12 real people who appeared in video games

Pop and rock stars, political figures appear a lot

(CNN) -- It's a matter of geopolitical debate whether Manuel Noriega's reputation can be damaged any more than it already was. But the former Panamanian dictator says a video game did just that.

Noriega filed suit against the makers of "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" on Tuesday, saying that his portrayal in the military shooter makes him look bad and gives the impression that he gave permission for the game's makers to use his likeness.

While it's now one of the most controversial, Noriega's inclusion in the game is far from the first time that a real person -- or a fictional representation of one -- has popped up as a character in a video game.

From the earliest video arcades to today's gritty, hyper-realistic action titles, pop and rock stars, politicians, athletes and others have occupied many a pixel in the gaming world.

Of course, there are the professional sports games, most notably EA's ultrapopular "Madden NFL" franchise and its supposed "Madden Curse."

And well-known actors are increasingly being chosen for starring roles in games, as emerging technology makes their video-game performances so real, they're sometimes hard to tell from video.

But there's something cool about stumbling upon those digital Easter eggs, the "hey, it's that guy" moments video games are good at providing.

This gallery takes a look at a dozen of our favorites through the years. Let us know which of your favorites we left out in the comment section below.

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