1. Barkley: Shut Up and Jam Gaiden
Out of all of the JRPGs on this list, there are many that intentionally go for weird. There are also games that take the aesthetic and vibe of classic 16 bit JRPGs and take it into different realms of gameplay. And then there is Barkley: Shut up and Jam Gaiden, a game that takes both and runs with it into the realm of absurdity that very few other games have ventured close to.
First off, Shut up and Jam Gaiden is a sequel to a 16-bit era basketball game featuring Charles Barkley, which came out in 1993. Gaiden came out in 2008, which means the creators sat down and actually considered making a JRPG sequel to a sports game that was released over a decade before.
On top of this, but just as absurd and downright insane, is the plot. Set in 2053 after a purge on all basketballers, a basketball move called the Chaos Dunk wipes out Manhattan and, oddly enough, Charles Barkley is blamed. So it’s up to our loveable protagonist, his son, and the most eclectic mix of playable characters this side of Shadow Hearts, to clear the name of Charles Barkley and stop and evil terrorist organisation.
There is somehow even more insanity sprinkled throughout the adventure in the form of dialogue, enemies and the soundtrack. Despite all this, it actually holds up as a competent JRPG, with a sequel planned sometime soon, showing that sometimes being weird can be successful.