Most of us have become completely numb to the weirdness of video games. From the 1970s on, it's been like "So he's a yellow circle being chased by ghosts while he eats? Seems pretty straightforward." Yet there has always been an underground video game scene where the truly messed-up stuff lives. You'll find it in Japan.
That's where they have games like ...
6Takeshi's Challenge: The Game That Hates You
In 1986, the company that created Space Invaders teamed up with Japanese actor, director, comedian, poet and badass "Beat" Takeshi Kitano to create a game for the Nintendo Famicom based on his ideas. The only problem? Kitano hated video games, and apparently decided to use this opportunity to make sure everyone else did, too. Oh, and reportedly he was drunk during the single meeting where they came up with the game, so there's that.
If you ever select the second option, Kitano flips you off and the cartridge wipes itself.
Takeshi's Challenge takes place in a city where everyone hates you, but that's OK, because you hate them, too: The game gives you the ability to repeatedly punch everyone you come across into a bloody pulp, from defenseless women and old men to violent cops and yakuza. You even have the option to punch the password menu, which results in a "game over" screen before you even start the game.
The only way to make progress in Takeshi's Challenge is by quitting your job, divorcing your wife and getting drunk until you pass out, but they never give you any indication that this is your mission -- the game assumes that these are the things you'd normally do anyway. Once you've done all that, you get to the karaoke section, where you literally have to sing into the built-in microphone in the Famicom's second controller until your audience gives you three consecutive "greats," which can take over half an hour. Or, you can say "fuck that" and go spend your money on something else.
Judging from all the punching options, we're suggesting a good psychiatrist and a lawyer or two.
Anyway, once you've passed the karaoke challenge, everyone in the bar will start punching you. If you survive the beating (that is, kill everyone), an old man will hand you a blank piece of paper that needs to be exposed to sunlight for an hour if you want a map to appear. And then you have to do exactly that: choose the "expose to sunlight" option and wait exactly one hour without touching the controller. If you so much as press a button during that hour, you have to do the karaoke challenge again.
A testament to how much the game hates you: It's pretty much the only thing in the game you can't punch.
The map, it turns out, shows directions to a treasure island in the Pacific, so naturally you have to take hang gliding lessons and fly there yourself while UFOs shoot at you. Assuming you can master the sadistic hand gliding controls (it's extremely easy to crash into the ocean), reach the island, find the treasure and complete the game, you will be rewarded by ... a black screen with Kitano's face and the words "The end."
We take it back -- this may be the greatest thing in the history of video games.
That's it. However, if you wait five minutes on that screen, you unlock a special secret message from Takeshi Kitano himself:
An ending like that would have made Final Fantasy XIII worth playing.
That's from a fan translation of the game, by the way (it never made it to the U.S. for some reason), but yes, it's accurate.