Speaking in Accents and the American Ethnocentrism in Video Games

Voice acting has become a staple in gaming that helps flesh out characters and setting. Abandoning the text-box provided a more intimate way for the game to connect to the player by expressing emotion and ideas in a way that they are more familiar with. The quality of voice acting in games is, of course, an area of contention, but when done properly, it adds brushstrokes to the aesthetics of the game. This is especially true for settings that benefit from characters having accents to imply nationality. The cultural politics that voice acting implies, however, often escape analysis. The default English accent is General American and deviations from this tap into a subtext that assumes an American player. How accents communicate information to the player exposes the subliminal effects of American ethnocentrism.

Looking at the voices chosen for the later Final Fantasy games reveal how conscious the video game industry is in having voiceover resonate with American players.

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Optical_Matrix2578d ago

FFXII had the best voice acting in a Final Fantasy game. Ironically, the voice acting was meant to replicate archaic british dialect.

Canary2578d ago

You think? I had a hard time appreciating it due to how horridly compressed the audio was, and how none all of the actors always spoke in the exact same tone regardless of scene.

Apparently FFXII was made with some really crappy, low-budget mics that wouldn't properly record even the mildest of whispers or shouts.

MaxXAttaxX2578d ago

Mic quality aside. FFXII did have the best(and arguably the only good) voice acting of any of the FF games.

ATLUS, IMO, is many times superior to Square Enix when it comes to voice acting(at least for the English dubs).

Canary2578d ago

The only FF game whose voice acting really impressed me was XIII. Really great dub. Almost enough to make up for the absolutely awful gameplay.

Pozzle2578d ago

Oh man, I'm glad I'm not the only one bugged by the audio quality in FFXII. I would have loved the voice acting if it wasn't for the fact that they all sounded horribly distorted and echoey.

RememberThe3572578d ago

The issue of ethnocentrism is being played a little strongly here. It suggests more than is actually present. Like one commenter said, it's making a mountain out of a mole hill. This issue isn't any more ethnocentric than what is natural in all people. We're all a little ethnocentric and that comes across in our creative works. It can't be help and IMO it shouldn't be helped. It's natural and identifying. It allows different culture to have different perspectives and present them in different ways. Ethnocentrism can, IMO, help us as much as it can hurt us, and this this case I don't think it's hurting anyone who isn't overly sensitive.