8 Best Musician Appearances In Video Games
Once a musician has reached a certain level of success, he usually shifts his popularity to another medium. Some turn to the theater like Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban. Others turn to television, like Ice-T. And some turn to films like Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, Cher, Ludacris, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, David Bowie, Ice Cube and many more.
But sometimes musicians will turn to video games. That makes sense, especially since it probably won’t take as long as those other companies! So on this list, we’re looking at appearances of famous musicians made in video games, where they weren’t the main character or in a game themed around them, like Beatles Rock Band. So without further ado, let’s welcome these entries on stage!
8 The Beastie Boys (various basketball games)
Outside of music, there’s one thing the Beastie Boys love and that’s basketball. There are constant references to sports in many of their songs. They appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with a huge basketball theme. At Lollapalooza ’94, they brought with them a pop-up basketball court. And on top of all that, they have appeared in numerous basketball video games.
Most of them are from the NBA Jam series where you can enter a code and form a team with two of the Beastie Boys members. But if you want to play against all party members, you can start NBA Street Vol. 3 where you can challenge the boys to Dyckman Park or pay 500 points to play with them in the game.
seven Fred Durst (Fight Club, WWF Raw, WWF Smackdown! Bring It On!)
While the Beastie Boys love basketball, Fred Durst loves breaking stuff. And after his band Limp Bizkit provided the Undertaker’s entrance theme to the WWF (now WWE), the developers behind two of their games decided to put him in as a secret character. In both of these games, he enters the exact same song and it’s kind of fun, especially if you were a fan of either in the early 2000s.
But Durst’s weirdest video game inclusion occurs in the Fight Club video game. If you beat story mode, you unlock Fred Durst as a playable character. It’s disconcerting because two famous musicians were already in the film: Meatloaf and Jared Leto. Even with Abraham Lincoln as another secret character, Fred Durst remains somehow the weirdest and most memorable part of the Fight Club game.
6 David Bowie (Omikron: Nomadic Soul)
David Bowie is amazing at everything he’s done. His music contains some of the best songs of all time. His performances in films like Labyrinth and The Prestige are unparalleled. And in the late 90s, he provided the score for a video game called Omikron: The Nomad Soul. And it was… not great. The controls were slow and the story was convoluted.
But not everything was terrible because there was still David Bowie in it. Bowie plays Boz, a revolutionary who only exists in Omikron’s computer network. The performance is good, but Bowie’s real highlight is more of a cameo. If you walked into a specific bar at the right time, you can see David Bowie and his in-game band, The Dreamers, perform songs about the revolution. It’s delicious and, really, the only highlight of a frustrating game.
5 Ariana Grande and Katy Perry (Final Fantasy Brave Exvius)
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is a free-to-play turn-based RPG for mobile devices created by Square Enix and Alim. The main gimmick of the game is that you can buy your favorite characters from across the Final Fantasy series to create a five-person party. And two of those famous Final Fantasy characters are Dangerous Ariana and Popstar Katy.
That’s right, Ariana Grande and Katy Perry appear in a Final Fantasy game. This raises only one question: why? Turns out Ariana and Katy are huge video game fans and wanted to appear in this game. Although it was more than likely to promote tours and albums, it’s still really cool to to see people who love video games participate in this way.
4 Phil Collins (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories)
Of all the entries on this list, none feels more out of place than Phil Collins. He’s more like a father who doesn’t understand why his child keeps playing video games and doesn’t go out. Still, he’s here for his delightful appearance in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
In the game, Phil Collins plays… well, Phil Collins. But it’s perfect for the 80s vibe of Vice City games! After his manager owes a mobster three million dollars, it’s up to the player to protect Phil at all costs. This includes defusing a bomb and defending goons before and during a performance. And after saving him, you can even buy a ticket to see him play In The Air Tonight in the game! It might not be as extensive an appearance as Dr. Dre’s in Grand Theft Auto 5, but it’s still a standout moment you won’t soon forget!
3 Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy Kilmister (brutal legend)
Double Fine’s Brutal Legend tells the story of Eddie Riggs, a roadie who is taken into the world of heavy metal when he is crushed by a falling landscape while trying to save a band member. While a lot of attention has been drawn to Jack Black’s standout performance as the aforementioned Riggs, the game also features a ton of heavy metal legends like Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Lita Ford.
However, the best supporting roles went to Ozzy Osbourne and the late Lemmy Kilmister. Osbourne plays The Guardian of Metal which aids the player by upgrading gear and maintains a jovial attitude despite the gloomy imagery, much like Osbourne himself. Lemmy Kilmister played Kill Master, a bassist who uses his musical abilities to heal Riggs and his allies. These performances were not only fantastic, but they brought a level of heavy metal credibility to Brutal Legend.
2 Jack Black (Psychonauts 2)
You didn’t think we were done with Jack Black, did you? Although best known for his acting and comedian pursuits, Black actually won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance with Kyle Gass in the band Tenacious D. That makes him more than qualified for this list!
Black reunited with Double Fine Studios to play Helmut Fullbear in Psychonauts 2, a lost member of the Psychic Six whom everyone had presumed dead. Although first seen as a Mote of Light, main character Raz soon helps him realize who he is and eventually reunites him with his husband. The story of Fullbear reuniting with her husband is one of the most beautiful parts of Psychonauts 2 and a lot of that is due to Jack Black’s fine performance.
1 Snoop Dogg and many more (Def Jam: Fight For NY)
The Def Jam series is known for combining pro wrestling style fighting in the worlds of rap and hip hop. While the first game was good, its sequel made it even better. Combat styles were more fleshed out, character creation has a lot more detail, and there was a lot more interactivity in the environments. But more than anything, there were a large number of characters. And of those 67 playable characters, nearly 40 are actual rappers signed to Def Jam Records.
Seriously, this list is stacked! Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Ice-T, Ludacris, Redman, and Ghostface Killah are just a few of the names you’ll see in Fight For NY. But the obvious highlight is Snoop Dogg as the villainous Crow. Crow is a constant presence throughout the story, kidnapping your girlfriend and killing your friends without ever getting his hands dirty. On top of that, the final battle against him is incredibly difficult. This, combined with Snoop Dogg’s performance, makes him one of the most memorable antagonists in fighting game history.
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