A Game Just Isn't The Same Without the Voice

John Argirovski,

January 28, 2023 2:13 AM

Think about those video games that you enjoy the most. I'm talking about the ones that never age no matter how old they, or how old you get.

The games that you STILL play like a broken record on repeat. It’s fascinating how some games just never age. What’s their anti-aging secret? What is it specifically about that game that keeps bringing you back?

Is it the graphics?

I might be wrong on this one but I struggle to believe that “great graphics” is the main reason why someone still chases high scores on a game like Joust or Asteroids.

Is it the competitive gameplay?

This is definitely a factor to consider no doubt about it. Of course, a gamer has to enjoy the gameplay if they keep coming back to it. Twin Galaxies is a great place to share high scores and create a nice competitive experience for all those retro classics. This absolutely extends the life of any game.      

What about the music? and sound effects?

Definitely another factor that is extremely important. Most of us can hum the melody to The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, or even Super Mario Bros without flinching. The musical melody of a retro classic game never fails to bring nostalgic goosebumps. Even the sound effects are important to a game, like that of Pac-Man, in which each sound of Pac-Man moving generates an uneasy feeling of anxiousness.

Or is it the in game-commentary?

You know… the voice actors of the game? Some would say it’s the one that often gets the least credit but voice acting can be a job that requires a lot of heavy lifting. The voice sets the tone, “setting up the table” for a palatable experience. The voice can truly make or break a game.

Will the voice be annoying? Will it add suspense to the experience? OR will it add some useless extra audio files that will take up some much-needed memory storage space to an already jam-packed game?

I for one, am extremely glad that some game developers took a risk and put in some extremely talented in-game commentators over the years.

Here are my picks for Top 5 In-Game Commentators:

5. DonPachi (1995)  

(voice by a mysterious man named “Bob”)

Perhaps a lesser-known title but the subtle voice acting during intense moments like when you are battling bosses or getting “Power Ups” is subtle, yet hilarious, and “Bob” added a nice intensity to the game. You don’t always see this in a shoot-em-up!

4. Crazy Taxi (1999)

(voice by Bryan Burton-Lewis)

How can you forget this line? “Hey Hey, it’s time to make some CRAZY money. Are you Ready!?? HERE WE GOOO!”

It has a “Tasmanian Devil” ring to it. It was Crazzzyyyyy!

3. Capcom VS SNK 2 (2001)

(voice by Hiroaki Asai)

Hiroaki hypes up every match as if we were watching the Super Bowl on repeat. Hiroaki never fails to bring the hype!

“This is the match of the century!”

  Mortal Kombat (1992)

(voice by Steve Ritchie)

When Midway asked Steve to play the voice of Shao Kahn, Mortal Kombat's final boss and in-game announcer, he said “ROUND 1....FIGHT”

What would Mortal Kombat be without that famous “Fatality” voice we all know? It certainly wouldn't be a “Flawless Victory”.

Who is the greatest gaming voice of all time?


1. NBA JAM series 

(voice by Tim Kitzrow)

Hands-down, without question, no one comes remotely close in my books to that of the legendary commentator within the NBA Jam series, Tim Kitzrow. In fact, Tim was so freaking good at it, that he went on to do commentary for other sports titles like NFL Blitz, MLB Slugfest, and NHL Hitz among many others! Tim trained as an improv actor at Second City which is probably where he mastered his incredible talent. Imagine if Tim covered an actual NBA game?!? It would be FIRE!!!

I never fail to laugh at some of his hysterical lines:

“This guy went to the University of - BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!”

“The donut shop called, they want their dunkin back!”
“Not Cool, dude, you shot blocked me!”



Of course there are many other talented individuals who deserve some recognition but these happen to be the five that made a mark on me personally. Big respect to all the in-game commentators who have provided a nice touch of “razzle dazzle” to the games we love! It wouldn’t be the same without them.

What other gaming commentators would you add to this list? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below!


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