1. A Bit of Video Game History
In the mid-1980s, Silicon Valley techies coined the term “multimedia” as the combined used of text, sound, and graphics in the computer.
CD-ROMs in the 1990s moved the genre forward when it replaced the 8-bit cartridge with hundreds of times more storage capacity. A plethora of video game companies like Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Atari entertained us with a wide variety of games and game consoles. I, along with a handful of others, took on this challenge as the first video game voice-over directors in this burgeoning video game industry. Technology and the number of bits of resolution dictated the performance requirements for the system to capture the volume and pitch variables. Fewer bits allocated for the voice required that the actor perform with clearer enunciation, expressive nuances, and a tighter vocal range. Rather than projecting like a stage actor, the actor had to implode the intensity by pushing the emotions deeper into the heart and gut.
Mobile gaming started in the late 1990s and took off in the 2000s. For actors who were used to performing short oohs, ahhs, and yipees in early low bandwidth video games, it provided a bit of 3-5 second performance déjà vu.
While the term “Virtual Reality” was coined by Jaron Lanier in 1987, VR arcade machines, headsets and glasses became a sensation in the 1990s. As VR transitioned to home use, I had the privilege of experimenting with some prototype VR goggles. Not long after Oculus launched, I recorded Lucky’s Tale, one of their first games.
Today, most video games in this multi-billion dollar industry are rich with content and are downloaded or streamed to consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. Acting in the games has become more realistic as the gamers set a high bar on performance and game play expectations. And many actors perform the visual movements wearing special performance capture suits!