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How Pop Culture Has Affected the Gaming Industry

26th March 2020

What is it that makes a pop culture icon? Some might say that it's all about box office sales, album downloads, or awards won. However, the most telltale sign of a truly enduring pop culture icon is not their success at their own craft, but rather their ability to influence genres and mediums beyond their own. A Hollywood actor may have won plenty of Oscars, but unless their impact is visible within other mediums such as comic books, video games, music, and art, can they really be considered iconic?

One reliable way of measuring the icon status of today's cultural heavyweights is by assessing their impact within the fastest-growing entertainment genre in the world: online gaming. Although not immediately obvious, mainstream pop culture has had a significant impact in the world of online gaming, which in turn has drawn legions of new fans to particular celebrities, film franchises, music, and the rest. Here are some examples of this phenomenon in action. 

Themed Online Games

One way that popular culture is shaping the world of gaming can be seen in the realm of online games, where scores of popular titles have emerged that are themed closely around enduring pop culture icons. Take, for example, the largest film franchise in the world to date, Marvel's Avengers series. There are countless video games that have popped up as a result of this franchise and the Hollywood superstars that bring it to life. Even just focusing on one example - Chris Hemsworth's character Thor - shows how influential the franchise is. Countless Thor-themed online games now proliferate the internet, with one prominent example being the Thunderstruck slot at Genesis Casino, a five-reel online slot that features the hammers, horns, helmets, and everything else we have come to associate with Thor. 


Celebrity Gaming Cameos

Another of the most noticeable ways that wider pop culture is impacting gaming is the sheer number of celebrity cameos in recent games over the past few years. The list is too extensive to describe in full here, but there are some iconic cameos that are certainly worth a mention. Superstar pop icon Ariana Grande made her first appearance in the world of gaming with her cameo in the 2017 Final Fantasy release. Michael Fassbender stepped in to play King Logan in the hit fantasy game Fable III. Charlie Brooker made a cameo in Sniper Elite III. Supermodel Cara Delevigne plays a radio host in Grand Theft Auto V. The list goes on and on. 

Gaming Scores from Hit Artists 

Once upon a time, video game scores were hastily knocked together by whoever was on the development team who could use GarageBand. These days, however, video game companies are enlisting some of the most widely-known and celebrated talents in the music industry to compose original scores for their releases. A few examples from recent years include former Beatles star Paul McCartney's original songs for the Destiny soundtrack, Beck's score for the indie game Sound Shapes, and Imagine Dragons' single for the online game League of Legends.

It's clear that game developers are increasingly using star power to lure in potential customers. If that means that we'll see more of our favourite singers and actors in the video games we love, then bring it on. 

Posted by Mark at 10:25am

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