The world of video games can be bizarre enough, what with the less than ideally conceived cosplay costumes and the marathon Let’s Play commentaries lacking even the slightest amount of crossover humor. But when you add a legacy of game ideas that absolutely baffle the brain and harm the mind, the world of video games threatens to tip over into something more at home in the surreal visions of Dali or Bunuel. Chances are you haven’t even heard of some of these bizarre video games that were actually manufactured and sold to the public. Now that you have heard of them, you have to ask yourself if you would want to spend the effort tracking them down for play.
Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill: Super NES, Sega Genesis
Am I alone in looking forward with unrestricted anticipation to that day, probably far off in the future, in which the American public does not have the escapades of Presidential pets jammed down our throat. The only thing lamer than Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill is that book written by the dog of George and Barbara Bush. And even that was probably too sophisticated a read for their eldest son! Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill is kind of the Holy Grail of bizarre video games. If you can find it, buy it. And then sell it. You are likely to make a tidy little profit which will be all the sweeter considering how Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill does not look to have advanced the art of video game play very much, if at all.
Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball: Super NES
If the name Bill Lambeer is not enough to spark you to purchase yet another basketball video game, then you probably weren’t around during the heyday of the Detroit Pistons. The self-proclaimed Bad Boys of the NBA featured Laimbeer as their baddest boy. He was a physically intimidating player and so it was determined that fans of Pistons-style basketball would flock to a game taking place fifty years in the future where all the referees were fired, the rulebook burned and weapons allowed. Or, perhaps not. This bizarre video game never quite caught on with the public, but perhaps that is only because it was ahead of its time.
John Deere Harvest in the Heartland: Nintendo DS
John Deere. I mean, seriously, does any name in the long history of American brands scream out video game like John Deere? No? Are you sure? Because John Deere Harvest in the Heartland lets you use tractors and other machinery and tools of the farming business to show you exactly what life is like for big time farmers in the heartland of America. Or, perhaps, this bizarre little entry in the history of video games has a legacy more attuned to struggle of old school corporations to figure out how to utilize the massive power of video games for the purpose of advertising.
Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest: GameCube
The uninitiated would term a game subtitled “Survival of the Fittest” as ironic as it relates to the strongly Darwinian world of video games in which Cubivore tried to gain a foothold. The title character is a cube. Really. Seriously. He is a cube. Frankly, I don’t have a problem with simplistic geometric shapes being the lead character of a video game. I mean, let’s be honest, has any video game ever really improved on Pong for sheer excitement? The really bizarre part about Cubivore that makes it such a dent in the chrome bumper of video game evolution is that it attempted to do nothing new or unusual or particularly creative with the cubes.
Cool Spot: Multiple Game Platforms
John Deere had about fifteen years to learn from the mistakes made by 7-UP when it attempted to transform video games into a viable advertising platform. In fact, the Cool Spot video game is best viewed as a double whammy in the world of advertising. The game features a red dot with arms and legs and a face. That red dot was supposed to become the mascot spokesman for 7-UP. What you have in Cool Spot is a massive failure on two counts. The Cool Spot itself has got to be viewed as one of the bizarre corporate mascots ever. And then that failure was compounded by making Cool Spot the star one of the bizarre video games ever. Not that the gameplay was especially bizarre; it is kind of difficult to detect any difference between Cool Spot and any number of side-scrolling games. But then again, most of those other side-scrolling games don’t incessantly plug the name of the soft drink which provides the background image for most of the game. Sad, really.