Text Dialogue v.s. Voice Acting


I honestly think that the only reason my parents allowed me to become obsessed with gaming at such a young age, is the fact that I was doing a shit load of reading as I played. Final Fantasy (8 is my favorite), Pokemon, every game was structured around text-based dialogue. Obviously that was just the way things were. Voice acting only occurred in cartoons, movies, and videos that you purely watched.

Although I’m an avid reader (books kick ass), I don’t really see myself enjoying games that don’t include voice acting. Especially now when nearly every game introduces different acting talent to carry their characters. It’s something that I almost expect to see now. In a world where games now seem more fast-paced, it feels archaic to see text to purely express dialogue.

Which is really strange considering that I hated voice acting when it first started appearing. Of course I’m only saying this because I don’t really remember playing a game that had voice acting before the Xena game on the original Playstation. Although I know that there were others that I just can’t remember at the moment.  Of course, Xena sticks out to me the most because it’s the greatest show ever, and I had to have the game. Much to my disappointment, the voices didn’t come from the original actors from the show, and that was what made me despise voice acting.

Which really kills me now since Lucy Lawless (who breathes awesomeness) recently voiced a character in Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Can we please have an updated Xena game that includes the actors? Pretty please? Oh yeah, I already covered this topic.

My point? Kick ass actors are becoming more involved in the gaming scene, something that was unheard of in the beginning when video games were purely a kid’s hobby and less of an entertaining art or a unique way to tell a story (although to me, games were always an art form).

So what about text-based games now? I’m thinking primarily of Skyward Sword where you stay in the locked “Zelda” formula where Link has no voice and you have to read 5967868 novels before finally finishing the game. Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask will always be favorite games, but they were also introduced in a time when that was just normal. Reading didn’t feel sluggish and it didn’t make the game less exciting.

I think the presence of voice acting kind of ruined the traditional feeling of Skyward Sword for me, and it would no doubt ruin any other game that involved more reading and less listening/watching/playing. Everyone keeps asking me what I think about Skyward Sword, and honestly I like it. I don’t think there will ever be a Zelda game that I dislike. But I would like it so much more if it had been made a few years ago.


So after picking through this random and somewhat jumbled post, what do you think? Do you still enjoy games with an infinite amount of reading? Or do you think voice acting is now a must in terms of relaying a story and keeping a game more “action-packed” and exciting?


6 thoughts on “Text Dialogue v.s. Voice Acting

    • Thank you! VIII will always be a favorite. I even have the official guide (somehow it wasn’t bent and ripped to shreds) that I used to carry around everywhere as a kid. Good memories. 🙂

      • I wish I had one, I remember it being my favourite even though I probably watched my brother playing it on Christmas more than I played it myself. As for text vs. voice acting, I like both I guess. If it was a speechless game I’d probably rip my hair out, not because I’m too lazy to read but because it adds an extra dimension.

  1. I can’t say I love having to do a ton of reading for a Zelda game, but I’m more scared by the alternative. Say…what happened to Samus in Metroid: Other M when she had a fleshed-out voice for the first time. I’m almost content to keep voice acting out of Zelda just so that it doesn’t turn into some screwed up mess where Justin Bieber is cast as Link and Nolan North is Ganondorf just because Nolan North does everything.

  2. Whoa, if Justin Bieber was ever cast as Link, I don’t think I’d be able to even think about a Zelda game without getting sick! But I definitely agree with you. Back when that April Fool’s video came out with the Zelda movie “trailer,” I was SO excited (thumbs down for my younger, impressionable self). A part of me would enjoy seeing Zelda cross that line and finally jump into voice acting, and seeing most of the characters with voices wouldn’t bother me. Except for Link, just for the fact that his character is supposed to represent the gamer to me, and I think it could destroy that link (pun totally intended) between Link and the gamer.

    …But I wouldn’t mind seeing Nolan North. When DON’T you see Nolan North?

  3. My fondest gaming memories directly tie in to text based dialouge.(ff8 im lookin at you..) The lack of voice acting at that time was not an issue considering it was the norm. Now that i have been exposed to voice acting in video games im able to draw a comparrison and formulate an opinion. Voice acting in action/fps games fit like a glove. However, voice acting on rpg’s doesnt always spell success. When an rpg is of the text dialoge variety, it allows the player to create their own image of how the character sounds. That to me is priceless as it allows the player further absorption into the game and its world. Cant count how many times ive played a voice acted game that had a particuler actor who butchered the role.. That ruins the experience

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