Nathan Drake, Solid Snake, Commander Shepard, Ada Wong, John Marston, Sam Fisher and more. Video games have not only impressed us with graphics, story, and multiplayer but with characters. Whether you like their wit, personality, looks, or maybe you have sympathy for them, character development has been a key role for me when it comes to gaming and while the developers do a great job creating the characters I want to give a shout out to the voices behind the face. Voice acting has been overshadowed for some time now as we see Hollywood actors staring in games and cartoons. Sure, some do a decent job but most will admit that voice acting felt too awkward and that it's not for them. Voice acting and acting are a different business and I thought, we always see actors getting phrase so why not we show some love to the voice actors? You may not know their faces but you know their voices as they have impressed us with their talent. This blog will contain some of my favorite voice actors in the business and is my way of shouting out. Thank you for all your great work behind the mic, we appreciate it.

Mark Hamill: Mark is the best man who has ever played the Joker. Don't get me wrong, Heath Ledger did a great job but Mark is the creator of that wacky laugh and played the insane clown beautifully. When I hear that he was playing the Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum I let out a cheer as childhood was coming at me as I can recall watching the Batman Animated Series as a child with Hamill playing the joker. Mark Hamill proved that the role of the Joker has and will always be meant for him in not one but two great performances. I can't imagine anyone playing as good of a Joker as him and I will never forget all those great laughs we shared. I want to keep this more focused on video games but Hamill does more cartoons than anything. As he was the voice of Captain Sticky Beard in Codename Kids Next Door, he was also featured in SpongeBob as the Mothman and he is currently staring on Cartoon Networks hit show (my personal favorite) Regular Show as Skipps which is a perfect role for him. Thanks Mark Hamill for all the great memories as the Joker and for continuing to make me laugh as Skipps.


Ali Hillis: Ali has become one of my favorites with her roles as Liara T'Soni (Mass Effect) and Lightning (Final Fantasy XII-XII 2) Ali does more supporting roles when it comes to video game, she did provide the voice of Mizuki McCloud (Ninja Gaiden3) and she was featured in Valkyria Chronicles and Xenosaga. For me though, her notable performance has to be Liara. Her portrayal of the character truly swept me away, arguably creating a deeper and more human character than the majority of the non-alien crew. Ali hasn't been around for too long when it comes to voice acting but after her performances in Mass Effect and Final Fantasy, I hope she explores more in the voice acting gig.

They're like twins.

Steve Blum: Steve has been around since 2000 when he hit his first gig providing the voice for TOM, the robotic host for Cartoon networks Toonami. He voiced TOM up until the shows cancellation in 2008(worse day of my life). Four years later, 2012, Adult Swim announced that Toonami will be making a return, this time the program would be aired during Adult Swim and the shows wouldn't be as heavily edited. It was also announced that Steve Blum would be returning as the host of the program. Blum has worked on many anime's such as The Laughing Man for the hit Steampunk anime Ghost in the Shell. He also provided the voice for Spike from the classic Cowboy Bebop. Steve starting to provide voices in video games, his resume is real impressive as he's played the major roles in so many games. Some roles, I don't even know it was played by him until I see his name in the cast list. I wouldn't have ever guessed that the actor that played Oghren from Dragon Age: Origins was the same guy that played Garcia Hotspur from Shadows of the Damned. Steve does a great job of changing his voice in almost every game. From the rough and tough Killer Croc (Arkham Asylum) to the joking Mexican of Garcia, (Shadows of the Damned) Steve Blum certainly knows what he is doing and I'm sure he will continue to keep up the great work.


Claudia Black: Claudia is one of the few voice actors that does live action work and is good at both. This Australian actress hit it big with the Sci-Fi series Farscape and Stargate SG-1, but it's not her live action performances that get praise here, it's her roles in voice acting. Claudia started her voice acting career with the 2002 video game adaptation of Farscape voice the character that she played in the show. Claudia went on to voice side roles when it came to voice acting until she played the role as Chloe Frazer in Naughty Dog's award winning title Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Claudia was praised by Naughty Dog as, an absolute treat to work and for preforming a drop dead performance. Claudia went on to play Morrigan in BioWare's critically acclaimed, Dragon Age: Origins. She voiced the smart talking lovable character perfectly and proved that she wasn't a one hit wonder. Claudia went back to work with BioWare this time to voice three characters for the Sci-Fi Mass Effect 2. She voiced the roles of Admiral Xen, Matriarch Aethyta, and Rachni Envoy, she voiced the same characters in Mass Effect 3 as well. Claudia then went on to work on another big game, this time with Epic Games voicing the role of Samantha Byrne in Gears of War. Claudia has voiced some important characters in big games, it's just too bad that her role in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception wasn't as big as it was in the 2nd one. Claudia also voiced the narrator in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and had a role in Diablo III. Claudia has won three award, none of them have been for her voice acting, however. She was awarded best actress in 2005 for her role in Farscape, in 07 and 09 she won Best Female Performance for a Sci-Fi role. Claudia is a fantastic voice actress and an even better actress, kudos to you Claudia.

Have to save Nate's *ss again.

David Hayter: I want to give a short shout out to Hayter since he is more of a writer than he is voice actor. Hayter is known for voicing the famous video game character, Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series. Solid Snake, Naked Snake, and Old Snake have all been voiced by him. Hayter also played himself in the opening videos of Metal Gear Solid 4. Like I previously stated, Hayter isn't typically known as just a voice actor, but his work with Snake is so good that it puts him at the top of voice actors. Hayter was also featured in the classic psychological horror game, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem as small cameo like characters. Hayter also voiced in Star Wars: The Old Republic as the male Jedi Knight.


