Japan is home to many things, but perhaps its most unique element is its unparalleled otaku (nerd) culture.
With one of the largest video game markets and industries in the world, Japan is home to hundreds of video game developers and publishers, each trying to one-up the other and make a game unlike anything else that has come before it.
This cold war within the Japanese video game industry has led to some of the wackiest, craziest and weirdest games ever to be played. Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, Japan comes out with something no one in their wildest dreams would ever think of. From eliminating vampires by stripping off their clothes to playing pinball with falling boogers, the games on this list are guaranteed to have you scratching your head in confusion and facepalming out of astonishment.
All of these games are available outside of Japan (if that’s where you’re reading this) and are playable in English.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links to product pages
Box cover for Mister Mosquito.
Our first game is an insect simulator developed by Zoom Inc. that was originally released in 2001 on the PlayStation 2 in Japan and then localized in English by Eidos Interactive’s Fresh Games. While it had great sales and reception in Japan, it didn’t get much hype in North America or Europe. However, it has since gained a cult following and is regarded as one of the weirdest and craziest games ever made.
In Mister Mosquito (known as Mr Moskeeto in PAL regions and in its home market as Ka, the Japanese word for the bug) you play the part of a pest that everyone knows and hates with a fury: the common house mosquito.
… regarded as one of the weirdest and craziest games ever made.
Gameplay consists of terrorizing the Yamada family in the comfort of their own home by sucking their blood while trying not to get smacked in the process. In order to find the perfect opening, players can also distract members of the Yamada family by turning off the lights, switching on electronics or simply waiting until the target falls asleep.
Due to its low sales and cult following, Mister Mosquito has become something of a collectible item in the West, with used copies selling on eBay for upwards of US$70. If you ever see the game at an affordable price, be sure to pick it up — Mister Mosquito is a must-play for retro game lovers.
Good for: PlayStation 2 lovers and those who like simulator games.
One of the weirdest Japanese games that received positive reception outside the country is Chibi-Robo. Originally released on the Nintendo GameCube, Chibi-Robo is about one tiny robot’s mission to bring happiness to the Sanderson family while fighting off evil robots programmed by a toy company.
In Chibi-Robo, players must collect happy points by bringing happiness to the Sanderson family. How does a tiny robot make a family of three happy? By doing mundane chores around the house, of course. The gameplay of Chibi-Robo revolves around picking up trash, scrubbing the floors and tending the garden among other tedious household tasks.
How does a tiny robot make a family of three happy? By doing mundane chores around the house, of course.
Despite this wacky premise, the game received an 8.2 out of 10 rating on IGN and 8 out of 10 rating on Eurogamer. Numerous sequels have been made and released on the Nintendo DS and 3DS, but the original Chibi-Robo remains the highest rated game in the series.
Good for: People who enjoy silly and original gameplay and lovers of Nintendo.
With personified foods, restaurant management and evil creatures roaming the world, Food Fantasy is one of the most unique mobile games on the market. It was developed by Elex Wireless and just published in the spring of 2018.
Food Fantasy is an eclectic mix of game styles comprising Japanese role playing games (JRPG), a business and a cooking simulator all mixed into a bizarre, yet incredibly fun, package.
In this mobile game, you are part cook, part restaurant manager and part adventurer. While running your restaurant you must also manage staff, create new recipes and fight evil creatures. Battles are fought using summoned food souls, personified food spirits that both fight your battles and staff your restaurant.
Food Fantasy is a mobile game that can be played on the go for a few minutes or even hours at a time.
Good for: People interested in JRPGs and cooking simulators.
Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed.
A play on the words “Akiba” and “strip,” Akiba’s Trip is an action-adventure game set in the Akihabara Strip of Tokyo. Furthermore, the gameplay consists of attacking enemies by stripping off their clothes.
Developed by Acquire Corp. — a veteran action game developer that brought us the Tenchu and Way of the Samurai series — Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed employs smooth and enjoyable real-time battle mechanics. While the game’s premise may just sound like an unseemly excuse to get a look at animated undergarments, the plague of monsters infesting the Akiba Strip leaves the main character, Nanashi, with no other choice.
… the gameplay consists of attacking enemies by stripping off their clothes.
In Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed, players fight against synthetic humanoid vampire-like creatures known as Synthisters, who — instead of feeding on blood — suck away people’s sociability and take away their will to live. The only way to defeat these creatures is to weaken them with physical attacks and strip off their clothes, exposing them to their biggest weakness: sunlight.
Good for: People who like action or beat-em-up games and people who want to see an incredibly accurate recreation of Akihabara’s Electric Town
Wario Ware Gold.
Easily one of the weirdest games ever released by Nintendo, the Wario Ware series was made for people with short attention spans or very, very little time on their hands. Wario Ware Gold is the newest release of the series and is available on the Nintendo 3DS.
Like every other title in the series, Wario Ware Gold consists of a series of minigames, each lasting around three to five seconds with boss levels lasting around 10 to 20 seconds. Usually, games start with just a single word as explanation such as: “stop,” “catch,” “stomp” or no explanation at all.
From picking your nose to barbecuing ham, there’s no predicting what game will come next.
Because Wario Ware Gold is the latest release of the series, it encompasses all the minigames from the releases that came before it and includes a total of over 300 minigames. Not only are these games fast, but they are also nonsensical and wildly crazy. From picking your nose to barbecuing ham, there’s no predicting what game will come next.
While the premise sounds a little bit unorthodox, Wario Ware games are the perfect games to play on-the-go, during your commute or when you’re in the waiting room. Because there is no continuity between each minigame, you can literally pick up and play Wario Ware anywhere for seconds, minutes or hours at a time.
Good for: Those with little time to play, people who like fidget spinners and gamers with little to no attention spans.
Japan is home to many over-the-top games — some that may not be entirely appropriate for viewing at work or in public, which may be why one of your favorite games may not have made this list.
While all of these games are worth a try, I think that Wario Ware is a game like no other and should definitely be next on your list of games to play — especially if you’re a Nintendo 3DS owner.
Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.