Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Freaks of Arkham Asylum: The Scarecrow

It goes without saying that Batman: Arkham Asylum is a great game.  Likewise, it goes without saying that Arkham Asylum (the location itself) is one creepy place, with its claustrophobic hallways and ancient hidden passageways.  Batman fans know that it is here that all of Gotham City's super-villains are kept after they get their asses handed to them by the Bat.  While most of these villains are completely insane freaks that each deserve their own blog post, today I'm going to talk about Scarecrow.  In my opinion he was the creepiest character in the game (yes, worse than the Joker), with plenty of appearances throughout Arkham Asylum, each more intense than the previous.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Out of Place Gaming Moments

One very important factor that can make a game great is immersion.  We want to feel like we are in the world created by the game developers, interacting with everything and everyone.  Occasionally game devs throw in Easter eggs or other features that completely pull you out of that immersion.  Sometimes it's a welcome change, sometimes not, and sometimes it's just plain weird.  Previously I covered the strange and out of place giant heart in GTA IV, and today I'm going to talk about a couple other gaming oddities that seem out of place in the worlds they try to create.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sligs: It's An Odd World After All

With a name like Oddworld, you expect a weird game.  The Oddworld series definitely delivered the strangeness, and in a very good way.  The games had creepy locations and an even creepier population.  I still remember my "what the hell" moment seeing the animated Abe head for the first time on the title screen of Abe's Oddysee.  Today though we're going to overlook Abe and talk about the Oddworld games' iconic enemies: the Sligs.

Straight from the demented mind of Lorne Lanning

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Shrek on Xbox: A Twisted Fairy Tale Indeed

It pretty much goes without saying that the majority of movie-licensed games are very poor quality, with the exception of great games like EA's Lord of the Rings series, and the recent Batman: Arkham Asylum/City games.  Back in 2001 a particularly painful movie-licensed game was released alongside the original Xbox: Shrek.  Why am I picking on a kids game you might ask?  Well the reason is I played it back in the day and I found it to be an odd game, so I feel it belongs in our blog of strangeness.

Judging by this cut and paste artwork, we can tell the game will be high-quality.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Unexplained Strangeness in Bully

Have you ever come across a character in a game whose back-story isn't explained, despite the fact that we know the back-story could be awesome, even to the point of rivaling the main storyline?  It's annoying that game developers sometimes leave interesting stories out of our games, so that we may only speculate in forums or (shudder) fan fiction.  But as with all media, the authors can't explain everything or the games/movies/books would never be released.  In this article I'm going to be looking at some of the weird things in Rockstar's Bully game that have unfortunately gone unexplained.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Super Turbo Turkey Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope everyone's having a good time and getting ready for some great food.  Before you pass the mashed potatoes, how about celebrating Thanksgiving by playing a little Super Turbo Turkey Puncher 3?  Ok so this isn't an actual standalone game, it's a mini-game/Easter egg in Doom 3.  Early on in Doom 3 you come across an arcade machine containing a mini-game with Doom 1-style graphics, where you play as the original Doom Guy, punching turkeys with the brass knuckles from Doom 1.  Strange? Yes.  Addicting? Possibly.

Of course if you're not a turkey fan, you could always harass some chickens in a Zelda game.  Have fun!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Andross: The Disembodied Head from Hell

What happens when you take the 3D head of Mario from the title screen of Super Mario 64, then make it infinitely more ugly and frightening to children?  Why you get Andross from Star Fox 64 of course!

Separated at birth?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Possible Recurring Cast of Skyward Sword (Massive Speculation)

After all this time, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is almost upon us! The first and last Wii-exclusive Zelda title (remember, Twilight Princess was also a Gamecube title) looks to send the Wii out with a bang. It is much too early to speculate what the Zelda games will be like once the franchise inevitably moves to the Wii U, seeing as we don't know much about it other than the controller looks like a giant white high-definition Sega Game Gear. However, with Skyward Sword's release just around the corner, now is the perfect time to add to the excitement by guessing what will be in this game.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Launch of Skyrim

Happy Skyrim launch day!  Unfortunately I haven't picked up my copy yet, but I'm dying to play through.  After spending way over 200 hours in Oblivion (and still barely touching the Shivering Isles expansion), I can't wait to explore the new game world and begin treasure hunting in the caves/temples/tombs.

