As the title implies, I am about to judge people based on their appearances. I am going to enjoy it. There is freedom in being a jerk. And yes, this is wrong and it makes me a horrible person but I am not going to get racist or sexist or anything, and for better or worse, we live in a world where anything else goes. It is exciting even, like I am getting away with something murderous, so I will be as douchy as I can, while I can. Having said that, here are some very unlikely voice actors behind our favorite video game characters.
The G-Man is possibly the scariest dude in a suit. If you don’t know who he is, then think Agent Smith (Matrix), and then, try to imagine someone, who would give Agent Smith the creeps. If you do know who he is, just imagine witnessing him walking toward you, looking for you, wanting to discuss something with you… The mere thought should rustle the hairs on your ass because in no way could it be anything pleasant. This man has all the charm and sense of humor of a warning label on a Soviet nuke. Someone like that must spend his days in a horrible, dark, windowless office, behind a massive-ass, scary-ass desk, deciding whose nuts are logically to come off next, to be presented to their family. The business that gets this man to leave that office, looking for you, is probably not that late gas bill; it is the business your mind couldn’t fathom in your worst nightmares.
Who you imagine it is:
It’s the eyes. Sure, you probably don’t actually imagine Ian McShane being the G-Man, and he might not sound particularly like him, but you do imagine a face so intimidating that your hate for it’s owner transcends all distances. I’ll be pretentious and guess, more specifically, that you imagine a face that is the worst case scenario inside your head, right before a job interview. Now, take another moment to really look at that expression on Ian’s mug and imagine it staring at you across a desk of an office, as you try to convince the man that he should agree to pay you money. Steve fucking Jobs would feel like a ridiculous dumbass in that situation. Suddenly, you could no longer feel like it is your choice to be there and that failing to impress this man would result in something much worse than remaining unemployed. Brrrr…
Meet… Michael Shapiro
That’s right. You have repeatedly shat yourself because of this nerd. Sure, if you stare long enough, there is a hint of a serial killer in there, but somehow, even that is not very disturbing, in his case. He strikes me as that “oh fuck, this guy again” type of dude, who you might avoid because he gets dickish over things like not finding it obvious how Linux is better than Windows, rather than the shit-yourself-when-he-is-near type of dude. By far, the most remarkable thing about this Michael Shapiro is that the above is the only picture of him that I could find on the Internet. Now, that is intriguing.
(Every Nintendo game)
If I need to introduce Mario, then frankly, I am a bit disturbed by who might be reading this. Please, kindly comment below and let all of us know how life is in Uranus and what you are doing reading about video games. In exchange, I will explain to you that, despite tripping on an occasional mushroom, Mario is basically the least offensive, most family-friendly video game character of all time (even Kirby often resembles a shaved puppy sack) and yeah, he is famous. In fact, why am I even putting him on the list? Chances are that everyone knows everything about him, including the identity of his voice actor, but still, those who do not, probably cannot help but imagine someone like this:
Who you imagine it is:
You hopefully don’t think Roberto Benigni does the actual Mario’s voice but he has all the key characteristics that you probably see in the voice actor: Italian, young, harmless, happy. Seriously, go to Google Images and try to find a picture of Benigni not smiling. The guy is constantly high on dangerous amounts of some “upper” that may actually be mushrooms… aaand he even sounds like Mario AND jumps on people’s heads sometimes. He strikes me as the kind of dude who sleeps in colorful pajamas in a car bed, who pouts when he gets angry, who would be close friends with Michael Jackson, and who would kick fucking ass at organizing kiddy parties. This guy is Mario. Well, except that this guy is Mario:
Meet… Charles Martinet
Its-a me! Creepy old dude! He does look high, I’ll give him that. He could possibly even pass for a plumber, but he also looks like a guy you don’t want anywhere near children. It’s not even that he is old or not stereotypically Italian; it’s that his face muscles have morphed and fused into a default expression of “I am so fucking sick and tired of this shit.” When I think what it would be like to take a picture with the guy, the smell of alcohol and an uncomfortably heavy breathing always enter the picture (no pun), in some way. To be fair, he seems like a really, really, really nice guy, who is crazy in just the right way to be the guy behind Mario (no gay pun intended) but strictly aesthetically speaking, seriously?
