Join 3,362 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


NOW BEAR MY ARCTIC BLAST
November 11, 2009 5:35 PM   Subscribe

Videogame voice acting at its finest.
posted by Chan (84 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, man, hahaha.

The worst ones are the women that sound like little girls and say how they're hurt but everything is totally cool! Especially the one that's (paraphrased), "I can only die once... I'm glad it's you that has killed me!" Gah, that kind of voice makes me want to scratch my brain apart.
posted by Nattie at 5:44 PM on November 11, 2009


"Hold me if I'm dying, and vice versa, okay?"

I don't even know what that means.
posted by flatluigi at 5:45 PM on November 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


"He wrote a message in his own blood!"
"In his blood? WAY TO GO, KID!"
posted by Tiresias at 5:46 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that this line from the first Silent Hill wasn't anywhere in there.
posted by flatluigi at 5:46 PM on November 11, 2009


I can't watch right now, but I sure hope it includes "Damn, I hate activities."
posted by roll truck roll at 5:47 PM on November 11, 2009


18 is the BEST:

"I guess that means we can forget about using the elevator."

"Maybe not! Tom left a message. He wrote it on the floor in his own blood!"

"In his blood? Way to go, kid!"

YES. Way to go, kid!
posted by Tha Race Card at 5:47 PM on November 11, 2009


Res Evil with only one cite, and at 50? I mean, yes, there's a lot of awful here, but that's still underrepresenting it. The Cooking Mama 2 title sequence has no place on that list.
posted by cortex at 5:49 PM on November 11, 2009


I saw some mudcrabs by the water recently. I steered clear of them!
posted by Flunkie at 5:51 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was at least expecting some of the "Chinese" voice acting from Deus Ex.
No More Heroes had some awful voice acting as well, but that might have been the point.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:51 PM on November 11, 2009


Shouldn't this be "worst videogame scriptwriting?" 'Cuz I think even Orson Welles would have choked on that material.

Ok, especially Orson Welles.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:51 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


The one about Chopin was fantastic. I can only assume they're taking the piss.
posted by kenko at 5:52 PM on November 11, 2009


"Michigan: Report from Hell"?

Anyway, I'm disappointed that Tenchu didn't include "RORD GODA EXPEC MUCH OF YEEEW"
posted by boo_radley at 5:54 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


boo: That's a horror game by Suda51, also known for killer7 and No More Heroes. I think he's considering a remake now that he actually has money for it.
posted by flatluigi at 5:57 PM on November 11, 2009


It's kind of unfair to blame these entirely on the voice actors. Whoever wrote most of these scripts should be flayed.
posted by dersins at 5:59 PM on November 11, 2009


"RORD GODA EXPEC MUCH OF YEEEW"

I don't think my wife could be any more sick of me reciting that line. It helps if you ball your fists up into low-polygon-count stumps and sort of describe small circles with them while you tip back and forth to really bring out the nuance of the moment.
posted by cortex at 6:00 PM on November 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


Orson Welles, doing an ad for frozen peas.
posted by jquinby at 6:01 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


flatluigi: "boo: That's a horror game by Suda51"

"Michigan: Report from Hell, released as Michigan in Japan [...] "

I say, that's a bit harsh.
posted by boo_radley at 6:01 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Watched it for the Tenchu. Was not disappointed.
posted by lyam at 6:02 PM on November 11, 2009


...and an homage to Orson by Pinky and The Brain.
posted by jquinby at 6:06 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


THE WADER WOOM
posted by litleozy at 6:09 PM on November 11, 2009


flatluigi: "vice versa," in this context, means "dye me if I'm holding." I'm not sure what that would accomplish, though...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:15 PM on November 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


Orson Welles drunk

I wrote this about Yes, Always recently.
posted by griphus at 6:15 PM on November 11, 2009


...and an homage to Orson by Pinky and The Brain.

I see you and raise you a The Critic.
posted by cortex at 6:16 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think all of these can be blamed on bad voice acting. Some are down to the dire script, and some are the result of appalling directing. That Megaman one is bizarre - the guy flubs his lines at least twice, and they kept it in?

