Games where there’s a huge clash between the visual elements, or an effort at being The Future of Videogames that’s failed to hold up however many years later. An ugliness that grabs your attention instead of repelling it.
Virtual Hydlide is one that comes to mind for me right away. It’s mostly the latter type of grotesqueness – a marshy and mealy experiment in 3D. There’s the former type, too: the “photorealistic” avatar contrasting against the monster sprites, or the overworld’s relatively organic presentation vs. the rigidly laid out map.
I’ll add one or two examples to this post later.
Bloodstorm was supposed to be the Mortal Kombat Killer, or something, I’m pretty sure. One of the magazine ads even had Johnny Cage endorsing it! This example might just be straight up fucking ugly, and not grotesque. I’m not sure. Either way, I think grotesqueness works better in the context of games where you’re exploring a world.