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The Weirdest Celebrity-Based Video Games

Dick Vitale's "Awesome, Baby!" College Hoops
Dick Vitale was a well-known basketball coach and sportscaster back in the day. Maybe not well-known enough, though, as Time Warner Interactive felt the need to add his catchphrase "Awesome, Baby!" to the title of the game. In addition to reminding gamers who the heck Dick Vitale is, the inclusion of the quote on the cover also gives them an idea of the supposed quality of game. That, or the game stars an awesome baby sired by Dick Vitale. Does college basketball have a minimum age restriction?

Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball
Unlike the other basketball star-endorsed games on this list, I fully support Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball. Bill Laimbeer was a player for the Detroit Pistons in the '80s who made a name for himself by being overly physical on the court. Laimbeer's thuggery was reviled by basketball fans, but resulted in one of the greatest premises for a video game ever slapped together in what I can only assume was the eleventh hour. Here's the description, straight from the manual:

In the 1980's [sic] and '90's [also sic], there was a legendary "Bad boy" of professional basketball. As the roughest player in the league, Bill Laimbeer was known for doing anything to get the ball. Unfortunately, the basketball league didn't approve of his "competitive" style of playing, so they forced him to retire.

Times have changed. The year now is 2030 and Bill Laimbeer has mysteriously resurfaced as commissioner of the basketball league. He's as young and as vigorous as he was at his prime. Some believe that he has used today's cloning technology, but no one can say for sure. One thing is for sure: His objective is to get back at those people who forced him to retire, and to play basketball his style!

His first move as commissioner was to fire all the referees and eliminate all personal fouls. He has also allowed major companies to use the cloning technology to create an army of incredible players. The players wear armor and compete not only for points, but for weapons, explosives and cash that are tossed into the game by the eager spectators. And finally, he's put himself back in the game at a price...

Now when you win, you crush the opposing team. But when you lose, you really lose. "This is basketball my way," exclaims Laimbeer. "No wimps, no wussies! Just brutal hard-core action!"

The sport is no longer basketball. It's Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball!

Why Bill Laimbeer would agree to a video game premise that makes him sound like basketball's equivalent of Adolph Hitler is beyond me, but if there's a game on this list that demands a sequel, it's this one.

Dennis Miller: That's News To Me
From his embarrassing M&M commercials to his brief stint as a Monday Night Football commentator, Dennis Miller has proved time and time again that he'll do anything for a quick buck. But That's News To Me is lazy even by his standards. This 3DO title isn't really a game at all: The player picks a topic and a month of the year, then watches a quick, Weekend Update-style video clip of Miller making a joke. And that's it. That's News To Me's lame jokes based on the current events of 1993 are about on par with Miller's current shtick, but they can't compare to the highlight of his comedy career: his role as Sandra Bullock's ill-fated psychiatrist in The Net. Not only is it hilarious, but navigating The Net's DVD menu has just as much interactivity as this 3DO "game" does.   

Shelley Duvall's It's A Bird's Life
Behold, the winner for the most bizarre celebrity tie-in for a game. You probably remember Shelley Duvall as the terrorized wife of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. This 3DO title is a lot like that, only it has fewer blood-filled elevators and more Shelley Duvall narrating a children's book.

In addition to telling the story of Mowglie, Pearlie, and Humpty's journey from Los Angeles to the Amazon rain forest, It's A Bird's Life also contains 11 sing-along songs, interactive jigsaw puzzles, 3D finger painting, and a connect-the-dots minigame. Creepy ghost child twins and Jack Nicholson making out with a decaying corpse? Not so much.

That concludes our look at the weirdest celebrity-based video games. Think we missed one? Make fun of it yourself in the comments section below!

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