through space, shooting up other naked guys. Just a day in the life of Japan. You fight your typical smorgasbord of enemies if "typical" means unexplainable. Then, however, you get to the bosses. Oh lord, the bosses.
If the game made sense to you (I assure you it doesn't), these bosses will screw you over. Seen here is a pyramid boss of an assembly of several naked men shooting pellets at you, all the while being watched by the only man wearing clothes in the entire game (I'm bold enough to make that statement) and a spectating crowd of dudes flexing their pecks. Another one... Well, I'll just let JonTron explain: "What did I just see? Was that Arnold Schwarzenegger with a comb-over sticking out his H.R. Giger dick?" Words couldn't be more true, Jon. And yes, yes it was.
3. Lovely Sweet Dream (1998) - PS1
LSD. I've talked of you not once, but twice before, but I'll do it again.
LSD takes a similar approach to Yume Nikki: aimless exploring. The only difference is that this is more effed-up, which is a surprisingly big accomplishment. You wander around with no objective through the dreams of Hiroko Nishikawa, a staff member, who kept a dream journal for a decade. Judging on that alone, it seems like Hiroko is pretty messed up.
On your journeys, you encounter strange men in black suits, floating babies, people hanging, and of course, levitating vaginae. Yeesh.
Due to the seemingly random layout and placement of everything, the surreal gameplay, and the disturbing nature of the game, there's quite a few people who worship the game like a deity.
2. Hong Kong '97 (1995) - Super Famicom
Oh boy. This is one weird game.
Taking place two years after the game was released and set around the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, flocks of Chinese immigrate over, increasing the crime rate. To counter this, the Hong Kong government hires Chin, a relative of Bruce Lee (who is actually Jackie Chan. Whoops.) with the task of mass genocide by killing everybody in China.
So the game starts right from the get-go and 90% of the time you instantly die and get a "game over" screen with a gruesome image of a dead body. That's a good start!
If you do manage to live beyond the random start of the game, you are presented with a gritty picture and a looping second-long version of "I Love Beijing Tienanmen". Policemen and citizens run around, shooting at random, and you are tasked with shooting them down, causing them to miraculously transform into a picture of an explosion, followed by a picture of a corpse.
Sounds crappy, right? Apparently, for that very reason it has become known as kuso-ge, or "a crappy game" in Japan and has since gained a cult following.
1. Eastern Mind: The Lost Soul of Tong-Nou (1995) - PC
At number one is a game that I can safely bet most of you haven't heard of.
To start off, let me say that the game was made by the same jolly good fellow who made LSD.
You play Rin, who has just discovered that his soul was stolen by the island of Tong-Nou and - wait.. How does somebody even get stolen from? BY AN ISLAND?! Don't question it, just keep going - and if he doesn't retrieve it, he'll "weaken and eventually die in emptiness". As such, the guy goes to retrieve it in the form of a temporary soul that lasts for 49 days.
Sounds kind of weird, I guess. It doesn't seem that insane, though.
You then discover that the island is a gigantic, floating head.
And you go into it to retrieve your soul.
It's basically a point-and-click adventure shoved through a Dali painting into a pile of LSD. Multiply the result by three, bake it for an hour, and you get this game.
As weird as that all sounds, I really wanna try this game. It's the kind of thing that made me want to write this list in the first place; it's nonsensical, weird, and fairly unknown, just the kind of thing I like to tap into.

Anyway, school, am I right? Who's excited? *chirping noises

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