Celebrities just love smothering their names over anything that breathes publicity, don’t they? It’s just as well, seeing as game developers are always keen to slap them into their worlds as a way to escalate hype before launch day rolls around. Just take a look at Cyberpunk 2077, for example. Keanu Reeves practically hogged that spotlight like it was the only source of light left on planet earth. And it worked. Because the point is — people love cameos.
But this isn’t to say that celebrities hoard whatever they touch. In fact, many video games have gone out of their way to tuck celebrities in the back alleys of the world, where only cheat codes can bring them back into the light. Anyway, there are tonnes of celebrity cameos out there, and we can only really pay respects to those who stood out to us the most over the years. But let’s just run it from the top. Here are five legendary celebrity cameos in video games.
5. Black Eyed Peas (The Urbz: Sims in the City)
Way back when The Urbz first rolled out in 2004, most of us just sort of rolled our eyes, half expecting it to be a cheap clone of the highly-acclaimed Sims chapters. And yet, to our absolute surprise, it turned out to be the breath of fresh air we all needed after slumping through suburban life year after year. And the biggest dose of oxygen, of course, stemmed from the up and coming Black Eyes Peas cameos, who starred as the, uh — stars of the city.
In order to gain access to the most lavish spots in the city, you first have to climb your way through the social ranks, picking up jobs and building long-lasting relationships with Urbz of all backgrounds. However, having Will.I.Am at your side acting as a mentor of sorts, as well as Fergie and the other Peas, your goal is made a whole lot easier, with advice only ever being a stone’s throw away.
4. Phil Collins (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories)
If you thought having to accompany and defend mundane NPCs in other video games was a chore, then you could always try switching it up a bit and aim a little higher. Try Phil Collins out for size. Bet you never expected to be his bodyguard, did you? And yet, here we are, presenting you with the opportunity to step back into the 80s and mow down a few dozen money-hungry gangsters.
After successfully protecting the soft-rock legend, you’ll pretty much have the opportunity to attend one of his shows, in which he jams out the classic “In The Air Tonight” for you and stadium of adoring fans. Of course, you’ll have to fork out a few thousand bucks for the privilege — but it’s weirdly worth every cent, if only to relive some of those glory days from the electric eighties.
3. Slash (Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock)
How could we forget that awe-inspiring battle with the top hat-wearing rock guru from Guitar Hero: Legends of Rock? Next to Tom Morello (and not to mention the devil himself), Slash was hands down one of the best celebrity cameos Guitar Hero has ever shoveled into its musical metropolis. And let’s face it — it was probably one of the most entertaining battles we’ve ever had in a rhythm game too.
Going toe-to-toe with the Guns & Roses legend in the deepest, darkest fiery pits of Satan’s lair, our entire future spread out on the line, with every missed fret building towards that dreaded silence as the audience hushes you off stage and dropkicks you back to the title screen. Luckily for us, however, having the option to alter the difficulty before raising the axe meant even Slash wound up posing no real threat. Just another stepping stone en route to power, I guess. No shame.
2. Ozzy Osbourne (Brutal Legend)
Drive Eddie’s beloved hot rod (famously known as “The Druid Plow”) through the chambers of hell and you’ll discover one of the most iconic warlords of metal waiting idly by with a selection of beefy upgrades. Ozzy Osbourne, holding his ground as the Guardian of Metal, pitches you with all the gears and goodies to help give you the upper hand out in the alternative world above.
It comes as no surprise, having someone as legendary as the Black Sabbath front man, seeing as Brutal Legend is entirely made up of metal music and well — all things metal. And so, it only seems fitting to have one of its founding fathers as the Guardian of the world itself. But that’s just one of the many icons that can be located on the map. Lest we forget the late Lemmy of Motörhead, who also played a key role in the roadie’s radical roadshow.
1. Snoop Dogg (True Crime: Streets of L.A.)
Do you know how we all have those certain cheat codes that remain lodged in our memory cores even after decades of punching them in like clockwork? Well, one of those, weirdly enough, just so happens to link to True Crime: Streets of L.A., with Snoop Dogg being an unlockable character. Although the game itself features Dogg Bones, a collectible item found all over the city, as well as the famous rapper voicing over his own hidden playable character — the fact is, he can only be accessed through cheat codes. Weird, right?
Anyway, after filling the famous rapper’s shoes, players have a single hour to mop up as many crimes around the city as remotely possible. From the suburban districts to the towering city lights, crimes must be completed and logged, and in return, a special title is handed out depending on how many crimes were solved in the alloted time. So, a pretty cool add-on all in all. Even better if you’re a die-hard Snoop Dogg fan.