I came across this funny Skyrim-ish video on Youtube, I guess now we know what the game would look like with super extra low PC settings:

Have you guys picked up Skyrim yet? Or are you saving for the other big release of the year: Skyward Sword?

Monday, November 7, 2011

An Odd GTA Moment: The Heart of Liberty City

I don't know about you guys, but after seeing the trailer for Grand Theft Auto V, I'm pretty excited to return to San Andreas.  In GTA San Andreas it was awesome having three distinct cities to visit, with miles of country for you to explore in between each city.  Sure GTA IV had three areas of Liberty City to explore, but the city environment was pretty similar in each section, and to get to each area you merely had to drive across a bridge.  Sure it was still fun to roam around, but when you've walked down an alley for the thousandth time, it gets a little old.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Disturbingly Awesome Zombies of Valve Games

Happy Halloween everyone!  What better day to play some scary games than this?  Maybe you're planning on taking a tour of the mansion in Resident Evil 1, or making your way through the fog in Silent Hill, or turning off all the lights and visiting Tingle Island in Wind Waker.

Seeing as this is the time for the rising dead, how about we take a look at some video game zombies?  Not just any zombies, but the zombies in Valve games.  This is because I find that Valve puts a little more creativity into these creepers, rather than copy-pasting the standard shuffling brain-eating undead monster.  With that said, let's start off with the Half-Life games.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Rise and Fall of Handheld Console Battery Life: A Modern Tragedy

After hearing the news about the Playstation Vita's 2012 U.S. release date, I again began to debate whether this handheld is worth waiting for, or if I should just take the plunge and buy a 3DS.  Inevitably I decided to compare the reported battery lives of the two handhelds, and the results were not too satisfying.  Both the Vita and the 3DS have an approximate battery life of 3-5 hours, meaning you'll be spending a lot of time with your good friend Mr. AC Adapter.  Apparently I'm not the only one upset about this.  Whatever happened to the good old days of handheld gaming?  Remember when changing batteries in your original Gameboy seemed like a rare occurrence?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Odd Peripherals: The Playstation Reality Vest

There are a ton of peripherals in the gaming world, which range from useful to lame to what-were-they-thinking.  A few posts ago I talked about the Steel Battalion controller, which was incredibly expensive and impractical (due to only being compatible with the Steel Battalion games), but you have to admit it had a certain amount of coolness.

While I could fill pages and pages of this blog talking about all the completely weird and pointless gaming peripherals in existence, today we are going to look at just one, the Reality Vest for the Playstation 1.

It's such an obscure accessory that very few pictures exist online.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Portal Mania

For all you Portal fans out there, now is your chance to grab Portal 2 at a great price. Steam is having a midweek sale, with Portal 2 priced at $15!

I also wanted to share an interesting video that my friend sent me. The video is about a Portal-type game created in the Unity 3D game engine, using a different approach to the portal gun we all know and love. In this game you take a snapshot of the screen, and then project the snapshot onto a wall. This allows you to step through the projected snapshot into the area you took a picture of. It's kind of weird to explain, so here is the video:

What's really interesting is that the portals allow you to travel back in time to the moment you took the snapshot. I hope Valve is keeping an eye on this, it would be a great feature to have in Portal 3!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gaming Questions That Have Yet To Be Answered

We all know that games are fantasy worlds where anything goes. The laws of physics can be laughed at, respawning is second nature to us, any conceivable creature or object can speak and act like a human, and so on and so forth. Sometimes you can't avoid questioning some of these design choices (I for one can be nit-picky at times). For example, I'm sure everyone who has played a Zelda game has wondered how Link can carry a ton of items at the same time without being burdened the slightest bit. Today we look at some similar questions from gaming over the years.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crazy Controllers: Steel Battalion

Recently I came across a preview for a game I never thought would exist.  The game is Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor for the Xbox 360.  We all remember the first game in the series, Steel Battalion for the original Xbox.  Well ok, we don't remember the game itself so much, but it's hard to forget the incredibly crazy/awesome/expensive controller that came bundled with the game.