Since character faces, in Diablo, consisted of, like, two-and-a-half pixels, and since Blizzard have drawn Deckard Cain in so many ways, over the years, that pretty much anything with a white beard would do, I am including a hilarious prank call video with the guy, instead of a picture. Go ahead, stay awhile and laugh it up, and do pay attention to the voice. Now, let us analyze the personality a bit. He sure sounds patient and wise, if slow enough to be painfully irritating. Also, I cannot really explain why but he sounds completely and utterly good, does he not? You can imagine a guy, with that voice, say nothing but detailed instructions on how to kill a troll or open some evil fucking cave or some shit. Oh, and he definitely, definitely sounds brittle and old. Hmmmmmm.
Who you imagine it is:
Bam. It just has to be someone like him. Look at that kind old face and that wise gray beard. That guy should play Deckard Cain, if there is ever a movie. Or maybe it should be someone with more determination in his face, like that Magneto guy, from Lord of the Rings. If that one was just a bit older, I would probably think it is him, since he is one of the only two old actors I know, who are not Sean Connery (the other one is that Gandalf guy from X-Men). Why could it not be Sean Connery? Because one thing Sean Connery does not do is stay back and advise, when there is evil ass to be bitchslapped nearby. There is just no way it’s someone that manly. What we are dealing with here is a frail, walking fossil of a guy, like:
Meet… Michael Gough
Wh… Holy shit! Surely, this must be the son of Deckard Cain’s voice actor… Nope, this is the guy and he is not old at all!. Do me a favor, listen to that youtube video again, while looking at this guy’s face. It just does not fit, any way you approach it. How can those sounds come out of that throat? And I bet you are not even noticing the most amazing detail here, something that should make you infinitely more impressed with this guy’s talent than you are already… Still don’t see it? The man who voices “the good guy” of the Diablo series, emanating decency and righteousness with his voicebox, is actually… ginger! If anyone ever tells you that their folk is the soulless seed of the devil, blast them with Cain’s sound bites and then show them a picture of the guy responsible.
(God of War series)
How would you describe Kratos in one word? I bet it is synonymous with “angry”. If G-Man is the guy you do not want to meet at a job interview, Kratos is the guy you do not want to meet. I mean, look at that face. Imagine it somewhere harmless… at Starbucks, if you’d like. “May I take your order?” you hear an angry voice asking and you stand there, staring back (look at the picture), thinking carefully about the tone you are about to take. You make your order simple, so he (picture…) does not have to ask you to repeat it. He punches it in and it’s time to pay the man (picture…) so you put the tip in the jar first and then you desperately try to come up with the exact change (picture…) to make it go faster but you just realized that you are taking too long (picture…), so you start sweating (picture…) and shaking and… you drop your money… You are now dead but you can still hear chopping noises as this Starbucks employee continues murdering you.
Who you imagine it is:
Kratos has a powerful voice, so he has to be someone rather huge, with decent amounts of testosterone, like Bill Goldberg here. You know, come to think of it, it should definitely be one of the wrestlers from WWE because that whole gig is all about talking shit and that’s all Kratos ever says, really. You will never hear him go: “hey, what’s up, Poseidon?” or “hey, Zeus, nice weather we’re having.” Intead, it is always a promise to strangle someone with their own urethra or something. And WWE guys are professionally trained to say shit like that, in a crazed, intimidating tone, before commencing all that weird tickling shit the rednecks call “wrestling”.
