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ScottyMcGeester's avatar

Is it true that inmates on death row voiced the characters of the video game Golden Axe?

Asked by ScottyMcGeester (1897points) April 4th, 2013

I keep seeing that in Facebook and Tumblr posts, and I try to look it up but can’t seem to find any “official” word on it. Apparently one of the dwarfs was voiced by an inmate called “The Bloodaliser” or something like that. I always wanted to find out if this was BS or actually true, and if so why the hell would Sega let death row inmates voice characters for a kid’s game?

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13 Answers

gambitking's avatar

While this seems to be a widely accepted rumor, there’s very little evidence to back it up right now. Reliable sources on the subject are pretty scarce, and one might need to go straight to Sega in order to unearth the truth.

RandomGirl's avatar

I haven’t heard this story before now, but I’m wondering… Why would it matter? The voices are just voices. If someone else had voiced the characters, they would’ve said the same words. (There was some sort of script, right?) It’s not like listening to a convict say something is going turn you into a mass-murderer.

Maybe we should pay more attention to game content than to whose voices were used in the making of the game. Content is what desensitizes kids to violence.

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

It’s not a big deal, dude. . .I’m just wondering how and why they went to convicts. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just really obscure. There are people whose job it is to voice stuff all the time. So why not them? I just wonder why. It’s so random and weird.

RandomGirl's avatar

Maybe the myth is just partly true – maybe it wasn’t convicts on death row. Maybe it was people whose jail time was almost up, and they were interested in getting into the business once they got out. In that case, it’d be cool there was a company getting them started.

Berserker's avatar

Ha, I wasn’t even aware that those were actually people’s voices. I thought they were computerized sound effects. :/

mrentropy's avatar

I would be surprised if this was true. I’m not sure why you’d think Golden Axe is a game for kids, though.

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

@Symbeline Well I assume they edit the voice somehow to fit the game. It might not be their exact voices, but with some alterations/changes in pitch or whatever.

@mrentropy Why not? I used to play it all the time at the arcade. Nobody really follows the rating now, do they. . .

Berserker's avatar

@mrentropy Yeah. Back then, all games were made for kids. This one may be heavily based on Conan the Barbarian, but as a game, it followed the standard game format, without depicting anything TOO violent, or at least, that which was not depicted by other games which were accepted as proper entertainment for young people.

I tried to do some research about this. I love Golden Axe, but I’ve never heard of this so I was intrigued. I found many claims and so called facts, but I’ve found absolutely no confirmation of this. :/ If it’s true, I’d love to know what was up with that lol. Somehow I’m thinking it’s kind of a joke, something that was trying to be a meme, but unfortunately, I found nothing at all. :(

My reasoning behind this is, back then, making a game was often sailing on a strict budget, therefore it makes absolutely no sense for developers to go out of their way to get voice acting from death row prisoners when they could just get some cheap sound effect in. That must have been a lot of trouble to get, and I can’t imagine going through all that in a time where voice acting in video games was pretty much non existent. but if it’s true, it sure fits the dark and dreary feel that this game achieved through its visuals and theme…besides those thieving gnome bastards haha I could be utterly wrong here, I’m not a video game history connoisseur, so if you ever do get the answer to this, please remember me. :) I’d love to know, too.

mrentropy's avatar

Back then they weren’t made for kids, they were made to gobble quarters. Adults who thought video games were a waste of time were the ones that decided they were made for kids. In my experience, arcades were filled with people of all ages, but tended to have more people in the late teens to early 20s. I suppose they could still be considered kids. Especially by me. Because I’m old. Golden Axe was made back when creativity still had meaning and the designer was big on fantasy things so Golden Axe was made.

The only reference I can find to this, though, just say it’s a ‘well known fact.’ Some use as a source, but that site doesn’t have a source for this.

I haven’t fired up GA in MAME yet, but I’d be curious if the Japanese version has Japanese voices or if it was English all around. If it does have a different language, it would beg the question of why a Japanese arcade game, developed by a Japanese designer (Makoto Uchida), and made by a Japanese company would go through the trouble of getting American death row inmates to do the voices.

mrentropy's avatar

This is from the MAME trivia for GA. I don’t know how old it is and it doesn’t site references, either, but that’s the way it goes.

“Many of the samples used for Golden Axe and its sequel were taken from the movies ‘Rambo – First Blood’ and ‘Conan the Cimmerian’. More specific when you kill bad guys sometimes they scream something like ‘Oooh God!’ which was taken from Rambo at the scene which takes place in the forest when one of the policemen fell into a trap and gets impaled by sharp pieces of wood. The sample used for the man who gets trampled by a bad guy in Golden Axe and the scream of Death-Adder when falling from the dragon at the final scene of “Golden Axe – Revenge of Death-Adder” was taken from the policeman who also fell from the helicopter pursuiting Rambo. Finally the battle cry used for the big baddies when they die in Golden Axe and the scream for the big chained green monster on “Golden Axe – Revenge of Death-Adder” on stage 3 are the same and taken from Conan’s scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger fights the two villains on a Stonehenge like background and again one of them gets impaled by a trap.”

Berserker's avatar

Voice rips then. That makes a lot more sense. Too bad somebody in that game doesn’t yell out ’‘what is best in life?!’’ when you beat a stage or something haha.

mrentropy's avatar

I need to re-visit this game. I don’t remember the samples being all that understandable but it could be my memory is garbled.

Dudosky's avatar

I believe it to be true. The fact is it would of been free, so sega would of save a lot of money not hiring voice actors in golden ax.

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