Video games have been going through a bit of an identity crisis for the past decade or so. Some parents and politicians seem to think they lead to childhood obesity and shrinking attention spans, while other scientists and gaming advocates believe they can improve hand-eye coordination and provide beneficial brain stimulation. The other problem is that, despite games reaching a much broader audience than they did 20 years ago, the average gamer is still stereotyped as some fat, lazy college student who lives in their parent’s basement. Fortunately, there are some hugely famous and charismatic actors out there who identify as gamers. Just because they’re out there making movies and going to fancy award shows doesn’t mean that they don’t have time for a little Halo or Mortal Kombat. Many of them are actually so into their games of choice that they’ve gone to great lengths to show their support.
Here are 14 big name celebrities who you probably had no idea were huge gamers.
14. Zac Efron
Zac Efron is well known in his circle for playing a lot of video games. Back in 2007, he put his gamer side on display when he hosted the Halo 3 midnight launch event in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, his at-the-time girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens wasn’t as enthusiastic about his dedication to gaming and, at one point, allegedly gave him the ultimatum of either getting rid of his Xbox or staying with her. They’ve since split up and haven’t really been on speaking terms. But at least Zac is still free to get all those Killtaculars in Halo 5.
13. Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez is known for playing tough, tenacious, uncompromising women on screen, like the intrepid pilot from Avatar or spitfire street racer from Fast and the Furious. Evidently her taste in games is no less hardcore, as she’s a diehard Call of Duty and Halo player. Reportedly, she drew great inspiration from those games when she was preparing for her role as a soldier in Battle Los Angeles.
12. Will Arnett
Will Arnett is a celebrity with no qualms about using his status to gain opportunities in the gaming world. He was able to provide voice work on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which is quite fitting considering Call of Duty is one of his favourite game franchises. Arnett is actually so entrenched in gamer culture that he hosted a web series called Game Chat where he basically just played Xbox with a bunch of his other celebrity gamer friends.
11. Henry Cavill
Here’s a story that should make anyone’s inner nerd giggle with glee. Back before Henry Cavill had officially landed the role as Superman in Man of Steel, he was really into World of Warcraft. So much so that it nearly cost him the role.
Apparently when Zack Snyder called to offer him the part, Cavill was right in the middle of an important WoW session and he ignored the call (because walking away from your computer during a raid is strictly forbidden in the WoW community). Luckily, he returned the call after logging off and still had the part.
10. Rosario Dawson
Millions of people play Pokemon, it’s one of the few franchises that hasn’t lost any steam since the first game debuted 20 years ago. But, given the game’s extremely childlike qualities, it’s hard enough to find a normal mature adult who would admit to playing any of the game’s colorful iterations, let alone a celebrity. That’s why we love Rosario Dawson. She’s openly stated she’s a big fan of the Pokemon games as well as several other Nintendo titles including Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. Dawson has also had the privilege of providing voice talent for the Syndicate reboot and the recently released Ratchet & Clank movie.
9. Christian Slater
Not many actors can make the claim that they starred in a two-hour Nintendo Commercial. But Christian Slater can. The Wizard has become somewhat of a cult classic since its theatrical release in 1989 and it certainly adds a little something special to Slater’s gaming cred. And while he admits to having been really into video games as a teen, when his acting career took off in the 90s he understandably didn’t have much time to devote to that recreational pastime. That is, until he was preparing for his role in the film adaptation of the video game Alone in the Dark and one of his co-stars got him hooked on World of Warcraft.
8. Megan Fox
Megan Fox may be best know for providing eye candy for Michael Bay movies, but she’s also a pretty large gamer. Though she didn’t really admit to playing video games when her career first took off, she has since revealed that she’s really into the Halo franchise. In an interview with Collider, she admitted that she enjoyed playing Halo Reach online with other people.
“They have no idea. They make fun of my gamer tag too because it is funny. And they are all a bunch of guys and it is clear that I am a girl so they make fun of my name, and they have no idea they are making fun of me.”
She’s not strictly a first-person shooter player either. Apparently a lot of fighting games fall in her wheelhouse too — especially Mortal Kombat. In a recent interview with Cinepop, Fox even said that she’d be interested in playing the role of Kitana if anyone ever did a big screen Mortal Kombat remake.
7. Samuel L. Jackson
Though he’s better know for spouting profanity laced dialogue in Quentin Tarantino movies, Samuel L. Jackson’s voice has actually been featured in more games than a lot of professional voice actors. He’s also stated a number of times that he thinks that gaming could be the future of all entertainment. He feels modern day games are very similar to film, noting that they have more entertainment value than most movies.
While reminiscing during an interview with Access Hollywood, Jackson talked about his early video game experiences starting with Pong and moving on to Atari and arcade games like Space Invaders, but admits that today he has total enthusiasm for games like Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed, or really any first-person-shooter. “I want to play shooting games” he mentioned in an interview, “I’ll sit at home and throw down with guns in front of the TV all day long! Give me a gun and I am all over it. I have total enthusiasm for all these games.”
