Video Games have done a good job over the years to create characters that resonate with mass audiences. The success of the medium has even progressed to the point that certain "celebrities" are making guest appearances in another company's games. While video games have done commendable work to create their own legends, it's always satisfying when actual celebrities invade the medium of video games.
The increasing nature of this only speaks towards how more people are properly recognizing video games as a real art form. Whether they're moonlighting as some video game character or appearing as some exaggerated version of themselves, these appearances by superstars are always memorable, for both better and for worse. Accordingly, Here Are 10 Celeb Cameos That Ruined Nintendo Games (And 10 That Saved Them).
20 Ruined: David Bowie (Lego Rock Band)
All of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles have gotten a certain level of mileage out of the celebrity appearances that occur due to the use of these musicians' music. These appearances vary from appropriate to pandering, but some of the most unusual take place in the Wii's Lego Rock Band, where David Bowie (along with Iggy Pop and Freddie Mercury) appear in Lego form to suitably underwhelm fans with a mediocre game.
19 Saved: Mike Tyson (Mike Tyson Punch-Out!!)
Later versions of the iconic Nintendo boxing game may have taken out Tyson and replaced him with the less impressive Mr. Dream, but Tyson is still synonymous with the punishingly difficult game. In a title full of challenging opponents, it’s only logical that the most challenging of them all is an actual heavyweight champion.
18 Ruined: Elijah Wood (The Legend Of Spyo Trilogy)
The original Spyro trilogy for the PlayStation were formative platformers, but the “reboot” that the series experienced with the next generation of consoles was largely seen as blasphemous to the beauty of the original trilogy. The Legend of Spyro titles are a confused mess, but they even cast Elijah Wood as the new face of Spyro, in hopes of reinvigorate things. Wood’s work here is solid, but he’s just held down by sub-par games, which tarnish his performance in the process.
17 Saved: Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan: Chaos In The Windy City)
Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City is from that beautiful era of video games where basically anyone could star in their own platformer game. If Michael Jackson could do it in Moonwalker, why not Michael Jordan here? The best thing about this unusual product is that the game is a strange action platformer and not a basketball game. It’s also a huge celebration of Chicago, too.
16 Ruined: Katy Perry (The Sims 3)
The Sims universe has steadily grown with each new expansion and title, but The Sims 3 really embraces the angle of fame and fortune. The Sims 3 brings a number of actual celebrities into the title to give all of this credibility, but Katy Perry, a self-admitted Sims fan, is at the forefront of it all. Not only does Katy Perry have too large a presence in the Wii's Sims 3, but the PC version jarringly released a full-on Katy Perry expansion pack.
15 Saved: Jack Black (Broken Age)
Tim Schafer of Grim Fandango fame is a straight-up genius when it comes to the development of adventure games and Broken Age was his glorious return to the medium. Not only is the game an artistic triumph, but it also features an impressive vocal cast. Elijah Wood voices the game’s protagonist, but Jack Black is also in there for good comedic measure and manages to do a lot with a little.
14 Ruined: Slash (Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock)
To Slash's credit, he's really just being Slash here, so none of this is his fault. The Guitar Hero series delights in throwing real rock stars at its audience and Slash is kind of emblematic of the avalanche effect that follows. If Slash hadn't appeared and endorsed the series like he had here, perhaps others wouldn't have been so quick to do the same. For a while, there was a never-ending deluge of Guitar Hero games.
13 Saved: Steve Carell (Outlaw Golf)
Hypnotix put together a whole series of Outlaw sports titles that tried to inject mature themes and characters into pedestrian games. None of these Outlaw endeavors are that charming, but the GameCube's Outlaw Golf features a strange appearance from Steve Carell as the game’s sardonic announcer. Granted, Outlaw Golf was before Carell found mainstream success and was a part of The Office, so it’s an appearance that works a lot better now than when it first came out.
12 Ruined: Jimmy Kimmel (Call Of Duty: Black Ops II)
In a rather strange sequence in the Wii U’s Black Ops II, your character gets to be featured as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel's talk show to regale him with your stories of war. It's a cute ending and Kimmel is perfect here, but it seems a little unrealistic in nature and its message is a bit muddled.
11 Saved: Bruce Lee (Bruce Lee: Return Of The Legend)
Bruce Lee has seen a number of action and martial arts video games that have been released, but Return of the Legend is a beat-'em-up game from Vicarious Visions for the Game Boy Advance. It also happens to be the best Bruce Lee game that’s been put together and finally does the martial arts legend justice. Other games have squandered their incorporation of Bruce Lee, but Return of the Legend embraces him.