Jen Taylor: Taylor started her voice acting career back in the late 90s when she voiced a role in Backyard Baseball. Her next role was Princess Peach in Mario Golf and ever since then she has been the voice of the character. Jen also provided the voice for Zoey in Valve's Left 4 Dead and she also played Amanda Young in the unsuccessful Saw video game. Jen has been featured in a lot of games, mainly because of her role as Princess Peach but her most phrased and most recognized role is Cortana in the successful Halo series. Jen plays the AI perfectly and truly makes the character unforgettable.



Troy Baker: Troy is featured in a bunch of Animes, which is A-Okay with me, but he is in even more video games. Chances are if there is a character that you like and don't know who the character is voiced by, it's probably from the voice of Troy Baker. Baker voiced Two-Face and Robin in Arkham City, Vincent from Catherine, Valvatorez in Disgaea 4, Snow from Final Fantasy XII/XII 2, Male character in Saint's Row 3, Kanji in the Persona series, Captain Renko from Singularity, James Sunderland in the HD remake of Silent Hill 2 and a bunch more of characters. The thing about Troy is that he was a fan of video games before he started voice acting in them. Troy says; "It's a dream come true to be acting in all these video games." Troy Baker is one of my personal favorites not only because he has played so many of the characters that I've loved but because he sees himself as a normal guy, he started out just as a normal gamer who played guitar and now he is a famous voice actor. Troy doesn't let all the hype get to him as he is incredibly modest about his career. It's a fact that his voice acting career isn't fading away as he is voicing the roles and mocaping (at least one role that I know of) the lead role of Joel for Naughty Dog's upcoming game, The Last of Us, Booker DeWitt in the highly anticipated BioShock: Infinite, and voicing the role of the newly added protagonist to the Resident Evil family, Jake Muller for the upcoming Resident Evil 6. We are lucky to have such a great voice actor such as Troy Baker to play the leading roles in so many video games.


Nolan North: Nolan has been described as "the nearest thing the games industry has to a bona fide leading man." It's tough but I'd have to say Nolan North is my number 1 favorite voice actor in the business. For those Assassin's Creed fans (I'm looking at Nikolas Davidoff and ace13) might recognize Nolan as Desmond Miles. Nolan has been in a lot of games, like Troy Baker. He was recently the voice of Penguin in Arkham City, the goofy and lovable Sigmund in Ratchet & Clank: Future Crack in Time, Will in Dark Void, Roland in Resistance: Retribution, Brawl in Transformers: War for Cybertron and Cliffjumper in the upcoming Fall of Cybertron. The list goes on and on for Nolan's roles but his award winning role comes from the Naughty Dog award winning series, Uncharted. Nolan voices and mocapes the games lead character, Nathan Drake. The witty, unlucky mixed with good luck, unforgettable character is voiced perfectly by Nolan and I couldn't imagine anyone else acting as him (that means you Mark Wahlberg!). Nolan also voices Deadpool in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and will be voicing him in the Deadpool game. Nolan North is said to be a legend when it comes to male voice actors, and that statement is 100% true.

Jennifer Hale: Alright everyone, make way for the queen of all voice acting, the best amongst the best, the one the only, Jennifer Hale. Jennifer Hale is said to be, "The best female voice actor in current time." Well, that statement is all fine and dandy but one word doesn't fit in, "female". Female or not Jennifer Hale is the best voice actor in current time. Gender doesn't matter when it comes to voice acting. Yes, I've stated that Nolan North is probably my favorite and Troy Baker is up there too but I think I can safely say that Jennifer Hale is the best that there is. She branches out from more than just video game voice work as she has been in many cartoons such as; Billy & Mandy, as Billy's mom,  X-Men as Jean Grey, Camp Lazlo, Totally Spies, Scooby-Doo, Kid's Next Door and many more. Jennifer started her work with video games back in 94 when she played a role in a game entitled, Quest for Glory IV. In 98 she landed her first notable video game performances with the role of Dr. Naomi Hunter in Metal Gear Solid. Jennifer went on with more roles in video games and started to make a name for herself in the video game business. Her most notable role of this generation is with Female Shepard in the Mass Effect series. I had originally played Mass Effect as Male Shepard, not even knowing that the most notable voice actress played the female version of Shepard. I played the whole series to the end with my imported Male Shepard, since I've beaten it the trilogy I have now gone back to replay the series as FemShep. Not only because I enjoyed the series but because Jennifer Hale is that great as a voice actress that I need to replay the series as with her voice as my Shepard. Hale stated with her role as Naomi from Metal Gear Solid and preformed an unforgettable performance as the character in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. She also stayed as the voice as Jean Grey, or Phoenix and voiced her in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, she is also the voice of Leah in Diablo III, and she is the narrator for the multiplayer in Uncharted 3. Jennifer, of course, has been in a lot more games and cartoons with important roles but if I were to list them all it'd be way too long of a blog. I've never been this certain when it comes to a topic but Jennifer Hale is without a doubt that Jennifer Hale is the queen of voice acting, and even though Nolan North is a fantastic voice actor, the title of the best goes to Jennifer Hale. Thank you Ms. Hale for all the excellent work that you have done and I'm sure we will continue to see more great work from you.

Stay frosty GIO, stay frosty...