And to think, so many people were complaining about how huge the standard Xbox gamepad was.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Gabepire Strikes Back

This week amidst all the chaos of Mark Zuckerberg continuing to manipulate the masses (i.e. Facebook has been updated yet again), I happened to come across this picture on Facebook:

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Freaks of Bioshock, Part 3 Finale: The Big Daddies

What do you get when you brainwash The Incredible Hulk and send him on a deep sea diving expedition? A Big Daddy of course!

Captain Nemo better be thankful he never came across Rapture.
Well not exactly, but it's as close an analogy as any.  Big Daddies are essentially the face of Bioshock, and for most gamers they are the first thing that comes to mind when this game is mentioned.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nintendo 3DS and the Raiders of the Awkward Right Joystick

Sorry for the lack of updates the past couple weeks, I have plunged into the world of web development and have been caught up learning PHP and CSS, as well as re-learning HTML (an annoying language in my opinion).

Anyway, a bit of news about the Nintendo 3DS that I thought worth mentioning in this blog of strangeness: the incredibly awkward-looking right analog stick add-on.

Is it just me or does this add-on look incredibly clunky and uncomfortable?  From an aesthetic standpoint, it gives the impression of a cheap and rushed addition.  Also it seems as if the face buttons would be a little difficult to reach during an action-packed gaming session.  Here's hoping for a future redesign of the 3DS that will incorporate dual analog sticks into a better controller layout.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Freaks of Bioshock, Part 2: Little Sisters

Last time we covered the freakiest of the Bioshock characters, the Splicers.  In part 2 of this series we will look at everyone's favorite creepy brainwashed children: the Little Sisters.

If the glowing eyes don't make you run for your life, maybe the bloody syringe will.
Little Sisters were "created" in order to produce ADAM, the substance discussed in part 1.  They are girls who have been implanted with a certain sea slug, creating a symbiotic relationship between the two beings.  Using the girl as a host, the slug generates massive amounts of ADAM, which can be harvested by causing the Little Sister to vomit.  Pretty disgusting so far right?  It gets worse.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Freaks of Bioshock, Part 1: Splicers

Bioshock is a great game with an even greater atmosphere to experience.  If you can use your imagination and get past the fact that it is impossible to build such a city as Rapture, then you really feel as if you are exploring the wreckage of a once-grand underwater metropolis.  The eery environments are made even creepier due to the fact that you know you are going to encounter a myriad of the game's signature freaks, some of which will gladly appear at unexpected moments when your guard is down.

Since there are so many weird character types in Bioshock, this will be a multiple part blog series, starting with the creepiest inhabitants of Rapture: the Splicers.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gaming News: Sony Cuts PS3 Price to $250

Let us deviate from our path of game strangeness for a minute and report that Sony is cutting the price of the PS3 from $299 to $249.  Looks like Sony decided to play a little follow-the-leader after the recent price drop of the Nintendo 3DS.

Regardless, it is now a bit more affordable to try out some weird PS3 games such as Catherine, where you get to experience the nightmares of the protagonist, while solving puzzles along the way.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Annoying Sidekicks That Make You Want to Go Solo

Sometimes, even the mightiest of game characters need someone or something to provide assistance.  When done properly, a sidekick for the main character can be a valuable asset, providing hints or new abilities that wouldn't be available otherwise.  Sometimes a good sidekick can be there mainly to provide observations that help to pull you into the story, such as in the Halo games when Cortana provides the Master Chief with updates about the Covenant's whereabouts and current actions.

However, there are game developers out there who want to ruin our fun by providing annoying and sometimes worthless sidekicks that rarely do more than get on our nerves.  Here are some of the offending characters that you may have had the misfortune of putting up with.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Many Odd Choices for Protagonists

When playing video games, we all like to play as interesting characters, from the mighty Link to the Jedi and Sith of the Knights of the Old Republic games.  Seeing as how we'll be stuck playing as these characters for the 10-30+ hours it usually takes to complete a game, we'd like the characters to be somewhat likeable.

