Around the early 1990s, some video game developers decided that the future of game technology was filming a bunch of no-name actors for peanuts and having them act out a game that looked and played like a late night infomercial. These were known as full-motion video (FMV) games, and, by and large, they were expensive and terrible.
But there was a silver lining to the video game industry's attempt to emulate Hollywood -- FMV games were a gold mine of unintentional comedy. Here are five of the weirdest FMV titles ever made.
Crime Patrol: Bad Acting and a Cruelly Deterministic Universe
Laugh all you want, but in an era when most games looked like grainy cartoons (at best), gamers shit their pants when they saw a game that, holy crap, guys, looked like a real movie! Of course, that's until they inserted the game and realized they had just spent a month's allowance on what was essentially just an interactive video of somebody shooting unemployed community theater actors.
Like they weren't doing that already in real life.
See, there were two main types of FMV game back in the day: games where they digitized real people and turned them into spasmodic androids who owned time shares in the Uncanny Valley, and games like Crime Patrol, an early 1990s shooter that used pre-filmed scenes of actors (local drama students?) that the player had to interact with. (For a historically significant example of the latter, see Dana Plato's star turn in the Sega CD game Night Trap.)
Here's one of the game's earlier stages, where a gunfight erupts in a strip club. Do note the gangsters' entirely bloodless death pantomimes. It's like Martin Scorsese was hired to direct an episode of Who's Line Is It Anyway?