6. Matthew Perry
As the story goes, after Matthew Perry discovered Fallout 3 he was so enthusiastically hooked that he felt the need to share the game with friends, colleagues, and total strangers sitting next to him on planes. In fact, Perry was so keen on the game that when he went on Ellen to promote the movie 17 Again, he gave her an Xbox 360 and a copy of Fallout 3 that he had signed. As if that weren’t a big enough endorsement, later in the interview he went on to say “I played this video game so often that I injured my hand so severely that I had to go to a hand doctor and get injections in my hand because I love this video game so much.” Apparently, that little speech caught the attention of Bethesda and Obsidian, because it led to him doing the voice work for the character Benny in Fallout: New Vegas.
5. Jessica Alba
As if Jessica Alba wasn’t already a nerd’s wet dream after starring in movies like Fantastic Four and Sin City, she’s also a passionate gamer who was a Nintendo addict when she was younger.
“I grew up playing Bomberman and Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers and Zelda, where you had just this little guy who could barely walk and the music was like doot… doot… doot….”, says Alba.
Admittedly, she still has a thing for Nintendo games and was a big fan of Wii Sports back when it was all the rage.
“I think the physicality of the Wii gets people off the couch. Sometimes you can just sit there playing a video game for hours and never move and you’re brain is just zapped from playing the game. With the Wii, you’re up on your feet and moving around. The physical aspect of it is great, especially for kids. They actually call it the Wii Diet, since active players can burn calories!”
Alba is also into the portable gaming scene and was known to play a lot of Brain Age on the Nintendo DS. She even bought all of her fellow cast mates on the set of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer a DS after filming wrapped.
4. Ben Foster
As an actor who strongly believes in researching each role and trying to embody it as possible, in preparation for his role in the Warcraft movie, Ben Foster said he immersed himself in World of Warcraft.
According to Foster, his WoW experiences started out with three weeks of single-player adventuring just to get his feet wet and figure out what was happening. That then transitioned to pure group play which eventually resulted in him joining two separate guilds — one for each of his characters. It got to the point that he was playing 18 hours a day with a mix of guild play and pick-up adventures with any group that would have him. So if you were an avid WoW player in 2014, there’s probably a pretty descent chance that you played with him at some point.
Apparently Foster even got his girlfriend, actress Robin Wright, to join in on his gaming sessions. Wright is no stranger to video games herself, having voiced her character from the celebrated cult classic The Princess Bride for the 2008 production of the video game based on the movie.
3. Michael Fassbender
Best known for playing Magneto in the X-Men movies, Michael Fassbender has also been cast for the lead role in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie. And if an actors familiarity and appreciation of the source material has any bearing on their performance, it could turn out to be the best video game movie ever made.
Fassbender has always been really into the Assassin’s Creed franchise, so he was extremely motivated to develop and star in the movie. Given that the Warcraft movie has already been slammed by critics, If there’s any video game movie in the pipeline that has a chance at succeeding, it’s undoubtedly this one.
2. Daniel Craig
Everyone knows Daniel Craig as the star of the last four James Bond movies, but what you might not be aware of is that it was his interest in the “James Bond” video games that initially sparked his desire to portray the character. He says he plays video games because he believes that they help him get into the role. Which is probably why he was really into Halo leading up to release of Cowboys and Aliens.
Additionally, in a 2010 Interview, Craig divulged that he enjoys spending his spare time playing games.
“I play games. Hands up. I’m quite into ones that have a big, fat storyline”, adding, “Those ultra-violent ones I can play for half an hour then I feel dirty. Vice City for example — I think, oh yes, alright, I’ve stolen 18 cars. That’s enough now.”
And unlike Zac Efron, he actually seems to care about his girlfriend Satsuki Mitchell’s feelings on the matter.
“I have to pick my time well. If my girlfriend sees the box then it’s all over. If I get some free time, when she goes away for the weekend, I’ll go and play some games. I can switch the phone off and not see anybody for a couple of hours. That is blissful. It’s just as well I don’t have much spare time or I would probably fritter it away playing computer games.”
1. Mila Kunis
In a conversation that took place at the 2012 San Diego ComiCon, Mila Kunis admitted to being hopelessly addicted to video games, particularly World of Warcraft.
“Yeah, no, it wasn’t WoW so much as you know, video games period,” she said, pointing out that during the process of quitting WoW cold turnkey — that being the only way she thought it would be possible because, as she elaborated, “there is no middle ground for me.”
Call of Duty became her next obsession and she seemed to extract a lot of joy from killing Nazi zombies.
“CoD is like really REALLY fun! Once you get through Call of Duty’s first person, then you unlock the Nazi zombies and your whole purpose becomes just to kill these Nazi zombies and you know, you kill them a lot! You board up the windows and you kill zombies and maybe I’m not really good at it but that’s not for lack for trying!”