Obscure Video Games: 25 Hidden Gems Worth Discovering

Are you looking for obscure video games that you’ve never heard of and are still worth playing?
Or are you simply looking for a change from the current triple-AAA titles?

We went on a search and found what we think is a very exciting list of 25 underrated games on the market according to the YouTube channel Spot-On Entertainment.

25 Obscure Video Games You Should Have Played

Bionic Commando

obscure video games Bionic Commando
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We were pleasantly surprised by Bionic Commando, a game with a unique mechanic. Players control a soldier with a bionic arm that can be used to grapple onto various surfaces, allowing the player to reach new heights. This game is a must-try for its innovative gameplay.

Driver San Francisco

obscure video games driver san francisco
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Driver San Francisco is a lesser-known gem that lets players explore an accurate recreation of the city in a high-speed car chase. With an engaging story and open-world environment, it’s a shame this game isn’t more popular.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

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If you’re a fan of westerns and first-person shooters, you’ll love Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. The game stands out with its cel-shaded graphics, memorable characters, and captivating storyline.

Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time

obscure video games Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time
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Based on the popular animated series, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is a thrilling action-adventure game. Players control the titular character as they slash and hack through various enemies to defeat the evil Aku.

SOMA

obscure video games SOMA
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Horror game lovers shouldn’t miss SOMA, a narrative-driven experience that delves deep into themes of identity and consciousness while delivering intense chills and scares.

Inversion

obscure video games Inversion
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Inversion brings something new to the table with its gravity manipulation mechanics. Players can defy gravity to defeat enemies and solve various puzzles in this underrated action game.

I Am Alive

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A gripping post-apocalyptic adventure, I Am Alive challenges players to navigate a desolated city and fight off hostile survivors. Resource management, exploration, and combat all play a crucial role in your quest for survival.

Sunset Overdrive

obscure video games Sunset Overdrive
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Sunset Overdrive is a colorful and chaotic open-world game set in a dystopian future. Players are tasked with fighting off mutated humans while using unconventional weapons and parkour to traverse the city.

Hard Reset

obscure video games Hard Reset
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A cyberpunk first-person shooter, Hard Reset combines frantic gameplay with a compelling narrative. Fight against an army of rogue machines in a visually striking world.

Ryse: Son of Rome

obscure video games Ryse: Son of Rome
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Step into the shoes of a Roman soldier and experience Hollywood-style storytelling in the visually stunning Ryse: Son of Rome. It’s an underrated game that deserves a chance for its captivating narrative and intense combat.

ReCore

obscure video games ReCore
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ReCore is an action-adventure game where players control a young protagonist named Joule who, along with her robotic allies, must save the world from a hostile takeover. It features intriguing gameplay mechanics and an engaging story.

Singularity

obscure video games Singularity
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This atmospheric first-person shooter lets players manipulate time to solve puzzles and combat enemies. Singularity’s incredible visuals and gripping story make it an overlooked gem.

James Bond 007: Blood Stone

obscure video games James Bond 007: Blood Stone
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James Bond 007: Blood Stone is a well-crafted action-adventure game that captures the essence of the movies. Players step into 007’s shoes, navigating through dangerous missions and engaging in high-speed chases.

Unruly Heroes

obscure video games Unruly Heroes
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Unruly Heroes is an action-packed platformer that reimagines the tale of the Monkey King. Beautiful visuals, puzzles, and level design come together for an unforgettable gaming experience.

Bulletstorm

obscure video games Bulletstorm
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Bulletstorm is a unique, over-the-top first-person shooter where players can rack up points for creative kills. It’s loaded with varied weapons, imaginative level design, and non-stop action.

The Saboteur

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Set in a stylized, open-world version of Nazi-occupied France, The Saboteur lets players control an Irish mechanic turned French Resistance fighter. Stealth, sabotage, and intense shootouts make for a thrilling experience.

BLUR

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Racing fans will enjoy BLUR, an arcade-style racing game with power-ups, intense visuals, and a wide variety of vehicles to choose from. It’s a sure-fire hit for adrenaline junkies.

Mad Max

obscure video games Mad Max
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Inspired by the iconic films, Mad Max is an open-world action-adventure game that thrusts players into a harrowing post-apocalyptic wasteland. Fight off warlords, scavenge resources, and survive the brutal world.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

obscure video games Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
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With stunning visuals and engaging gameplay, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West tells an enthralling post-apocalyptic story. Follow the unique partnership between two unlikely protagonists on their journey through a beautiful but dangerous world.

Prince of Persia

obscure video games Prince of Persia
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This Prince of Persia (Action game) Title is a little hidden secret because of the graphic style not everyone likes it. But the gameplay really good and worth to play it.

Need for Speed: The Run

obscure video games Need for Speed: The Run
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Need for Speed: The Run is a thrilling yet overlooked entry in the beloved racing franchise. Placing players in an intense race across the United States, the game offers a gripping and unique experience.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

obscure video games Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
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This action-adventure game allows players to control different versions of Spider-Man from various comic book dimensions. With unique art styles and innovative gameplay mechanics, it offers a fresh and enjoyable experience.

