The Top 5 Strangest Celebrity-Endorsed Video Games
It really doesn’t matter whatever product it is they’re endorsing, celebrities will blindly sign off on anything so as long as they get a nice piece of the profit pie—and video games bearing their dubious stamp of approval have clogged shelves and hoodwinked consumers unwise to their cash-grabbery for years. So we’ve rolled up our sleeves and reached into the schlock all deep and good like, dredging up the top five strangest celebrity-endorsed video games!
5) Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (1990)
Platform(s): Sega Master System, Genesis, Arcade
To be resoundingly clear, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker is by no means terrible—securing a cult status among video game and pop culture enthusiasts—but you can’t help yourself from applauding (or raising an eyebrow) over Sega’s being able to adapt a film carrying zero game potential into one of the most memorable titles of the early ‘90s. Moonwalker essentially followed the sixth segment of the eponymous film. Remember that scene where MJ slaughters a bunch of thugs with a choreographed dance number and then Bubbles the chimp comes flying in on a laser beam? Yeah, that’s in the vid—wait... that didn’t happen at all!
4) Revolution X (1994)
Platform(s): Almost every console ever made in the '90s!
Nearly nosediving straight into the inescapable abyss of obscurity, Aerosmith enjoyed a resurgence in popularity throughout the mid ‘80s and ‘90s. Taking advantage of Baby Boomers’ rekindled love for them, the band starred in and lent their music library to Revolution X: an anarchistic-themed first-person shooter pandering to the rebellious nature and ennui of Generation Y—of whom couldn’t care less about a group their parents listen to on the classic rock station. Revolution X performed well enough in arcades, but the console ports failed worse than the Aerosmith album Rock in a Hard Place.
3) Chuck Norris Superkicks (1983)
Platform(s): Atari 2600, Colecovision, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20
In an effort to avoid having Chuck Norris hunt us down and deliver a butt-whooping in our own homes, we’re going to ease up on riffing on Chuck Norris Superkicks—which is far from saying it's not a weird product of its time. The game's pretty straightforward: Chuck goes around roundhouse-kicking ninjas and other bad guys with a death wish into oblivion, all of them stupid enough to stymie his spiritual pilgrimage to a monastery. All that aside, the fact that technology of the era was able to contain that much Chuck Norris without exploding is amazing.
2) Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit! (1994)
Platform(s): Super Nintendo
Unless you’re not old enough to remember, Home Improvement was one of the most popular prime time shows during the ‘90s, turning Tim Allen into a household name and sweeping his ’78 drug trafficking charge (it almost landed him in the hoosegow for "infinity and beyond") even further under the rug. But a TV ratings juggernaut does not a good video game make, though that didn’t discourage anyone from developing Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit! The game played out like a rejected plot of the show: Tim runs around like a clod through various themed sound stages looking for stolen power tools, shooting deadly props and murderous costumed actors with his trusty nail gun. He might not have gone to jail, but this game deserves to rot in a cell forever.
1) Shaq Fu (1994)
Platforms(s): Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Amiga
The ‘90s video game market was famous for the overwhelming fighting game boom that lit a fire under the hams of publishers. With dollar signs in their eyes, many entered this arms race to create the next Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat—oftentimes with less-than-desirable results. Neither a celebrity endorsement by Shaquille O’Neal or the consumers’ insatiable fighting game fix could justify the pure suck that was Shaq Fu. The cringe-inducing portmanteau says it all: It’s Shaq. Doing kung-fu. Far be it from us to explain how basketball skills translate to hand-to-hand combat with characters straight from Big Trouble in Little China, but if Shaq really ended up in this sort of situation, he’d be dead by round one.
Which one is the worst? Besides Shaq Fu, of course.