Celebrities aren't so different from the rest of us. Sure, they may have money, fame, and the love of strangers from all over the world, but at the end of the day, they have their servants put their jewel-encrusted pants on one leg at a time. They also love video games, as so many of us do. (And they've done more voiceover work in games than you might suspect.)
Sometimes video game collaborations with celebrities can lead to great things, such as Def Jam: Fight for NY, or guilty pleasures like 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. However, there are other times it can lead to infamously horrible games like Shaq Fu or Kiss Pinball. And sometimes the results are simply baffling, like Marky Mark: Make My Video. Regardless of where you stand on the celebrities themselves, there's no denying the weirdness associated with these games.
Marky Mark: Make My VideoPhoto: Digital Pictures
While Mark Wahlberg is known today as the star of such films as The Happening and Transformers: Age of Extinction, he was best known in the '90s as Marky Mark, of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch fame. During his short-lived hip-hop career, Marky Mark had a 1992 music video game for the Sega CD. Marky Mark: Make My Video was exactly that: a "make-your-own music video" game that had clips from Marky Mark’s band for players to mix and match.
Other versions included INXS and Kris Kross. Despite the musical star power, Marky Mark: Make My Video was a critical and commercial failure for a system that failed financially for Sega. It stands now as a relic of those heady CD-ROM days when multimedia seemed like a magic bullet to take video games to the next level.372Weird game?
- Photo: Absolute Entertainment
Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors is not only one of the strangest celebrity video games ever made, but it also holds the honor of being famously unreleased and desired by the gaming community. Developed for the Sega CD, a CD-ROM add-on to the Genesis, Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of minigames inspired by the magical-comedy act of Penn Jillette and Teller.
The most infamous minigame in the collection is “Desert Bus,” a driving game that requires the player to drive in real time from Tucson, AZ, to Las Vegas, NV, at a maximum speed of 45 mph (72 km/h). The estimated time of completion is eight hours. The bus veers slightly to the right, which means the player must keep their hands on the wheel. If the bus veers off the road, they will be towed back to Tucson in real time. According to Penn, “Desert Bus” was designed to be an inoffensive endurance test to tackle then-Attorney General Janet Reno's crusade against violent video games.
Despite review copies being sent, the developer of Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors went bankrupt before the game could be released to the public. The failure of the Sega CD system also ended any interest in releasing the game. A review copy of Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, however, circulated online and has allowed players to experience this strange game. “Desert Bus,” in particular, has become a popular game for YouTubers to play.247Weird game?
Kim Kardashian: HollywoodPhoto: Glu Mobile
Much like many of the games featured on this list, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is a video game made to capitalize on the brand of the featured celebrity. In this case, the subject matter is media personality Kim Kardashian, who is famously remembered for starring in hit reality shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The free-to-play mobile game has players create their own characters and work their way to the top of the celebrity food chain.
According to Niccolo De Masi, the CEO of Glu Mobile, Kim was involved in the development of the game, approving gameplay elements and giving input to its in-game fashions. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is considered a financial hit, having generated $74.3 million in revenue in 2014. While Glu tried to replicate the game’s success with other celebrities like Katy Perry or Britney Spears, they failed to connect with players. As Glu said, "It is possible that there is something unique about the Kardashian and Jenner family and the nature of their celebrity that has led to the success of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Kendall & Kylie that will not be replicable in other games featuring other celebrities, particularly musicians."202Weird game?
Go! Go! Beckham! Adventure on Soccer IslandPhoto: Rage Games
Go! Go! Beckham! Adventure on Soccer Island is a European exclusive 2D platformer for the Game Boy Advance, released in 2002. The colorful graphics are comparable to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, while gameplay is reminiscent of the 1993 Amiga game Soccer Kid. Players take control of a cartoony version of David Beckham, as the soccer star uses his skills to complete 40 side-scrolling levels.
The story: Beckham must save Soccer Island from the evil Mister Woe, who snatched all the precious treasures and turned all the friendly animals into monsters. While it’s easy to dismiss Go! Go! Beckham! Adventure on Soccer Island as a blatant cash grab, it received favorable reviews from European gaming sites such as Eurogamer. If there’s a downside, it’s that the gameplay, designed to accommodate its younger-skewing audience, is not very challenging.152Weird game?