A well-planned sports video game licensing agreement can be a great thing; such arrangements have given us classics like the Madden football series, NBA Jam, and, to a lesser extent, Bassin's Black Bass with Hank Parker. On the other hand, poorly thought-out games just look like embarrassing cash-ins for their celebrity endorsers. Obviously all video games can't be great, but here are a few notably terrible sports licensing misadventures:
1. Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City
In the mid-1990s, Michael Jordan was the world's biggest basketball star, an almost universally beloved pitchman who could bask in the glory of multiple NBA titles. It seemed only natural, then, that he would have his own licensed game for the Super Nintendo. What seemed far less natural was that the game wouldn't involve basketball.
Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City is a two-dimensional platform outing like any generic adventure game of the era. The plot follows Jordan as he tries to rescue his friends so they can play with him in a charity all-star game. Air Jordan has to navigate levels and collect keys to extricate his buddies while armed with little more than "“ wait for it "“ weapons-grade basketballs! His Airness is equipped with all manner of balls: ones made of ice, grenade balls, homing balls, and boomerang balls. It's worth finding a ROM of this gem just to see how blatant the cash-grab was; it even made Nintendo Power's list of the top 10 worst games of all time. See for yourself:
2. Shaq Fu
The gameplay was even worse than the incoherent plot; the game often didn't give players credit for scoring obvious hits. Like Jordan's pixilated adventure, Shaq Fu frequently shows up on lists of the worst video games of all time. Sound unfathomable? Check out this video:
3. Kenny Dalglish Soccer Manager
Young fans across the U.K. doubtless sat down in front of their TVs to square off in some hot pitch action"¦and learned that there's no actual soccer in the game. Players take over a 4th-division team and make roster moves and set the players' formations, then the computer tells them whether or not their team won a game. Who needs to take penalty kicks when you can consult with the team physician on an injury? Diving headers are no fun compared to viewing scouting reports! Perhaps something's just lost on my American sensibility, though, as soccer manager games kept coming out for various systems, including Kevin Keegan's Player Manager for SNES in 1993.