The 8 Ball 09.11.12: Top 8 Video Game Voice Actors
Posted by David McGregor on 09.11.2012
From Liam Neeson in Fallout 3 and Ron Pearlman in Fallout, Turok, and Halo to Ray Liotta in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, 411's David McGregor counts down his list of the Top 8 Voice Actors in Gaming!
Welcome to another edition of the 8 Ball of the Games Section of 411, I am your host David McGregor and I put way too much effort into this bit than I really should.
Last week we discussed surprisingly good games, I was happy with the list and I am going to take it that you guess were too as less people commented to moan about it. Which is always nice.
This week will be the Top 8 Gaming Voice Actors list, a list that was genuinely suggested by a commenter of the article. I am going to do a mix of celebrities and actual voice actors mainly because there are loads of celebrity ones that I just adored, but at the same time there are people who do this as a living and are very good at it so deserve the praise. I am not going to lie I am far from an expert here so if I miss anyone out then I do apologise to them. Let's begin!
8th – Samuel L Jackson (GTA: San Andreas)
I was tempted to put every celebrity cameo GTA had at number 8, but then I couldn't have had number 6 on my list, so instead I am going with Officer Tenpenny played brilliantly by Samuel L Jackson. The main reason I chose Tenpenny is because the character could have been a bit crap if it wasn't for the great job Jackson did with his voice over. I don't mean to detract from the job the guys did on San Andreas but they relied heavily on Jackson creating a memorable character, had someone half assed the job it could have come across as pretty underwhelming.
The other thing I love about this one is that they don't just rely on it being the famous Samuel L Jackson, it is a great performance that is given. They take a voice that people have come to love and put on an absolute prick of a character, and Jackson makes it work. Bar a few fantastic cameos in San Andreas this is one of the few great characters in the game.
7th – David Hayter (Metal Gear Solid)
This man really isn't known for much else bar Snake from Metal Gear Solid, but to be the voice of one of the most popular characters of all time isn't too bad an achievement. This man is the voice of the Metal Gear Solid series; most people couldn't imagine him doing anything else bar Snake. But when you think about it there have been so many scenes of the series in which Hayter has had to give a powerful performance, this isn't just showing up and doing a few lines it is a proper voice-acting workout. MGS is known for its lengthy cut scenes so praise is definitely due to the man behind Solid Snake.
6th – Ray Liotta (GTA: Vice City)
Now I know this may seem like a GTA overload, but to me there is no greater voice role than Ray Liotta in Vice City. I adore, absolutely adore, Goodfellas and instantly feel in love with Liotta, he is just magnificent in the game. I just always wanted to be Henry Hill. "Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a gangster." That is the best line in any film ever, and from that moment I wanted to be Ray Liotta as Henry Hill. Childish I know and is never going to happen, in real life. As it already did in Vice City, you got to be the lead character in a gangster game voiced by Liotta. That was just a dream come true for me, I felt like I was playing a Goodfellas game and I was Henry Hill, only listening to 80's pop on a moped.
So while this a very personal entry, it doesn't depart from the fact that Liotta is perfect and brilliant as Tommy Vercetti. Everything was perfect in Vice City to create a joyous environment for causing chaos and for a few hours on the PS2 pretending to be a gangster. I just don't think I would have taken to the character of Vercetti as instantly as I did if it wasn't for that connection with the voice. It was like the opening of Goodfellas all over again. You can get a million and one fantastic voice actors that are better than Liotta but GTA were smart to realise that people have a connection with Liotta and that character. This was a very smart decision by the guys at Rockstar.
5th – Liam Neeson (Fallout 3)
I don't really understand this one; it isn't really a fashionable thing to be a protagonist in a video game that isn't GTA. I just don't understand why a big Hollywood actor would decide to do a game like this, either way I have a ton more respect for Mr Neeson. It takes balls to do something that is unfashionable in Hollywood, where it is basically all about fashion and social suicide is all too real a thing. But more power to him for doing something different.
With that out of the way, it has to be said that Liam Neeson was extremely good in Fallout 3. I never took Neeson as the action role type but after Taken he can do whatever genre he damn well likes, and clearly that includes video games. Not the automatic choice for a game like Fallout 3, but I think that's what makes it so memorable.
