Video game designers may now be struggling to keep up with Kim Kardashian.
Downloads of “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” have topped 6.7 million on the iTunes store since its release on June 25, according to app statistics website Xyo.net. The game, which allows you to “create your own aspiring celebrity and rise to fame and fortune,” according to a description by publisher Glu Games Inc., is free to download but is raking in cash via in-game purchase options.
When you think about gaming, it’s unlikely that Kim Kardashian is one of the first names that comes to mind but she’s just the latest in a long line of celebrities to endorse a video game.
Here are some of the most unexpected celebrities that have cashed in on the gaming industry:
Celeb: Chuck Norris
The game: “Chuck Norris Superkicks” (1983)
Before he was an Internet meme, actor Chuck Norris was one of the first celebrities to lend his likeness to a video game — if you count a karate-kicking blob of pixels as a likeness. This Atari 2600 game was later re-released as “Kung Fu Superkicks” after the developer lost its licensing rights to Norris’ name.
The game: “Journey Escape” (1982)
Fresh off the releases of two smash albums, San Francisco rock group Journey decided to cash in on their fame by getting into the rising fad of video gaming. Their hit song “Don’t Stop Believin’” blares when you fire up the game as you get ready to help the band members escape a venue after a “spectacular performance,” according to the game’s original manual. Journey starred in another video game the following year.
Celeb: Britney Spears
The game: “Britney’s Dance Beat” (2005)
Cute pop starlets and gaming are two entities that have rarely crossed paths but in 2005, singer Britney Spears slapped her name onto this PlayStation 2 dance game to surprisingly positive reviews. The game went on to sell about 250,000 copies, according to VGchartz.com.
Celeb: Michael Jordan
The game: “Chaos in the Windy City” (1994)
Athletes appearing in sports games is nothing novel but for the world’s most popular athlete to show up in a side-scrolling action game where he fights off monsters in Chicago was pretty strange. The game received widespread negative reviews, including being named one of the top ten worst games ever by “Nintendo Power” magazine in 1997.
Celeb: Snoop Dogg
The game: “Way of the Dogg” (2014)
This recent rhythm-combat game allows players to train under martial arts master Snoop Dogg; yes, you read that correctly. The game’s creation was inspired by “Snoop Dogg’s passion for Kung Fu movies,” according to a release from 505 Games.
Celeb: Steven Spielberg
The game: “Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Chair” (1996)
This live-action game showed up on PCs in 1996 and had a stellar cast for its day. In addition to Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Quentin Tarantino and Penn & Teller showed up and presumably got paid for sticking their faces on the game.
The game: “Revolution X” (1994)
Trying to cash in on arcade gaming and introducing themselves to a young new audience was Aerosmith’s version of killing two birds with one stone in 1994. “Revolution X” was a shooter starring the classic band and featuring several of their hits in the soundtrack, including “Walk this Way.” It wouldn’t be the last time the band would make bank from gamers, as 2008’s “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” reportedly made more money than any of their albums.
The game: “Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child” (2000)
Featuring an overabundance of colons in its title, this Sega Dreamcast shooter portrayed the members of Kiss as mythical superhumans. However, for a band that once put its logo on condoms and bicycle shorts, a video game is a fairly respectable cash grab.
Celeb: Hugh Hefner
The game: “Playboy: The Mansion” (2005)
This clone of “The Sims” starred publisher and free speech icon Hugh Hefner as himself, allowing players to experience life at the Playboy Mansion. The game essentially amounted to copious amounts of pixelated sex, selling about 200,000 units, according to VGchartz.com.
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