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Celebrities and Sports Heroes in Classic Video Game Ads

Written By: Elliott S. Thomas

Videos from: DigThatBoxRETRO


Before They Were Famous

A number of different celebrities have received their first big break starring in classic video game commercials. Here's a spot featuring a young Jack Black. Just last night he was lost in the jungle with Pitfall Harry!

Actor Christian Bale also got his first big break in a TV commercial. Here we see a young Bale dancing in a commercial for Pac-Man Cereal. It's part of your nutritious breakfast! (Editor's Note: This TV spot was made almost 5 years before his appearance in Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun."

In this clip Saturday Night Live alumni Phil Hartman gets really excited about Ice Hockey from Activision.

See Also: Joey Lawrence in Smurf Video Game TV Spot (ColecoVision) [VIDEO]

See Also: Henry Thomas in Mr Intellivision TV Spot (Intellivision) [VIDEO]

See Also: Larry Cedar in Sega Genesis TV Spot (Sega Genesis) [VIDEO]

See Also: Paul Rudd in Super Nintendo TV Spot (SNES) [VIDEO]

See Also: Peter Billingsley in Cosmic Ark Video Game TV Spot (Atari 2600) [VIDEO]

See Also: Mr White aka Bryan Cranston in Mega Force Video Game TV Spot (Atari 2600) [VIDEO]

Celebrity Endorsement

Celebrity endorsement is a favorite tactic of the advertising industry. In this spot Leonard Nimoy lends his impressive voice to the Odyssey 2. But no amount of celebrity power could save this doomed computer / game system hybrid.

Big In Japan

Sega enlisted Japanese Pop Star Hideaki Takizawa to help sell the Dreamcast in Japan. The actor / pop star teamed up with actual Sega executive Hidekazu Yukawa. (Also known as "Mr Sega.") The two men deliver Dreamcast consoles to a bored house wife who seems delighted to find Takizawa at her door. The pop star was very popular with older women in Japan.

See Also: Hiroshi Fujioka in The Complete Segata Sanshiro Series (Sega Saturn) [VIDEO PLAYLIST]

Fightin' Words!

When sweet talk and celeb endorsements don't work sometimes you have to resort to the attack ad. Intellivision recruited actor George Plimpton to trash the competition in a number of Intellivision video game TV spots. In this commercial Mr Plimpton uses his dry sarcasm to poke fun at Atari.

Later Plimpton would do a number of TV spots focusing on the Intellivision sports series. [Video 1] Atari eventually responded with this TV spot featuring football legend Ed "Too Tall" Jones. [Video 2]

See Also: Genesis Does TV Spot - Michael Jackson, Joe Montana, Buster Douglas and Pat Riley (Sega Genesis) [VIDEO]

Sports Heroes

Sports games are one of the most popular genres in video games. It only makes sense to use big name athletes to sell your products to the legion of sports gamers around the globe. This TV spot from Latin America features basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabar, motorsports champion Mario Andretti, and Pele, the most well known soccer player in history.

See Also: Mickey Mantle Intellivision Play Cable TV Spot (Intellivision) [VIDEO]

See Also: Mike Tyson's Punch Out TV Spot (NES) [VIDEO]

We Got The Beat

80s rock band "The Tubes" sings the praises of Mega Mania, a classic shooter game from Activision. The connection between music and video games was so important that Atari created a series of commercials just for the MTV television network. [LINK] And during the dawn of PC gaming The Pointer Sisters, Burt Bacharach and Little Richard showed up in this commercial for the Amiga 500. [VIDEO]

See Also: Aretha Franklin in Target Nintendo Christmas TV Spot (NES) [VIDEO]

Modern Classics

Robin Williams and his daughter Zelda star in this clip for the 3D remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I guess it's true what they say, everything old is new again.

The Complete Collection

Finally we come to our grand collection of celebrity video game commercials. Watch over 60 videos featuring celebrities from movies, TV, music and the wide world of sports. Simply click play on the playlist embedded above and sit back and enjoy the fun. This enormous video library will have you seeing stars!

Celebrities Video Game Commercials: A to Z

  • Aretha Franklin [V]
  • Alan Alda [V]
  • Allan Greenspan [V]
  • Allen Iverson [V]

  • Bill Bixby [V]
  • Bill Cosby [V]
  • Bruce Genner [V]
  • Bryan Cranston [V]
  • Burt Bacharach [V]
  • Buster Douglas [V]
  • Buzz Aldrin [V]

  • Carol Channing [V]
  • Christian Bale [V]
  • Chuck E. Cheese [V]

  • Dick Van Patten [V]
  • Don Knotts [V]

  • Ed "Too Tall" Jones [V]

  • Gary Payton [V]
  • George Plimpton - Intellivision Series [V]
  • Gordon Cooper [V]

  • Henry Thomas [V]
  • Hideaki Takizawa [V]
  • Hidekazu Yukawa - Mr Sega Series [V]
  • Hiroshi Fujioka - Segata Sanshiro Series [V]


  • Kareem Abdul Jabar [V]

  • Larry Cedar [V]
  • Leon Askin [V]
  • Leonard Nimoy [V]
  • Little Richard [V]

  • Ozzie Smith [V]

  • Phil Hartman - Atari [V]
  • Phil Hartman - Philips CDi [V]
  • Pele [V]
  • Peter Billingsley [V]
  • Pete Rose [V]

  • Rich Hall [V]
  • Robin Williams [V]

  • Scott Carpenter [V]

  • The Pointer Sisters [V]
  • The Tubes [V]
  • Tip O'Neil [V]
  • Tommy Lasorda [V]


  • Vern Troyer [V]

  • William Shatner [V]

  • Zelda Williams [V]

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