Cameos, or cameo appearances, are short appearances of famous people in various types of works of the performing arts, such as movies or TV series. However, cameos also happen quite often in video games.

Sometimes celebrities appear as part of a hidden Easter Egg, and other times they’re part of the story, but they always bring a smile to our faces, especially if the featured celebrity is the one, that we already know and like. Today we’ll take a look at some of the best cameos in video games. Beware of small spoilers if you didn’t play the listed games.

Postal 2 – Gary Coleman

PC
macOS
Release year:2003
Genre:First-person shooter
Developer:Running With Scissors
Game modes:Single-player

Let’s start with Postal 2 that featured a character that no one probably expected to find in this kind of game. Postal 2 is a very controversial title with lots of violence, blood, and dark humor, and it gives players an opportunity to do some really disgusting stuff.

However, an opportunity is a keyword here, because you can beat the entire game without ever killing a man. This means that the game is as brutal as you want it to be – if it appears to be too violent, then it’s your own mind to blame.

During one of the missions, you will meet Gary Coleman himself, signing the books for his fans. However, due to certain events he will quickly become your enemy – he can be considered one of the few game’s bosses, and he’s quite powerful, too, but watching him as he swears, throws grenades, and shoots his assault rifle is a truly hilarious experience.

Key features
  • First-person shooter filled with simple lowbrow humor
  • A non-linear open world that can be explored freely
  • A variety of unique weapons and items to use, including scissors, cow heads, or cats that can act as silencers
  • Can be extremely violent, but can also be finished without ever killing anyone – the choice is yours

Saints Row IV – Keith David

PC
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release year:2013
Genre:Action-adventure
Developer:Volition
Game modes:Single-player, multiplayer

Saints Row IV is an extremely fun game with fast-paced combat and cool supernatural abilities, but the entire experience is further enhanced by the appearance of Keith David who plays himself.

While previous games from the franchise were at least trying to be somewhat serious, SR IV enters a full goofy mode, but it’s not really a bad thing and it fits the story quite well, as the entire game takes place mostly inside a highly advanced computer simulation, where everything is possible.

Keith David is the protagonist’s Vice Leader and he tries to help him restore the order on Earth invaded by hostile aliens. It’s definitely not the most surprising cameo in the gaming history, as Keith appeared in all previous Saints Row games before, so it was only natural to be able to meet him once more. However, until SR IV he was just dubbing another character, and now we’re finally able to meet him in person.

Key features
  • An addictive story full of goofy humor and pop culture references
  • A variety of upgradeable weapons to choose from, including some ridiculous ones, such as the gun that fires dubstep
  • Open-ended gameplay, a variety of activities and side missions, and a vast open-world environment that can be explored freely
  • Countless collectibles and hidden secrets for completionists

Brütal Legend – Ozzy Osbourne

PC
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
OS X
Release year:2009
Genre:Action-adventure, real-time strategy
Developer:Double Fine Productions
Game modes:Single-player, multiplayer

Brütal Legend is a one-of-a-kind game that combines action with real-time strategy, and adds a lot of humor in an amazing heavy metal world – a true gem and definitely a must-play due to its uniqueness.

In Brütal Legend you will be playing as a roadie, who accidentally found himself in an alternate world run by demonic forces, and he happens to be the only one who can save mankind from evil. With the use of his trusty guitar “Clementine”, a deadly broadaxe, and a classic heavy metal flaming hot rod, he travels the unknown world and fights the evil hordes – personally, and with help of a small army.

During his adventures, he will meet Ozzy Osbourne himself. If you’re not into old-school metal music, then this name may not ring a bell, but those who are will be pleasantly surprised to find that the Prince of Darkness plays the role of the Guardian of Metal who helps the protagonist with upgrading his equipment. And if you don’t know Ozzy yet, then the game may convince you into heavy metal.

Key features
  • The open-world environment inspired entirely by heavy metal
  • Unique gameplay that combines several different genres, notably action and RTS
  • Upgradeable equipment and powerful spells based on short guitar solos
  • Great music that fits the game and helps to build the atmosphere

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Hideo Kojima

PC
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release year:2015
Genre:Action-adventure, stealth
Developer:Kojima Productions
Game modes:Single-player, multiplayer

It’s not uncommon for Hideo Kojima to make appearances in his own games, especially in the Metal Gear Solid series, but the way he did it in MGS V deserves a special mention.

Metal Gear Solid V is a game that combines action with stealth elements and follows a story of a mercenary leader Punished “Venom” Snake as he seeks revenge on people who crossed their path with him in the past. The title gives players a huge amount of freedom, especially when it comes to completing missions – most of the time you are free to choose if you want to approach the enemy directly or resolve the issue in a more ninja way.

Hideo Kojima, the game’s director, writer, and designer, makes his appearance during one of the rescue missions. What makes the encounter hilarious is the fact, that most players don’t even realize it’s the game’s creator himself, even after removing a bag from his head and revealing his face. But then he gets his glasses on and everything becomes crystal clear.

Key features
  • Immersive adventure in a modern setting
  • A huge open-world environment that can be navigated freely
  • Action-packed gameplay that allows players to use a variety of stealth techniques
  • A great and emotional story that will keep you busy for hours to come

Borderlands 3 – Penn & Teller

PC
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5
Xbox One
Xbox Series X/S
macOS
Release year:2019
Genre:Action role-playing, first-person shooter
Developer:Gearbox Software
Game modes:Single-player, multiplayer

For the last entry on the list of the best celebrity cameos in video games, we’ve got something special. Something, that’s not too obvious, unless you’re at least slightly familiar with the world of magic tricks.

Borderlands 3 is an extremely addictive game with the first-person shooter and role-playing gameplay mechanics polished to perfection, but it doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t shine in other areas, too. It has a huge open world, charismatic characters, and gorgeous cel-shaded visuals. And, apparently, some celebrity cameos as well.

One of the missions will lead players to a certain boss fight, where a curious pair of psycho individuals awaits. Those who recognize the world’s most popular magician duo will quickly realize that it’s Penn Jillette himself who does the talking as players approach the arena. Shortly after, the two make a flashy introduction and it’s difficult to not laugh as they reveal their names: Pain & Terror. This is definitely one of the funniest and creative cameos in recent years, but it was to be expected from a series that is full of humor, silly jokes, Easter eggs, and pop culture references.

Key features
  • First-person shooter action in a vast open-world environment
  • Randomly generated equipment and character progression with 4 entirely different character classes to choose from
  • Casual atmosphere full of silly humor and real-world references
  • Beautiful cel-shaded visuals – the hallmark of the series

The Best Cameos in Video Games

It’s not uncommon to see famous actors, writers, musicians, and other celebrities appear in video games, but every time they show up, they bring a smile to our faces, because more often than not they’re not expected to be a part of our favorite game. The effect of surprise is even bigger if we meet a celebrity who doesn’t make too many cameos in general – such encounters can be infinitely more valuable.

We limited ourselves to only brief appearances of celebrities in video games, which is why some games didn’t appear on the list. With that being said, there are surely some amazing video game cameos we missed – if you know a good one that’s worth being mentioned, let us know!