Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Side of Voice Acting in Games

Voice acting in videogames always seems to be hit or miss. The voice actors either do a fantastic job, which immerses us into the story, or they fail spectacularly, leading to years of Youtube memes and bad jokes on gaming forums.  In the past I have written about some of the most famous instances of laughable voice acting, so today I'd like to try something different.

If you're a geek like me, you enjoy looking up game voice actors on IMDB in order to see all the various game characters they've voiced throughout their careers.  There's no doubt that while they may be proud to have voiced certain characters, they most certainly harbor deep feelings of shame at the thought of some of the other pixelated bozos they were suckered into voicing.

Take for instance John DiMaggio, the voice actor for Marcus Fenix of the Gears of War series (as well as roughly one billion other game characters).

As hard as it is to believe, the voice actor of the chainsaw-wielding bad-ass is also the same guy who voiced the goofy hairstyle-challenged Wakka from Final Fantasy X.

Let's go kill some Locust, ya?

Ouch right?  That's not even the worst case.  Remember our good buddy Grunt from Mass Effect 2?

This unstoppable tank of a Krogan was voiced by Steve Blum, who just happens to be the same guy who voiced the super-creepy Yellow Monkey in Ape Escape 3.

Tingle's got some competition in the creepiness category.
Hearing Grunt talk about killing things just won't be the same after learning about this unfortunate connection to the Ape Escape franchise.  Anyway, now we move on to what I consider the most tragic story of all: Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem.

We've all heard the awesome one-liners, and we've all witnessed the 80's action-hero badassness that is Duke Nukem (ok not so much in his latest outing, but we can look past that because he's the Duke!).  But did you know that Jon St. John is also a voice actor in the somewhat recent (Dreamcast era to present) Sonic the Hedgehog games?  If the knowledge that Duke's voice actor is present in the Sonic series didn't make you run from your computer to go cry over your copy of Duke Nukem 3D, then maybe this will:  Jon St. John voices Big the Cat.

No you didn't read that wrong, the idiotic, annoying, clumsy blob Big the Cat shares the same voice actor with Duke Freaking Nukem.  It's painful isn't it?  I had to emulate a copy of Sonic Adventure just to verify it and witness the horror for myself.  Curse you Sega!!

And that wraps up this quick look at the dark side of voice acting.  Have you ever had any funny/shocking moments upon discovering the various characters a voice actor  Let me know, I'd like to hear your stories!


  1. I actually remember finding it odd to hear Keifer Sutherland in Call of Duty: World at War, not because it was Keifer Sutherland, but because I kept hearing "Jack Bauer" instead.
    When I had watched every season of 24 up until that point, it was a little difficult to get "Jack Bauer's" voice out of my head, and to think it was simply the in-game character he was acting.

    1. I know what you mean! That kind of situation has happened to me in reverse a couple times, where I'll be watching a TV show that stars a videogame voice actor, and I keep seeing the game character every time he/she speaks.

      It was really entertaining watching "The Cape" a while back, because one of the main characters was played by Keith David, the guy who voiced Captain Anderson from Mass Effect and the Arbiter from the Halo games.

      You know, I've played through Call of Duty: World at War twice, and I didn't even know Keifer Sutherland was one of the actors until you told me! Now I'll need to play through a third time haha

  2. Some voice acting sucks balls! And some can be soo epic.
    This post totally reminds me of this YouTube video! Hehe!

    1. That was funny stuff! My favorite was the Faces of Evil interpretation haha, ah those CD-i cutscenes make me shudder every time.