Meet… Terrance Carson
Let us get the obvious out of the way: not only is the palest person in video games actually a black dude, he also wears glasses and looks like the most harmless human being with real (?) facial hair. Now, look at that smile. You simply cannot take any threats coming from that seriously. It’s like his voice was nature’s way of making up for the rest, to leave the guy with a natural defense of some kind. I bet his preferred medium of confrontation is the phone because he seems too nice to do anything violent… until he speaks. Really, if this man ever has a problem with another dude, he should just call him up instead and that will be the fucking end of it. Don’t judge a book by its’ cover boys and girls, especially if it’s an audio book. Seriously, this is like finding out that the cast of the Expendables are the guys behind SpongeBob SquarePants.
Fallout 3’s Super Mutants are something else, are they not? I never figured out just what Bethesda was going for, in that particular sequel. In all other Fallout games, the mutants were like overgrown humans: some normal, others nuts. In Fallout 3, they are the lost retarded half-brothers of Kratos up there. With the exception of exactly one, they are all dumb as bricks and insane with rage, like rabid Chupacabras, yet, they wear some pretty elaborate armors and use firearms. Honestly, I poured quite a few hours into that game and I still can’t tell you what their deal was. Regardless, they do look lethal but the very first time I heard one, I thought something funny was about to happen. I thought that perhaps I chanced upon a moron Super Mutant, named Barney, who was about to do something whacky to make me laugh. So…
Who you imagine it is:
Amirite? I know what you are thinking–Iago is not real. Well, first, you don’t know that, and second, those Super Mutants don’t exactly sound like any real life human being anyway. If you continuously pour booze down someone’s throat while tap dancing on his testicles, then yes, the person might produce a passable impression, but generally speaking, what you hear in Fallout 3 is rather bizarre, by reality standards. So what kind of an inhuman fucking face could produce those sounds. Well, it’s hard to say really. I bet it’s someone ugly and dumb-looking, with a horrible sense of humor and possibly a deformity on his face that resulted from too many clumsy smoking accidents…. whatever they may be. It’s probably Gilbert Gottfried’s uglier (if that’s possible) big brother, who he keeps secret in his basement.
Meet… Wes Johnson
No mistake. Meet, Mr. Johnson, the owner of your neighborhood Denny’s. Seriously, go out right now, walk over to your local diner and ask for the manager. You will come face-to-face with this guy. I shit you not, he will be there and he will not demand for you to die a horrible death, before pouncing at you with a sledgehammer, but will politely ask how he may be of service, and he will do so in a normal human voice. I know. It’ a crazy world we live in. Admittedly, he does look like Iago but he is also the most normal-looking human male imaginable so I give him props. And take a moment to check out how many fucking roles Bethesda’s actors have in a single game to truly appreciate the skills here.
I have said it before and I will say it again: Lo Fucking Wang! Don’t get it? Well, then I am truly disturbed and saddened by you, my friend. This here is the Asian Duke Nukem, the Eastern Black Dynamite, the fucking oriental… ummm… that guy from all the Bollywood action flicks, with the epic mustache! As the name implies, Lo Wang is one of those manly men, above all, who not only operate Katanas, Uzis, and grenade launchers, as part of their natural behavior, but who find the resulting horror entertaining and genuinely enjoyable. They know not what an “emotional arc” is or what it means to “have feelings”, nor do they give a shit. The most dramatic moments of their epic battles versus evil can only be described via wisecracks, jokes, and immortal one-liners. This is man stuff over here, people, and I am already typing too may words to remain appropriate.
Who you imagine it is:
How about Mako Iwamatsu? He was Asian, often funny, and made movies with all of the following individuals: Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jackie Chan. Remarkably, he survived every one of those experiences, which makes one about as badass as one gets, somehow. He was also the voice of Aku, in the epic little animated series, titled Samurai Jack, so despite being an Oscar-nominated actor, he was not above some jackassery. Mako always struck me as the type of guy, who would hear out an offer to play a walking Asian stereotype, who is not quite Chinese or Japanese, have a laugh and respond with an enthusiastic “fakku yes!” I cannot even imagine anyone else doing it. Noone could possibly be as fitting or as cool. Well, except maybe for…
Meet… John Galt