Weird Games: If you ever go to an arcade, you’ll probably head straight for the usual suspects. But if you’re lucky, you may come across some arcade games that are entirely on the other side of normal…
Before home game systems became the norm, you had to actually get up and leave the house to play games. Arcade games started with classics like Pac-man and Frogger, and evolved over the years into more complex experiences.
Despite the fact that you can now play practically any game at home, arcades continue to pull us to them and compulsively sink our money into them. There’s nothing quite like the charged atmosphere of a crowded arcade. But new arcade games need to have something special to draw us out of our homes and our change out of our pockets. So it’s no surprise that there are some downright bizarre arcade games out there.
The arcade game culture is still strong in Japan, with big names like Square Enix releasing new arcade games. Japan is also home to some of the more… ‘unusual’ games on the market. Like, for example, Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, which was developed by Korea for Japan.
You might notice this arcade game by the butt sticking out in front of the screen. The object of the game is to hit and prod the rear end with the provided large hand peripheral. Boong-Ga Boong-Ga lets you choose who the denim-clad rear end belongs to, from a list of eight people who presumably deserve it. Among others, the list includes the slightly understandable con artist and child molester, and the more questionable mother-in-law. A good thrashing is rewarded with a printout detailing your score and your sexual virility. This is one game that, when played in public, can quickly go from hilarious to very awkward.
If you’d prefer to let our some pent-up aggression in a slightly more normal way, Table Flipping Simulator has you covered. Emerging from Japan yet again, Table Flipping Simulator comes with a table peripheral. You play a restaurant patron who is unsatisfied with his meal. Like any reasonable person, you deal with this by completely flipping out, and flipping the table (flipping off optional). Your score is measured by how aggressively you pound, hit and throw the table on its side.
We don’t always want to play a violent, angry game, though. A good game tests our lightning-quick reflexes and cat-like grace. If this sounds more up your alley, you want to look for the other table in the arcade.
You’ll know the difference – this one has a classy tablecloth. Do you see where this is going? We’ve all wanted to try pulling a tablecloth out from under a whole lot of dishes. Unfortunately, dishes can be expensive and fragile, and pulling a cloth out from under them takes practice (as some of us have learned the hard way). Japan’s The Tablecloth Hour takes all the breaking and cleaning up out from this little experiment. Test your skills by pulling the tablecloth with just the right speed and angle. Then go home and show off your newfound skills (this columnist will not be held responsible for the actions of any readers).
If you think you can only find strange arcade games in Japan, you should head over to the Russian museum of Arcade Games. There are some real gems to be found in this historic arcade, but the one that stands out is the Репка Силомер (Repka Silomer), roughly translated as Turnip Strength Tester. This game is essentially a strength meter like you’d find in a carnival, only instead of hitting a button with a hammer, you are trying to pull a giant turnip out of the ground.
The game is based on a Russian folk tale about a family who grew a huge turnip, but couldn’t pull it out when harvest time came around. Everyone had to work together to get the task done: the old man pulled on the turnip while pulling on him were his wife, granddaughter, dog, cat, and mouse. You might feel weak when you’re given a low score by strength testing games but nothing demoralizes you more than being told your strength is somewhere between that of a mouse and a cat. Pathetic.
But you don’t have to go to an arcade or a museum to see arcade games. Arcade machines are beginning to infiltrate our everyday lives. Doing laundry can be so boring, that Kingston University’s Lee Wei Chan decided to combine the chore with a game to make it more fun.
The result is the Arcade Washing Machine, a videogame and laundry machine hybrid. Play the game to keep the laundry washing. Insert some coins for three lives and play to your heart’s content. But lose all your lives and the washing machine will stop running. You won’t find this machine in laundromats yet, but it’s a brilliant idea. If you’re going to spend a whole load of change to play a game, why not get something useful done while you’re at it?
Even something as simple as taking a bathroom break is being revolutionized by arcade games. If you happen to be in a specific bar in London, a trip to the bathroom will treat you to an interactive urinating experience, something I never though I would write.
The men’s loo in south London’s Exhibit Bar comes equipped with 12-inch interactive screens that let you play games as you relieve yourself. Men can compete against each other by recording their high scores in games like skiing. Captive Media, the makers of this extra-special bathroom boast that the games have intuitive controls. Uh.. yes. Ladies, you’re out of luck if you want to play. For now. We all know it’s only a matter of time.