These Hollywood Folk Are Videogame Freaks
By Matthew Arcilla
These days, videogames are fully recognized as one of the major entertainment forms of this generation. That’s why many celebrities are willing to star in commercials for major gaming brands, lend their voice to the next big release, get flown out and paid to attend promotional events or don a motion capture suit for the novelty of it all. And these stars are keen to profess their affection for video games.
The thing is, there’s a big difference between admiring the medium, and being a total unapologetic freak. Not that I endorse such gatekeeping between who the “real” gamers are, mind you. But let’s be honest, videogames have been around for a long time now. It is now culturally impossible for anyone under the age of sixty-five to not have had a passing experience with the joys of videogames. It takes a special kind of person to earn a videogame freak badge.
8. Janina Gavankar
Janina Gavankar is a television actress whose breakout role is her starring role in Star Wars Battlefront II. She told Rolling Stone that when she auditioned, it was a blind read for EA DICE, the studio working on Battlefront II. As a freakishly obsessed gamer who visits forums like NeoGAF, she instantly figured out the part and wrote the developers saying, “I figured it out and I would be perfect for it. If you don’t cast me, don’t worry, I’ll still pre-order.”
The 59-year old rapper turned actor is best known for the nineteen years he’s been on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Ice-T has made no secret of his love of video games in and out of character. As Fin Tutuola he drops esoteric truth bombs like, “better than Civilization V with the Brave New World expansion pack” and online he’s racked up 100 levels on Payday 2: The Heist and was such a fan of Gears of War he pushed the developers to put him in the third game.
6. Ronda Rousey
This UFC Champion made geek headlines for disclosing her World of Warcraft habit. She’s even played with Furious 7 co-star Vin Diesel, who convinced her to switch from night elf hunter to blood elf rogue. But what really puts Rousey on the freak radar is her obsession with Pokémon and the compulsive drive to catch them all. She was even moderator of a Pokémon forum and has been known to go into three minute long monologues about Pokémon.
5. Nathan Fillion
The star of ABC’s Castle has an endless supply of nerd cred for his leading role in sci-fi cult classic Firefly, which he used to snag himself roles in four installments of Halo. But what really takes Fillion into freak territory is his commitment to online gaming. He and his friends started a Halo gang called The Star Snakes and “bullied” Firefly co-star Alan Tudyk into joining it. Thanks to intense training under Fillion’s supervision, Tudyk is now one of their best players.
4. John Boyega
As one of the stars in the new Star Wars movies, John Boyega takes full advantage of his position to get the ear of game makers. When he met one of Disney’s vice presidents of gaming, he started grilling him on Disney Infinity, the toys-to-life platform that uses stylish figurines to unlock game content. He’s also tweeted out his thoughts about Star Wars Battlefront, which led directly to the creation of a single player campaign and story mode for Star Wars Battlefront II.
3. Vin Diesel
The geek stripes have always been showing for Vin Diesel. While his passion for Dungeons & Dragons is legendary, the star of the Fast and the Furious franchise also finds time for World of Warcraft. He also founded Tigon Studios, a video game developer under his production company One Race. Tigon produced The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, one of the most critically acclaimed games based on a movie franchise and also a great first-person action and stealth game.
2. Terry Crews
Unlike the rest of the people on this list, Terry Crews wasn’t much for video games. At least, not until he discovered his son loved watching Let’s Plays and Twitch streams. It was there he decided he was going to get into it and become a part of his son’s world. Since then he’s become an outspoken advocate for the PC platform and has even built his own PC. How Crews manages to maneuver his muscle paws around inside a case to connect a SATA pin into the right place, I don’t know.
1. Robin Williams
The late great Robin Williams was famous for his boundless energy whether on stage as a comedian or on set as an actor. That energy translated into his second life as a gamer. While he played World of Warcraft like pretty much everyone else, he and his family have a special connection with The Legend of Zelda and even named his daughter, “Zelda.” He claims to call her ‘Princess” only occasionally and has starred in several Nintendo commercials with her.
Know of any other celebs? Tell us about them below!