4th – Ron Pearlman (Fallout, Turok, Halo)
Now we are getting into the real heavy hitters in the voice acting game, and Ron Pearlman is without a shadow of a doubt the most prolific celebrity gaming voice over actor. That sentence was a bit clumped together and I rewrote it and that's the best I could come up with, that's how hard it is to describe this guy! I thought he would be in one or two notable roles, but Pearlman has been in a metric shit ton of video games. He has been in Turok, already loving his work, Halo, not so much and even narrated the Fallout series. This is just the tip of the iceberg for his voice acting credits; there is a massive list of achievements by this guy that puts every other celebrity cameo to absolute shame.
This is all at the same time as having a very decent live acting career, how is that even possible? The man is basically a voice actor and a proper actor at the same time; both careers seem to be doing fantastic. Ron Pearlman, not only Hell Boy but also a master of two careers.
3rd – Nolan North (Uncharted and Everything Else Since)
Now I will be honest I had never heard of Nolan North, mainly because I have never played any of the Uncharted games, so when I was looking him up I wasn't expecting much at all. But is seems that since the success of Uncharted Nolan North has been in every thing since. From Goldeneye to Call of Duty and Assassins Creed to 50 Cent: Bulletproof this guy has been in it all. There is literally a massive list of great games that this guy has been in, obviously a career highlight being in 50 Cents beautifully crafted piece of art.
It just unreal how many games there is under this mans belt. Some of my favourite games are on his resume and when you are consistently great at your job then it clearly pays off, probably paid off his mortgage as well. He may be just Nathan Drake to a lot of people but he very well might just be everyone else in every game you have played since!
2nd – John DiMaggio (Gears of War, Halo 3, Bender (The Character Not His Sexuality))
Who would have thought that Bender would have a glowing career voicing video games? Not this guy that's for sure. I love John DiMaggio in Futurama but I couldn't tell you anything else he had been in off the top of my head, but when you take a look at his back catalogue of credits it is extremely impressive. What makes it even more surprising is that he has only been doing it for the past 11 years! In that time he has fronted games such as Gears of War as Marcus Fenix and Franklin, Halo 3, X-Men Legends and weirdly enough also in the 50 Cent: Bulletproof game. I have no idea why the hell everyone flocked to that turkey.
He has been in some of the best games of the past decade, which is extraordinary when he is relatively new at the genre. He is probably a little high but who is going to question Bender, by the way is that a term for a gay man in the US as well as the UK? I just feel weird using Bender in any connotation; it is like some character being called the Fag (which isn't as bad as that's a cigarette in the UK and faggot is a meal, nice wee lesson for you all).
1st – Steve Blum (Call of Duty, X-Men, EVERYTHING!)
I don't know how to actually comprehend how much this guy rules at his job. Steve Blum has been in a game you have played, without a shadow of a doubt you will have heard his voice. He is that prolific a voice actor. He has been the leading voice in Call of Duty, Tom Clancy, X-Men as Wolverine, Shadows of the Damned and so so so many others. I know it is bad English to use so that many times but he is in everything!
I don't know what more to write other than Steve Blum is the best in the business, if this guy was Prime Minister of the UK I would be sipping Dom Perignon out of a gold chalice the country would be doing so well. Go here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Blum) and see for yourself, the mans a workaholic to the greatest degree!
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The Comments Section
Everyone thinks they're good at photography nowadays where everyone has a camera. It is still an art form. And no, it isn't an art form when performed in Pokemon Snap.
Posted By: James (Registered) (Guest) on September 04, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Of course I was being jovial about the Pokémon Snap comment, but I have always been good at photography it is just one of those things I find naturally easy. It Is not to say that some people do great things with a camera but I just feel that it has been bastardised with every Tom, Dick and Harry thinking they are photographers. Believe me one of my friends is one of those people.
Heh...good luck with the lawyer thing. I went to school with at least three guys who thought pretty much the same as you. None of them are lawyers now, though they all passed the Bar and practiced for a bit. They all hated it, and I know at least two of them are now working on a farm.
Posted By: Guest#5553 (Guest) on September 04, 2012 at 09:00 AM
Thanks and that has to be the most depressing comment I have ever received on this website. Fair enough follow your bliss as Cher once said on Will and Grace (stereotype alert!) but I am far too stubborn and already in too much debt to be quitting before I make a very large sum.
