Last week, in the introduction to our gallery of 33 different screenshots of musicians in videogames, we promised that we’d have a special follow-up gallery featuring nothing but Michael Jackson. The King of Pop, who would have turned 56 two weeks from today, was a huge videogame fan, which is no surprise considering his love of cartoons and the fact that he lived in an amusement park. He showed up in a variety of games, both as the hero of games built entirely around his music and image, and in smaller, unexpected cameo roles in other places. One developer even announced a posthumous MMORPG based on Jackson’s life that’s now seemingly cancelled. Here are screenshots from every major game Jackson appeared in, including three significantly different versions of his most famous game, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker.
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The arcade version of Michael Jackson's Moonwalker was a beat-em-'up where Jacko used dance magic to beat Mr. Big's thugs.
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The home version of Moonwalker for the Genesis was more dance-focused than the arcade version.
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The poorly received PC version of Moonwalker had little in common with its more famous arcade and console brethren.
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MJ's next game appearance came in 2000, with a cameo as Space Michael in Sega's rhythm game Space Channel 5.
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Later in 2000 Jackson inexplicably showed up as a master of the sweet science in Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2.
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Michael could even beat up himself in Ready 2 Rumble.
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Space Michael returned with a larger role in 2002's Space Channel 5 Part 2.
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After his untimely death Michael starred in 2010's Michael Jackson: The Experience, a rhythm and singing game that featured many of his most beloved songs.
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A massively multiplayer online game called Planet Michael was announced in 2010, but only a few pieces of concept art have been released. It's presumably been cancelled.
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Of all his game appearances, the Genesis version of Moonwalker probably remains Michael's best known in America.