The most bizarre game developers in the world

By on September 1, 2019

first_imgBehind every game in your Steam library is at least one creative mind who had an idea and did the oftentimes arduous work to make it a reality. Producing a video game is a tremendous task, so it’s not surprising that most of the world’s game developers work hard to make their games as appealing to a mass audience as possible.And then there’s the ones who don’t. As with any art form, there are going to be creators who walk the margins of quality and taste, following their own inspirations to make seriously odd games. In this feature, we’ll travel the world to spotlight eleven developers who, for the most part, work outside the industry to produce games that are like nothing you’ll ever play.From a thirty-year veteran of the scene with a penchant for llamas to a first-time developer who locked himself in a room and livestreamed the creation – and destruction – of his life’s work, these are Geek’s picks for the most bizarre game developers in the world.Jacob BuczynskiMelbourne, Australia-based Jacob Buczynski is notorious on the indie gaming scene for his deeply bizarre games, which are based around a desire to deny the player the “expected” in favor of surreal and disquieting imagery and interaction. With artwork rendered exclusively in MS Paint, music stolen from more famous games, and utterly insane mechanics, they’re a peek into a very strange mind.His most famous game, 2007’s Revenge of the Sunfish, is so demented that even famous bad game player PewDiePie had to admit defeat when faced with a level that has you erotically stroking the space bar of an on-screen computer. Some of his other titles include Cripple Apocalypse and Chef le Puke.Mat DickieIndependent game developers often have certain subjects that they stick to. For Mat Dickie, those topics are the life of Christ and professional wrestling. Since 2000, Dickie has been producing idiosyncratic grappling simulations for the PC in as little as three months each. His furious output has made him a legend in the industry.As weird as his wrestling games are, they pale before The You Testament, Dickie’s out-of-control Bible retelling that casts players as an unknown disciple who tags along with Jesus through the New Testament. Built in Dickie’s wrestling engine, the game has gore settings (that default to Extreme), absurdly low-poly 3D graphics, and lets you practice Hindu meditation to cast magic spells that let you shoot watermelons out of your hands. It’s a true masterpiece.Jeff MinterInspiration is a curious thing. It can come from anywhere, and it’s hard to get rid of when you have it. One of the best examples is British game developer Jeff Minter, who has marched to the beat of two muses for decades: psychedelic drugs and ruminant mammals like camels, llamas and the like. As head of Llamasoft, Minter has churned out games for over three decades, never compromising his personal vision.Some of his most notable titles include Attack Of The Mutant Camels, Space Giraffe, and Hover Bovver, most of which featured herbivorous animals. Minter’s also notorious for getting upset when his projects don’t perform commercially as well as other titles he considers less innovative.Osamu SatoJapan is one of the most important countries in video game development, so it’s not surprising that a fair share of quirky creators come from there. One of the most iconoclastic people to ever work in the industry is Osamu Sato, who produced a pair of games in the 1990s that stand as some of the most bizarre things we’ve ever played.Sato’s debut, Tong-Nou, is a first-person adventure game like Myst where you navigate through a green-colored replica of Sato’s head, dying and being reincarnated as different life forms. That was bizarre enough, but Sato earned his place in the pantheon with 1998’s LSD: Dream Emulator for the PlayStation. This goalless, mystifying Japan-only game was based on Sato’s dream diary and remains captivating and inexplicable decades after its release.Stephen MurphyWorking under the name “thecatamites,” Stephen Murphy is one of the most idiosyncratic developers in the indie scene right now. Producing titles at a breakneck pace (his first commercial release was 50 Short Games, which is exactly what it sounds like), thecatamites gleefully embraces messiness and chaos.Space Funeral, his 2010 breakthrough game, was put together in RPG Maker but isn’t like any Squaresoft ripoff you’ve ever played – it’s the tale of Philip and Leg Horse’s journey to the City of Forms, where things take shape. Also worth playing is Goblet Grotto, a third-person adventure game made with Kat Lake that’ll suck you into a deeply weird world.thecatamites’ games are something that mere text doesn’t do justice, but luckily you can download and play almost all of them for free.Suda51The Japanese game development world is known as a pretty risk-averse