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Video Games Catch Falling Stars
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 22, 2005   |   Episode 74 (Show Archive)  

   

As Wonder Woman Lynda Carter was one in a million, but now she's just one of the many has-been actors appearing in games!
It's sad when celebrities lose their fame and are forced to live the rest of their life remembering how good things used to be. What's popular today will probably not be what's popular tomorrow, leaving a lot of washed up actors out of work and out of luck. In the past these celebrities turned to reality TV, game shows, and touring with conventions; but now there seems to be a new safety net for these fallen stars - video games!

These days just about every video game features some sort of voice acting, which leads the developers to go for big name talent to give their title that polished feel. Sometimes companies will spring for big Hollywood stars, like Kingdom Hearts (featuring: Haley Joel Osment and Mandy Moore); while other times they'll stick with celebs whose fame is waning, like Area 51 (featuring: David Duchovny and Marilyn Manson).

But lately we've noticed that there are a lot more games featuring these C-list performers. Lately

Mark Ecko: Adam West and Diddy, together at last!
it seems like Powers Boothe is getting more game action than Austin Powers. Take 2K Games' announcement last week that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will feature voice talent by Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter. Here is an actor that will always be remembered for her patriotic panties, but sadly has only found her way into mediocre movies as bit parts. Yet her involvement in this Xbox 360 game is big news among game sites and RPG fans.

Lynda Carter isn't the only ex-superhero lending their talents to gaming; Adam West (TV's Batman) is no stranger to the

How is it possible that there hasn't been a MacGyver game? Hey Rockstar Games, can you get on that?
recording booth. Not only did the actor formerly known as Bruce Wayne play opposite TV's Agent Mulder in XIII, but he managed to snag a role in Mark Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. Considering Adam's unique voice and energetic acting style, I'm surprised he isn't getting more jobs in these games.

On the other hand, there are a number of games written specifically for one specific out of work actor. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Philip Michael Thomas essentially reprised his role from Miami Vice, a TV show that was more than a little inspirational to the entire game. Likewise, TV's MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) was cast in the upcoming StarGate game ... only to find it cancelled and himself out of work again.

Of course, this doesn't just happen to out of work TV actors, everybody's favorite James Bond has been struggling to find himself on the big screen lately. Sure he was in the forgettable League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and three years earlier he had a part in Finding Forrester, but Sean Connery's movie career has been in auto-pilot since the mid-1990s. So what's a Highlander to do? Apparently you reprise your role as everybody's favorite British spy in a game made by Electronic Arts, that's

Oh Pierce Brosnan, don't you know you're not supposed to wear white after Labor Day??
what! And he's not the only Bond, Remington Steele star Pierce Brosnan is also appearing in video games. Kind of makes you wonder when they'll bring back Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby.

But using washed up celebrities is nothing new for video games; after all, we were watching and listening to C-list actors ten years ago. Anybody that has played through Night Trap knows that you can find Diff'rent Strokes star Dana Plato trying to keep everybody calm while hunting for vampires. Even TJ Hooker himself (William Shatner) was in a game or two back in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately neither of these actors has been cast in any recent games ... and only Dana Plato has a good excuse!

Not every actor is lining up to be in a video game, though. Even though Batman, Wonder Woman, TJ

There once was a time when washed up celebrities would just host a daytime talk show!
Hooker, and even Remington Steele have managed to use their talents in games, there are just as many that have yet to find the perfect role. Although he was made fun of in San Andreas, CHiPs' star Erik Estrada has never been in a video game. Same goes for Knight Rider star David Hasselhoff. Or the A-Team's Mr. T. Or Lou Ferrigno, the original Incredible Hulk. And although Magnum, P.I.'s Tom Selleck has kissed a man on film, he has never taken the plunge and voiced a game character.

But this trend is still young and I wouldn't be too surprised to see any one of those has-been celebrities appear in something interactive in the near future. The games of the future are only going to cost more to make, so it shouldn't surprise anybody to see cheap actors making their come back in video games. Who knows, maybe this will be a way for Lynda Carter, David Duchovny, and Philip Michael Thomas to get their foot back in the door. Either way, I'd rather have these old timers voicing my games than have to listen to any more whining by big name actor Tobey Maguire.
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