The 5 Most Baffling Celebrity Appearances in Video Games

Video games are the only place celebrities don't have advantages over everyone else. The average game hero is an immortal warrior so far beyond human weakness they only drink the blood of their enemies to have something to spit over the corpses. Switching that out for "someone a bit fitter or prettier than normal" is often a letdown.

Most of these games are so forgettable they act as Faraday cages to cancel out celebrity. But some make so little sense, and make the star look so stupid, the only explanation is programmers finally getting revenge by proxy on every popular kid from school.

#5. Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City

Electronic Arts

In the '90s, Mario suffered from King Midas syndrome: He made lots of money, but everything in the world was turning into platformers. Games about movies were platform games, games about earthworms were platform games, games about basketballers were platform games, and basketball is already a game.

It didn't go well.

Electronic Arts
Renamed from Michael Jordan Sucks at Something Besides Baseball.

Chaos in the Windy City came out a month after Shaq Fu proved that programming non-basketballing basketballers was how you made computer games feel existential despair. When an idea as awesome as Shaq Fu doesn't work, trying again is applying a Band-Aid to someone who's just received last rites from Jesus. But by 1994, Michael Jordan was more famous for magic and miracles. And almost infinitely more famous for gambling debts. He'd put his name on dirty underwear if you paid him. In his game, you restore health by picking up Gatorade and Wheaties, making it the first time the player collecting things gave someone else money.

Electronic Arts
Think of the Money, Money.

The plot proved they spent all their word-money on "Michael" and "Jordan." Dr. Max Cranium has kidnapped every Chicago Bull except MJ, because that "Dr." stands for "Durrrrr." We don't have to call the game uninspired, because publisher Electronic Arts already did that: Character in Place Name is how babies tell that even the writer got bored with their "Learn to Read" book.

The gameplay involves marching in straight lines around endless sparsely populated areas searching for hidden goals. That is so opposite of basketball that white men can do it. The game is so bad it made Nintendo Power's Top 10 Worst Games of All Time, and Nintendo Power's official function was saying Nintendo games were great. This game alone allowed Space Jam to happen by preventing it from being the stupidest thing Jordan would ever do. Finally, you face Max Cranium ...

Electronic Arts
... and laugh and laugh and laugh.

A basketball-themed villain, living on a basketball court in a suit of basketball armor, and he moves to '94 Chicago to piss off Jordan. That's like planning your crime spree in Gotham when your only weakness is child-endangerment.

#4. Chuck Norris Superkicks


In 1983, Atari tried to save the timestream from Chuck Norris jokes by releasing the worst one: Chuck Norris Superkicks. The last technology to ruin martial arts expertise this badly was gunpowder.

via GiantBomb
But when real-life murderchips turn us all into invincible cyborgs, they'll look exactly like this.

Norris needs to rescue a hostage from an unnameable terrorist (the writer just couldn't be bothered to waste an alias on imminent Norris foot-fluid). Unfortunately, Atari Chuck is worse at working his limbs than Atari Pac-Man is. The game is played on a controller with only one button, and pressing that button doesn't do anything. All moves are special moves, so you have to press the button in conjunction with the correct stick direction, while standing still, while enemies attack from every direction. Desperate flailing as you try to do martial arts means achieving nothing while everyone beats you to a pulp. And we don't buy video games to simulate the real effects of trying karate in a fight.

He's either shitting himself or laying eggs. Both are poor combat technique.

But before you can karate Professor Anonymous Von Terrorbad into moppable form, you must avoid the worst video game villain ever coded: grass. Superkicks is set in a dystopian Pokemon future where stepping into tall grass dramatically reduces your life expectancy. (There were bound to be side-effects of training every random creature in the world to fight everything to the death.) Grass runs down the clock, and Chuck can't actually die any other way -- he just runs out of time. Making the game an amazingly accurate representation of both his movies and his movie career. If the timer hits zero, the hostage dies and you lose, so most gameplay consists of carefully walking down the garden path, and being a kid too young to understand how that phrase means the makers are laughing at you.

Eh, still better than Top Dog.

#3. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: Rockpocalypse


Did we learn nothing from "Michael Jordan in: That Man Is Made of Balls"? Years after a 2D Jordan refused to basketball all over town, we get Rockpocalypse, a non-wrestling game starring a wrestler. Rock "The Dwayne" Johnson makes perfect sense for the wrestling games genre, or even the Scorpion King games genre, but WWE Presents: Rockpocalypse is neither.

"Can we use a different picture for the title screen? It's just that it's NOT a wrestling game and so I thought-
No, you're right, I'll shut the fuck up."

If you pictured Rockpocalypse as a spectacular showdown between over-the-top wrestling moves and an end-of-the-world disaster movie, well done on being better at WWE games than the WWE. Their budget for this touchscreen time-waster barely stretched to the title. Rockpocalypse cost more than every other line of code in this put together, and tapping through the resulting game is less fun than tapping out of a cross arm-breaker.

Useful tapping tips for iPad owners who don't know how iPads work.

Swipe the screen and Rock, The beats the shit out of his own film crew, who are scattered around a Hollywood set larger and more sparsely populated than the Moon. Why is a multimillionaire movie star pounding the snot out of the backup Foley artist? Because an evil dude, presumably pissed about watching Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, has released a pathogen that turns everyone into vicious minions. Or at least that's what you're told. Everyone looks anonymous and totally normal, but you must still destroy their infected evil. Rockpocalypse might have the worst plot of all time, but it's a fantastic psychotic breakdown simulator.

"We're here to help you, Rock! That's why we're not using guns even though you've crippled 20 people!"

The rest of the story is revealed through hidden text files, because someone grossly overestimated how much people playing a WWE "touch the screen to trigger noises" game want to read.

"Swear to God, this was originally a novel about the dangers of groupthink and paranoia,
but I thought, 'Nah, it should be an iPad game starring The Rock.'"

Recommended For Your Pleasure

Jason Iannone

  • Rss

More by Jason Iannone:

See More
To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!