10 Ruined: Redman (True Crime: New York City)
Much like Snoop Dogg's cameo in True Crime's West Coast sequel, Redman is added as some authentic flavor to the New York City experience. Redman shows up briefly during a mission, but he's also playable in the unlockable mission, "RedGone Wild." Unfortunately, this appearance just isn't as much fun as Snoop's.
9 Saved: Michael Jackson (Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2)
Originating on Sega’s Dreamcast, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing was popular enough to become a multi-platform release and make its way onto the Nintendo 64. Michael Jackson’s appearance as a secret playable character (along with Shaquille O’Neal) is definitely a strange inclusion, since Jackson really has no association with boxing. Perhaps it's supposed to be a cathartic demonstration. Not only is he included, but Jackson even came into the studio to record sounds and do motion capture.
8 Ruined: Jesse James (Tony Hawk's Underground 2)
Jesse James is an interesting addition to throw into the mix as a playable character in the GameCube's Tony Hawk’s Underground 2, but it feels like he'd be the one most excited about this over anyone else. When such heavy-hitters as Shrek himself have been added to Tony Hawk games as secret characters, Jesse James isn't much to get excited over.
7 Saved: Snoop Dogg (True Crime: Streets Of LA)
It’s kind of a ludicrous, but awesome addition to the GameCube title, True Crime: Streets of LA, where if you collect 30 Dogg Bones, you'll unlock the hour-long mini-game, "Dogg Patrol," which basically just allows you to play around as Snoop Dogg as you try to solve crimes and take out villains. It's not just a cameo, you get to control the guy in a limited capacity.
6 Ruined: Carmen Electra (Def Jam: Fight For NY)
The entire existence of Def Jam: Fight for NY raises a lot of questions to begin with, so to try and analyze the characters in its roster may be a lost cause. Regardless, Carmen Electra shows up as one of the possible fighters— which doesn’t really make any sense. Apparently she’s supposed to be eye candy in the game, but she’s hardly an intimidating presence.
5 Saved: Burt Reynolds (Saints Row: The Third)
This one just barely counts, but Deep Silver suck out a Switch port of Saints Row: The Third in May, so this technically qualifies. Burt Reynolds portrays the mayor of the town that you're taking over, but he's actually himself, and you're actually a little taken aback about wronging Mr. Reynolds.
4 Ruined: DJ Dimitri Vegas (Mortal Kombat 11)
Mortal Kombat 11 is out on the Switch and even though it has a ton of fictional guest fighters like Ash from Evil Dead and the T-1000 from Terminator, there’s a certain celebrity cameo that’s largely confusing the community. Sub-Zero contains an alternate skin that turns DJ Dimitri Vegas into the iconic character. Additionally, it features Vegas’ new readings of Sub-Zero’s lines, which has left most audiences in stitches.
3 Saved: Mark Hamill (Arkham Series)
This cameo may not be a surprise if you’re aware of the casting on Batman: The Animated Series, but many people still freaked out when they learned that Mark Hamill’s sublime Joker interpretation would carry over into the popular Arkham Asylum series of games. Often video game series will try to put their own stamp on a character, but this is a satisfying example of the developers knowing what the fans want.
2 Ruined: Cool Spot (Cool Spot)
You all know that big celebrity Cool Spot, right? He's the face and mascot for the multi-million corporation, 7-Up. Admittedly, Cool Spot isn't a real life person, but he's as much a recognizable international figure as any celebrity out there. Some of the games even explicitly deal with his career as a movie star and celebrity in his own right. Not only that, but Cool Spot appears in several video games across consoles. The Super Nintendo's Cool Spot is a serviceable platformer, but the whole concept seems a little ridiculous since this guy is a spot. Cool Spot is definitely the worst mascot to headline a platformer, even if the game isn't a disaster.
1 Saved: Gene Simmons (Tony Hawk’s Underground)
Gene Simmons of KISS fame is handed off to gamers as a reward that actually turns out to be a lot of fun. Simmons’ inclusion isn’t that unexpected since their discography fits right in with the game’s soundtrack. In addition to being a flashy skateboarder, completing the game also unlocks a fancy KISS venue where the band is also playing their most loved hits.
These are some of the most outlandish and unpredictable celebrity cameos in Nintendo games that we came across, but there are plenty more out there. Sound off over your favorites in the comments below!
Sources: Ranker.com, TheGamer.com, IGN.com