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Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Notable Narrators: Giving A Voice to Video Games

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Anyone can be a video game narrator. Not everyone can be an exceptional one. Meme by Allie Metzger. Lord of the Rings image rights reserved to New Line Cinema.

Narrators have long been an integral part of any visual or auditory storytelling. After all, what would media like the classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” be without the voice of the narrator telling us all of the Grinch’s horrible misdeeds? The same applies to video games. While some games’ structure don’t necessarily call for a specific omniscient narrator, it can be an excellent and often hilarious addition. To demonstrate that, here are several “notable narrators” in video games. The following games will be discussed: Baldur’s Gate 3, Disco Elysium, Portal, The Stanley Parable, and Getting Over It.

Baldur’s Gate 3 

Title image for Baldur’s Gate 3. All rights reserved to Larian Studios

Baldur’s official launch made waves throughout the RPG community.  Every aspect, from the character customization to the plot, was a love letter to long-time D&D fans. With how much it contributed to the RPG community as a whole, it’s no surprise that it won the 2023 Game Awards. Part of its success, however, also has to be attributed to Amelia Tyler, the voice actress who voiced all the narration in the game. With Baldur’s Gate being such a vast game, Tyler likely had to spend hours upon hours recording and rerecording her lines. This amount of dedication can be felt in her voice, as her commentary perfectly fits each scene the narrator is featured in.

Disco Elysium

Title Image for Disco Elysium. All rights reserved to ZA/UM Studios.

Similar to Baldur’s Gate, Disco Elysium also has D&D-inspired skill checks to progress through the game. Interestingly, when this game was first released, there was very limited voice acting — only with the re-release of the Final Cut edition in 2021 did this game get full voice acting. What makes Disco Elysium’s narrator so interesting is that it is actually the multiple emotions and thoughts of your character chiming in on decisions. Each facet of your personality has its own quirks and specific way of talking to you, which makes exploring dialogue options all the more immersive.

Portal

Portal title image. All rights reserved to Valve.

When the original Portal was released in 2007, it breathed new life into the puzzle genre as a whole. It featured a unique, futuristic laboratory-type setting and incorporated the concept of portal and dimensional travel into a key component of moving to and from each level. Faithful fans will remember the voice of Ellen McClain as GLaDOS guiding them through the test chambers. They will also remember when the robot’s voice isn’t as pre-recorded as they were led to believe. GLaDOS’s sarcasm and eventual cruelty will stick in players’ minds, something that carries over to its sequel, Portal 2.

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable title image off Steam. All rights reserved to Galactic Cafe.

Although the Stanley Parable is now almost 13 years old, what it brought to the game industry as a whole can still be felt in recent times. Kevan Brighting’s voice, now one the most recognizable narrators in video game history, constantly breaks the fourth wall, especially when you decide to go against what the narrator is not so subtly trying to get you to do. When you do stray from the path, Brighting’s ire and comical annoyance come through perfectly, making this game that much more enjoyable to experience.

Getting Over It

Getting Over It title image. All rights reserved to Bennett Foddy.

Getting Over It is undoubtedly one of the most frustrating, rage-inducing, controller-throwing-invoking, and downright cruel games ever released. Even if you’re a fan of more challenging platforming games, please take some deep breaths before attempting to beat this game in earnest. Not only are its mechanics as stiff and unmoving as the cauldron your character is seemingly stuck inside, but the narrator also adds to the irritation. You might be thinking why would I add a narrator who most players can barely stand? However, this is precisely why he deserves to be on this list. Any time you fall down and lose progress, the narrator, Bennett Foddy, pulls out a condescending quote about life or starting over from his seemingly endless pool. 

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About the Contributor
Allie Metzger, Assistant Technology Editor
Allie Metzger is the Assistant Technology Editor for the Mace & Crown.

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