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5 just-plain-weird video games

When his fellow ursines don't invite Naughty Bear to the party, violence ensues.
When his fellow ursines don't invite Naughty Bear to the party, violence ensues.
  • Retail games are often mainstream, but sometimes absurd ones sneak through
  • "Prison Tycoon" lets players be wardens; "Babysitting Mama" tries to make diapering fun
  • "Naughty Bear" rampages violently, while "Chicken Blaster" comes with a plastic rifle
  • "Invizimals" uses camera to create augmented reality

Editor's note: Scott Steinberg is the head of technology and video game consulting firm TechSavvy Global, as well as the founder of GameExec magazine and Game Industry TV. The creator and host of online video series Game Theory, he frequently appears as an on-air technology analyst for ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CNN.

(CNN) -- From turning random household objects into giant balls to stuffing princesses full of cake until they're morbidly obese, the video game industry has no shortage of strange ideas.

It's a feat of absurdity compounded almost daily, thanks to the efforts of iPhone, Android and downloadable-software creators who crank out bizarre titles celebrating everything from angry birds to garishly colored cartoon blobs.

Unlike app makers, designers of titles sold through GameStop and Wal-Mart often have to constrain their creativity because their amusements have to appeal to wider audiences.

But this logic doesn't apply to the following retail games, each of which are bound to leave you wondering just who'd dream up -- let alone buy -- such oddball concepts.

Apologies in advance to all three of you waiting with bated breath for "Oops! Prank Party" or "Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island."

Here are five of the stranger games out there:

"Prison Tycoon 5: Alcatraz" (ValuSoft, PC) -- What's weirder than this game's concept, which lets you oversee guards, maintain inmates' schedules and construct security measures as a prison warden? It's actually the fifth game in a running series.

Think "RollerCoaster Tycoon," only in black and white fatigues and with fewer Hallmark moments, and you'll get the gist.

We shudder to think how many times the word "shank" entered early concept planning discussions.

"Babysitting Mama" (Majesco, Wii) -- Burping, changing, feeding, repeat. Don't tell parents (they'll laugh), but who knew that taking care of tots could be such fun?

This game is a spin-off of the popular "Cooking Mama" franchise, which is also making its first foray into quilting this fall with "Crafting Mama." Can "Roller Derbyin' Mama" be far behind?

Odder still, "Babysitting Mama" ships with a plush baby doll accessory. Stuff your Wii remote into it, and you can play mini-games by rocking the creepy little kiddo to sleep.

"Naughty Bear" (505 Games, PlayStation 3/Xbox 360) -- In this not-for-the-kiddies offering, you play a scruffy teddy bear who develops an urge to massacre his kinder, gentler brethren after not being invited to a birthday party.

Surprising in its level of animated violence, the darkly comic game lets you wield an assortment of weapons to torture or literally tear the stuffing out of your victims. There's apparently a running joke in here somewhere, but we're still struggling to get it.

"Chicken Blaster" (Zoo Games, Wii) -- Maybe it's the plastic rifle controller that comes with this gonzo shooting gallery. Perhaps it's the game's promise of poultry on rockets, water skis and roller skates.

Then again, it could be the chance "to put those crazy chickens in their place" with shotguns, dynamite and rocket launchers.

But something tells us that, unless you're an insane farmer or possess some sort of odd, lifelong grudge against hens, this one's likely to be a bad egg.

"Invizimals" (Sony Europe, PSP) -- Hidden monsters inhabit the world around us in this game, which has somehow become a top seller in Europe.

Using a camera add-on for the PlayStation Portable, this augmented-reality amusement lets you scan real-world surroundings to locate and capture more than 100 virtual "creatures," which you then train to do battle.

Think "Pokemon," only with the added bonus of being forced to complete virtual scavenger hunts by strolling around with a "trap"-like device on your PSP, looking like a weirdo. Public ridicule, we choose you!


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