If you've been wondering what you could get Shaquille O'Neal for his 42nd birthday, you might be in luck. Forget about the Bonobos gift card and belay that man candle; instead, just kick in a few bucks to help the Diesel make a video game.
The 15-time All-Star-turned-TNT broadcaster's not looking to make just any ol' video game, of course — he wants to make a sequel to "Shaq Fu," one of the more hated-on video games of all time. (I guess Shaq didn't consider last year's mobile-device spiritual successor, "ShaqDown," a true follow-up.) According to the trailer for the project, tentatively titled "Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn," O'Neal and the game's makers promise "not to 'FU' it up" this time (classic Shaq comedy):
O'Neal and his partners at Big Deez Productions, who claim to have worked on popular franchises like the "Halo" and "Street Fighter" series in the past, have just launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising $450,000 to support the production and release of the "beat-em-up-style" game, with 5 percent "of all profits from the game [going] to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America." As of 12:50 p.m. ET Thursday, they'd already raised more than $4,000, with the campaign slated to end on April 20; even if the goal isn't met, though, Polygon's Samit Sarkar notes that because "it is a flexible funding drive, the studio will receive whatever money has been contributed to the campaign by [the end date]." (Seems like a smart business move by The Big Game Developer.)
"The old 'Shaq Fu' was a 'ha, ha, ha,'" said O'Neal in a telephone interview this week. "This will not be a 'ha, ha, ha.'"
In the original "Shaq Fu," O'Neal's character stumbles across a kung fu dojo while taking a break from playing a charity basketball game in Tokyo. He discovers a portal inside to another dimension where he engages in "Mortal Kombat"-like battles with such characters as an evil mummy, voodoo priestess and cyborg police officer. [...]
"I don't think it was the worst," said O'Neal. "When you talk about the worst, you've got to talk about sales. I actually sold a lot of games, but when I did the first 'Shaq-Fu,' that was at the end of analog right before digital came out. It wasn't a bad game. It wasn't a good game, but it wasn't awful."
The goal this time around appears to be to strive for something better than "wasn't awful" while still going heavy on absurdity. Not only will gamers have access to weapons like "the occasional basketball filled with the wrong type of gas" as you "fight through the slums of Asian cities [and] on the rooftops of skyscrapers" in pursuit of "the Black Star Ninja," but they will also be able to use "a power-up for every nickname Shaq has ever had, and a few new ones for good measure" to transform into characters like "the Big Baryshnikov" and "the Big Diesel" to maul bad guys.
On top of the sheer pleasure you can derive from making (a slightly more muscular and lithe version of) Shaq beat up ninjas, you can also get certain Shaq-themed perks depending on how much you contribute to the Indiegogo project. Prizes include the chance to record your own voiceover for the game ($100), a follow from Shaq on Instagram ($500) or Twitter ($1,000), a personalized voice mail ($600) or video message ($750) from Shaq, and even a chance to chill with Shaq at the Turner studios in Atlanta for an "Inside the NBA" broadcast ($35,000). There are unique Shaq-related experiences (Shaqsperiences) that every level of Shaq aficionado (Shaqficionado) can appreciate (Shaqpreciate).
I do not play video games very much any more, but I really did like "Streets of Rage" and "Streets of Rage 2," so sure, this seems fun enough. Donate if you would like. In conclusion, here is a picture of Shaq in a motion-capture suit.
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