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The Top 7… Weirdest westerns

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

  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - May 17, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    Can't wait to hear this on Talkradar hopefully with some audio from these crazy games
  • Whizkid103 - May 17, 2010 9:47 p.m.

    Even though I hate Westerns, this was a really good article. I never realized how weird western videogames are.
  • Destruco33 - May 17, 2010 9:55 p.m.

    I am proud to say that i still have my Oddworld: Strangers Wrath
  • RonnyLive19881 - May 17, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    Strangers Wrath made buying an Xbox justifiable for me Lol. I originally got one for Conkers Live and Reloded but that game sucked(I still had the N64 version and it was the better version imo) so I was stuck with a console I thought I would never use until I got Stranger's Lol. It was so amazing and had some of the best graphics of the time!
  • Wriggly - May 17, 2010 9:58 p.m.

    @Destruco33 I can say the same, too bad it doesn't work on my 360, because I never got around to finishing that awesome game. I think God Hand was weirder than Stranger's Wrath and Rising Zan put together.
  • lovinmyps3 - May 17, 2010 10:06 p.m.

    I played a demo of Darkwatch. It was... interesting. It had some cool parts.
  • Pruman - May 17, 2010 10:06 p.m.

    Always with the Okami references...I bought the game, what more do you want from me?
  • MitsuharuSan - May 17, 2010 10:07 p.m.

    Do more than just have bought the game - it's worth it.
  • garnsr - May 17, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    Isn't Stranger's Wrath one of the Xbox games that are unplayable on 360? That makes it even less likely anyone will try it out. I can't even play mine anymore, since my Xbox conked out. I liked the Tin Star part best, it never really got around to the game, it was just a tirade about the oddity of the premise. Good stuff.
  • LordsOfTechno - May 17, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    This top 7 was just one big excuse to listen to "Johnny No More" again... well that's my excuse for singing along to the theme anyway. Rising Zannnnn~ Samurai Gun Man! Rising Zannnnn~ Johnny No More! :D
  • FlyinHawaiian13 - May 17, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    I wanted to play Strangers Wrath so bad when it came out but i didn't have a xbox.
  • Zombie711 - May 17, 2010 10:36 p.m.

    I thought red steel 2 was kinda weird. Ninjas in modern Utah who don't have acces to any guns from after the 30s
  • Lionsheadbeer - May 17, 2010 11:24 p.m.

    Where's Mad Dog Macree?
  • Hurricrane - May 17, 2010 11:40 p.m.

    man, I LOVED Stranger's Wrath. Too bad we will never see anoything more of it... poor Oddworld Residents :(
  • JoeMasturbaby - May 17, 2010 11:55 p.m.

    i bought darkwatch after an entire year of looking for it, and when i got it in the mail it froze at the first level every time. :( ive yet to actually play it.
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 17, 2010 11:56 p.m.

    The guys have reiterated time and time again on the podcast that they have considered all possibilities, as opposed to 'forgetting' entries, but I KNOW that they didn't think of Freddi Fish 4: The Case of the Hogfish Hustlers of Briny Gulch. That was a good Western game.
  • zer0hvk - May 18, 2010 12:29 a.m.

    I've yet to play many of these games, maybe I'll play some of them someday, great article Mr. Reparaz! Can't wait to hear all of you comment on these games on TalkRadar 102!
  • ventanger - May 18, 2010 1:45 a.m.

    Corny as hell I'll admit, but that Rising Zan theme was pretty kickass.
  • WickedSid - May 18, 2010 2:16 a.m.

    Punching chicken-like dudes in the head... for money... my dream job. Giant strawberries in an apocalyptic western that has dudes with glowing arms the spank Girls(?) whilst fighting them... pretty weird... Clint Eastllama who is secretly the last of his species and in turn is revered as a saviour by Native American allegories... That is where I draw the Line Monsieur Reparaz, Clint Llamawood definitely sounds better than Eastllama. Or does it...? Dunn, dunn, duuunnn!!!!
  • Dehumanization - May 18, 2010 2:20 a.m.

    Where is the game DUST? I love the drunk and the chinese guy that gave you money when you had none. "You have no money...here...5 dollar...a loan..now go..gogogog...hopeless case.."

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