Since people record their parts separately, a lot of awful-sounding dialogue comes from the fact that there's often multiple ways to interpret a line. Maybe a character's being sarcastic, perhaps they're angry, maybe they're echoing something someone just said but with a different emphasis. So, say for example a line like: 'This place?' It might be that two characters just pulled up in a car outside a rundown apartment, and one's just gone 'Well, here we are.' And the other, disgusted, is going 'This place?' as in 'Dude, WTF? It looks like a dump!' But, equally, the building might be really glamorous, and the other character's like 'Wow! Is this really your house Jimmy? It looks amazing!' and the other character's like 'This place?' as in 'what, this old thing? Tis a mere trifle!'

All that kind of stuff is why you pay a consultant director to actual check the script against the latest build and the rest of the dialogue it's paired with, and brief actors when they're in the studio. Sometimes what sounds like tin-eared, hammy acting is the result of actors recording their bits on different days without being given any indication of who their character is, who they're supposed to be speaking to, and what's going on in the game.

And sometimes, it's just crap voice acting. I think the Fable series has some particularly inexcusable examples of both problems. The incidental speech from NPCs is so poorly delivered as to become quickly unbearable, and, in the original, Maze delivers all his key lines like someone selling biscuits. I get the impression they mostly hired a bunch of voiceover artists rather than actual actors who had the first idea of what the sweet creeping fuck they were doing.

Aaaaaaaaaaand exhale...
posted by RokkitNite at 6:16 PM on November 11, 2009 [13 favorites]


I see you and raise you a The Critic.

Fold.
posted by jquinby at 6:18 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Needs more Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The fun starts about 2 minutes in.
posted by MidAtlantic at 6:19 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Uh, isn't good video game acting an oxymoron? This is the Youtube clip for "great moments" in videogame acting, for example.
posted by bearwife at 6:20 PM on November 11, 2009


The last line in this scene has always been my fave. I picture Bruce MacDonald from Kids In The Hall reciting it.
posted by Paid In Full at 6:22 PM on November 11, 2009


cortex: "I see you and raise you a The Critic ."

Checkmate: Animal Soccer World.
posted by boo_radley at 6:22 PM on November 11, 2009


bearwife: eegra.com is a comedy site; that video is titled sarcastically.
posted by flatluigi at 6:22 PM on November 11, 2009


Of COURSE the first bit is the Master of Unlocking. I remember laughing myself sick at that back in the day.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:23 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


My ears, they bleed.
posted by Xany at 6:24 PM on November 11, 2009


Wow, "More Drunk Orson Welles Outtakes", from the "related videos" of the "Orson Welles drunk" video that griphus linked to, is fascinating.
posted by Flunkie at 6:29 PM on November 11, 2009


Oh, never mind, it's "Starring James Adomian as Orson Welles". Uh, that's good, I guess.
posted by Flunkie at 6:33 PM on November 11, 2009


If I am carrying drugs, make me a blonde; if my life is about to end, hold me in your arms.
posted by idiopath at 6:39 PM on November 11, 2009


At my last job, I was programming a [doohickey] that included an announcer indicating who had taken the lead. So, to test the code, I went ahead and recorded myself with a dozen different lines: "Yahoo! Yellow takes the lead!"; "Blue scoots ahead!"; "Gee willikers, red's in the lead!"; "Whoa mama! There goes pink!". I was intentionally trying to be obnoxious, since I didn't want anybody thinking they were the production version effects. That is, I made them bad so that it would be guaranteed that they were fixed. Kinda like programmer's graphics that you drop in when the art department isn't done with a resource yet.

Those obnoxious lines stayed there for months, even after I begged my manager to find somebody with a less annoying voice to record studio-perfect audio. They were only replaced after the CEO heard it and freaked out, because he thought we'd paid for them.

