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The Top 7… Weirdest westerns

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As you're probably aware, Red Dead Redemption comes out this week, and hopes are running high that it could mean a dramatic shift in popularity for westerns as we know them. Regardless of whether or not it's a hit, though, videogame westerns – too frequently dismissed by jaded critics as a genre that always sucks and always sells like shit –  have been with us for a long, long time. Long enough to diversify, experiment and get really, really weird. To celebrate all this bold innovation of what's always seemed like a stale genre, we've dug up a selection of the most unusual, unorthodox and flat-out bizarre westerns we could find.

Oh, and while we realize it's going to be the first thing that pops into a lot of your heads, we'll just say up front that Custer's Revenge isn't one of them.


Above: No. NO. WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THIS AGAIN F**K YOOOUUU 


7. Tin Star

The western: A cartoon sheriff with a sunny disposition and a Dudley Do-Right chin has to battle endless gangs of outlaws who threaten the peace in his little town…

The weird: … which is made up entirely of cowboy-themed robots. Not Westworld-style killer robots, or robots that were built for some reason, but friendly cartoon robots who herd hovering metal cattle, are hilariously protective of prize geraniums and try to rob rickety wooden trains.

In other words, it’s an extremely conventional cartoon western, except for all the robots. And that opens up all sorts of questions; why would robots, which we can assume are advanced AI constructs, choose to live in the primitive frontier civilization of the 1800s? Why do they spend their days roughhousing with six-shooters in antique clapboard towns? And why, for the love of Christ, do they cultivate hovering robot cows?


Above: Seriously, what are they going to do? Eat them? Milk them? 

Are there offscreen humans somewhere who’ve created these beings to unknowingly play-act for their amusement? Or are we looking at a bleak future world, in which the machines left behind by an extinct human race remember just enough about their former masters to act out a sad mockery of half-remembered civilization? The more we think about it, the more this seems like a creepy treatise on machine intelligence instead of an innocent 16-bit shooter in which cartoon robots cheerfully blast holes through one another.


Above: It couldn’t just be that making everyone into robots makes this kind of violence excusable; that'd be too obvious

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40 comments

  • INFINITYGAUNTLET - July 28, 2010 7:22 p.m.

    Always felt that Darkwatch was underappreciated, myself. And everything Oddworld is just a pure classic in my book. Excellent list/read!
  • bonerachieved - May 20, 2010 6:25 p.m.

    I loved Stranger's Wrath. Such a good game. I'm about to go back and replay Oddworld: Munch's Odyssey.
  • shyfonzie - May 20, 2010 2:57 a.m.

    God hand guy gets too much enjoyment from his special moves.
  • TheBoz - May 19, 2010 9:17 p.m.

    Freddy Pharkas I have very fond memories of it, was one of the earliest PC games I ever bought. When I saw article I was looking out for that game big time. I think I got bored after a couple of weeks and just had it gathering dust ever since. True classic. Downloaded it recently off Abandonia for free.
  • LizarDAZZLE - May 19, 2010 5:47 a.m.

    oi.... Again wit deh ohkemees... Kids these days just can't seem to stehp talkin' ehbouht der wolves end pehntbrushers can dey, Jenkins? Ironically my, reCAPTCHA was Mr Monicker. pretty ironic.
  • Cyberninja - May 18, 2010 10:07 p.m.

    rising zan reminds me of redsteel 2
  • RebornKusabi - May 18, 2010 9:38 p.m.

    Considering I actually bought both Okami and Valkyrie Chronicles when they released, is it any surprise that I also got [OddWorld: Strangers Wrath] too when it came out? It helps that I liked the Oddworld series beforehand and that I tend to like games that actually TRY something new relative to the genre they base their games around. reCAPTCHA: tuscany highlights (lolwut?/)
  • sleepy92ismypsn - May 18, 2010 5:25 p.m.

    I dont think i've played a wastern but as soon as i get a ride im going to pick up Red Dead Redemption. I've been wanting to try some of the oddworld games. Mainly abe's oddysey, but i remember watching a video about strangers wrath with commentary from one of the devs.
  • FreekinIdiot - May 18, 2010 1:19 p.m.

    Is that a jaundiced Michael J Fox in Silverload?
  • MaynardJ - May 18, 2010 11:34 a.m.

    I would buy Stranger's Wrath if only it were playable on the 360. It should be on XBLA as an XBox Original, like that other oddball gem Psychonauts.
  • Skidd777 - May 18, 2010 11:27 a.m.

    Hell yeah, Stranger's Wrath is one of my favourite games of all time.
  • philipshaw - May 18, 2010 11:21 a.m.

    I played the darkwatch demo and it was strange but not as weird as God Hand which I own and have played through. Silverload looks awful. Also the person in the bar looked a bit like Mikel Reparaz
  • FrozenImplosion - May 18, 2010 10:18 a.m.

    Yay! Right when I saw the title I thought Stranger's Wrath. That was like my favorite game on the xbox!!
  • Llanthas - May 18, 2010 7:55 a.m.

    "weirdos who speak in monosyllabic gibberish have taken over his hometown and started massacring the inhabitants for what we assume are reasons." Best line of the week. LOL well done, sir... I'm going to use it in future conversations.
  • Lolspamm0r - May 18, 2010 6:15 a.m.

    I loved Stranger's Wrath, i kind of miss it now that my Xbox is broken...
  • gmilf71 - May 18, 2010 4:35 a.m.

    Dude I effin' love Darkwatch. Definitely one of my favorite western (the other being Red Dead Revolver) maybe even one of my favorite FPS.
  • lucklesswonder - May 18, 2010 3:37 a.m.

    Darkwatch was pretty good, but Stranger's Wrath was amazing. Found a copy on the cheap at Best Buy, and it still holds up.
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - May 18, 2010 2:55 a.m.

    Successful RAPE!
  • Grif - May 18, 2010 2:36 a.m.

    If Darkwatch came out today I would probably give it a play through,

Showing 1-20 of 40 comments

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