Terrible Acting/voice acting in gaming particularly to me has a certain charm to it (unless you’ve paid full price for it). We all know those terrible movies with terrible acting, awful writing etc all of which elicit a kind of righteous hate from me as you can see from my write up of Disaster Movie *Hint* Its a fucking awful film.
I’m a little more forgiving for terrible character performances in gaming, that could be bias being a gamer but I’d argue that the games industry as essentially had a crash course in portraying a story as it’s still a relatively young industry, especially when compared with the movie industry. Imagine where it was in its infancy, mere beeps and boops and dots for graphics, any hint of a story was primitive and incredibly simplistic in its presentation. Compare that with the massive projects of today, state of the art graphics, talented writing etc, it’s absolutely astounding considering the progress the industry has made and where it is now.
There is fun in looking back at some of the more terrible examples of acting in live action cut scenes such as, the Command & Conquer series or the utterly terrible examples of terrible voice acting, such as the first few resident evils or the English dub for Shenmue 1 & 2.
In the case of Shenmue, the voice acting for the main character Ryo Hazuki had a certain Stoned, brain-dead quality about it. Imagine a flat, dull, monotonous tone, to EVERYTHING HE SAYS! I wouldn’t be surprised if the voice actor was half asleep during his recording session. Contrast that with Shenmue 2 (The Dreamcast version) that had the original Japanese voice acting with English subtitles, and as I am not a native Japanese speaker I would never know what was good or bad voice acting, so at least it had that going for it.
Shenmue 2 for the Xbox had the English dub, and to put it lightly, the voice acting for 98% of the game was diabolical. However it was so bad, it was still highly entertaining to listen too, although im fairly sure not in the way the developer intended! Voices ranged from the highly stoned to the comically wacky, it really detracted from an absolute gem of a game, the only way this could have slipped through any sort of quality control is that someone who didn’t speak English as a first language was in charge of the voice “talent” which is mind-boggling in of itself because the Xbox version of the game was meant to be released for North America (later confirmed to also be released in Europe).
The more pleasant side of terrible story telling is the example set by the Command & Conquer series, which was told in the style of live-action cut scenes. The best ones in my opinion were the Command & Conquer Red Alert series, acting in front of a green screen camping it up to the nth degree was actually a joy to behold, and honestly one of the only incentives for completing each mission. These were mainly acting by a bunch of no-names up until Red Alert 3, employing such powerhouses as Tim curry, Jenni McCarthy and Gemma Atkinson.
One cant help but suspect they weren’t entirely employed for their acting chops (apart from Tim Curry) not that I mind too much *Ahem*…
Although honourable mention to the scene where they are strapped into a comical looking time machine and made to pretend that its real, its hilarious, or even seeing a female guard supposedly guarding Tim Curry with a weapon that’s quite clearly very fake looking CGI.
Even if they are horrible executions of telling a story, they leave a long-lasting fondness. You would think the brilliant story telling would leave a more lasting impression, GTA 5 being an exception as that was so good.
Bad story telling just has to be bad to leave a lasting impression.
Thanks for reading
*I’d love to hear your other examples in the comments if you have any* 🙂