Nothing is quite as satisfying as finding an Easter egg in a game. It can be a nod to something you find special, or an inside joke that you understand and appreciate. The only thing more satisfying is a cameo from someone we find completely awesome. It’s such a strong feeling to recognize a familiar face from the real world in the virtual land filled with all things fun. It’s a refreshing reminder that famous people are actual human beings and acknowledge the awesomeness of video games! It’s even more refreshing to know that they agreed to be a part of one and now you can live the dream of destroying an alien race with The Rock or dismembering zombies with Taylor Swift. However you game, celebrity cameos can always make it more interesting. Here are our top ten picks for the most interesting celebrity cameos in video games.
10. Michael Jordan – Barkley, Shut up and Jam: Gaiden
Video games starring professional basketball players live in infamy. The two most well known are that of Shaq-fu and Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City. Sadly, neither of these can be considered cameos as they play the main role in their respective games. Albeit true, fear not! Basketball legend Michael Jordan did appear in another game starring a fellow professional player. We’re talking about the one and only Barkley, Shut up and Jam: Gaiden. While this game may seem a bit more unfamiliar than the other two, it’s for a good reason. Barkley, Shut up and Jam: Gaiden was a game made by a small independent studio, seemingly a fan game that was very self aware as to what these old basketball games were like. But, the cameo is no less valid and it may just be that pro basketball players having their own games may be my weakness.
9. Phil Collins – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Ah yes, Phil Collins. The man who taught us all that a drummer can one day become the star of the band appeared in Vice City Stories. The former drummer-turned-lead-vocalist for the classic rock band, Genesis, was an iconic rock star of the 80’s. While responsible for hits like “In the Air Tonight” (you all know that drum solo) and “Land of Confusion”, my personal favorite work of his came later when he provided most of the soundtrack for Disney’s Tarzan. His most notable video game appearance, however, came as a pretty cool cameo in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. Phil is in Vice City you see (Miami basically), and his manager owes 3 million to the mob, which puts the celebrity at risk. Thats where Victor Vance comes in to save the day. Phil’s appearance and set of missions ends with you attending his concert and watching him perform the entirety of “In the Air Tonight”.
8. Shaquille O’Neal – UFC Undisputed 2010
Shaquille O’Neal is quite a character. Originally rising to fame as an NBA superstar, Shaq did not think that was enough and went on to pursue stardom in just about everything you could imagine. He went to star in movies like Steel and Kazaam, put out more rap albums than you thought he did. And, of course, he starred in his own video game, Shaq Fu. This would be a game that would go on to live in infamy. That brings us to one of his most random video game cameos, UFC Undisputed 2010. Input a ridiculously long password at the title screen, and boom, here comes a new challenger! Yep, it’s Shaq. I’ll leave you with a quote from the man himself:
“I do what I do. Always.”
7. Bill Clinton – NBA Jam
Pre-Monica Lewinsky Scandal Bill Clinton spent his time on the side of the court–the basketball court. Both he and Hillary appeared in NBA Jam 1993 in what may easily be the coolest presidential cameo ever. It’s hard to imagine anyone in the political scene doing anything remotely human, but oh man, Bill Clinton can shoot some hoops alright. Not only is it awesome that a president showed up in an arcade game, a president AND his wife showed up in an arcade game in 1993! We’ve been able to ball with the Clintons for over 20 years! May the legacy of Bill the baller live on forever.
6. Hideo Kojima – Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Legendary video game designer, director, and visionary Hideo Kojima has achieved a status of stardom in the industry. Best known for his work on the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Kojima has a knack for injecting his style into every game he’s involved with, and while he recently had a public fallout with Konami, and in turn, the Metal Gear series, Kojima managed to put himself in the last MGS game he worked on. Quite spectacularly, too. Earlier in the game, one of the side missions entitled “Intel Agent Extraction” has you recovering a few Mother Base staff members, one of them being Kojima himself. After rescuing him, you hand him his glasses, to which he replies: “Snake, what took you so long?”. This is a reference to the original E3 trailer from 2013.