They're what we play games for: those sublime moments of glorious weirdness that leave you wondering what the hell just happened. The glory of games, of course, is that they can throw out sequences which are much more surreal than any movie would contemplate. Here then are the ten moments of gaming insanity which have stuck with us over the years. As ever, we invite you to chip in with the ones that made an indelible impression on you, too. Let fly or gibber in the comments below.
Chewing the fat with Seaman
Few games can claim that every minute of their gameplay is akin to dropping a tab of acid - but that was certainly true of the legendary weirdness that was Seaman on the Dreamcast. Seaman required a microphone attachment and was essentially a virtual pet game. Except this virtual pet was a fish with a human face. You couldn't neglect him for long, but at least he would reward you with some very strange conversation indeed. If perhaps you've never taken strong drugs before and wonder what it would be like, playing Seaman provides a decent approximation without all that risk of overdose inconvenience.
Dr Earnhardt's pharmaceuticals
If you've ever thought that all first-person shooters nowadays look the same, Far Cry 3 is set to restore your faith in the surreal. Particularly when you meet maverick pharmacologist Dr Earnhardt and have to decide which of his many bowls of pills to sample. Who hasn't wondered what it would be like to wield a gun while tripping your tits off? Well not us officer, honestly. A lush tropical island with a few strong drugs in the bloodstream apparently becomes some sort of grotesquely beautiful alien hell-hole. At least, because it's a game, you'll avoid the three-day come-down...
Dusted by the Scarecrow
So there you are in Batman: Arkham Asylum, merrily going about your business of brutally ridding Gotham City of crime, when all of a sudden, Batman develops a strange cough. Which is the prelude to things getting very freaky indeed. It is, of course, the Scarecrow's doing - with his penchant for blowing psychotropic drugs in the faces of all and sundry. Three times he intervenes, taking Batman off to the sort of territory which would usually see you being sectioned. But the final sequence, which introduced apparent glitches (leading many to believe their Xbox 360s had red-ringed), as well as an upside-down Bat-signal on the moon morphing into Scarecrow's face and The Joker driving the Batmobile, really messed with our heads.
Escape from the Syndicate brothel
Saints Row: The Third elevated itself above the GTA-aping of its predecessors by going completely over the top, piling weirdness upon weirdness. And while we loved the deliciously surreal nature of Professor Genki's Ethical Reality Climax - a recurring level that pitches you into a reality TV show which is all about killing everyone in it as stylishly as possible - our favourite scene involved rescuing the autotuned pimp Zimos from the Syndicate brothel. The poor old Z-man has been reduced to ferry customers around in a rickshaw, in full gimp-suit and ball-gag. And naturally, that's how you make your ultimate (low-speed) escape, after encountering the absolute dregs of society at their most louche and unseemly.
It was all a dream
The classic ploy employed by Dallas to resurrect dead cast members has, thankfully, been used only sparingly in games. But its most memorable occurrence came at the very end of The Secret of Monkey Island 2. When Guybrush finally defeated LeChuck, he ripped off his mask to discover that, actually, the pair were not only brothers but kids who had been messing about in an amusement park. So presumably, the entire game was one big hallucination.