When Kelsey Grammer hosted the Grammys, folks were surprised, since he is an actor and not a musician. Gaming folks, on the other hand, give no poop about the fact that we have the Video Game Awards brimming with movie and music stars, who have little to do with gaming. VGA X was basically an hour-long Sam Jackson commercial, and yes, he did voice a character in GTA: San Andreas but Kelsey Grammer has probably sung a song or two. Now, I’m not ranting or anything, I just find it somewhat strange, especially considering how often it results in awkwardness.
What’s most perplexing is the fact that these celebs themselves willingly (I assume) agree to actually get involved in things so completely out of their waters. I can understand when someone like Shaq simply sells his likeness for a game like Shaq Fu and says “I don’t give a shit, just send the checks,” but why anyone would actually go and spend time and effort to participate in games and gaming, without first finding out if it’s a good idea, boggles the mind. Let’s look at some extreme examples here:
6. Jet Li: Rise to Honor
Before he starts looking up my address (’cause he probably really cares what AlienLion has to say), here’s a disclaimer: Jet Li is awesome. He knows kung fu and has a cool name, which is a rare and deadly combination, and is the very definition of ‘badass’. However, let’s be honest here, he is not winning any Oscars anytime soon. When it comes to subtly conveying his emotions on screen, the guy isn’t exactly Jack Lemmon, is he? I’ll even go as far as state that he owes his entire acting career to his impressive ability to make severe physical trauma look so pretty. Not to say that he is horrible but we don’t ever want to see him do Hamlet; we want to see him turn people’s nostrils inside out and catch flies with his toes or some shit.
So, what exactly is the point of having an actor, whose main draw is his physical talents, in a video game? What use is someone’s ability to raise his leg over his sack when game developers can do anything they want with the character models? We have Liu Kang doing bicycle kicks and Hworang running up people like they’re fucking escalators, before tap dancing on their foreheads. Isn’t the whole idea to create believable characters with the help of someone capable of really personifying them? Seriously, name one thing that an actor can do physically that some existing video character can’t. And if you’re thinking, “naw, man, nobody does the floating nutcracker like Jet Li!” then watch this video and tell me which parts of the gameplay are motion captured Jet Li moves:
No one runs that way, unless it’s a bathroom emergency.
And it’s not like Jet Li is Bruce Lee, whose persona has generated so much crazy lore that he qualifies as a mythological creature, at this point. He’s just a guy who can kick some good ass, which makes the whole thing almost like hiring a bodybuilder to play a buff guy in a video game. Speaking of which…
5. Vin Diesel is Wheelman
Somewhat of a similar case here with Mark Sinclair Vincent, which is actually a lot cooler and less corny sounding than what he changed it to – Vin Diesel. Honestly speaking, I’ve got nothing against the guy. He did a pretty damn decent acting job in Find Me Guilty and Boiler Room, did some respectable voice work in Iron Giant, and he’s actually responsible for one of the better video games out there – The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. But let us consider the appeal of the guy here. Who has or would ever go to the movies to watch a guy named Vin Diesel give a powerful, emotional performance in some drama? I can pretty much guarantee that it’s nowhere near the number of people who would instead see him in an action movie about a buff dude, being badass, looking fucking intense. So, now… does that sound like anyone?
Vin Diesel is 90% of video game male population. As a matter of fact, he’s downright average. Any characters of Gears of War alone would clog his tub drain with chunks of pure testosterone, and that includes the women.One might argue that this makes Vin a perfect fit but what the fuck for? When does anyone ever control another video game beefcake and think to her/himself, “man, I love that I’m this badass but I really fucking wish I was Vin Diesel instead!?”
Actors are praised when they make us feel like we are watching their characters and not them, so actually inserting an actor into a game, when you don’t have to, is like disguising a zit into a cold sore. Again, it’s not like his face is used to bring the character to life, LA: Noire style, for the sake of achieving an authentic performance or lifelike presentation…
Before you think back to Riddick, remember that this Wheelman is not based on a movie, like Escape from the Butcher Bay was. It isn’t a spinoff or a sequel, either; it’s a standalone game that assumes that you want to be a virtual Vin Diesel who is playing a virtual cop character in a video game. To be fair, a movie was planned as a sequel to the game but this whole thing is still pretty out of nowhere and it’s not like the guy is 50 Cent, whose video games are pretty much the perfect product for his audience.
4. Mickey Rourke Does Rogue Warrior
Richard Marcinko is a retired Navy SEAL Commander and war vet, who is likely quite badass, as he founded two counter-terrorist units: SEAL Team SIX and Red Cell. This guy is real, by the way, and he wrote an autobiography titled Rogue Warrior, before deciding that it had the appropriate content and tone to reasonably go on as an action fiction series, not unlike what you’d find in a 90’s Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
Basically, he is the living and breathing stuff of video games, only he is also a novelist to boot. It was a no brainer for someone to step up and say “hey, we can hammer out a regular action game about this guy and even have him write the thing! That could possibly sell some copies!” Rebellion Developments and Bethesda Softworks said just that before sharing an evil giggle, shaking hands and birthing Rogue Warrior, a first person shooter, featuring a character named Richard Marcinko, who looks like the real Richard Marcinko and is voiced by… wrong, Mickey Rourke. Result?
