The Game Boy line of handheld devices legitimized gaming on the go among other things. The quality of the original Game Boy hardware itself motivated developers everywhere to pursue ambitious new ideas that would change the handheld gaming landscape forever. Of course, there were plenty of developers who wanted to experiment with things without using that legitimization.
Yes, those who went off the beaten path may have discovered a few oddities that swayed logic. Whether or not these games aided you through long car rides and waiting rooms is a question only you can answer.
Before we get started on a few of these games, let's take a look at the criteria used to compile this list:
- For the purposes of this list, every game released for the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance (and all related hardware spin-offs) was considered eligible.
- A game did not need to receive a global release in order to be considered eligible for this list. However, only officially released Game Boy games are eligible. That means no homebrewed games or resurrected unreleased projects.
- Any game that featured something unusual or untraditional (whether it be that titles gameplay, story, premise, or the circumstances of its release) was considered to be weird enough to at least be worthy of initial consideration.
Now that we've got this out of the way, here's a look at some of the most bizarre games that have ever been released for the Game Boy console.
15.The Pinball of the Dead
Pinball of the Dead is the strangest game in House of the Deads history; it's just what you think it is. A zombie-themed pinball game for the Game Boy Advance is strange no matter how you look at it, but it's this game's rich presentation and cinematic flair that make it far superior.
Its not that this game is really terrible, though. It's certainly one of the best games for anyone who's interested in a digital pinball game to play on the go. What motivated the company to stop making more bizarre House of the Dead spin-offs? Most of them were terrific.
Robopon appears to be another entry in a long line of Pokemon ripoffs designed for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Yet, this robot collection/fighting game was made with a truly remarkable glitch that set it apart from most other games.
Robopon cartridges included built-in-infrared sensors that could detect inputs from common household devices. So, you could do something like point your TV remote at the cartridge and receive a seemingly random reward, like a stat boost. That same technology allowed players to trade characters wirelessly.
Monkey Puncher is a wonderful name for a game. (Dude Puncher, Fish Puncher, Kick Puncher, etc.) Although the title does reveal a lot about the game itself (it's a boxing game starring monkeys), everything else about it is truly surprising.
Fewer games then involve you going through a monkey boxing league in order to rescue your father and sibling, and that's Monkey Puncher.
Faceball 2000 is undoubtedly a 3D FPS game that was technically playable on Game Boy. It even supported competitive multiplayer (though the legends surrounding the infamous 16-player multiplayer mode are greatly exaggerated). On the other hand, this entire game is a technical disaster that feels like it's breaking at the seams.
This game definitely belongs on this list for its technical ambitions alone. It's closer to a proof of concept than a proper video game, which makes the fact that it was released to the general public that much more bizarre.
11.Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children
Shin Megami Tensei is a bit of a different way to describe something strange, but this GBC spin-off of the demonic franchise occupies its own spot on the WTF? scale.
Devil Children is a Shin Megami Tensei adaptation of Pokemon. Before you believe that this is a softer, gentler side of the Shin Megami Tensei series, you should know that this game is still flooded with pentagrams, guns, and risk character designs. Its that clash of styles that makes this game so difficult to process.
10.Zok Zok Heroes
If you played Zok Zok Heroes on modern hardware, you might not notice what it's like. The problem is, it's difficult to play a properly emulated version of Zok Zok Heroes. That's because the original version of Zok Zok Heroes used a strange motion-controlled peripheral called the Full Changer.
You could alter your playable character and make different forms by moving the Full Changer across the infrared sensor found on the Zok Zok cartridge. It was a fascinating concept that, by most accounts, never worked nearly as well as you needed it to due to the frequency you had to complete those transformations.
9.DK: King of Swing
Over the years, Donkey Kong has starred in a number of strange spin-offs (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat comes to mind), but this 2005 GBA title is one of my favorite characters.
King of Swing is a unique swinging gameplay mechanic that requires you to move between vertically positioned pegs by using the GBAs shoulder buttons. It's one of those bizarre games that transcends genre classification and is nearly impossible to describe through words alone.
