Visual fidelity in gaming has come a long way. And while we might feel like pixelated two-dimensional games are ancient history, some celebrities have had careers in games that show just how far we’ve come.
With the new year causing us to look back, I wanted to do some quick comparisons to see how how some people who have lived in the gaming spotlight have changed over the years. And while these athletes and actors tend to look a little rougher and worn out in reality — in games, the years are much kinder to them.
Career: NBA basketball star most notable for his many championships with the Los Angeles Lakers
Gaming career: He was an early cover star for the Nintendo 64 basketball sim Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside in 1998. He is still active in games like NBA 2K16.
Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside
Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside 2
Career: Hamill is, of course, a Hollywood actor and voice actor best known for his role as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars and The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series.
Gaming career: Hamill has done a lot of voice work for games, but he’s probably most famous for his starring role in the 1994 space-sim classic Wing Commander.
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger
Career: An NFL quarterback who has won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts and now plays for the Denver Broncos.
Gaming career: Back before Electronic Arts was the only company making a pro football game, Manning inked a deal to act as the cover athlete for Microsoft’s exclusive NFL Fever games for the original Xbox.
NFL Fever 2002
Madden NFL 16
Career: A professional golfer with 14 wins at major tournaments.
Gaming career: His superstar status and appeal convinced Electronic Arts to attach his name to its PGA Tour games starting in 1998. He was dropped in 2015 in favor of Rory McIlroy.
Tiger Woods 99 PGA Tour Golf
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14
Career: A professional wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment. He is best known for making his “dead man” gimmick work for more than 20 years and for his streak of wins at the premiere Wrestlemania pay-per-view events.
Gaming career: He has regularly appeared in all of WWE’s official video games since the early 1990s.
WWF Super Wrestlemania