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Celebrities Morphing Into Video-Game Stars

Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 23:10

USA Today has a story about where to find the hottest stars!

Go To USAToday.com

If you ask me, people who write these articles could try to research the subject a little better before they start writing. What I mean exactly? Christina Aguilera can be found in The Sims Superstar, not in The Sims Online. And The Sims Superstar is not an online game.


Celebrities morphing into video-game stars

By Karen Thomas, USA TODAY

The hottest spot for star-gazing these days? Try the cyberspace gaming realm. Virtual versions of stars such as Christina Aguilera, Method Man and Alex Trebek are popping up in video games, and it looks like a lot more digi-stars are headed there.

Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera is a superstar in the Sims online video game.

Just last week, Justin Timberlake met with gaming industry insiders for the first serious step toward video-game options, including using his digital image in a game.

Most stars who have jumped in early have grown up with video games, ICM agent Keith Boesky says. But unlike movie deals or music contracts, each celebrity game deal is "precedent-setting," he says. "We're doing something new every time. The cultures of technology and Hollywood are so very different, and you have to bridge those issues." Also in the mix:

• Celebs in the neighborhood. Aguilera and Avril Lavigne are the newest guests knocking at the door in the new The Sims Superstar games. Jon Bon Jovi is being developed for an upcoming Sims character. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Trebek are in the discussion phase.

•Casting for video games. Martial-arts actor Jet Li went to Sony to develop a game around him called Rise to Honor. "I was curious," he says. "I always thought this may be the future of entertainment."

French actor Jean Reno (The Professional) will be in the fighting game Onimusha 3, and Shannon Elizabeth is the first actress to be signed as an original Bond babe exclusively for the gaming world in James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing.

•Rockers dive in. Members of Insane Clown Posse appear as playable characters in a version of Backyard Wrestling due later this year. Method Man, DMX and Ludacris are among rappers who jump in the wrestling ring in Def Jam Vendetta.

Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Eminem are hashing out details. In Combs' game, players sign musical acts to make money. Eminem, close to launching a game when the deal fell through earlier this month, hopes to get his Slim Shady persona into a game by 2004.

Britney Spears and the Olsen twins were first out, taking their digital images to gamers several years ago, but that was long before the adult market of gamers started to explode.

The average age of gamers now is 28, and digital technology has grown up, too, with human images and even facial expressions appearing more lifelike.

With image being everything, celebrities are taking a hands-on approach. Li says he worked with the game team on details like clothing and hairstyle. Aguilera sent back the first draft of her image because digi-Tina was too skinny, and Method Man asked for a change in the number of stripes on his armband.

"It's so important to get every last detail right," says game producer Josh Holmes.

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