When people think of careers in video games, they often think of programmers or graphic artists. However, there are actually quite a few ways to make a name in the industry – writing, marketing, and don’t forget voice acting! Speaking of which, have you ever been playing a video game and thought you’ve heard a particular character’s voice before? That might be because quite a few actors have made names for themselves through their work in a large number of games. One video game voice actor even has a world record!
A video game world record?
MTV reported earlier this year that voice actor Steve Blum set the Guinness World Record for most video game voice over roles. You can hear him in 261 titles (and counting), and that’s even leaving out his roles in animated TV shows. Blum’s IMDB page listed 465 voice roles under his belt when we last checked! That’s a lot of acting and a pretty prestigious career that includes titles from the Star Wars game franchise as well as Final Fantasy, X-Men and plenty of others.
In addition to being successful in his career, Blum offered advice on how to become a video game voice actor on his official website.
“Above everything, listen,” he wrote. “Listen to voices that you think are within your range naturally. Start there and record yourself. Any recorder will do. Don’t strain! Begin only with what is easy and natural for your voice and build on that. Listen to yourself and get used to how you sound on tape (ok cd, digital, whatever… picky picky). You may be surprised at what you hear! Write down dialogue that you enjoy – from cartoons, commercials, tv shows, movies, etc. – and give it your own spin – on tape (or digital media).”
He also suggested gathering feedback from friends and family (especially kids), and taking classes with industry professionals. Make sure to ask for references and be careful of organizations that make those “too good to be true” promises. For example, Blum warned against having a professional demo reel done for those just starting out. Instead, it’s a good idea for hopeful voice actors to put together a collection of their own that showcases their personality and range of styles.
Although Blum is one of the most prolific video game actors, he isn’t the only man (or woman) of many voices. Here’s a list of a few others who have voice acted in video games!
1. Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker, may not have appeared in an official Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi (1983), but you can sure find him in a few video games.
In 2011, Hamill voiced the Joker in Batman: Arkham City, and you can hear him talking about his experience in this YouTube video. He also voiced Red Skull in Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet, proving that even the Jedi can be gamers.
2. Jennifer Hale
There’s a prevailing myth that technology jobs are all for the boys. Jennifer Hale proves this isn’t the case with a pretty robust portfolio of video game voice acting roles. She’s done a lot of work with game developer BioWare, including titles such as Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
She discusses some of her work in an interview with TORWars. Commenting on her role as both Satele Shan and the character’s ancestor, Bastila Shan, across several games, the interviewer said Hale has become “the voice behind a legacy in Star Wars.”
However, Hale’s legacy extends beyond the world of Jedi and lightsabers. She has voiced characters in games ranging from Metroid to Age of Empires III. In fact, the New Yorker called her the queen of video game voice acting last year for her work in more than 120 video games.
3. Laura Bailey
Laura Bailey is another voice actress whose legacy spans several franchises, genres and even types of media. According to her official website, she has played characters on television and given them voice in video games. Her video game work includes Bloodrayne and Streetfighter, and she has co-starred on in popular TV shows such as “Walker: Texas Ranger” and “Thief.”
4. Nolan North
Nolan North is another actor who makes the list due to a large volume and equally impressive variety of voice roles. His voice shows up in games ranging from Guild Wars to Halo, and he has also taken a few leaps from the computer monitor to the TV screen. Of particular note, he has both voiced characters in a CSI video game and appeared in an episode of the TV show!
Just goes to show that video games are becoming an increasingly complex form of entertainment. In fact, if you’re wondering why Star Wars kept appearing on this list, it’s probably because the recent online game Star Wars: The Old Republic snagged the Guinness World Record for the most voice acting of any single entertainment project, according to PC Gamer. With more than 200 voice actors and 200,000 lines of spoken dialogue, the game beat every other video game and animated TV show or movie that came before it.