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Reading Vs. Voice-Acting


Mark E
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Which is more palatable?  

  1. 1. Which is more palatable?

    • Crappy, over-emoted voice acting
    • Having to read everything


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Well, really, I'd be interested to see where people fall on this. I know there are those who hate to read and will put up with some seriously godawful voice acting in games just for that reason.

 

And of course, you masters of unlocking know that bad voice acting is sometimes viciously hilarious.

 

But, with reading you can inject your own interpretation on things and don't have to put up with C-movie actors or fallen stars who are embarassed to be here.

 

So which do people feel is better? Discuss, hopefully ;).

 

Oh, and I deliberately left good voice-acting off the last since it would likely skew the results all over the place :P.

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I'll go with the crappy voice-acting. But maybe I'm being influenced too heavily by my case-in-point against reading:

 

Grabbed by the Ghoulies was presented like a comic book, so I understand what they were going for. But, not only did it have way to much reading, every line of dialogue that you had to read was accompanied by a groan, annoyed grunt, surprised exclamation, maniacal laugh, or jubilant exclamation.

 

It was a fun game, but I was annoyed by the amount of reading you have to do.

 

Carlos.

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Another vote for reading as well, only because I can read a heck of a lot faster than the voice-actors speak. KOTOR is a perfect example...if I had to wait for everyone to actually finish their spoken dialog the game (instead of quickly reading the statement and hitting "A" to get to the next one) it would have doubled the time it took to complete the game.

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Voice acting. I'll automatically skip through cut-scenes as I finish reading the words, which really disrupts the flow of a cinematic game. KOTOR had great voice acting, but since you had to choose your responses, I ended up skipping most of the dialogue. I had no problem with the voices in BG&E. I was always getting in trouble in school for my attention wandering while my inbred mouth-breathing classmates in West Virginia struggled to read aloud. I once amazed my friends by reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull in one class period, a book that is 90% *photographs*. Also, reading takes your attention away from the visuals of a cut-scene, hardly the creator's intent, and for the same reason I prefer dubbing to subtitling in movies, but we can have that argument later.

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I had to vote for "reading" but man - it really depends on the game.

 

Most titles I don't give a flying fig. They can crap up the voice acting as much as they want. It usually doesn't last very long and if its not just terribly bad then its tolerable. Except RPGs.

 

When RPGs finally crossed over to the voice acting thing, then they rarely let you rename your characters. I'm all about renaming my characters! Let me just read the damn dialogue so Tidus doesn't sound like a wuss and Wakka is halfway "normal".. gawd he was so bad I couldn't even finish FFX.

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I voted for read. Bad voice acting can kill a game. Or anime. Or movie.

 

1) I acutally hired Jessica Calvello from Excel Saga and Dirty Pair to do voice overs for a game and a web cartoon. Turned out to be a brilliant decision on my part. Yeah, it cost me a few bucks, but this is what she does for a living. She went to school for it. And sure enough after I handed her the lines for both characters, told her what to do, and hit record, she nailed both parts instantly. And she even suggested that she do at least three takes for each line with different inflection ranges. This is the epitome of professional.

 

2) I could have also spent 1000x that amount of money to have a name-recognition-laden actress with a killer body do the voiceover (along with her agent and make-up crew) and have it sound like ass because she was hung over and has to leave in 30 minutes to do an appearance on Conan. And even if she wasn't hung over, voiceovers are a lot different than acting anyway and she might not have a damn clue what to do. And she'd still have to leave in 30 minutes to do Conan. :roll:

 

3) I could have also spent $0.00 to have my sister do it and have it sound worse.

 

Too many developers and dub houses opt for choices two and three. :x

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I prefer to read, too. Bad voice acting is just, well, bad. PoisonJam's got a great point about the time-saving aspect as well. The absolute worst is when there's text on-screen that's read out to you and there's no way to jump ahead once you're done reading... agonizing.

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I would have to vote for reading.

 

Bad voice acting, especially in games where immersion is key like RPGs, can completely break the immersion factor and jar you from the experience.

 

In many ways I think poor voice acting can sometimes kill an otherwise great gaming experience. This is the extreme, ofcourse, but it does happen.

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