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 411mania » Games » Columns

The 8 Ball 3.26.13: Top 8 Celebrities in Games
Posted by Marc Morrison on 03.26.2013

Welcome to another edition of The 8 Ball. Since no one voted last time, I chose to do lists based on celebrities that appear in games. I tried to make some criteria in my list, namely people who didn't appear on my previous voice actors/actresses lists, so no Natalie Lander again, or Nolan North. Also, I wanted to try and choose people who have been in only a few video games, trying to keep the list to five and under. Let's begin:

8. Brad Dourif -- Piero Joplin (Dishonored)

While there might have been bigger star power in Dishonored, coming from Susan Sarandon, Lena Headey, or Chloe Grace Moretz, Brad Dourif was the standout character for me. While he wasn't the most plot-integral character in the game, I always would go to Piero's store when back at the home base to see what he had to say, or see what he had to offer my character. Mr. Dourif did a good variation on his "nervous/intelligent" character that he's honed over the years, so it was a nice constant for me, personally. It would have been great if he dropped into the Chucky voice, but you can't expect it, given his character.

7. Burt Reynolds -- Mayor Burt Reynolds (Saints Row 3)

While Burt Reynolds was in a prior game, he wasn't that recognizable in the grand scheme of things. In Saints Row 3, he's the mayor of Stillwater. More importantly, if you play your cards right in the game, you can have him as an unlockable assist character to fight alongside you. It's great that he was able to poke some fun at his own image as well as having his character be friends with some of the more seedy characters in the game. The reaction that your character has is also great, just being in reverence and awe of him, with the jokes just piling on more and more. Like with the Piero, he's not a super important character in the overall game, but he is someone that makes the game special and unique.

6. Sam Jackson -- Officer Tenpenny (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)

While a later actor kicked off the big rush of celebrities in gaming, Sam Jackson was a huge get for the Grand Theft Auto franchise. While Mr. Jackson typically portrays hero, or at least anti-hero characters in his popular persona, by making him the villain in this game showed a different, but interesting side to him. And what a complete piece of shit character as well, while to the community he's upstanding (at first), he's a corrupt character to the core and lets the character, and the player know it. He gets his comeuppance in the end, but Sam Jackson played one of the more iconic characters in all of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

5. Jack Black -- Eddie Riggs (Brutal Legend)

Without Jack Black, Eddie Riggs likely would have been a very different character than what he was. For as ultimately flawed a game Brutal Legend was, the character of Eddie was a standout for the game. Frankly just seeing his reactions to everything made me play it for longer then I should have. The intro sets the stage for the game in a hilarious FMV sequence that is crazy, but fits in perfectly to the overall humor the game creates. If you're a fan of Jack Black at all you owe it to yourself to try the game out and see the early bits. Once it becomes an RTS though, the fun sadly stops.

4. Yvonne Strahovski -- Miranda Lawson (Mass Effect 2)

There is a ton of really great voice work in all the Mass Effect games, but I found Ms. Strahovski particularly effective because she provided a unique (natively Australian) voice for the character. On the surface Miranda is all business and about getting the job done but the more you play the game, the more cracks appear in her armor and she becomes a better character. She was the character I kept around most in my party due to her insights and the conversations she would have. It helps that the character is partially modeled on the actress herself, and little things do show that relationship.

3. Camilla Luddington -- Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

Really, Tomb Rider is a superb reboot of a franchise that was a bit listless. The prior Crystal Dynamics games were good, but they still had a bit too much baggage on them. The reboot is fresh and exciting, with an all new semi-realistic Lara Croft. Camilla Luddington does a great job of expressing Lara's feelings and thoughts about what is going on in the game. The voice acting is solid, but the mo-cap work by Ms. Luddington is superb. While she didn't do a lot of her own stunts that went to stunt person Tarah Paige (who did some fine work), Camilla did a great job of making Lara actually feel like a human character, something I thought not really possible in a Tomb Raider game.

2. Vin Diesel -- Richard B. Riddick (The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay)

A movie tie-in game is a bit of a cheat here, but it still works. While Diesel's gravelly voice translates well into a video game world (better than the Riddick movie at any rate), it was him actually being involved in the project that is impressive to me. He created a company, Tigon Studios, to help facilitate his brand/likeness into the game. That takes real dedication on his part, to do something like that. While the next Riddick game, and Wheelman weren't huge successes, they were still solid enough games that didn't quite match up to the original Riddick's reviews. The game is worth tracking down to this day, as it remains one of the highpoints for a movie tie-in game that is brilliant.

1. Ray Liotta -- Tommy Vercetti (GTA: Vice City)

There were celebrities in games prior to Vice City (even in GTA 3), Ray Liotta's work in the game really cemented the idea of having celebrities doing work for video games at large. He also helped with just giving your character a voice. It always felt super awkward when playing GTA 3 that Claude never said anything, apparently suffering from the same illness that plagues Link and Gordon Freeman. But in Vice City, Tommy has a highly recognizable voice driving him and the story forward. Sure it's a pastiche of Goodfellas meets Scarface, mixed with a few other gangster movies, but it does the job. It's truly a shame that Ray Liotta hasn't done more voice work in games, but really, he was already perfect as Tommy, so what could he do better than him? Well, besides another Tommy game, I could get behind that.

Bonus Entrant

My bonus pick for this list is Liana herself. She was a feature/pinup model for Battlestations: Pacific. Had she been a voice in the game, or done video like in Red Alert 3, she would have definitely made my list. Here she is, from the game

 photo pinup2_zps6ae3b16f.jpg

The Better Half

No column this week as Liana had a small dental emergency. Wish her well, and hopefully she'll be back net week.

Complainer's Corner

I'm sure everyone will have a different list or group of people that are outraged aren't on my list. I'll name some of the other celebrities I thought of, just going off the cuff: Bruce Willis, Emma Stone, Gary Oldman, Gemma Atkinson, Jennifer Morrison, Christopher Walken, 50 Cent, Susan Sarandon, Julia Ling, Sam Worthington, Nathan Fillion/Alan Tudyk, and finally anyone appearing in a Def Jam game.

The General Roundup

A few comments from last week: I never considered Yakuza to be a spiritual sequel to Shenmue, but I can kind of see it. I never played any Yakuza game though, so my frame of reference might be wrong. Devil May Cry was pretty much a dead franchise before DmC. Remember Devil May Cry 4? Try playing that game now, and see how far you make it. Also yes, Rygar was a NES game (ported from Arcade), and like a lot of old properties, they made a modern game from it. I also accidently switched the titles on last week's column, for Complainer's Corner and General Roundup. No one picked up on this. How interesting.

What do you want the 8 Ball to be about next week?

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