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Shaq had the right idea: 5 more cash-grab apps we can’t wait to see from washed-up athletes

Shaq gameAthletes are, by default, also entrepreneurs. Why? Because they need a backup plan. You can only push your body to perform ridiculous feats for so long before it begins to break down. Lucky for most athletes, money is delivered in piles while they’re playing. But what do they do with all that money after playing with a ball all day? For far too many athletes, the answer to that question is, “Blow it on extravagant cars and houses, then file for bankruptcy,” which isn’t exactly a good answer.

Shaquille O’Neal and Dennis Rodman, however, have a different idea. Both of these basketball stars have found leading roles in their own iOS games. Rodman stuck to what he knows, starring in a free throw game and the upcoming Big Win Basketball title from Hothead Games. Shaq reprised his role from Shaq Fu with ShaqDown, acting as a martial arts master version of himself in which he’s bulging with muscles as opposed to the fat he’s acquired in his post-NBA life. This got us thinking: What other formerly relevant athletes could use a little profile boost from a mobile game?

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Brett Favre’s Quest to Lose Respect

If you look at Brett Favre’s career from his college years to 2007, it’s a story of triumph, redemption, and overcoming great struggles. He was an improbable star who came off the bench when the Packers starting quarterback, Dan Majkowski, got injured and never relinquished the role. He overcame an addiction to painkillers and led his team to a Super Bowl. His career ended on a low note with a playoff loss, but he went out a competitor. But it’s 2007-2010 that would be the focus of this never-ending runner style game.

Here’s the idea: Players start with his exit from Green Bay and trade to the New York Jets, where he struggled before retiring and returning again to the loathed Minnesota Viking. Then you collect things like arrant interceptions, inappropriate pictures sent to attractive women, and the crocodile tears that come with every retirement announcement as you try to help Favre distance himself as far as he possibly can from the positive legacy he could have had.

Barry Bond’s Baseball RPG

Role-playing games are all about personal advancement. You better your character by performing certain tasks, gaining experience, collecting items that are beneficial to you, and upgrading yourself in every way possible. It’s the almost a perfect parallel to the career of a professional athlete. Moving up from the minors to the pros is like leveling up. Taking batting practice can help you acquire a new ability, just like a character in an RPG would learn a new skill. Interacting with players and coaches can improve your relationships and might reveal beneficial information.

Here’s the idea: All of the RPG elements above would be present in the Barry Bonds branded baseball RPG, except there would be in-app purchases for steroids and human growth hormone that will max out every stat of your character. It’ll also make your head huge, but that’s the price you pay for smacking every ball thrown at you out of the park.

Latrell Sprewell’s Don’t Choke

More than almost any other major sport, basketball can be as much of a one-man game as it can be team oriented. Sure, there’s almost nothing better than watching a team perfectly execute a strategy that covers the squads’ weaknesses while effectively taking advantage of all its strengths. But if there’s one thing just as fun to see, it’s the one man show when a player absolutely goes off, hits every shot, and carries a team to victory.

Here’s the idea: In Latrell Sprewell’s game, it’s all about teamwork. You’ll play asynchronously as you’re tasked with working together with friends to accomplish a common goal – until one of them speaks up with a strategy. Then you get to choke them, knocking them out for a turn during which you get to do whatever you want. Why? Because you’re Latrell Sprewell and you put spinning rims on shoes, that’s why.

Wayne Gretzky’s Tower Defense featuring Paulina Gretzky

Here’s a little known fact about Wayne Gretzky: Though his scoring prowess is often touted, equally impressive is the number of assists the Great One accumulated over the course of his career. He set the NHL record for most assists to go along with his scoring, points, and hat trick records. The man did almost everything on the ice. The one task he never did tackle was goaltending. Unfortunately for Wayne, that’s pretty much exactly what he’ll be tasked with in his mobile game debut.

Here’s the idea: In this tower defense style game, the Great One will have to play some solid defense to keep the perverted gazes and grabby hands of the ever-eager Internet audience away from his daughter Paulina. She’s become a bit of an entity on Twitter and Instagram, getting lots of attention that has very little to do with her relation to Wayne Gretzky. Pick up the pads and keep the creeps of the world wide web from going five-hole.

Find David Beckham’s Shirt

David Beckham is a worldwide phenomenon. His fame on the soccer field is equally matched by his fame off of it. It could be his high profile stature as a star of the world’s favorite sport, or his marriage to one of the Spice Girls, or the fact that he’s a rather attractive gentleman in his own right. No matter how you look at it, any guy who gets a movie named after him and isn’t even in the movie is clearly well known. But where is David Beckham’s shirt? The man can often be found with absolutely no cloth on his upper body.

Here’s the idea: How does Beckham keep losing his shirt? That’s up to you to discover in this mystery game in the style of Where’s Waldo? See if you can spot Beckham’s jersey across various levels. The final levels are extremely tough and will require you to find Beckham’s old Manchester United kit in a stadium full of rabid Man U fans. The first levels though, just require you to find it in a totally empty LA Galaxy arena.

Netflix may bring its gaming service to TVs, with iPhones serving as controllers
The Netflix Games section.

Netflix is working on a feature that will bring its games to smart TVs and allow players to use their iPhone as a controller, reports from Bloomberg and MacRumors' Steve Moser said on Wednesday.

The move would take Netflix’s gaming service beyond only smartphones and tablets, giving subscribers more ways to play. And for iPhone owners, it also eliminates the need to buy a dedicated controller, making it more likely that people would give its games a go.

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For content creators, ‘cozy games’ have unlocked an unexpected career
Donald Duck walks through a town in Disney Dreamlight Valley,

It’s safe to say that the cozy game genre has come into its own in the last few years. Also known as wholesome games, the emerging genre typically offers a slower story pace and a more relaxed style of gameplay, dropping the fast action found in other genres. More low-key and self-guided games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Harvest Moon, and Spiritfarer have always existed, but they’ve only really established themselves as a separate genre recently. There’s an entire cozy tag on Steam and even an entire industry event, Wholesome Direct, dedicated to showcasing new games annually.  A quick search on Google will reveal a number of game developers who have happily taken up the mantle of creating these chill games for players.

But cozy gaming has blossomed beyond just the games themselves, much as the larger video game space has over the last 15 years. Players have begun to take their love for gaming and channel it into other forms, making use of platforms like Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram to create a variety of unique content. Content creators have taken to streaming, video making, and other forms of content such as sharing photos on Instagram to discuss, play, and share their love for the genre.

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The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is unintentionally delightful
lord of the rings gollum art

One does not simply walk into Mordor; instead, one might opt to climb up a wall of vines or jump from platform to platform. That’s the crux of what The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is all about.

The game positions the player as the classic Lord of the Rings villain, shining light on his previously unexplored backstory, which includes his capture and subsequent escape from the clutches of evil. It’s a novel concept that I wasn’t exactly sure would work before trying it out for myself. Given all that, I knew I needed to play The Lord of the Rings: Gollum at PAX East, and after going hands-on with it, I came away with mixed thoughts that lean positive, with more than a few caveats.

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