place where cooperation and obedience are valued, but every so often a true original will make their presence felt. Goichi “Suda51” Suda was working as an undertaker in Tokyo when he saw a job opening at developers Human Entertainment. They hired him to work on their popular Fire Pro Wrestling games, and he wrote a story mode that ended with the player’s chosen wrestler killing himself due to his depression.Amazingly, Suda kept getting work after that, eventually releasing the utterly bizarre Killer7 for Capcom. Although his games have been becoming more commercial, they’re still overflowing with the weirdness of their creator.JazzuoSome game designers work shrouded in mystery, their only contact with the world being the products they release. We know literally nothing about the indie developer who goes by the name “Jazzuo” except that they live in Poland and are responsible for some of the most bizarre PC experiences we’ve ever experienced.Jazzuo first came to fame with the release of Sexy Hiking in 2007. The bizarre, primitive game lets you shepherd a MS Paint-drawn character over a variety of obstacles with one of the weirdest control schemes ever. Jazzuo followed it up with the equally insane Dildo Tank, where you try to blast sex toys into the vaginas of giant women without getting stepped on. Sadly, Jazzuo seems to have disappeared in recent years.Kenji EnoJapanese musician and designer Kenji Eno’s career path was an unusual one. While most industry people in that country start from the bottom and subsume their unique ideas in the corporate culture, Eno was able to start his own firm early on. However, after quitting the games business to work in automobiles, he returned in 1994 to start producing the deeply weird games that would be his hallmark.His games for the doomed 3DO console pushed numerous envelopes – Short Warp came packaged with condoms, for instance – and as he grew as a creator he found ways to make the audio of his titles just as important as the visuals, if not more so – in Enemy Zero, monsters are invisible and can only be detected through close listening. His most notable titles are the D series, which meld FMV, outrageous sexuality, and survival horror.Tarn AdamsThe dream of any indie game developer is to make that one project that’ll support you for the rest of your life – the Minecraft model, as it were. For Tarn Adams, one of the two developers of insanely opaque cult hit Dwarf Fortress, that one project might be the most complicated game of all time.Built in collaboration with his brother Zach, DF takes the existing simulator genre and turns it into something truly insane. The dwarves that populate your virtual village – rendered entirely in ASCII graphics – can write poems, lose limbs, tame animals, and more. If they can’t do it, it’s likely Adams is trying to find a way they can. The game is absolutely free and Adams plans to continue working on it his whole life, funded entirely by donations from fans.Robert PelloniMany game developers are motivated by hubris – they want to do something bigger and better than anybody has ever done. For Robert Pelloni, that urge came to dominate his entire life. His magnum opus was called Bob’s Game, which he bragged was the biggest game ever made completely by one person. Without any official software, he coded his own game engine for the Nintendo DS and approached the company about getting a license.When they turned him down in 2008, Bob went fully off the rails, locking himself in a room with a 24 hour webcam feed as a form of protest. He also started leaking addresses of Nintendo execs to the web. A number of other hijinks followed, including the release of a demo that was just a fetch quest to get a battery and a broken version of Tetris. In 2014, Bob launched a Kickstarter campaign to buy a van to live in and finish the game. It succeeded, but he officially canceled Bob’s Game in 2016 anyway.UlillilliaNick Smith, who goes by the nom de plume Ulillillia, is a fantastic illustration of how devoted independent game developers can be. Smith has been working on his magnum opus Platform Masters since 2009, creating every aspect of his game engine to fit with his fixation on framerate and precise mathematics.Ulillillia doesn’t play games for the same reasons you or I do – he’s obsessed with doing things like seeing how high you can possibly jump and pushing engines to their limits – and it’s only logical that his creations would be equally idiosyncratic.Platform Masters looks like an ordinary Mario-esque game, but the level of detail Smith puts into seemingly trivial things make it a unique accomplishment. In his own words, it has “No noticeable limits – rack up a quadrillion points (a million billions), a million lives, or defeat any enemy or boss in one hit, if you dare, and still go even higher for centuries.”last_img read more

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