The moral of this story is: I suspect much of the bad voice acting in video games comes from the programmers recording stand-in dialog which is then never replaced. And much of the rest of it comes from nobody wanting to allocate resources to hiring professional actors.
posted by Netzapper at 6:42 PM on November 11, 2009 [23 favorites]


Good to know, flatluigi. It hurted my ears. Have to say, though, I've liked lots of videogames but never found many examples of good acting in them.
posted by bearwife at 6:44 PM on November 11, 2009


Just about every failed relationship in my life has come down to the choice between girls or justice.

What a shame.
posted by Errant at 6:54 PM on November 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


There is a glaring lack of Virtua Fighter in that video.
posted by threetoed at 6:58 PM on November 11, 2009


I'm surprised that this line from the first Silent Hill wasn't anywhere in there.

Harry Mason really had some terrible, terrible lines, didn't he.

I'm also reminded of this awesome banging remix for some reason. CH-CH-CHERYL!
posted by threetoed at 7:06 PM on November 11, 2009


I need some Grim Fandango to get these lines out of my head.
posted by justkevin at 7:10 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyone remember the old Tex Murphy games?
posted by katerschluck at 7:19 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


threetoed: this one is pretty good, too.
posted by flatluigi at 7:25 PM on November 11, 2009


I'm selling these fine leather jackets.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:25 PM on November 11, 2009


The thing about acting (including voice acting) is that when you do it right, it looks effortless. Examples of doin' it wrong are valuable to give us an appreciation of how good doing it right is.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:31 PM on November 11, 2009


Have to say, though, I've liked lots of videogames but never found many examples of good acting in them.

Portal. (spoilers)
posted by empath at 7:39 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


How did I know Resident Evil would make the list. The horrible voice acting in that game was fucking epic.
posted by chunking express at 8:02 PM on November 11, 2009


Am I to take the complete lack of PC games as evidence that the voice acting in PC games is, on the average, better than in console games? Or just as an indication of the ignorance of the person making the list?

I suspect a combination of the two.
posted by Justinian at 8:25 PM on November 11, 2009


As the president, I implore you: save mankind! (Nomination: Best villain)
posted by kid ichorous at 8:45 PM on November 11, 2009


Why do so many of these sound like the exact same guy?
posted by darlingmagpie at 8:50 PM on November 11, 2009


Am I to take the complete lack of PC games as evidence that the voice acting in PC games is, on the average, better than in console games?

Wing Commander II wasn't AWFUL.
posted by empath at 9:02 PM on November 11, 2009


Mass Effect, as one would hope from a game that has voice acting for every one of its (many, many) lines of dialog, is pretty good. Not perfect, but enough that it's at least as good as your average sci-fi movie. If anything, the voices are just good enough to drive the awkward hand gestures deeper into the Uncanny Valley.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:22 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


WHO ARE YOU THAT FLYS SO GOOD
posted by threetoed at 9:45 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


WIIIIZE FWOM YOUR GWAAAAAAVE
posted by radiosilents at 9:52 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seconding the shameful lack of Symphony of the Night, and also: What happened to, uhhh, EVERY COMMAND AND CONQUER GAME EVER? (And how did Jenny McCarthy make it through special ops training?)
posted by Limiter at 10:16 PM on November 11, 2009


Meanwhile, Oblivion uses vastly different voices for the same damn NPC depending on what kind of lines they're delivering. It goes straight from a quavery "wourd you geeve some gold to a pawr ole beggar, sirr?" to some flowery prose about The Emperor just like that.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:25 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Henry, she's A-OK.

Fiery death - or terrible karaoke performance?
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:25 PM on November 11, 2009


At the opposite end of the spectrum, not only does Bungie have the resources to record thousands of lines of great dialogue for their games, but they have enough time left over to toss in more than a few easter eggs and one-liners. For instance:
343 Guilty Spark: That hurt my feelings! Oh my god, I have feelings? I'm a real boy!

Brute: Save the last dance for me!

Grunt: Something in the way he moves, attracts me like no other Arbiter... something in the way he moves me...

Brute: Vermicious knid!

Grunt: I'll investigate! Someone get me one of those Sherlock Holmes hats, and a little pipe!