Homefront

obscure video games Homefront
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Homefront is a first-person shooter that tells the story of American resistance fighters battling against an oppressive foreign regime. Experience intense combat in an unforgettable game.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

obscure video games Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a gripping narrative-driven experience that tackles themes of mental illness through its gameplay and storytelling. Players follow Senua, a Pict warrior, on her harrowing journey through a nightmarish world.

Spec Ops: The Line

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Spec Ops: The Line is an emotional and brutal journey into a war-torn Dubai. It’s a unique and welcome departure from the typical military shooter, offering a powerful and thought-provoking story.

Which Games I have played?

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Blur was a very good alternative to the triple-AAA Need for Speed titles and with Hellblade I remember that the gameplay felt very good and the story of the game was just super exciting.

The gameplay of Hellblade reminds me a bit of the latest Assassin’s Creed and Tomb Raider games.

Below is some background information on obscure video games, how they have affected the evolution of video games, and how they are trying to save the data from old and obscure video games.

Origin and Evolution of Obscure Video Games

As the video game industry has grown and evolved, some lesser-known gems have made their mark on gaming history. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, several milestones signaled the birth of obscure video games. One notable example is the release of the Space Invaders arcade game in 1978.

Following these early milestones, the independent gaming niche saw a sudden surge in the following decades. The upward growth inspired a cult following for small-time developers, resulting in indie games becoming an integral part of the video gaming community. Some of these indie games even turned into larger sleeper hits more recently.

To get a better understanding of the timeline and different types of obscure games, let’s look at a few game titles and their release years:

  • 1984: Elite (space trading and combat simulation)
  • 1997: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (action-adventure)
  • 2000: Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption (PC role-playing game)
  • 2003: The Hunter: The Reckoning games (action-adventure)
obscure video games Castlevania
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While mainstream consoles like PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo are often associated with popular game titles, some less-known consoles have also contributed to obscure video games. A Ranker article mentions some obscure video game consoles that most people may not be familiar with, like the Sega Saturn, Atari Jaguar, and the Neo Geo Pocket Color.

Impact of Obscure Video Games

Influence on Mainstream Gaming

Obscure video games, though often overlooked, have played a crucial role in shaping the gaming industry. By exploring new concepts and mechanics, these lesser-known titles have paved the way for more popular franchises.

Take, for example, the early game Viking: Battle for Asgard, which showcased Creative Assembly’s potential outside of the strategy game genre. As a precursor to their critically acclaimed title Alien: Isolation, it demonstrated their ability to create engaging experiences in different gaming styles 1.

In many cases, obscure games serve as testing grounds for innovative ideas that later get incorporated into successful mainstream releases. Their unique approach to storytelling, gameplay, and art direction can inspire future game developers who wish to push the boundaries of what is possible in gaming.

Contribution to Games Culture

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The gaming community thrives on the diversity of its titles. Obscure games enrich the culture by offering different perspectives and experiences that deviate from the norm. They provide niche audiences with games that cater to their specific interests and preferences.

For those looking to discover lesser-known gems, Steam Curator’s Obscure Videogames list curates a collection of eclectic games, including non-mainstream titles that run on less powerful hardware. Whether it’s the nostalgia of a forgotten childhood favorite or the thrill of unearthing a hidden treasure, obscure video games contribute to shared experiences and conversations among players.

Obscure games have the potential to become cult classics, celebrated for their quirks and eccentricities. A testament to this is the growing popularity of lists that highlight unconventional games, such as the Weirdest PlayStation One Games Ever on Den of Geek. The appreciation and fascination with these games only enhance the cultural richness of the gaming community.

Games mentioned in the search results:

  • Viking: Battle for Asgard: developed by Creative Assembly.
  • Steam Curator’s Obscure Videogames: a curated list of unique games for various platforms.
  • Rising Zan – The Samurai Gunman: a weird samurai-western blend from the PlayStation One era.

Revival and Preservation Efforts

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Digital Archiving

As part of our efforts to revive and preserve obscure video games, we started with digital archiving. It involves maintaining an accessible database of game titles, their related files, and histories. By doing so, we support the fight to save old video games and ensure the gaming heritage is not lost.

Digital archiving encompasses the following activities:

  • Emulation: Recreating older gaming systems and platforms to be functional on modern hardware.
  • Scanning and documenting: Collecting information such as user manuals, box art, and advertisements, and digitizing them for future reference.
  • Creating metadata: Producing descriptive information for each game, including developer, release date, genre, and technical specifications.

Remastering Initiatives

Another approach to game preservation is carrying out remastering initiatives. Here, we breathe new life into these obscure classics by updating their visuals, audio, and performance while keeping their original essence intact. Not only can we protect the past, but we also enable gamers to enjoy these hidden gems on modern devices.

Some key elements in our remastering initiatives include:

  • Graphics improvement: Enhancing textures, models, and lighting to meet today’s visual standards.
  • Audio remastering: Refining soundtracks and audio effects to provide a superior audial experience.
  • Compatibility enhancements: Ensuring that the games run smoothly on current gaming platforms and devices.

FAQ

What makes a game obscure?

Underrated, experimental, weird, and sometimes deranged titles unknown to most people on Steam.

What is the rarest game in history?

‘GAMMA ATTACK’ for the Atari 2600

Why are old games still popular?

Many retro games feature simple, yet charming graphics that are instantly recognisable, which provide a unique and nostalgic visual experience.

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Max Barnsteiner
Articles: 181

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