Blogs of the Round Table: Filling the void of voices

What you mean? Monkey Island 1 and 2 had perfect voice talent!

I came across Man Bytes Blog through the Brainy Gamer podcast. I’ve visited Corvus’ blog earlier, but now I’ll stay. Anyhow; he has got this thing going with inviting other bloggers, any blogger, to share their thought at a topic. I’ll toss in a few words at what voices in games mean to me.

I have a history of escaping into other worlds. It happens fairly often, and usually this is into books, my own thoughts, (pen and paper) role-playing games, and computer games. The latter happens less often now, and not only because I try spending less time at them. I find myself treating them more as things to be understood and solved, rather than worlds to live.

Apart from having my old Commodore 64 talk at me, my most memorable moment with voice talent in games are with Curse of Monkey Island. Or rather with the original Monkey Island, and the surprising silence I experienced as the first lines of text appeared. I had just played CMI and picked down my copy of Monkey Island from the shelf, wanting to live its magic again.

My experience playing the Monkey Island games changed from this; or in a way it did not. I never reacted to Guybrush’s voice in Monkey Island 3 – other than that it fit perfectly, but I when I played the prequels again it was Dominic’s voice I heard inside my head. I could’ve sworn at the time that his was the voice I had had in mind for Guybrush while playing the prequels years before, prior to experiencing CMI.

When applying voice talent, I have no trouble supplying my own voices. At least for my own character, and then especially if I had a hand in creating him myself. I can accept there only being voice done for certain characters. I might even prefer that only some lines for certain characters were done in voice. Like when you meet any major character, like Tandi, in the first Fallout game. You’re given a hint or an example, and your mind fills it in expertly at any other time you read her lines.

What jars it for me is anything that ruins the image of the world created. Anything my brain has to fill in itself will be good, or perfect, if there is mood. But if it is supplied for me, I will be critical to anything that threatens suspension of disbelief. Voices not matching the character? Bad lip-sync? People never mentioning my name even if it is written in the subtitles?

In the end I think I prefer making up the voices myself. But when it is done right, I won’t argue against them. For me it is very much akin to graphics. Trying to make it perfect and missing – disastrous. Better to just make it good enough, and let my mind do what it does best.

Filling in the blanks.

Please visit the Round Table’s Main Hall for links to all entries.

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  1. You capture my thoughts on this subject exactly. I’ve been thinking about the Legend of Zelda series lately because I’m working on a series of posts devoted to it.

    The question of whether or not Link should speak is a tough one. I’m inclined to think he should remain silent for the very reasons you suggest, but if they could absolutely nail it perfectly…then just maybe I would accept it. It’s hard at this point, after all these years, for me to accept a version of that character that doesn’t require my imaginative input. Maybe that’s old-fashioned, but it works for me.

    Thanks for a thoughtful essay.

  2. I too think that Dominic Armato nailed Guybrush and it is indeed the voice I fill the first two games with now in my head… It’s interesting to note, though, those that still don’t like Dominic Armato’s Guybrush after all these years of hearing him in CMI and MI4. (I can’t fault those that dislike MI4’s almost drastic straying from Ron’s Monkey Island, but CMI is great…)

  3. I have nothing against Dominic’s work in MI4, but I do dislike the game itself. Actually as far as not having completed it yet. This does have something to do with MI4 being in “glorious” three-dee.

    I also have a feeling that MI through CMI does have more… erm… twisted, humorous logic than MI4. There is a quest: I need to play through all four games when I get the chance, to see whether the puzzles are more “logical” in the earlier ones. :)

  4. Neat post, I didn’t read this until after I posted my roundtable, which is along the same lines – that you can imagine better voices then many that are provided for you. This makes a lot more sense then my post though :D




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