Fortunately a majority of the games I have played have included protagonists that I found thoroughly enjoyable.  However, as with everything in life, there have been some serious mistakes made by game developers when choosing a main protagonist for their games.  What follows are a few protagonists that I think should never have been allowed to make it past the drawing board.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Strange Gaming Moment: Gravemind the Talking Plant

Remember back when you had your first play through of Halo 1?  The suspense as you made your way through the dark and creepy swamp level?  The anticipation of what kind of terrifying enemy would make the Covenant run for their lives?  I admit I was a bit let down upon finding out that the main reason for the suspense was just the zombie-like Flood, but it was still a nice change of pace to have a new enemy to battle.  The Flood were a pain in the ass to fight, mainly because of how resilient they were to most weapons except the shotgun and the rocket launcher.  Even the sheer numbers of the parasitic forms could be a nightmare if your shields were down.

Go ahead, unload that entire assault rifle clip into him, he can take it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Odd Moments in Japanese Arcade Gaming

Let's face it, games developed in Japan can get downright strange.  I'm not saying all Japanese games are weird, because it would be gamer blasphemy to knock such masterpieces as the Mario and Zelda franchises, and the majority of the Final Fantasy games.  Although, think about the concept of Super Mario for a second and tell me it's not weird to play a game where a fat plumber warps around using pipes while battling killer turtles.

Anyway, the strangeness of some of these games extends to the arcades of Japan, where we see games that would probably not survive in censorship-crazy America.  One such game is Boong-Ga Boong-Ga.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Strange Gaming News: Gotham City Impostors Beta

While we all wait for the dark and serious Batman: Arkham City to arrive, why not sign up for a beta test of a goofier, much stranger Batman-themed game?   The beta for Gotham City Impostors (available for Xbox 360, PS3, PC) will start in September, but you can head over to the game's main site to sign up right now.

For those who haven't heard of this game, it's a team-based first person shooter consisting of one Batman team and one Joker team.  Each team consists of psychopathic average Joes dressed up as either Batman or the Joker, depending on their team.  The trailer, which showcases fast paced action and over-the-top weaponry, brings back memories (for me at least) of frantic Timesplitters multiplayer matches.  Chances are it won't be able to dethrone Team Fortress 2 in the area of team-based game play, but it should still be fun to fire rockets at murderous Batman wannabes wielding machine guns.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Awkward Gaming Moment: Cloud Strife in Drag

In an earlier post, I claimed that Cloud Strife was one of the most badass characters in the Final Fantasy games, certainly more so than Tidus and Vaan of later games.  However, there is one moment in Final Fantasy VII that puts this into question, which is when Cloud dresses up in drag.  For all five of you who haven't played FFVII, I'll have you know that I'm not making this up.

In an early mission in the game, Cloud wanders through the Wall Market section of Midgar, collecting items of clothing such as a dress and lingerie, and even finds himself obtaining a wig.  The point being that Cloud needs to enter a mafia leader's house where he believes Tifa has been kidnapped.  Apparently cross dressing is the only way to do this, I guess Cloud forgot that he carries a body-sized sword and is powerful enough to match Sephiroth.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Fighters of Soul Calibur: Meet the Freak Show

First off, before I get accused of bashing, I would like to say that I'm a fan of fighting games, especially the Soul Calibur games.  They are some of the easiest games to pick up and play, with enough depth and fun factor to keep you coming back for years.  In a game a such as Soul Calibur, where the battle between good and evil is always present, mainly due to two magical swords, you expect to see a certain degree of mystical character design.  Soul Calibur definitely provides the mystical characters, such as the ghost pirate Cervantes and the possessed knight Nightmare.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Strange News in Gaming

In "exciting" news, Excalibur Publishing Limited has released their thrilling game titled Street Cleaning Simulator!  Who needs Grand Theft Auto, with it's fast cars, police chases, and all-out carnage?  Excalibur Publishing claims that you'd rather be cruising the streets at a comfortable 5 MPH pace, scrubbing away dirt, fast food wrappers, and all other exciting pieces of trash.

