More than just a game: Celebrities addicted to their screens
As Alec Baldwin is kicked off a flight for refusing a request to stop playing iPhone Scrabble, Tim Walker reveals other A-listers with electronic addictions
Thursday 08 December 2011
Most video game addicts lose themselves in the vast parallel worlds of fantasy role-playing games, or on the battlefields of intense first-person warfare simulations. Alec Baldwin, however, appears to have become addicted to an online version of Scrabble. The 53-year-old actor claims he was ejected from an American Airlines flight prior to take-off from Los Angeles on Tuesday because he'd refused to stop playing the iPhone game Words With Friends.
"Flight attendant reamed me out for playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving," Baldwin tweeted, describing the airline as "where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950s find jobs as flight attendants". Fellow passengers said that in fact Baldwin had been talking on the phone, and became enraged when asked to stop. "He was violent, abusive and aggressive," a crew member told the New York Post. "Yelling, screaming, very ugly. It was unsafe to keep him on board."
The flight was delayed for an hour as the actor was escorted back to the terminal, though he did then catch a later AA flight. Baldwin, who deleted his Twitter account soon after reporting the altercation, is a long-time gamer. During his twenties he would wind down after nights of drinking and carousing at an arcade game warehouse, where he played Galaga, the early spaceship shooter game. And his is far from the only famous face to be frequently illuminated by the glow of a game screen, if this selection of celebrity gamers is anything to go by.
Addictive personalities: What they're hooked on
David James Tomb Raider
When he was Liverpool's No 1, fans attributed "Calamity" James's goal-mouth lapses to his prolific partying. But James blamed an addiction to video games, claiming they affected his concentration. In 1997, after letting in three Newcastle goals, he said he'd been up late playing Tekken and Tomb Raider, the action-adventure title featuring pneumatic archaeologist Lara Croft, right.
Angelina Jolie Angry Birds
Jolie, who played Lara Croft in the film adaptation of Tomb Raider, is a fan of the more basic (but equally blockbusting) iPad game Angry Birds, in which players catapult small, angry birds into wood/stone structures to destroy the pesky pigs within. According to a crew member present at the taping of her Kung Fu Panda 2 voice-over, Jolie would "get so into it that she'd scream and make screechy bird sounds."
Tom Watson Portal 2
Labour MP Tom Watson, scourge of News International, plans to play Modern Warfare 3 during the Christmas recess. In November, however, he was engrossed in Portal 2, a science-fiction first-person puzzle-platform game. On the night before James Murdoch's second appearance at the Media Select Committee, Watson claimed he'd been been unable to tear himself away from his Xbox.
Andy Murray Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
In 2009, Andy Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears moved out of his £5m mansion, reportedly citing his Playstation binges as a factor in the break-up. The tennis star's former coach Brad Gilbert had claimed he spent seven hours per day playing games – specifically, the hyper-realist combat game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Murray and Sears are back together, and are said to now play Scrabble together.
Mila Kunis World of Warcraft
Actress Mila Kunis and her boyfriend Macaulay Culkin were both devoted players of the hugely popular MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game), World of Warcraft. So all-consuming was WoW's fantasy world that in 2008, Kunis told talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel, she "had to quit the game for good."
Robbie Williams Football Manager
In 2009, Williams wrote on his blog that he'd been playing the sports strategy game "day and night" and finally, to his then-fiancée's delight, snapped the game CD in half to prevent himself from continuing. Two days later, however, he ordered it again on Amazon.
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