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34 Cliches of Christmas
Celebrity Cameos
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 17, 2007   |   Episode 26 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at the video game cliche, the type of thing we've seen time and time again in all generations of gaming. Is this cliche realistic? Does it need to go away? These are the types of questions Defunct Games will be asking over the next month. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 34 Cliches of Christmas!



It's not enough for the Beastie Boys to debut their newest song in NBA Street, but they also laced up their sneakers and went head to head in the game for no reason at all!
As Seen In: NBA Jam, Skate, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Onimusha 3, Guitar Hero, Fight Club: The Game, Fight Night Round 3, Toughman Contest and dozens of other sports games!

What Is It? You see it all the time in movies and TV shows, out of nowhere a celebrity will pop up and wink at the camera. Most of these celebrities don't even try, they just show up and read a line or two and walk off stage to collect a paycheck. Yet despite the desperate nature of the celebrity cameo, you can find real stars doing walk on roles in all sorts of high profile TV shows and big budget movies. And now you can see them in your favorite video games. It used to be that celebrity cameos only showed up in the sports games like NBA Jam and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, but these days you can find Fred Durst in Fight Club: The Game and Slash in Guitar Hero III. These days the cameo is often done for laughs, usually giving the celebrity a few minutes to make fun of the one thing they are good at (oh hey, Bam Margera made fun of the fact that he falls down a lot, talk about inspired comedy). I wish it was like the good old days, when Snoop Dogg, Sonic Youth, Bill Clinton and the Beastie Boys would shoot hoops alongside Shaq, Barkley and Jordan in NBA Jam.


Slash doesn't just make a short cameo, he's the only boss character featured on the front of the box!
Is It Realistic? Unless you live in Hollywood, chances are you don't have a celebrity cameo every day of the week. But it is realistic to expect a celebrity cameo from time to time. Just look at movies and TV shows; it's customary for network shows to trot out all sorts of A-list stars for their sweeps period. Some of these cameos work (Scott Baio in Arrested Development), and some of these cameos don't (Paris Hilton in ... well, anything). Like TV shows, video games have good cameos (Jean Reno in Onimusha 3) and bad cameos (the Burger King "King" in Fight Night Round 3). And don't even get me started on celebrity cameos in music. How many times have you been listening to a song and said, "Hey, that's Jamie Foxx!" Well, I can tell you from experience that this scenario has played out at least once for me. The point is, if we're going to accept video games as an art form, then sometimes we have to put up with the occasional celebrity showing up to "hip" the place up a bit.

Is It Overused? If used in the right way, a celebrity cameo can be an enjoyable moment that you can't wait to tell your friends about. But this cliche (like so many others) can be overused. If the celebrity doesn't fit in with the rest of the game then he (or she) can stand out. But even then, it's always fun to look back at all of the crazy faces who have appeared in video games. Sometimes video games are the only place where you can beat the crap out of Coolio and dunk the ball with Hillary Clinton. What merry times we live in.

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