Very similar to the last one, only this time it won’t be franchises I’m looking at, I’ll be focusing on one-off games that for some reason never got a sequel. Here I’m mainly looking at the very weird, and the incredibly wonderful. The newest game here is 18 years old, so I think it’s safe to say that for all of these if there was going to be a sequel it would have happened by now. I mean, can you imagine doing a sequel in 2020 to something released in the ’90s? It would never work.
Space Station Silicon Valley (N64: 1998)
Okay, this is a weird game (expect that to be a recurring theme throughout this blog btw). Originally released in the late ’90s, when Sega was still a big deal, and the PlayStation was huge. The video game market was huge at the time in terms of variety, you had games where you could control a wide range of white people, muscle-bound men, heavily chested women, all of them were seen by marketers as the pinnacle of humanity. It’s in this environment where this game was released and you controlled……a computer chip. You see, this game is populated by robotic animals so you can jump into any dead robot animal and control them. It’s a wonderfully unique system which leads to different ways of playing the game. Every animal has two special skills, fox’s for example, can use a rocket boost, kangaroos can punch, sheep can go “baa” (oh, and they can float). This game is perfect for a reboot because of the animals, the merchandise potential is huge (50 animals-50 funko pops). Even if it’s not this game exactly, the idea of controlling a computer chip in a world of robots is brilliant. Can you picture that in an open-world game? The possibilities it will open up are endless and the potential for DLC is staggering.
B.O.B (SNES: 1993)
Yup, another robot game. This one’s a platformer though. It has a weird sense of humour that’s kind of charming (the game starts with the main character crashing his dad’s space car into an asteroid whilst on a date). It’s a standard platformer but because you’re controlling a robot it means you have access to different attachments including helicopter blades, trampolines, etc. It has a good health system too, you gain health by just going into recharging points. This makes sense as, you know, it is a robot. I kind of love the look of it too, it has a kind of electric plant look. Look at the picture above, that’s how it deals with inside scenes, now look at the outside ones:
I love the level of detail on everything, it makes it feel, I dunno, “squelchy”? So the whole thing feels alive, it feels like the character is on an alien world full of life. Now if this were to be remade today I’m not sure how it should be done, a 3D one would be kind of cool but I feel it would risk losing some of the charm it has. Plus some graphical styles only seem to work 2D, if this went 3D they’d either have to make it cel-shaded, or *shudders*, realistic. You need to keep this simple and fun, but I feel you could lean into making it funnier; maybe lean into making it more of a Metroid parody.
Glover (N64/Playstation: 1999)
I’ll admit I haven’t actually played this game. It’s a late replacement for Zombies Ate My Neighbours, which I only today found out had a sequel to Ghoul Patrol, and as such isn’t eligible for this blog (shame as I LOVE LOVE LOVE that game). So, what causes this game to warrant a mention despite never having played it? Well, you play a glove, and the point of the game is to get a ball to the end of the level. Admit it, that is SUPER unique. You could even make that game a VR one with motion controls in the modern era. It’s not the most famous glove in video game history, that would be the power glove, and how was that received?
Oh, not good then. So yeah it’s safe to say this is probably the best-received videogame based glove of all time. I admit that’s an extremely low bar but still.
This is a weird game, but it would also be a lot of fun for drunk people to play together. Do short levels where people make asses of themselves in front of their friends.
Blast Corps (N64: 1997)
This is a strange game, but once I tell you the premise of it you’ll wonder why it’s not been done since. Here goes: you have to destroy buildings to stop a runaway nuclear missile hitting them. Yes, it’s incredibly 90’s but it’s just so satisfying. In many ways it’s a puzzle game, you have to figure out the best way of achieving the goals with the tools at your disposal. And there’s a lot of tools (insert obvious joke here) for you to play with. Bulldozers, giant robots, the A-team van, all of them you can use. Personally, I feel that’s the games biggest weakness; there’s no consistency between levels. You’ll be driving a bulldozer in one level and the next one you’d have to attempt it with a dump truck when it would have been easier with the aforementioned dozer. There’s no reason given for you abandoning the vehicle at the end of every level and it’s just kind of weird as it makes no sense for the story. This is the biggest change I’d make. I’d also attempt to link the levels somehow so it’s a semi-open world. So each level is distinct but you drive through tunnels to get to the next one whilst it loads, giving the appearance of one continuous level (similar to how they did it in Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland). Have it so you can have any vehicle you’ve unlocked if you choose, BUT either have it so you have to pay attention to petrol levels, or have vehicle wear and tear so you don’t use the same one again and again.
Eternal Darkness (Gamecube: 2002)
Obviously, I was going to mention this. A psychological horror game where you have a sanity meter, and when that depletes, well, shit gets weird. By which I mean:
- A character dramatically changes size, growing to become a giant, or shrinking to become tiny.
- Blood drips off the walls
- Paintings change from idyllic landscapes to hellish ones.
- Statues come to life and look at you as you walk past them.
So far, so standard, right? I mean, it’s a neat quirk but nothing game-changing. But then it gets MUCH better when it doesn’t just get weird for the character, it does for the player too. It’s great as it starts messing with your head as you play it. Here are some of my favourites:
- The screen goes blank, making it seem as if your TV has turned itself off.
- The volume suddenly lowers.
- The camera begins tilting.
- The game will appear to reset.
- A fly starts walking on the screen.
That last one genuinely got me, I went up to the screen and tried to swat it way. Clever bastards. I think this is a great idea and one I’d love to see implemented (why the Resident Evil or Outlast franchises haven’t done something similar I have no idea). It’s even more puzzling when you consider the multiple new ways players can be messed with. Just off the top of my head:
- Lost internet connection.
- Fake messages from your contacts.
- Deleting all your games.
- A message from the police saying they’ve found illegal content in your internet history (for PC version)
Even better (but MUCH trickier to do) would be to have it connect to a camera that is directed at the player and shown onscreen (like when you watch a lot of streamers on twitch etc). Then have THAT screen get fucked up, make it look like things are appearing behind them etc. This will also REALLY add to the experience of watching them being streamed. Another way; if people have headsets on where they’re talking to people then have fake voices on it. Now, these suggestions are intense and could lead to issues, but just imagine how shit scared you’ll be playing them.
That’s that done, which obvious ones did I miss? I know I’m probably missing A LOT of sega and PlayStation games, so let me know.