Top 10 Cringiest Celebrity Gaming Moments

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Top 10 Cringiest Celebrity Gaming Moments

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
Sometimes, celebrities and video games just don't mix. For this list, we're looking at moments in video game marketing where a celebrity's presence detracted from their respective games and events. Our countdown includes Nintendo revealing the Mario Movie Cast, EA's Celebrity-Fueled "Battlefield 1"(2016) Tournament, Weezer's Performance at Summer Games Fest, and more!
Transcript
Script written by Ty Richardson

Sometimes, celebrities and video games just don't mix. For this list, we’re looking at moments in video game marketing where a celebrity’s presence detracted from their respective games and events. Our countdown includes Nintendo revealing the Mario Movie Cast, EA's Celebrity-Fueled "Battlefield 1"(2016) Tournament, Weezer's Performance at Summer Games Fest, and more! Did any of these make you reel back and go “yikes”? Share with us in the comments below.

#10: Elijah Wood Presents “Transference” at E3 2018


When you see a celebrity walk onto an E3 stage, it tends to be a wild card moment - you never know if this is to advertise in the most patronizing way possible or if there’s some genuine promise behind it. With Elijah Wood at Ubisoft’s E3 2018 conference, it was difficult to determine. Wood took the stage along with Benoit Richer of Ubisoft Montreal to announce “Transference”, an adventure game where the player experiences events through the eyes of different family members. Unfortunately, their words felt like real advertisements as it described nothing about what the game was really about and the trailer that followed didn’t help either. “Transference” would fail to generate any hype and only reached as high as 78 on Metacritic.

#9: Weezer Performs At Summer Games Fest


Don’t get us wrong - Weezer, as a band, makes some excellent music. Some of us at WatchMojo are real fans of theirs. However, as a video game promotional material, they’re better left off the table. During the 2020 Summer Games Fest, Weezer was brought on to perform their new song, “Tell Me What You Want”, as a means to promote a surfing game called “Wave Break”. Problem is that most of the performance was spent on the band itself rather than the game, and whatever was shown of the game was already shown in the trailer we watched prior to the performance. Isn’t this supposed to be the Summer GAMES Fest?

#8: Kristen Bell Talks About the Animus


It’s rare to see a celebrity star in a game and be genuinely interested in what the game is about instead of cashing the check and driving the hype. So, Kristen Bell was a bit of a breath of fresh air back in 2006 when she was interviewed by IGN. However, it was how she expressed her interest in “Assassin’s Creed” that looked a bit funny. And not “haha” funny. Bell told IGN, “It's sort of based on the research that's sort of happening now, about the fact that your genes might be able to hold memory. And you could argue semantics and say it's instinct, but how does a baby bird know to eat a worm…if its parents don't show it?” …Uh huh.

#7: The Game Awards 2020


Whereas the 2021 Game Awards was a trainwreck with how much advertising there was for Chinese conglomerate Tencent, the show from the previous year was, in a sense, the Oscars for video games. The show felt loaded with streamers, content creators, and of course, celebrities. Did we really need Brie Larson, Ralph Macchio, DJ Kaskade, former football player John David Washington, and Christopher Nolan presenting awards? What did any of these people have to do with games? At least Macchio was in the “Cobra Kai” video game! It just made the entire show feel like one big advertisement for movies and TV shows.

#6: Terry Crews is NOT “Crackdown 3’s” Frontman


The “Crackdown” series was known for its explosive action before the third game rolled around. So, to see Terry Crews be a part of the game was super exciting! He’s one of only a few celebs who could bring the same energy into something as wild as “Crackdown”! Unfortunately, the game was not a success with fans nor critics. Along with technical problems and boring gameplay, many complained about Crews’s very, VERY short screen time as he dies ten or fifteen minutes into the game. Sure, you can play as his character, but he doesn’t say much after this point. So, rewatching all those trailers and TV spots where Crews is screaming and going ballistic hasn’t hit the same way it did before.

#5: Keanu Reeves: Marketing Man


There’s no denying that action star Keanu Reeves has seen a massive upswing within the last decade. However, the events of “Cyberpunk 2077” have probably made fans skeptical of his future promotions. A few weeks before the game launched, developer CD Projekt Red stated that Reeves was playing the game and “loved it”. However, over a year after such a statement was made, Reeves came out and said he had yet to play the game. One problem here is that a company possibly lied to its audience to drive up hype. The other problem is its star helped drive the hype and hadn’t even touched the game he had spent months promoting. Kind of shows the problem with hiring A-list celebs for AAA games.

#4: Nintendo Reveals the Mario Movie Cast


It was bad enough to see Nintendo partner with “Minions” studio Illumination Entertainment for a Mario movie. After extensive development, we never thought they would actually follow through with it. Alas, that September 2021 Direct said otherwise as Mario’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, revealed the cast. Some roles made sense like Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong and Jack Black as Bowser. Keegan-Michael Key as Toad and Charlie Day as Luigi was…something. As for Chris Pratt being Mario, well, Nintendo must have missed some of the controversies Pratt has been a part of in recent years. What hurt most was seeing Mario’s iconic voice actor, Charles Martinet, become only a cameo in the movie. Overall, not a good look for Nintendo nor Illumination.

#3: “Beyond Good & Evil 2” x Joseph Gordon-Levitt


Elijah Wood wasn’t the only weird part of Ubisoft’s E3 2018 conference. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was also at the show to announce his company, hitRECord, was partnering with Ubisoft to attract contributors for “Beyond Good & Evil 2”. Through his company, contributors could submit artwork, music, and more to help build the game’s world. However, many contributors went unpaid for their work and took to Twitter to complain. Gordon-Levitt attempted to explain how he sees it not as “freelancing” or “spec work” (when it pretty much was), and the same problems would arise again when the companies partnered a second time for “Watch Dogs: Legion”. At the time of this video, “Beyond Good & Evil 2” has yet to show any gameplay or even a release window.

#2: EA’s Celebrity-Fueled “Battlefield 1” Tournament


Part of what made “Battlefield 1” so exciting was that this was a modern first-person shooter set within the World War One era. Finally, a shooter with a different setting and a campaign that actually explores this tragic time in global history. Leave it to a AAA company like Electronic Arts to go and sensationalize it by hosting a tournament with a bunch of celebrities to promote the game. Whereas Wiz Khalifa, Terry Crews, and a handful of rap/hip-hop stars were there to just cash their check and play the game, the admittedly best part was seeing Snoop Dogg, Zac Efron, and Jamie Foxx playing while clearly under a certain herbal influence. Need some proof? Well, let’s hear it from Foxx himself - “I’m taking, uhhh…courage and hempf.”

#1: Jamie Kennedy Hosts Activision’s E3 Conference


For E3 2007, Activision hired comedian Jamie Kennedy to host their conference. Big mistake. This conference was filled with a lot of really bad jokes, some of them being a little too hostile towards other devs and the audience. According to Kennedy, he had assumed this would be no different than other appearances he had made between corporate parties and the like. Kennedy also clarifies that he wasn’t under the influence as some have believed (including us). Turns out he had spent two whole days shooting more commercials which lead to him feeling fatigued during the conference. It didn’t help that there was no teleprompter to help him stay on track. This would be Activision’s first, last, and ONLY E3 conference in the convention’s history.
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