Seminal 90’s anime “Akira” opens in the dead of night, on a neon-lit street somewhere in iridescent Neo-Tokyo. Suddenly, blinding lights of red and orange streak across the screen, and amid a fluorescent haze, we catch a glimpse of The Clowns, a biker gang, flying high on a cocktail of drugs and violence. Wielding nail-ridden clubs, spattered in blood and the kind of face-paint that would give Pennywise a run for his money, these guys mean business.
But every antagonist must have their own anti-hero, even in Akira. Who, you might ask would take on this challenge, these modern-day monoliths of sedition and steel? The answer, it seems, is none other than Hideo Kojima, straddling the long coveted, much-adorned motorbike owned previously, it seems by Shotaro Keneda.
For any of you still with me; CD Projekt Red has revealed that it will feature key protagonist from Akira’s preferred mode of transport and the aforementioned producer of Metal Gear renowned in the much anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 should be nothing of a surprise. It’s an interesting, if incongruent pairing, not that we have any objection to either’s inclusion in the release.
The inclusion of celebrity – and an Akira tribute – is in no way a landmark in the medium. Celebrity cameos have long since featured in gaming.
But is it the strangest? Any Button Gaming seeks to answer that very question by reviewing five of the most intangible interventions to grace our screens over the years.
Justin Bieber; NBA 2K13
My favourite anecdote about Justin Bieber goes something like this;
After a period of wife-swapping with Orlando Bloom, Canadian child Bieber and Legolas happened upon each other in a wanky Ibiza restaurant. After refusing a handshake, Bieber walked off, presenting his back to chancer Bloom.
In a moment of clarity I think many among us can relate to, Orlando took his shot and swung at the little rapscallion.
The restaurant erupted in applause, but unfortunately, Bieber escaped unscathed. Later reports emerged of Orlando seen crying, presumably realising he wasn’t a half-elf, half demi-god but rather just a limp wristed wannabe like the rest of us. Marvellous.
Also, Justin Bieber was in a basketball game once.
Ozzy Osborne; Brütal Legend
Original mad lad Ozzy Osbourne once ate a bat on stage. Irresponsible in the current climate you might think (at least it wasn’t a Pangolin), but way back amid Black Sabbath’s peak it was considered something of a spectacle.
Fitting then, that he should feature in Tim Schafer’s love letter to rock playing your go-to no-good mechanic. Ozzy will fix you up with whichever instrument of destruction your heart might desire. Unexpected from the Prince of Darkness, but a perfect fit none the less.
David Hasslehoff; Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3
Back in 2008, the idea of David Hasslehoff as President of the United States of America was quite the coup.
As the now-defunct developer Westwood wheeled out President Hoff in a post-game cut scene, we all took a breath. We prayed that the illustrious guile of celebrity would never overshadow real presidential electability. How very wrong we were. Come back President Hoff, you’ve got my vote.
Michael Jackson; Space Channel 5
According to legend, the late author of Thriller renown was rushed into rhythm game Space Channel 5 at the 11th hour at his own request. Completely out of character, Jackson sought to gain the admiration of a younger fan-base, presented as “Space Michael”. Gamers were presented with an avatar dancing the fandango with typical Jacco finesse. Undoubtedly a shrewd marketing decision by SEGA at the time. As many have now testified, it’s hard to say no to the king of pop.
Phil Collins; Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Fail to protect fabled drummer and future Cadbury’s advert star Phil Collins in a notable GTA: Vice City Stories side quest and a bullet to the head is something he won’t “feel coming in the air tonight”.
But Collin’s inclusion is noteworthy because Rockstar typically prefers to lampoon celebrities, rather than feature them.
Just give us the Akira bike!
So what do you make of this latest celebrity shoe-horning? I, for one, have wasted countless hours drooling over Akira’s neon-red muscle-bike. I lack the skill to fully articulate how enraptured I was on first witnessing the spectacle that was Akira. It is quintessentially dystopian, markedly fantastic, gloriously, well, gory. Suffice to say its homage is unquestionably fitting for Cyberpunk 2077. Oh, and Hideo Kojima, too.
Well, at least it’s not Bieber.
Make sure you stick with Any Button Gaming for the latest gaming news, reviews, and features from around the world.
Fancy being social? We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Or if videos and/or podcasts are more your thing, why not subscribe to our YouTube and Twitch channels and track us down on Spotify. And if you wanna show your allegiance to ABG, you’ll be happy to know we have our own merch! All proceeds go to helping fund the site.
Don’t forget to drop us a comment down below, and have a nice day!