Video games - Voiceover and escapism

A random thought, as I sit here at the day job, planning for my next client email, studying for my next lesson and preparing to audition tonight, I'm reflecting on the reasons why video games mean so much to me and why they are so massive even in the voiceover industry. This is one level where voice acting to me, is a very personal and passionate place.

Before the comment arises, the majority of the stuff I record is NOT video games at all. Those jobs are fewer but extremely rewarding when they arise. While I record narration, e-learning modules, phone messages and all the other jobs I love to do, I have an unshakable love for character acting. Now, there is an argument to be had that each script is performed as a character but that's not what I'm eluding to here.

This might sound childish to some but to the many that understand that these are the modern day 'novels' of our time. While there are still books, movies and television shows, the video game industry has nestled itself into a wonderful niche where story telling runs right along the dynamic of the player living the experience, not merely just observing. 

Despite people thinking, 'It's just a game' - I couldn't disagree more. Look at the progression as we've gone from Pac-Man to full on immersive adventures where you get emotionally attached to some of the characters. To me it, is no different than reading book and having those same feelings for the character in that medium. Games have become massive epic stories now, no longer merely objective based time wasters. 

In the news, we hear of heartbreak and tragedy all the time, yet we wonder why people are so invested in lengthy video games. This form of escapism, just like any other, I think can be healthy and help people come out of a social shell they may not usually be comfortable leaving. There are always those who obsess but in this instance, the characters, I believe truly help the player feel like they matter. 

The likes of Troy Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Nolan North, Brian Sommer, Adam Harrington - to name a few. Listening to how easily and fluidly they shape their voice and how believable they sound. That's what matters to the players and helps them become immersed and more attached to the story. Real VO heroes to look up to and aspire to. 

I've only had the opportunity to voice a few characters in various indie games but as this slowly becomes part of my progression, I rather relish the idea of perhaps performing as a character where someone becomes emotionally invested. Exciting stuff for sure.