Yes, the game sucks balls. It tanked with critics and is generally considered to be one of the worst FPS ever made, and Mickey Rourke’s involvement has something to do with that. The idea to cast him was an odd decision in the first place, since Richard Marcinko, the guy who the onscreen Richard Marcinko is supposed to be, is both alive and can speak. The only reason it would make sense is if the guy really sucked at voice acting. If you want a decently believable character, I guess, you have to bring in some acting muscle and Mickey Rourke is a pretty good actor.
Usually. The problem is of course that Rogue Warrior features some of the worst voice acting ever. Throughout the entire two hour campaign (no joke), barely-conscious Rourke does not shut the fuck up, with the most cheesy and out-of-place one-liners this side of Batman and Robin. For its’ “Hi Freeze, I’m Batman”, I give you “come on, chew on it, pencil dick” and raise you “rock n roll, motherfucker, rock n roll” (as he does a stealth kill mind you).
Turn up the sound.
I wonder how much they had to pay him if they couldn’t bring themselves to toss the voicework the moment they heard it. Then again, the game sucks so much that it doesn’t even matter.
3. Aerosmith’s Revolution X
At one point, Aerosmith seemed to have a special connection with gaming. It was probably after that music video for their massive hit ‘Amazing‘, where the still hot Alicia Silverstone engaged in some futuristic MMO cybersex with a really really rad 90’s dude, who was extremely distressed over his prolonged digital dry spell. Since then, the band couldn’t stop messin’ with actual video games, it seems. In the last century, they did a number of projects, including an adventure game titled 9: The Last Resort, which was produced by Robert De Niro and starred pretty much every random celebrity you can think of, from the Superman himself (Christopher Reeve) to Cher to Ellen DeGeneres, of all people.
Another game of the era was Revolution X, which was a dream come true for a teenage myself. I sunk every quarter I could get my hands on into that machine and I loved every moment of it. Then, I went and bought the absolute fucking turd of a Sega Megadrive/Genesis port of the game and that my friends is what this entry is all about. You see, the arcade machine was fun because small doses of mindless lightgun shooting, to some awesome tracks from one of the best rock bands of all time is epic. But when you actually get to pay attention to the game in the comfort of your own home, you start noticing shit, like the fact that this is possibly the most bizarre fucking video game in existence.
I highly recommend that you watch that entire 20-minute review to get the idea but I’ll just say a few things on my part. For one, this is an on-rail shooter before there was a Wii or even a fucking analog stick. Two, here’s the setup: as you make your way to an Aerosmith concert, the entire fucking world gets taken over by an organization called New Order Nation (which is headed by a busty biker chick) who bans everything fun, especially music, and kidnaps Aerosmith… And trust me when I say this, that’s only the beginning.
2. Dennis Miller: That’s News To Me
Hey, you know what’s cool about Dennis Miller? Neither do I. He looks, acts and talks like “some guy” so I can’t even imagine anyone caring enough to like him or hate him. That is unless they have purchased Dennis Miller: That’s News To Me, like I have…
I’ve never actually owned a 3DO but I’ve borrowed it from a buddy a few times. Well, one time, it just so happened that he left for the summer and dropped the thing off at my place (yep, he was pretty cool) without any fucking games (not as cool as he could have been though). Luckily, I had $70 to spare so I went straight to a store and got a brand new game called Olympic Summer Games, and for the left over cash, they threw in Dennis Miller: That’s News To Me, which I thought was an awesome deal.
And before you state the obvious, yes, I didn’t really know much about 3DO games or gave a fuck. I was excited to play anything on that futuristic next gen console that used CD’s instead of cartridges(!!). And while I’m at it, let me answer the other thing you might be thinking: why the fuck I didn’t take one look at that Dennic Miller cover and immediately chuck the thing into the chasm of Mount Doom. Well, that cover didn’t actually look all that different from a lot of 3DO game covers at the time. I figured, it was some type of a gameshow-type game with fancy visuals. You have to understand that it was the time when the most epic visuals on the most common consoles was this:
Just the fact that there was freaking live video, produced by a console, was mind blowing. That is until I popped that disc in to find out that this shit was not even a game. Technically, the disc doesn’t even claim that it is but the fucking thing is so worthless that I’d be pissed if it were a DVD and I were a Dennis Miller fan. All you get is this guy sitting behind a desk and doing humorous news… And it’s actually worse than it sounds. You interact by selecting a month and a topic and you get a sudden clip -without any transition or anything- of Dennis Miller telling the driest, most middle-aged-white-guy joke you’ve ever heard and the clip ends right as he finishes the last word, without so much as the fake audience laugh. The end.
Those video games, with live actors doing performances, were mostly all bad. No matter what caliber actors got involved, that stuff always came off laughably awkward. But this is not a list of the worst celebrity games; we are trying to point out the most ridiculous and pointless cases here. By far, the one that really takes the cake is the Ripper, starring a whole bunch of faces you will immediately recognize, starting with Christopher Walken. Just the fact that so many known actors came together and put in the work on something so downright retarded makes this the absolute winner. Fool one celebrity – shame on you; fool a whole shit load and you get this: