Scriptwriters from Hollywood, sensing a change in the air, are increasingly moving into writing scripts for video games. David Goyer who co-wrote Batman Begins worked on Black Ops 2. There’s a reason: Video games are mega-big business. An earlier version of BO2 made $1 billion in 16 days. It took James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar 17 days to hit that mark.
Hollywood and its stars have a history with video games. At the dawn of the gaming era, Walt Disney released the massively successful Tron (1982) which was a sci-fi movie about characters lost in a sinister gaming universe where death and destruction were the order of the day. These days, stars such as Liam Neeson, Snoop Dogg, Christina Aguilera, Cameron Diaz and Jon Bon Jovi are appearing in video games as playable characters (and not, it must be said, always winning the day).
We’ve come a long way from the first appearance of Mario (Donkey Kong) and the introduction of the Game Boy in the 1980’s. By the 1990’s, the gaming world had moved into home-based gaming consoles and the turn of the Millineum saw the first Xbox and the revolution of Wii with its motion sensitive action games. And now with the MMO, the gaming world has gone online and stars and “normal” people alike have taken to the virtual universe of Massive Multiplayer Online games. You never know (or realize) when Mila Kunis, Megan Fox or Snoop Dogg might be trying to blow your head off. And don’t think they won’t try.
And many of the stars love gaming. Established stars like Snoop Dogg, Ice-T and Robin Williams are keen gamers and Steven Spielberg is involved in the development and production end of video games. Younger stars such as Mila Kunis and Megan Fox are addicted, as are comedians Mary McCarthy, Dave Chappelle and Seth Rogen. Hunks such as Daniel Craig and Vin Diesel have publicly voiced their enthusiasm for video games.
The clear top three games in star land are World of Warcraft (self evident what that one is about), Call of Duty that began with World War II war games and has currently moved into more Futuristic scenarios, and Halo, a sci-fi futuristic humans versus evil aliens battle for survival.
So, let’s take a look at the stars who love to play and the games they swear by:
10. Mila Kunis
The star of such films as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Black Swan, Mila Kunis has admitted that she was addicted to World of Warcraft, so much so that she would sit in her underwear and literally play all day. When she and Macaulay Culkin were a thing, they would spend hours playing WoW. She modestly says she is a good player. But she gave it up because it was taking over her life and she now plays Call of Duty. She gets a thrill out of questing and zapping and killing. .
9. Daniel Craig
Craig, the chunky British star of the James Bond franchise, has admitted that Bond has taken over his life. But games may have been a problem as well. A fan of Halo and Guitar Hero, he has readily admitted that the games caused friction between him and a now ex-girlfriend. Each time she saw the box, she would complain. It got to the point that he waited for her to go out before taking up his gaming station. The star who signed in 2006 as Bond for a whopping $60 million, has been married to British actress Rachel Weisz since 2011. No word on the effect of gaming on their life.
8. Vin Diesel
Calling himself the “alpha-nerd” of Hollywood, Diesel makes no secret of his love of gaming. He recently shared a video of himself and a man he hinted was his friend Paul Walker (the star who tragically died in a car accident) playing World of Warcraft a few years ago and spoke of he and Walker building “toons” (characters) in MMO games. The man who cut his teeth on Dungeons and Dragons when he was a child, told Jimmy Kimmel that Melkor is his favorite D&D character. Not content merely to play, Diesel has also started up Tigon Studios to develop video games and his first effort, Chronicles of Riddick, was well received.
7. Snoop Dogg
Rapper and bad boy Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion since his conversion to Rastafarianism), loves playing video games. In 2006, he started an A-lister gaming group call Hip-Hop Gaming League. And he has starred in his own game, Way of the Dog, as well as others. He also lent his voice to recent downloadable content for Call of Duty: Ghosts.
6. Gemma Atkinson
She confesses that she kept her childhood companion, a Gameboy, hidden away in the bathroom. The shapely English actress has appeared in movies and on TV and was a glamour and lingerie model, appearing on the cover of FHM. She is also a video game actress, having appeared in Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3. Interviewed at the UK’s 2011 Video Game Awards (she was a presenter) she admitted a certain passion for Tomb Raider and Call of Duty. Even though she has hung up her bikini for acting, she would make a great Lara Croft in the event of a remake of the game or the movie.
5. Seth Rogen
The Canadian stand up comedian, actor and producer admits that he has Xbox and Wii and all the latest killer war games. But he also admits that his first love is the video arcade game The PlayChoice10, a system that plays classic Nintendo games such as Contra and the original Mario Brothers. When he has parties, he has said that the line forms, not at the Xbox, but at the PlayChoice10 station. Rogen and his natural comedic abilities and have made the transition from stand up comedies to movies, appearing in Knocked Up and most recently with Streisand in The Guilt Trip.
4. Megan Fox
Megan confesses, without shame, to a complete addiction to Halo. In fact, in the movie Friends with Kids she is shot playing Halo. She has Halo: Reach, but also plays online via her Xbox Live. Not revealing her player name, she nonetheless has said that the guys online make fun of her obviously female game, not realizing that they are dissing the curvy actress/model who graced the screen in Transformers. Her favorite game? It is Mortal Kombat, because according to her, it “just works well with my brain.”
3. Dave Chappelle
Funnyman Dave Chappelle loves World of Warcraft. When he admitted it at a stand up gig in San Francisco, cheers and applause broke out and Chappelle thanked his “geek brothers and sisters”. He has proudly said that the name of one of the characters in WoW was based on one of his sketches. He has even done a loving parody of the classic game Grand Theft Auto.
2. Jenny McCarthy
Getting her start with Playboy, Jenny McCarthy was Playmate of the Year in 1993. The co-host of ABC TV’s The View started her gaming life with Pac-Man at the age of 8 and got her first Atari as a reward for getting a vaccination shot (She has since become an outspoken critic of children receiving vaccinations). She admits that she and actor ex-husband John Asher played video games all the time and that it probably saved their marriage. At least for a while. When she dated Jim Carrey, they played together on his Wii.
Former rapper and TV star (SVU), Ice-T is big on video gaming, pointing out that video games and hip-hop broke out at the same time. He grew up with early systems such as Atari and Segas and in his musical days spent long hours on tour buses playing games. And he is proud that he had the first version of Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam. He and Snoop play online together and like so many other stars Ice-T says he is a huge Call of Duty fan.