Six TV-Inspired Video Games That Were Nothing Like The Shows That Inspired Them

By: 09.14.11  •  13 Comments

What "Home Improvement" always needed: more dinosaurs and chainsaws

Because I obviously have nothing better to do with my life, I spent a good chunk of yesterday browsing through the Wikipedia page for “Home Improvement,” Tim Allen’s grunt of a series that ran over 200 episodes. This Saturday, the 17th, is the 20th anniversary of the show’s first episode, “Pilot,” but that wasn’t my favorite Wikipedia-found fact; it was remembering Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!, a video game supposedly based on the series. And by “supposedly based,” I mean it had absolutely NOTHING to do with “Home Improvement.” You don’t even see Wilson Wilson, Jr., and he’s the show’s only good character!

On the next few pages, you’ll find six video games “based” on TV shows, including more about Power Tool Pursuit, where the Tool Man fights dinosaurs. With flamethrowers and nail guns. In jeans.

The Simpsons: Bart vs. The Juggernauts

There are many, many, many video games based on “The Simpsons,” or more accurately, video games that feature Bart Simpson and later, everyone else. The first one, The Simpsons Arcade Game, appeared in 1991, and 24 installments later, 2007’s The Simpsons Game came out on six systems. Many of them have been good-to-very-good (The Simpsons Hit & Run, Virtual Bart, etc.), but there have been some stinkers, too, most notably 1992’s The Simpsons: Bart vs. The Juggernauts. Sure, its “Simpsons”-meets-“American Gladiators”-style gameplay kind of foreshadowed “A Milhouse Divided,” but that episode had a quick joke about Pyro taking away Luann in a giant steel hamster ball; Juggernauts, on the other hand, had Bart fighting Barney (huh?), wasn’t funny, and had nothing to do with the show that was about to air its best episode, “Last Exit to Springfield.” Shoddy “Simpsons”? Now I’ve heard everything.

Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!

“Home Improvement” is one of those middling shows you don’t realize you’ve seen so many episodes of until someone references something specific from it, and you know what they’re talking about. (“Friends,” too.) And yet, in the all episodes of “Home Improvement” I’ve seen over the years, I don’t ever remember Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor fighting dinosaurs and mummies and using a chainsaw to shoot energy waves. All of that must have happened in the eighth season, when I stopped watching. “Home Improvement” is NOT “Home Improvement” without JTT. Not just anyone could inspire a photo-montage set to “My Heart Will Go On.”

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