Top 10 Celebs You Wouldn't Believe Had Their Own Video Games

December 6, 2010

Celebrity is like a virus. It permeates every facet of the culture, infecting its need to consume more and more of the world for itself like some giant bacterial Orson Welles with a beard made of flagella. Of course, video games aren’t immune to this ever growing ebola.
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By Danny Gallagher

10. Jackie Chan

It’s probably no surprise that the world’s most recognizable movie action hero had his own video game. He has kicked and punched more background extras and movie stunt men in his time than that weird Indian guy from Predator.

The curious thing about “Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu” for the NES and Turbografix title are the enemies he choose to kick and punch. The very cartoonish looking karate star makes his way through all sorts of different levels and terrains, fighting hordes of face-kicking frogs, tigers and weird arrow shooting blobs that live under stir-fry bowls. Somehow a story links them all together that doesn’t involve heavy use of hallucinogenic narcotics.


9. Britney Spears

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One of the hardest markets to crack in the gaming industry is games made exclusively for girls. The latest wave of the “grrrl” culture has proved you don’t need sissy, froo-froo games about running to the hair salon to chat about boys or finding the magic toe-nail polish elixir to banish the god of acne to the neither regions of Hell aka the computer store in the mall.

That hasn’t stopped them from trying.

The PS2 gave a title to teen pop sensation and noted anti-underpants advocate Britney Spears called “Britney’s Dance Beat” that aimed to help girls of the gaming world improve their self-esteem by showing them that anyone could make it big as a music video dancer...but never as big as the former Mrs. Federline. The highest rank you could achieve in the game was as Mrs. Spears’ “backup” dancer. Of course, the game wasn’t a fully fleshed out simulation of what it’s like to make it to the top of the music world since it didn’t feature mini-games like making coke runs for the talent, jumping from one casting couch to the next and suppressing the urge to have an artistic opinion that conflicted with the biggest name on the set.

8. Journey

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Some bands actually deserve to have a chance at getting the pixelated treatment. For instance, I’d love to see a “Motorhead” inspired first person shooter that put players in the middle of a whiskey fueled bar fighter as they clawed their way to the heavens on a mountain of discarded groupies.

The 1980s power ballad king took their own turn at getting pixelized on the Atari 2600 and the arcades with “Journey Escape.” Players played one of the band members trying to get to his road van while dodging a crowd of grabby girl groupies and greedy record execs. It’s basically a concept that any musician or band could be in a game, well, except the Starlight Vocal Band. In that case, it would be the other way around: the player would be the audience trying to avoid all sensory contact from the band and their music or risk having their head melted like that Chinese guy from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”


7. Michael Jackson

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You might be surprised to learn that a game featuring the original King of Pop as the protagonist was not an entirely bad game. It was a inexplicably weird and seemingly inappropriate game, but it wasn’t bad.

The early Sega Genesis and arcade classic “Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker” featured our crotch grabbing hero dancing his way around several scenes from a graveyard to the world’s tallest pool room through hordes of enemies by kicking magical glitter. Then it starts to get weird. He’s aided by Bubbles the Monkey who either points him to the end of each level or helps him morph into “Meca-Michael,” a giant android who shoots laser beams out of his arms and vaporizes his enemies. And what’s his overall objective? To save the children. From who? Himself? And if so, why weren’t his lawyers the main characters of the game?


6. Wu Tang Clan

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It makes sense that the world’s only ninja infused rap group would get their own chance at the home console market. Chances are they could kick anyone’s ass  just by looking at them.

RZA, GZA and Ghostface Killa all got the chance to kick some virtual ass with this early Playstation fighting title called “Wu Tang: Shaolin Style” that featured members of the group and some other characters fighting their way through a series of ninja henchmen to take down the evil Mong Zhu. Needless to say, the game was pretty violent and it was one of the first to come with a violence free option for parents who were concerned about subjecting their kids to such mayhem. Of course, if you’re buying something with the “Wu Tang” logo on it for your little ones, you might as well give them something that isn’t profane or violent since that basically defeats the purpose of it. It’s like giving a kid a candy bar with a carrot stick stuck in the wrapper.

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5. Bruce Willis

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This game sounds like just about every Bruce Willis movie you’ve ever seen or heard, but his video game is actually quite different. In the game version, you get to control him.

The PSOne game “Apocalypse” featured the world’s baldest and most beloved action movie actor kicking all sorts of robotic and demonized ass through the realm of some distant distopian future where robots rule the world and Hell is being opened up to take the world back for the damned. You, of course, play the wise-cracking chrome dome as he shoots his way through Hell and back and back again while uttering cool lines like “Suck on this,” “These guys need a little bit more lead in their diet” (which is ironic since all the weapons are laser based) and “Buddy, I’m gonna shoot you in the face!” It’s a wonder that he never became our nation’s Poet Laureate.

4. Steven Spielberg

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Hollywood’s most successful and prolific mainstream director has long had a fascination with games and the gaming industry. He is a self-obsessed fan of video games. He created his own game for the Nintendo Wii with the quirky “Boom Blox.” Even his first date with his current wife Kate Capshaw was centered around playing Steve’s Atari 2600.

The game you probably don’t remember is “Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Chair,” a PC CD-ROM title that put ordinary schmoes in the cushy folding chair of a major motion picture starring the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Jennifer Aniston. You probably don’t remember it because it was a horrible game and Spielberg has the awesome power to make you forget anything he wants like...uh, I can’t remember. Shoot, what the hell was that?

3. Shaquille O’Neal

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It’s hard to know how this early SNES and Sega Genesis fighting game ever saw the light of day, but it probably involved the NBA star stepping on a few toes and possibly some legs, arms and entire bodies that were still in the standing position when they can smushed.

The early 90’s saw the birth of “Shaq-Fu,” one of the most incomprehensible and unplayable video games in the history of the medium. It featured the tall one wandering into some kind of distant dimension where everyone wants to kick his ass (so he landed in Orlando?). Apparently, he’s fighting his way through an angry voodoo priestess who knows kung-fu and an angry demon who knows kung-fu to rescue a small boy from the clutches of an angry mummy who knows kung-fu. The game would have been 10 times shorter and easier if they just sent Michael Jackson in his sted.

2. Gallagher

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Games that featured live video seemed like a heaven-sent technology that could usher in a new age of digital entertainment, but when you have to spend it with the likes of the 80s answer to Dane Cook (and the reason for the question I’ve been asked most often since high school and no, I’m not f*#&$ing related to him), it’s more likely it came from Hell.

“Gallagher’s Gallery,” an arcade only title from the people who brought us “Mad Dog McCree,” aimed to inject humor into video games, something that seemed nearly impossible to do since the attention has always been focused on game play. That mission failed when they hired the food smashing comic to star in the light gun game that let players shoot and blow up everything from yucky cans of spinach to whole watermelons. They should have just called it “Why Third World Countries Hate America: The Game.” 

1. New Kids on the Block

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Chances are you’ve never heard of or even seen this game before and you can either thank your lucky stars or immediately start seeking therapy because you’re cursing the makers of it for not sharing it with the public.

The birth of the boy band movement actually had their own video game in development with Parker Brothers but the game never made it past the testing stage, presumably either because all the testers went on strike en masse over troubling work conditons or killed themselves before they had a chance to fill out the comment card. A prototype of the unreleased game went up on EBay and reached a bidding high of $500...just for the game’s box. I’m sure it’s making some lucky sweaty, overweight and really sexually confused man very, very happy.

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