Michael Jackson was an American musician, actor, and businessman whose career spanned over four decades, enabling him to become the most commercially successful of all time. His contributions to the entertainment business and to charity work, along with his highly publicized personal life, made him a prominent pop culture icon for most of his life. Though his contributions to the gaming industry were small, his expansive library of video games and his noted affection for them allowed him to be highlighted in a handful of games, along with being featured in his very own title, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker.
Involvement in the Video Game Industry
While Michael was never regarded as an innovator of video games, like he was with his music and video endeavors, no one could question the man's affection for them. At his Neverland Ranch, Michael hosted one of the most extensive arcade collections ever mulled together under one roof. During an interview in the early 90s, Jackson admitted that he loved to play video games after a concert to relax, and he traveled with his arcade cabinets around the world with two cargo planes.
He especially loved games produced by Sega and lent his likeness to several, from Moonwalker to Space Channel 5. He owned various Sega arcade cabinets, ranging from the rare Sega R-360 to Star Wars Racer Arcade. He even performed for Sega's rare 1993 space-themed arcade game AS-1.
During the 16-bit era, Sega recruited Jackson to record tracks for their upcoming game, Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Though most of Sega's plans with him fell apart after he was accused of child molestation, influences of the two parties work together can be heard in Jackson's albums and Sonic's soundtrack.
After Michael's passing, Sega released this statement:
We here at SEGA were very sad to hear about the passing of Michael Jackson. He was a true music legend whose songs touched each of us at some point in our lives. We are proud to have worked with him and included his music in some of our most well-remembered games and are sure that his genius will live on through his great body of work. We have no doubt that future generations will be moonwalking to all his greatest hits.