When it comes to Hollywood gamers, sure, Vin Diesel has his own game company, Tigon Studios, but I've never met two more die hard gamers than the stars of NBC's hit action comedy, "Chuck," which also happens to be a show that features a lot of games. It's not a coincidence that Zachary Levi's Chuck and Joshua Gomez's Morgan are gamers in the show. They're the reason Gears of War was featured in the first two episodes and that other games have become a staple of the show.
"We're both HUGE Gears of War fans," said Gomez. "Halo was Halo...it will always be that, but as soon as I played the first Halo is how I feel about Gears. I anticipate the sequel to Gears like I anticipated the sequel to Halo. It's going to be tough to follow up on that. I understand why Halo kind of dipped. I don't know if Halo 2 could have ever lived up to the expectations, because they were so high, and I kind of feel like there's going to be a similar thing with Gears. I've taken a lot of heat from a lot of people because Gears was so hyped and so huge of a game, but to me I thought it lived up to it. And multiplayer-wise, that game is so much more up my alley. I actually prefer the smaller four-on-four combat because then I knew who I was playing with and you could communicate and I thought there was a lot more strategy and things like that to it."Gomez said that a lot of the video game references in the show's dialog comes from ad-libbing, because the writers of the show aren't gamers, themselves.
"Exactly, that's totally me and Zach doing our thing and we try to throw in game jargon wherever we can," said Gomez. "On the Call of Duty 4 episode, I said, 'Come on, Chuck, I need a snipe to cover my back,' and the writers were like, 'Huh?' But we got it in there. I think we need to get them Geek 101 lessons sometimes."
Unlike Levi, who'd love to do a video game voice, Gomez has dabbled in game work. In fact, he can be heard in one of the best games of this year, BioShock, as well as in the upcoming Turok from Disney Interactive.
"I did some work on some Final Fantasy games, Call of Duty, Armored Core, and I got some stuff that's still coming out like the new Turok game," said Gomez. "I come from a commercial and voiceover background, which is how I made my living in New York City before coming to LA."
Gomez brought a couple of Slicers to life in BioShock, as well as PigSkin, that football helmet-wearing freak that "was pushed a little too hard by his father." Before stepping into the booth on these games, Gomez gets to geek out on character art of the game, as well as video, sometimes. And as a die hard gamer, that's really cool for him, especially as he was a fan of System Shock.
"I thought BioShock was phenomenal and the story was so amazing and the actual emotional ties that I have to it, which is what I love about where gaming is going," explained Gomez. "You can actually convey emotions now and get attached to characters and really tell a story, which is really fun for me, obviously, because that's the thing I love about acting and doing all that stuff. Games are now this other medium, which I happen to be addicted to and really love, that are so deep now. I just thought BioShock was a beautiful game—the art style was just up my alley, that whole world, and the '20s theme and music...that was great."
When it comes to being on a hit TV show on NBC, most of Gomez' gamer friends are genuinely more impressed when he gets voice acting gigs on games like BioShock and Turok than when he gets Hollywood gigs. The hit show and the grueling pre-Hollywood writers' strike schedule, made it tough for Gomez to do anything but game.
"I barely had time to go out and be in public," said Gomez. "On my days off I just have a love affair with my couch and my 360. I'm like, 'Oh, this is heaven. I have nothing to do for 12 hours but play videogames and maybe drink a beer.'"
When he does go out, Gomez is recognised a lot more often.
"People will come up and say, 'Hey, you're in Chuck!' and you're like, 'Whoa. Yeah. Hey, what's up?' and it's great when they say, 'I love that show!' I always thank God they're not saying, 'I hate you.' That's never good."
Cliffy B is among the millions of fans of "Chuck," which will be back in 2008 with more action, comedy and videogame placement. In the meantime, Gomez, who does game with Levi, will have plenty of time to do what he loves—game.