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Quirky Japanese Games That Are Downright Brilliant 2


I thoroughly enjoyed writing my first Quirky Japanese Games That Are Downright Brilliant article back in 2013, so here is another! If you thought the games in that article were bizarre, you best brace yourself, because we're cranking up the wackiness dial for the sequel! Let's get into it:
 
Project Rub aka Feel the Magic: XY/XX (Nintendo DS)
So there is a game on a Nintendo console from the same generation as the Wii that is oozing with so much innuendo that I'm surprised there isn't a corny '69' joke on the game's back cover blurb somewhere. Unlike other games trying to push the Nintendo DS' then-brand new gimmick of a touch screen by placing the word "touch" on their promotional material at every opportunity, this game made a point of replacing the word "touch" for "rub" - a word used to push a theme of sexual intimacy. Subtle. The cover features the silhouette (everyone in the game is represented by a silhouette) of a bikini-clad woman and features mini-games that require you to win the affection of said woman by impressing her. It's kind of like WarioWare, Inc. but with a slower pace (and by the standards of WarioWare, when I say 'slower' I mean normal). What do you have to do to win this wonderful lady's affection, you might ask? Well, you can blow out candles! Remove goldfish from a man who accidentally swallowed them! Run from a giant antlion! And much, much more. There was even a lesser-known prequel released two years later called The Rub Rabbits! and its Japanese name literally translates to "Where do Babies Come From?" Again, subtle.


Takeshi's Challenge (Famicom)
Remember that beast of a game show called Takeshi's Castle? Well the same Takeshi that contestants were trying to overthrow also made a video game. In the words of the great YouTuber JonTron: "this is a Nintendo game in which you quit your job, divorce your wife, and go treasure hunting". He couldn't be more spot on either. This game is actually incredibly innovative considering it was released in 1986. I'll say that again, 1986! People like myself praise Shenmue for its freedom and ability to do so many different things within its world, but Takeshi's Challenge looked to be having a stab at that kind of gameplay on an 8-bit console 13 years prior! I know Takeshi's Challenge has incredibly flawed gameplay and requires you to take incredibly cryptic steps in order to progress anywhere at all, but that doesn't make me overlook its ambition. You can wander around the game's town and do so many different things, like play Pachinko, take hang gliding lessons, sing karaoke, learn to play the Shamisen, beat up your boss... what other game lets you do all those things? Sure, they don't really have any purpose, but the fact you can do them is what counts. This game often makes 'worst games ever' lists for being incredibly flawed, but it makes this list for being flawed yet brilliant.


Pepsiman (PlayStation)
Why didn't Pepsi use Pepsiman to advertise their products anywhere else but Japan? I would've bought every can of Pepsi in every supermarket across the UK if I'd known that Pepsiman had my back. People in the West now know of Pepsiman due to a PlayStation game released back in 1999. The gameplay is essentially an endless runner just like the popular mobile game Temple Run (as well as the various 'me-too' games that followed it), where you play as the oddly mannequin-like Pepsiman, who runs, slides and jumps through various landscapes to deliver Pepsi to a person in need of a drink. The gameplay is a hoot, although sadly there are only four levels. What makes this game epic though is the continuous loop of the Pepsiman theme song, with instrumentation and sung vocals of "PEPSIIIIMAAAAAN" sounding like a parody of the classic Batman theme. Despite being an endorsement for an American product, the quirkiness of this game could have only been crafted in Japan. 


Yanya Caballista: City Skater (PlayStation 2)
Remember the Tony Hawk franchise? This game is kind of like that... but not really, because only the Tony Hawk games knew how to do extreme sports controls properly. But imagine if there was a Tony Hawk game that felt a little bit like Jet Set Radio and its story featured cuddly aliens that invade earth and you had to shoo them away by dazzling them with your rad skate skills. Well that Tony Hawk game doesn't exist but we did get to dazzle those aliens with our skate moves in a game called Yanya Caballista: City Skater. Of course when I say 'we' I mean only Japan and North America, because when exciting off-the-wall Japanese games do by-chance get a release in the West, most of them still seem to be allergic to Europe. Time to load up FreeMcBoot, methinks.


Cho Aniki - Kyuukyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyou Otoko (Various)
I hesitate to describe this game as brilliant as it is as basic as shoot 'em ups get, and 'quirky' is an understatement as this game belongs in the mad-hatter category of bizarre. If you like your shmups to contain digitised Japanese body builders in speedos, then look no further than this game that's name literally translates to "Super Big Brother - The Ultimate, Most Powerful Man in the Milky Way". But it's not just the abundance of these muscly men littering the gameplay that makes this game so odd. It's also the sleazy music, the totally outlandish bosses that you fight, the way the digitised photos of these body builders move and enlarge until the images are completely distorted - everything about this game is weird. Nothing is normal and it is quite clear that the developers of Cho Aniki were out to create something completely bonkers when they decided to make this, and they definitely succeeded. That is why it has become notorious among the gaming community, and made its way onto this list - just watch the video below and see for yourself.


What are some of your favourite quirky Japanese video games? Did Cho Aniki make you wonder if you were experiencing a fever dream? Let us know in the comments section below or by our Facebook or Twitter page.

 
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