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I was never much of a video game nerd while growing up, but I did have a Nintendo and Sega Genesis. I loved playing Mike Tyson's Punch Out and Blades of Steel, but if I had to choose - I would always chose to go skateboarding over playing video games. All that, however, has recently changed.
In March of this year, I found myself unemployed and looking for work. I didn't have much of an egg saved up, so the heat was on. One day I got a call from a friend of mine telling me the place that she worked was looking for someone to answer phones and be a run-around sort of guy (which is what I'm best at) so I went in for the interview and ended up getting the job.
The place is Midway Games (or Midway Home Entertainment), makers of Mortal Kombat and other video games. Since I began here, I have become crazed with video games and play them more than I ever have. I'm specifically enthralled by the Mortal Kombat family of games and, as luck would have it, my girlfriend is a bit of a nerd and owns an Xbox. Like I said - I'm a pretty lucky guy. One of the carrots of my job is that I'm able to check games out of the extensive Midway library to play at my will.
Being a struggling, semi-successful actor in Chicago, working here has a few great perks, the biggest of them being that the sound department is always looking for voices for the video games.
With Midway wanting to use current employees first to keep costs down, my voice appears more than once in the new Mortal Kombat game "Deception".
Being a 160 pound nerdy guy, I'm not a main character in the game. My voice is used to play 4 of the minor characters in the Konquest Mode. Konquest was added to the last MK game - MK: Deadly Alliance - which allows players to have more of a Legend of Zelda sort of game play.
In Deception, the Konquest mode starts you off as a young Shu-Jinko, a boy in Earthrealm who must learn all the different fighting styles in order to help protect the world from the Dragon King. Along the way, Shu-Jinko runs into a number of villagers who ask him for help. I play a few of the villagers, and let me tell you, it's pretty weird hearing yourself talk to you when you're playing a video game.
The first character I am is the villager in search of his key. For some reason, I lost my key and need a pre-pubescent boy to help me find it. My character stands in front of his house waiting for the boy to find his key for him. Sheesh, even I know I can't rely on a little warrior-to-be to find my keys. You'd think I'd at least try to look for them...
After Shu-Jinko passes the first test, the guard at the bridge steps aside and you're able to pass into the next area. The character I play here is my favorite - he's the newlywed man who has sold his rings to the bad guys. He asks Shu-Jinko to help get his rings back. Both of these two characters are weenies; as Shu-Jinko, you can punch these guys and they will no longer talk to you unless you bring them what they asked you for.
It was fun reading the script for these characters in the studio. Being the type of person I am (as described before), I had to read lines like "Ouch, you punched me!" and "I'm not talking to you anymore, you hit me" over and over. It's crazy to hear me as a whiny little helpless character in a videogame, though I doubt they'd ever create a videogame of a diabetic music critic elitist who hates the fact that he is merely a member of the status quo, but you never know. I work here; I'll try and pitch the idea to the proper people.
The week after Mortal Kombat was released, it was my duty to field calls about the game, which was pretty amusing. We got all sorts of calls and most of them praised the game. With other games we've gotten calls from people who hate the way a certain scene is played, or we get suggestions from avid gamers on how to make games better. We appreciate these calls, but these folks have to understand that we, as a gaming company, have to make a game that appeals to a wide audience, not something strictly for intense gamers.
With the release of Deception, we also included a bonus disc of the original Mortal Kombat 2 (everyone's favorite MK arcade title) so I got many calls dealing with that.
I was a little upset with the fact that nobody ever recognized my voice over the phone (especially with all these insane gamers who call all the time), but like I said, It's a few minor characters and only people who know me will be aware of it when they here me in video game form.
In the end, I've got a pretty cool job. I don't see myself being the kind of guy who wakes up dreading work and coming home to rot in front of the television. I play a good amount of video games, but I kinda get paid for that. SEE ALSO: www.midwaygames.com
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he's afraid of really growing up.
See other articles by Bob Ladewig.
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