Last week I had the great pleasure of attending the ICE Totally Gaming Expo in London.
Now, it’s fair to say that I have been to quite a few trade shows and exhibitions over the years, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer scale of this show. A dizzying array of light and sound, with some stands costing several million pounds, staffed by teams from all over the globe. It was like walking through the best casino in Las Vegas, only better because there was no risk of my losing any money before I left!
I went there because I have personally voiced a number of online Bingo games and some of you may even remember that I was the voice of a well known Bingo icon, albeit in a country that was not my own!
And it was the Bingo companies that intrigued me – not so much by just how much they were doing right, but by the one thing quite a few of them seemed to be getting wrong. You guessed it – the voice over.
Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since game developers chose to use text to speech synthesisers to read out the numbers between 1 and 90 with all the emotion of a Speak ‘n’ Spell (insert random Stephen Hawking joke here if you wish, I don’t believe he’s a subscriber).
No, these companies will employ real people to record the numbers for them. Generally when I’m in a recording session for a Bingo game, I’m asked to read each number three different ways, just to ensure that there is variety and it makes the player feel that they are listening to a live caller. That’s great, but then sometimes the programmers will simply let the machine choose the inflection at random, and that’s a mistake. Just listen to this:
Sounds OK, but it doesn’t really feel like a real person. You see, when we say a sequence of numbers out loud, the previous number will effect how we say the next one. Here are those same numbers again, only this time, with the right inflection in place”
Hear the difference? Again, the voice artist only really needs to read each number three different ways, and then it’s down to the software to choose the correct file. Now I’m no coder – I haven’t programmed anything since my computer studies O Level some 30 years ago, but I have to believe that it can’t be that difficult, can it?
Right then, eyes down for a full house, and here we go…..