1. Chester Cheetah: Too Cool To Fool/Wild Wild Quest
Chester Cheetah was part of the rash of 80's/90's "EXTREME" mascots that tried to teach kids that the only way to be cool was to wear shades all the time, eat terrible junk food and say rad catchphrases like "It ain't easy bein' cheesy!" No kidding! Especially when there is zero actual cheese in your product. But "It ain't easy being orange powdery" didn't have the same bite.
The games were more or less what you'd expect from a Chester Cheetah game: a standard platformer. Chester contended with BODACIOUS skateboarders and GNARLY scorpions, utilizing the SUPERBLY CHEESY taste of Cheetos to give him the energy to ride a ROCKIN' motorcycle for some reason and fight bad dudes. You do have to wonder did Cheetos know gamers at all? Did they really think they needed videogames to remind them to eat Cheetos? The gamer food pyramid consists of nothing but Cheetos and Mountain Dew: Code Red as it is.
WEIRD FACT: There were two Chester Cheetah games. America, for shame.
2. Cool Spot
Speaking of "extreme" mascots who wore shades all the time I humbly present to you, Cool Spot. Probably one of the least imaginative mascots ever, Cool Spot was a red circle with arms and legs and, naturally, some sweet shades. He was only slightly more entertaining than Orlando Jones naively shouting "UP YOURS" to citrus pop-loving folk.
Shockingly, this game was pretty entertaining despite being about a red dot grabbing 7-Up soda bubbles on a beach. Still, I think we can all agree that a "Heads Up, 7-Up" game would have been roughly 100x better.
WEIRD FACT: 7-Up's motto at the time of the game was "Uncola" which was Spanish for "We need to think of a new motto, Jerry."
3. Yo! Noid
The Noid was the Domino's mascot through the late 80's (afterwards it became drunk people who loved the taste of cardboard and ketchup). He was an evil little guy whose mission it was to ruin Domino's pizzas (not realizing that the pizzas pretty much took care of that themselves). Since it was relatively simple to squeeze out a quick NES game back in the day, it must have seemed like a pretty nice bit of synergy to put out a Noid game.
Weirdly, you played as The Noid who was the bad guy in the advertising, but who now apparently loved pizza? That's like a toothpaste videogame having you play as plaque buildup.
WEIRD FACT: There was a man named Kenneth Lamar Noid a mentally-unwell dude who thought that all of the "Noid" advertising was aimed at him, personally. He went on to take a Domino's pizza hostage. He demanded $100,000 and a fresh Domino's pizza.
Okay, someone should have known this was a terrible idea going in. Someone had to have said, "Guys, you've heard the rumors. Maybe this game shouldn't be about Michael Jackson running around murdering gangsters with magic stars in order to save kidnapped children. Maybe the entire premise of a Michael Jackson videogame is terrible." But if someone was making rational decisions, half of the videogames ever made would have never existed. Superman 64, I'm looking at you.
Based on the movie "Michael Jackson's Moonwalker" (which was really a few music videos strung together), the game pit Michael and his magical dance moves against gangsters and zombies while midi-versions of "Smooth Criminal" and "Bad" hummed in the background. Making matters worse the 90's were a time when only one age group (more or less) played video games: kids. And kids usually depended on their parents to get them said games. If you were a parent, would you actually buy your kids a game that taught them that Michael Jackson was a trustworthy dude who was always protecting children? Much better to get them the game that taught them to be fat plumbers who hung out with their brothers all day smashing their heads against bricks, in my opinion.
WEIRD FACT: The graveyard/zombie level does NOT have the song "Thriller" in it. So
5. Street Fighter: The Movie
A game based on a movie based on a game. That's a pedigree that very few games can sport even the Super Mario Bros. movie never spawned a game (except in our wildest, happiest dreams of shooting lasers at mud-loving Dennis Hopper). There's probably a good reason for it though why? The only reason anyone saw that movie was: a) They really believed in the inherent dramatic potential of the Street Fighter series. b) It was Raul Julia's last film role, and they wanted to laugh ironically, c) Jean Claude Van-Damme as Guile? I would pay all the Bison-Dollars in the world to see that! or d) just kidding, there's really no legitimate reason to see the movie other than to trash it.
After the movie ended, most would agree that it made you want to replay Super Street Fighter II, not a game where the cartoony game characters were replaced with pixel-y versions of actors from the movie. The only argument I can see would be someone having never played a Street Fighter game seeing the movie, and instantly fall in love with the deep, richly-detailed characters over the idea of a cool fighting game.
WEIRD FACT: The only actor not to reprise his role from the movie in the game was Raul Julia, who passed away before being able to complete his work on the game. It was nice of fate to save him a tiny shred of his dignity before taking him to the great beyond.
6. Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit
Very few sitcoms make for good videogames there's a reason there was never an Everybody Loves Raymond 64 (That reason? The polygonal Brad Garrett caused night terrors and blindness during the testing phase). But back in the day, America was so enamored with Tim "The Tool/Man" Taylor and his wacky, life-threatening antics that videogame developers knew they had to cash in before someone realized he was a barely functional manchild who shouldn't be raising children, let alone allowed to host a television show. Hence: POWER TOOL PURSUIT.
This was absolutely the weirdest of any of the games on this list: The gameplay wasn't Tim asking Wilson for famous quotes to humorously mangle in order to save his marriage or giving Al stupid nicknames or nearly murdering himself by trying to "give more power" to his ironing board (aurgh aurgh aurgh) it was a game that wouldn't have seemed too out of place for Sonic the Hedgehog. Tim battled mummies, robots, and dinosaurs in his quest to retrieve some power tools. If you're confused, don't worry that just means you still have your sanity. Which is more than the developers of this game can say.
WEIRD FACT: The game didn't include an instruction manual, because "real men don't need instructions" (or a reason to play a Home Improvement videogame).