Seriously, whenever I think that developers are running out of ideas, along comes a group of developers to prove that yes, they are indeed running out of ideas.  I understand the existence of other simulation games; railroad simulators have a generous following, and obviously flight simulators are very popular.  But why did someone need to develop a street cleaning simulation?  You are marketing to a very small, if non-existent niche here.  Judging from the harsh review courtesy of Gamespot, it's as if the developers figured nobody was going to purchase this game anyway and put no effort into creating a polished simulation.

Street Cleaning Simulator, coming to a bargain bin near you.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tingle: The Man-Elf From Your Worst Nightmares

When you stop to think about it, the Legend of Zelda games have some genuinely creepy characters.  People have plenty to fear from these games, be it Ooccoo from Twilight Princess, the Redeads from Ocarina of Time, and probably the most feared character of them all: Tingle.

Tingle first appeared to haunt our nightmares in Majora's Mask for the N64,  where he desperately wants to be a fairy.  He has become so delusional that he thinks wearing green full-body spandex, acting extremely flamboyant, and flying around with the help of a balloon tied to his waist has magically transformed him.  Sadly the only way to receive maps for certain areas of the game are by buying them through Tingle, so for most of us, this creature was unavoidable.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Left 4 Dead Boomer Necklace

I thought this was a funny/strange idea for a necklace, so I had to share it!  Behold the Boomer necklace:

What better gift than a gigantic, dangerous sack of vomit?

The Final Fantasy Xperience: Where Main Character Design Goes Wrong

Ah the Final Fantasy series, just thinking of it evokes memories of epic quests, magical and technologically advanced worlds on the brink of destruction, and lately, sissy-boy main characters who do nothing but whine and complain.  What has happened to the leading characters in FF games?  We didn't have this problem in earlier games in the series.  I'm sure that when you first read the words "Final Fantasy" in this post, most of you immediately thought of Final Fantasy 7, with the badass leading character Cloud Strife.  This guy was pure awesome, the only character in the game able to face Sephiroth one-on-one and carve him to pieces.
It's time to kick ass and chew materia gum.
Side note: I'm not even going to touch the topic of the emo Cloud in the Final Fantasy: Advent Children movie; as far as I'm concerned, movies based on games are not canon and therefore do not exist.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Strange Moment in Gaming History

This installment of A Strange Moment in Gaming History is a piece of shit, literally.  I'm talking about none other than The Great Mighty Poo from Conker's Bad Fur day for the Nintendo 64.

Who would have thought that something so strange as a sentient, steaming pile of crap could be among the best features of the Conker game?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Historically Bad Voice Acting in Games

We've all played a game or two in our lives that has made us either cringe or bust out laughing (or both) upon reaching a cutscene.  I don't know about you, but when I'm watching a cutscene, I like to feel at least some immersion in the game world.   Even if it's a comical world such as in the Sonic Adventure games, the voice actors should at least give us the impression that they are trying to do their jobs.  But alas, in too many cases we have received some of the most cringe-worthy voice acting in gaming history.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Strange Moment in Gaming History

This Strange Moment in Gaming History is brought to you by one of the creepiest, if not the creepiest characters in the Legend of Zelda series: Ooccoo from The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess.

If this is the first time your eyes have gazed upon this creature, I'm sure you have just shuddered with loathing, that sure was my reaction when encountering it for the first time.  It makes you wonder what the Nintendo devs were thinking when they decided to create a chicken-zombie hybrid that is encountered in just about every dungeon in Twilight Princess.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hello and Welcome!

Today marks the launch of the Strange Gaming blog!  In this blog you will find pictures, videos, and stories of some of the strange/funny/just plain awkward moments in the world of video games, both past and present.  Pretty much anything that is funny and gaming related will be found in this blog, be it a screenshot of an awkward moment in your favorite game, or a video clip of someone playing a gold-plated Xbox 360 (hey it's possible!).  You'll probably be seeing interesting game-related comics and other artwork in these articles as well.

I encourage everyone who would like to share some strange/funny moments in gaming history to send them to so that they can be featured in future articles.  With your help, we can make this quite an extensive collection!  In a world where games such as Seaman and Mr. Mosquito are developed, there is no shortage of awkward moments!