I just got a PS3 this past January. So, I am just now catching up to what everyone else already knows. I've spent 8 months playing Fallout 3 (best game I ever played, glitches and all). Once April rolls around and I get my next tax return, I can get Fallout New Vegas and Bioshock from Amazon. Can't wait to find out how good Bioshock really is.
Posted By: Comment Board Poster (Guest) on September 04, 2012 at 09:52 AM
Please don't read anything I ever write about Bioshock, at least until you have completed the game. I am a bit of a douche with spoilers, most of the time I just forget that not everyone has played a specific game regardless of the time it has been released for. I just hope you haven't already had the game spoiled.
Nothing against you and your column, here's some advice:
Place games worthy of being mentioned. Nobody cares about freaking Pokemon, much less the picture-taking pokemon game only a handful of people knew existed. To you is was surprisingly good - to us it's still utter shite, that we will never, ever look at.
If it was some other obscure game that got overlooked and is an actually great game, at least there is a chance that some reader may play it.
Nobody cares about crappy pokemon games. Waste of column space.
Posted By: Guest#9741 (Guest) on September 04, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Some people did like Pokémon Snap though, so your comment is invalid. I don't mind criticism, it is why I put myself out there, but is there really any need for you to be a prick? And don't use we when no one gives a shit what you are saying.
You rock, David. Great column, as usual.
BTW, I probably could use a lawyer soon.
Posted By: Guest#4383 (Guest) on September 04, 2012 at 05:06 PM
The second part of your comment really made me laugh, and thank you for the compliment.
Fact: if Liam Neeson isnt your #1 voice actor next week, you have failed everyone. But i have to say, you columns rule. I only read this and alternative takes on 411 and get the rest of my information from other websites. Keep up the good work bro
Posted By: Deadpooh (Guest) on September 09, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Everyone is being very nice this week. I have failed you and everyone then, I can only apologise profusely. I always find it interesting what columns people actually read on this website, I know I don't read everything (you couldn't!) but it is always something I like to know.
Yes, David, there is a pint in continuing the column. It's a fantastic column and I can honestly say, being a newish gamer in my mid 30's I have found a game or two that I love that I wouldn't have known about if not for your column. I am very much a person of routine, and Monday nights are watching Raw, playing whatever game I am in the middle of now and watching 411 for your column.
On a final note, David, it is cool to see your columns getting better each week as opposed to getting weaker. It seems that the actual good writers that come to work here usually allow themselves to get dragged down to the level of most the other writers here. You, Leonard, and 1 or 2 others are like the writers that use to work for 411 back when t was good and the premiere site for wrestling news before it became the Internet joke it is now. So, continue to bring back some of the respect the site use to have and don't ever allow yourself to be dragged down to fit in with the masses that write here, please.
Posted By: Guest#9916 (Guest) on September 04, 2012 at 01:10 AM
It is quite weird to think that someone has a routine round my article as I have the same one on the Wrestling section on a Wednesday morning. Smackdown spoilers then Ask 411 Wrestling is always one my to do list for a Wednesday.
As for the other writers on this website, I cant comment because I don't read everyone's stuff but there are some guys on here that do a lot of work. Maybe not on the one article but across the board some guys on here do a lot of work for Ashish and Larry, and don't get a penny for their troubles. I greatly appreciate the compliments, more so than you probably think, and I can honestly say that I put a lot of effort into my column every week. Some weeks more than others I will be honest, some topics don't thrill me as much as others, but I try not to put out a subpar article.
As for the work of others, I can only go by my own experiences but some don't get the recognition they deserve. I am lucky as my column is well promoted (some weeks more than others and some weeks I am bumped down for things I don't feel I should be) but others do a lot of work and don't get more than 10 comments or ever feature on the top page. That can get disheartening, especially when you do a lot of work on something. I can only imagine that people get to the point that they feel it doesn't really matter. As for those who just show tits and get loads of views and comments, I don't agree with that. Even if I was sexually attracted to women I wouldn't fawn over that, it is cheap and I don't like it. I better stop now before I get fired.
What do you want the 8 Ball to be about next week?
Top 8 Weird Games
Top 8 Expectations for the Next Generation Consoles
Top 40 Game Characters
I just realised this goes out on September the 11th and for anyone that was affected by the tragedy my sincerest sympathies go out to you today.