My husband is currently playing a game called “Civilization 4” on the Xbox. Basically, you play as your choice from a selection of famous rulers (Alexander the Great, Isabella of Spain, Mao Tse Tung, etc.), and then you try to be the first to build up your civilization and take over all of the others.
That in and of itself really isn’t very noteworthy. Neither is the fact that you, as the ruler, are supported by a number of different advisers. Or the fact that the adviser characters are voiced, rather than simply appearing as text conversations on the screen.
However, what is a little bit distracting about this game is the fact that these characters, characters who were voiced by actual actors, actors who auditioned for and were then paid money to perform these roles, SPEAK ENTIRELY IN GIBBERISH.
Here is an actual, phonetic, transcription of some of their helpful advice:
Minister of Trade and Commerce: (as she is advising you on how to allocate all of your resources) “Oh dumb brew. Ah key wayn wee lahm. Hick wahn hoo ee. Fall-uhm, fall-uhm.”
Me: “What the…Are they speaking…?”
My husband: (totally unconcerned as he conquers Spain, France, and Italy.) “They’re speaking gibberish.”
Minister of Culture: (advising you that a neighboring city would like to convert to your culture.) “Oh bah bow lee shaw. Boo ee la. Ba oh boo! Bah dah doo-ew.”
Me (unable to get past the gibberish): “Do you think they hired real people to voice these characters? I mean, how would you brag about being cast in this role? ‘Dude, I just got this part, and nothing I say makes any sense at all!’ ”
My husband: (unable to respond as he is currently vanquishing Queen Elizabeth I, Mao Tse Tung, Abraham Lincoln, and Alexander the Great.)
Minister of Technology: “Vee zah schtah sahn. Ook vahn ahn schtan!” (And did I mention that he punctuates every one of his statements with jazz hands? And that he ends every encounter with a little growl and sexy teeth snap in your direction? I COULD NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP IF I TRIED!)
Me: (still unable to get past the gibberish) “I mean, you’d think that if they were just going to have the characters speak nonsense, they would’ve just had a computer generate random syllables.”
My husband: (finishing up work on the seventh wonder of the world, preparing to launch the first space shuttle, and not even pretending to listen to me anymore as he achieves total financial, cultural, and domination victories over all other civilizations of this, and any other world.)
And that, my friends, is what separates the true gamers of the world from the mere pretenders like me.