Sunday, January 15, 2012

Voice acting (or attempting) - (Matthew W.)

Video Game Voyeur Trivia: What does video game voice acting and the Golden Globes have in common?

One might be inclined to guess "absolutely nothing."  While the Golden Globes is known for parading talented movie and television stars, video games are not.  Video game voice acting is generally only mildly inspired and entertaining.  Video game voice actors (while becoming more well known) are often B-list at best.  For as much as I watch, I can not recall a video game voice performance that moved me.  In fact, I rarely even notice much of the dialogue. That is, unless it completely stinks.

So, do you know the answer?

I'll give you a hint: It's an actor
I'll give you another hint: He won an award at the Globes tonight
Ok, one more: His name rhymes with Fristopher Slummer

Did ya guess it yet? 

All joking aside, I just want to say well done Skyrim for hiring an award winning actor to elevate an already fabulous game.  And kudos, Christopher, for giving some credibility to video game voice acting.

Bonus questions from the voyee (is that a word?)

Which games do you play where the voice acting totally takes you out of the moment?  
Which games have voice acting that is so good you actually notice?

I'll give my answers in the comments tomorrow.



  1. NICE! Way to go, Captain Von Trapp!

    In response to the questions:

    1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the PS2 butchered things pretty early on in the game. Each turtle had a vocabulary of about five phrases, each repeated every blessed time you knocked our or just made contact with one of the foot clan. Pretty obnoxious.

    2. When Kingdom Hearts (2002) was released for the PS2 the voice acting was a big deal. Not only was the game the first to bring together the characters of the Disney and Final Fantasy universes into one incredible story, the game also featured some major MAJOR actors and was an example of how this could be done right. ( ...and it's STILL awesome!

  2. Is it just me, or were the character voices for MarioCart on N64 wildly entertaining? Yeah, it might just be me.

  3. A voice actor that comes to my mind, based on all of the games that this guy does, is Nolan North. He is the voice of Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series, the voice of Desmond Miles in the Assassin's Creed series, and most recently the voice of The Penguin in Batman: Arkham City.

    His work in Uncharted (and all of the supporting characters for that matter) is a reason why the games have such an engrossing narrative. I think even CurlyRed can attest that watching Uncharted in some aspects has the same caliber as a high-budget action film.

  4. There is a guy named Steve Blum, who Zach will recognize as the voice of Spike from Cowboy Bebop, but this guy is EVERYWHERE. He's a veteran of the voice acting community and he does lots of cartoons and video games. Unfortunately, every time I recognize his voice all I hear is Spike and it automatically takes me out of the game experience.

    Fallout New Vegas random NPC? Spike Spiegel!
    Star Wars The Old Republic Bounty Hunter? Spike Spiegel!!(coincidence?)
    Saints Row 3 Zombie voice? SPIKE SPIEGEL!!!

    You get my point.

  5. @dakazu: seriously. He's even in Samurai Champloo, and I have trouble thinking of that character as anyone but Spike. What does that mean, though, when someone like Steve Blum or Nolan North is everywhere? Why should we have to rely on a handful of good actors to fill all these shoes? Is there really not enough quality talent out there? Or do game makers just go with the proven voice instead of taking a risk?

  6. Recently totally taken out of the moment: "I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee." -Skyrim

    So good that I actually notice? Gotta be Mark Hamill playing the Joker. I think nostalgia plays a large part, since I watched the bejeeses out of Batman: The Animated Series, but I've always been amazed with the Arkham games. Doesn't sound like a voice actor. Sounds like the Joker.