Games are constantly evolving as an entertainment medium, and the stories that they tell grow more nuanced by the day. I know this, and anyone reading this knows it as well. The great ones are rare, though, and as such they’re celebrated with everything short of a ticker tape parade in Times Square.
Just as hard to come by, however, are the groan-worthy stories attached to games that we love. Not regular ol’ awfulness with zero redeeming qualities, mind you — no one wants to talk about Aliens: Colonial Marines again, nor should they — but rather stories that don’t take themselves too seriously. We’re talking narratives that exist as thinly-veiled excuses for gameplay, yet still manage to endear themselves to the public at large because they’re so wonderfully ridiculous.
Here are five stories like that.
First released on the Xbox 360 back in 2010, Deadly Premonition gets to find a new audience after releasing with a Director’s Cut on the PS3 last week. It also epitomizes exactly what this list is about: a crazy-ass story that, by most accounts, is really bad while still managing to captivate those that experience it.
Everything on screen is a wreck. It’s ugly as hell, mostly plays like crap, and the music is almost always out of place. It’s just so damn weird. It’s pretty hard to explain, so just watch:
That was either unbearable or one of the best things you’ve ever watched. It’s a game that seems deliberately botched. So says Mr. Stewart.
“Let’s make an open-world game where you play as…a mutant, I guess? And you get better at doing rad shit by doing lots of really rad shit.”
“Shit, that sounds rad. Maybe you can start off by jumping pretty high, but can jump higher by collecting orbs in high places. Eventually you make Superman look like a punk by leaping tall buildings in a single bound, the way he always talks about but never actually does. You won’t even have to drive if you don’t feel like it.”
“And you get better at shooting guns by shooting them at lots of bad guys!”
“Okay, but why?”
“Why’s all of this happening? Why do you get to do all of this rad shit?”
“God damn it, Jerry. I don’t know. You’re a cop or something? No…you’re an agent. You work for the Agency. The cops need help with rising crime so they hire Agents from the Agency.”
“Jerry, for god’s sake. People are going to buy this just to get into the Halo 3 beta.”