Avenging Spirit is a treasure trove in Nintendo's arcade games. It also features gangsters, murder, and kidnapping.
This is a fascinating relic from a time when publishers just didnt know how to market certain games that were difficult to classify.
7.March Of The Penguins
Yes, somebody made a video game based on the 2005 documentary March of the Penguins. What you can do to make a game based on a nature documentary? According to the developers of this incredible odd title, you just need to copy the Lemmings franchise.
This is a case of a game that has no clue what it is trying to be, although some sections are educational and vaguely realistic, while others involve you helping penguins cross huge gaps with the help of carefully placed trampolines. It's also darkly hilarious that the penguins cannot actually die in this game, rather simply leap from the bottom of cliffs. Just one of nature's miracles.
Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (The Frog For Whom the Bell Tolls)
The Frog For Whom the Bell Tolls is an incredible Game Boy adventure game that deserves a formal English translation and Western release. However, this game will most likely be remembered for its strange connections to The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening.
Links Awakening was built on this games engine (the two titles are strikingly similar in many ways), but many of the characters in this game actually appear in Links Awakening. This game is odd in that it might have been a proper Zelda franchise entry or a spin-off.
The game's original premise and its weird box art were actually imported from 1990 Game Boy. However, the original game's authors decided to stay true to the original games' weirdness and give Western viewers the whole Heiankyo Alien experience. Their attempt sadly failed as both critics and users struggled to comprehend the game's name, premise, and even its creepy box art.
Heiankyo Alien is a puzzle game that focuses on you playing as a police officer in feudal Japan who must trap invading aliens by forcing them to crawl into freshly dug holes. However, if you can get past this games unusual.everything, you'll discover a real gem of an action puzzle game.
When I first heard about this game, I assumed I would find some old retro platformer with a wisecracking tomato's adventures. Instead, I came across something much more profound and incredible.
Tomato Aventure is a GBA RPG that is beyond logic. The tomato part of the title refers to the Ketchup Kingdom, which your characters must navigate on their quest to save their girlfriend from an evil king who lives in a structure called the Gimmick Palace. (Or the Mario & Luigi games the Tomato Adventure team eventually worked on)
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Tomato Adventure is that rare game that feels both completely random and wonderfully creatively focused. It's a real contender for the best RPG you've ever experienced.
3.Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand
Boktai and its main gameplay gimmick were once a popular game. Over the years, though, Ive discovered that many people have merely forgotten about this game. That's a shame, since there's no world in which we shouldn't easily forget about a GBA game that has a built-in light sensor that encourages you to play outdoors.
Yes, this 2003 vampire hunting game embraced the go touch some grass mentality years before the rest of us did. Those who played Boktai in direct sunlight certainly saw significant gameplay improvements. The game's poor backlighting and the wonky nature of the cartridges make this a great gimmick.
There are a lot of Game Boy games that aren't licensed to do strange things. For instance, there's a homebrew DJ game that allows you to create Game Boy-friendly tracks via the hardware's few audio channels. Even if they did, they'd still have to accept the strangeness of Mario Family.
This Japanese-only GBC game was designed to work with JN-series sewing machines. Yes, I said sewing machines. The entire point of this game is to input Mario-themed designs into the sewing machines and (hopefully) watch the machine recreate those patterns.
This 2002 game has been saved from absolute obscurity by a series of speed runs and online videos in recent years. However, there are times when I wonder if it is not one of those rare creatures that should be left to live in the dark.
Urban Yeti is a game that involves a yeti who must find a partner in the big city. What follows is a series of minigame misadventures spread across a GTA-like open environment. If youve ever wanted to play a game where the world's horniest yeti works in a soup kitchen in order to pay a bridge toll, then I feel fairly confident that this is the game for you.
Im able to deduce that this game might have been conceived as a web page project by an exceptionally bored student over the course of a weekend. However, it's shocking to think that somebody might have purchased this game from a legitimate retail store with real human money.