If you think that there are too many licensed games in the world, you’re probably right. As they’ve been around pretty much forever, an awful lot of them have piled up, both good and bad. For the most part, they make sense as a video game adaptation. Superheroes, sports leagues, and certain films lend themselves pretty well to this interactive little medium of ours.
Games that play things by the book aren’t very interesting to read or write about, though. Instead, I figured it’d be more fun to take a look at some PlayStation games that don’t make a single bit of sense. Whether a familiar license is being used in a weird way or simply has no justifiable reason for having a game built around it, I rounded up a several games that gave me a genuine “lolwut” reaction.
Playboy: The Mansion
I’ll go ahead and admit that I’ve never played Playboy: The Mansion, but from what I can gather it’s a mix of The Sims, the Tycoon series of PC games, and tits. The Sims part of the gameplay comes from customizing the mansion to look however you want it to, while also establishing several relationships with the various characters in the game. The Tycoon element comes from putting together a profitable magazine every month. The tits come from the Playboy license.
Above: Ha! Boob.
I suppose it’s pretty interesting to be put in the shoes of Hugh Hefner, tasked with building the Playboy empire up from scratch, but I can’t help but feel a little weirded out by the concept. Is there anyone out there that wants to party at the famed Playboy Mansion so much that they’d play a game about it?
That concludes the first time anyone has talked about this game in at least a couple of years.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
It took ten whole years after the release of the original Marvel vs. Capcom, but the existence of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is anything but surprising. However, the execution of each game led to very different critical and fan responses.
The reason Marvel vs. Capcom works so fantastically as a series is because neither property has to change fundamentally to mesh with the other. Sure, you have to suspend your disbelief when you see Chun-Li take on the Hulk, but that’s pretty much it. With Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, though, things change for the worse. Everything that people love about MK games goes out the window, because you can’t have someone rip Batman or the Flash in half, while the DC heroes perform oxymoronic “Heroic Brutalities” to mirror the MK characters’ nerfed Fatalities. Can anyone really imagine Superman pulling something like this?
Above: Come on, now.
All of that is too bad, because if not for the awkward changes to each universe’s fundamental principles MK vs. DCU is actually a decent fighting game. Now if only someone can figure out the logistics to make Yoshinori Ono’s Marvel vs. DC dream project a reality …
The Simpsons Wrestling/Skateboarding
The overwhelming majority of Simpsons games have been utterly unforgivable garbage, and when I had to choose between these two I simply couldn’t. So enjoy a double-dose of Simpsons WTF-ery!
In The Simpsons Wrestling, you take your pick of 18 characters and pit them against one another in the squared circle. Why are they fighting, I hear you ask? Good question! I don’t know. All I know is that the game is relentlessly ugly and is as fun as walking in on your grandparents having sex.
Above: I’m still not over Simpsons Wrestling.
In The Simpsons Skateboarding, you take your pick of nine characters and scoot them around Springfield, which has been turned into an enormous skate park. Why do characters that aren’t Bart Simpson have a sudden interest in skateboarding, you say? Good question! I don’t know that, either. This game is as dumb as a mule and twice as ugly.
Above: Not really over Simpsons Skateboarding, either.
Let’s never speak of these atrocities again.
WWE Crush Hour
Speaking of wrasslin’, THQ puts out a WWE game every year, and they’re always quite good. In 2003, they released another WWE game that wasn’t the usual sweaty-men-groping-each-other-simulator, and it was a … car combat game? Really?
The game’s plot revolves around the concept of Vince McMahon throwing his money around and taking over all of the TV networks in the land, which leads to him making his wrestlers do ridiculous crap like get into vehicles equipped with guns and missiles and shoot them at each other. Nothing’s better for the brand than having your most popular wrestlers kill each other off, after all.
You probably won’t believe this, but WWE Crush Hour didn’t review very well. That doesn’t bode well for any hopes of a WWE-themed RPG.
Finally, the climax. The game that makes me ask “How is this license even a thing, and how did that thing become a game?”
The answer to that question, of course, is “Because Japan.” You see, Pepsiman was the mascot for the company in the 1990s, and he even appeared in Fighting Vipers as a playable character. This somehow culminated into getting a game all his own, in which he runs through levels collecting cans of Pepsi, like so:
Tragically, the game never made its way out of Japan, so excuse me while I draft a petition to get Pepsiman released on PSN’s import PS1 section.
So those are just a few of the licensed games that don’t make a lick of sense to me. What are some of your favorites? Let us know below, or share them in the forums.