If you were going to make an action movie in the 80s and you wanted someone that looked, sounded and acted like a communist-era Eastern European vending machine, then Arnold Schwarzenegger was pretty much *the* go-to-guy. Conan, Terminator, Commando, Predator, Total Recall and on and on. No mistake about it, Arnie was a major cultural influence. He does politics now.
It's little surprise that the games of the 80s and 90s were heavily inspired by Schwarzenegger and his on-screen portrayals of gratuitous weapon-based violence. These are some games of the time that obviously really wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger as their hero and decided to shamelessly rip-off his likeness and general bad-assness.
Power Blade | 1991
Not only did the game's storyline have echoes of Terminator's 'Skynet takes over world in the distant future' plot, but the main character - Nova - was drastically changed from the Japanese original for the US version. Note the addition of an image that looks a lot like Terminator Arnie to the game's title screen:
And observe the change of Nova from a manga child in a helmet with a boomerang, to a man in shades with a neck that looks like it could support the entire weight of California:
Duke Nukem | Various
Admittedly the ill-fated Nukem is made up of many action hero parts. But there's no doubt that there's at least a little bit of Schwarzenegger in him somewhere. Ew.
Arnie | 1992 and Arnie 2 | 1993
Not only does the hero of this game look like a teen-Arnie with the headband, tabard and preference for holding an Uzi 9mm, he is also of Germanic origin and is even called Arnie. I'm no expert in copyright and licensing infringement, but I'm pretty sure if this was released today some hot-shit lawyers would have a field day.
Next page: Commando Arnie, Predator Arnie and Barbarian Arnie