BAFTA Games Awards 2014 – A night to remember

Yesterday I was privileged enough to attend the 2014 BAFTA awards for video games in London. For the first time ever these awards had been opened to the public and in addition a games exhibition was also being held during the day. The purpose of the exhibition was to show off some of the latest and upcoming games as well as provide talks about the industry from notable speakers. I also got to finally meet Nicola Redman a fellow VO and Twitter pal from Northern Ireland (who does a killer Victoria Wood!)

For me this day would combine two of my greatest passions in life; voice acting and video games. My interest in video games extends far beyond voice acting and I have been a gamer for around 20 years and (as you’ll soon find out in the video tour of my studio) am something of a collector (in fact I bought a piece whilst at the show!)

I am a firm believer in the power of video games as an entertainment medium and believe they can offer truly unforgettable experiences that are simply unmatched in the likes of Movies or Television because they are not passive experiences, you as a player engage fully with what is happening on screen. They are only going to become more immersive with new technologies such as the Oculus Rift which I got to try out at the show and was, as suspected, amazing!

Video games have provided some of my most memorable and emotive experiences and bought characters to life that I have genuine affection for. In my eyes saying you’ve not played Last of Us or Bioshock Infinite is comparable to saying you’ve not seen the Godfather or Star Wars, they are iconic and seminal parts of our culture.

Anyone who has watched the making of the Last of Us (which picked up a plethora of BAFTA’s last night) will know that the scale and effort involved is similar to your blockbuster movies and that to call Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson “voice actors” is to do them a massive disservice, they are actors, and damn good ones (Ashley picked up best performer). Acting in video games is set to get more and more demanding as technology such as Full Motion Capture (capturing body, voice and face) become more common place which is why it’s key (in my opinion) that if you want to “voice” video games you need to first and foremost be a good actor, the voice comes last!

For me the highlight of the evening was getting to meet both Troy Baker (Joel from the Last of Us and Booker from Bioshock) and Courtnee Draper (Elizabeth from Bioshock). To me they are on a par with Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep, fantastic actors responsible for bringing my favourite characters to life and very nice people too!

Overall though I have to say that the defining moment of the night was simply getting to be in a room with so many people responsible for creating something I have an unadulterated passion for. To be in a room with so many of my peers whose talent and creativity is astonishing just like the work they produce year in, year out. To call the media they produce “games” doesn’t even begin to do them justice, I’m still on a high just from being in that room.

If I can make it far enough in my voice acting that one year I get to be sat with them as a colleague I will be truly, truly grateful.

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