Grunt: I found the sabatewer! He was eating a croissan! With a little bit of champogne!

Marine: Gosh -- let's be friends forever! Kthxbye!

Grunt: At this point, if the Demon kill us... we deserve it.

Marine: Are you checking to see if I have a Flood infection? Because I don't, it's eczema.

Grunt: Hey! Demon! The jerk store called, and they're all outta you!
Lots, lots more at the Halo Dialogue Databank (courtesy of halo.bungie.org).
posted by Rhaomi at 1:10 AM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


The first few were, I found, better (that is, more horrid) than the ending ones, so I don't understand how this can be a "count down" to the worst? Also, there were too many repeated games; obviously really, really bad voice acting in most of these games will be systematic, but why linger on that?
posted by tybeet at 3:48 AM on November 12, 2009


I'd love to think the 'jumping the crack' line was smuggled in by the writer for a bet.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:50 AM on November 12, 2009


Oh my God JC a bomb.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 5:49 AM on November 12, 2009


Oh my God JC a bomb.

What you say?!?
posted by jquinby at 6:05 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mass Effect, as one would hope from a game that has voice acting for every one of its (many, many) lines of dialog, is pretty good.

That also depends on whether you play as man!shepard or woman!shepard. On my second play I tried blokeshep and really couldn't enjoy the game because of his wooden delivery. And his stupid beard. But the beard was my fault.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:21 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Have to say, though, I've liked lots of videogames but never found many examples of good acting in them.

The Myth 2 Soulblighter narration is some of my favourite: 1 2 3 4 5... 12

Or you could go the Vagrant Story route and have no voice acting.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:33 AM on November 12, 2009


Deus Ex (Paris)

Wow.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:36 AM on November 12, 2009


Clips like that really make me appreciate what Looking Glass did with the Thief series.
posted by cog_nate at 7:12 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flunkie: "I saw some mudcrabs by the water recently. I steered clear of them!"

RokkitNite: "All that kind of stuff is why you pay a consultant director to actual check the script against the latest build and the rest of the dialogue it's paired with, and brief actors when they're in the studio. Sometimes what sounds like tin-eared, hammy acting is the result of actors recording their bits on different days without being given any indication of who their character is, who they're supposed to be speaking to, and what's going on in the game."

Oh yesss, Oblivion is one of the prime examples for those - some of the text snippets don't sound to bad on their own, but combined into longer passages or reacting to the PC's input they fall apart completely. I never understood why the voice talents would be given only their own parts to read and not, say, the whole script with their dialog parts highlighted.

Also, am I the only one who gets highly annoyed when you get quests in a game from an NPC, and they go on and on, rambling in their whiniest voice about how the evil, evil goblins / space bugs / whatever stole their rusty bucket, and now they need you to get it back? I mean, voice acting can be really good, but why the heck waste it on stupid fetch quest instructions?
Oh, and then some games have no voice output for spells. Yeah, you spend years chanting mystical mantras and learning to craft the Words of Powerâ„¢, but when you actually need to shout them in heated combat you clam up. What the heck, people? I want to speak along when my mage unleashes torrents of magical energy, and I want to be able to recognize enemy spells by their syllables! Why do so few games do that?
Mantorok! Narokath! Santak! Pargon! Pargon!

posted by PontifexPrimus at 7:17 AM on November 12, 2009


flatluigi: I first played Silent Hill on a PlayStation emulator using a vastly underpowered machine. My friends and I still quote that line as heard from my computer, with the voice of a powering-down robot:

'Raaaaaaaaaaadio...What's...with that...raaaaaaaaaaaaadio?'
posted by spamguy at 7:17 AM on November 12, 2009


I'm reluctant to run Culling of Stratholme in World of Warcraft, one of the repeatable heroic dungeons, because the voice delivery is so terrible, and the pacing of the encounters forces you to listen to it. It's an annoying instance because it breaks the flow of the game to deliver crap.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:47 AM on November 12, 2009


It's true, they need an option to skip all the stupid lorelol, like the option to skip the long-winded introductions in ToC.

But if you want to talk about truly terrible voice acting in WoW, then that award has to go to Brann Bronzebeard in HoS. I quit raiding after Naxx, and I'm going to go with "I didn't want to hear his annoying voice again in Ulduar" as a reason why.
posted by threetoed at 8:56 AM on November 12, 2009


My favorite moments in bad video game voice acting are when the game ties enemy dialogue to their AI, and the hilarious result that arise. In Deus Ex you can sneak away after being spotted by an enemy. The resulting dialogue so go like this:

(enemy spots you)

What's that, a man in a coat?!

(you sneak away)

Must have been the wind.

(enemy resumes walking around, oblivious to the stun dart heading towards his face)
posted by arcolz at 9:03 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, it must suck to be a video game character. No one can tell if you're being sarcastic or not.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, it must suck to be a video game character. No one can tell if you're being sarcastic or not.

They just need to carry around hamburgers.
posted by kmz at 9:27 AM on November 12, 2009


The first time I heard "Now bear my arctic blast" in Shining Force III, I almost sold all my video games and took up recreational sport betting.

It was that bad.
posted by aftermarketradio at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I really don't understand why Cooking Mama 2 is on this list. But the others, oh yes. Yes I understand why.
posted by spec80 at 9:45 AM on November 12, 2009


Clips like that really make me appreciate what Looking Glass did with the Thief series.

The first two Thief games had amazing, amazing audio design, which is part of the reason they've stood the test of time for me and why I still play them regularly.*
The conversations had great writing (and delivery) as well, giving you this gem as soon as you start the game:

"Hey, I'm going to the bear pits tomorrow, you wanna come with?"
"Pah, couldn't pay me enough."
"What?! You soft belly! The bears have got these new muzzles with under slung cheek spikes! Last time I was there, there was a real eye gouging!"
"Nah, NAH! It makes me sick! When I was a kid..."
"Huh! Surprised you're even in this job! Ooh! The blood, it can churn my poor tummy!"
"Shut up you taffer! You want blood? You should've been there years ago! I tell ya, the bears then, they were somethin' to see! Those bears, they didn't need no cheek spikes, and razor collars, and paw hooks, and all that knivery ya straps to 'em now!"
"No paw hooks? What'd they do? Just... bump into eachother?"
"Huh?! Nah...! The bears then, they had claws as long as your finger! And wicked teeth!"
"Bears? You're taffing me. They look pretty mangy harmless, as long as they're not wearing harness."
"That's why I can't stand the pits now! You don't what you've missed. They just don't make bears like they used to."
"Whoa! Killer bears. Would've liked to seen that."


*Thief 3 was unmitigated shit apart from the Cradle.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:13 AM on November 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Thanks, hadn't heard narrator in Myth 2 Soulblighter before -- great voice. Wonder if he's done audio books? And you are right, dunkadunc, Thief has great audio and exceptionally strong voice acting.
posted by bearwife at 11:03 AM on November 12, 2009


Though I have only played Thief 1 and 2
posted by bearwife at 11:09 AM on November 12, 2009


At the risk of sounding a little jonmc, Real Video Games don't have any kind of acting, voice or otherwise.
posted by Eideteker at 11:23 AM on November 12, 2009


Quiet, you. Here's a pong set.
posted by cortex at 11:28 AM on November 12, 2009


At my last job, I was programming a [doohickey] that included an announcer indicating who had taken the lead.

Rock and Roll Racing? Are you sure they swapped your voice out?
posted by Evilspork at 2:44 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, even as a gamer who's played a shit-ton of games, more than half of those were unknown by me. I'll never get to play them all, will I?
posted by Bageena at 4:22 PM on November 12, 2009


Someday I'm going to create a character for something named Jill Sandwich.
posted by danb at 5:04 PM on November 12, 2009


#33: "That's what you should have done...




....in the beginning"

Brilliant.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 8:37 AM on November 13, 2009


« Older How Food Preferences Vary by Political Ideology...  |  Christopher Bird at Mighty God... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments