(Topic ID: 116910)

"The Voice" of early solid state Bally


By mof

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 39 posts
  • 25 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by girloveswaffles
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

Topic Gallery

There have been 3 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

th-61.jpeg
maraud4.jpg
maraud1.jpg

#1 4 years ago

Does anyone know who had "the voice" that was in all the early Bally Solid State games (1980-1982 or so)?
Is he still alive?
What games did he do?
-mof

#2 4 years ago

I got him down for a few games:

Eight Ball Deluxe
Elektra
Embryon
Fathom
Medusa
Mr + Mrs Pac Man

-mof

#3 4 years ago

Would be very interesting to know.

#4 4 years ago

I think it's the brother of speak and spell.

#5 4 years ago

I told a girl once that it was Stephen Hawking. When I told her that you could see the cogs in her head going. She went "Huh, interesting." and we kept playing. She still believes it I'm sure.

Chalk up!

#6 4 years ago

Good question. I'd like to know who it was. The same voice is in my Elektra and Medusa games too. Both made in 81.

#7 4 years ago

Would this be the voice of Flash Gordon and Vector also?

#8 4 years ago

Spectrum

#9 4 years ago

And midway midnight mauraders.

From wiki. Son of the speak and spell.

TMS5200 sound processor.

TMS5200 (AKA CD2501E, internal TI name is '0285' hence chip is sometimes labeled TMC0285): Added 8-bit parallel FIFO interface; designed for use by the TI consumer division for the TI 99/4A speech module; also used on the 4th generation Bally/Midway pinball tables' Squawk and Talk speech board (part number AS-2518-61), on the Environmental cabinet version of the Bally/Midway arcade game Discs of TRON, on (earlier) Apple II Echo 2 cards, and on the Zaccaria arcade games Jack Rabbit and Money Money, and Zaccaria pinball machines Pinball Champ and Soccer Kings. Superseded by TMS5220 in late 1980/1981, and possibly sold as cheap, 'fire-sale' stock in 1982–1983.
1980:

TMS5220 (AKA CD2805E?): Improved version of the TMS5200, pin but not function compatible (has new LPC tables and a new chirp table); used on (later) Apple II Echo 2 cards, (rumor) on the very last run of TI 99/4A speech modules, on the BBC Micro, in Bally/Midway's NFL Football arcade game, and in many Atari, Inc. arcade games, including Star Wars, Firefox, Return of the Jedi, Road Runner, The Empire Strikes Back. Later Atari arcade games used the TMS5220C, see below. The TMS5220 was also used in and Zaccaria pinball machines Farfalla, Devil Riders, Time Machine, Magic Castle, Robot, Clown, Pool Champion, Blackbelt, Mexico '86, Zankor, and Spooky. The TMS5220 was also used on Venture Line's Looping and Sky Bumper, Olympia's Portraits, and Exidy's Victory and Victor Banana arcade machines.[15] Superseded by TMS5220C in 1983/1984.

maraud1.jpg
maraud4.jpg

-1
#10 4 years ago

There's 2 different sounding voices. The low spooky one of centaur and medusa, and the goofy one of fathom EBD etc

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from PNBLWZD:

There's 2 different sounding voices. The low spooky one of centaur and medusa, and the goofy one of fathom EBD etc

I disagree. I think my Centaur voice = Fathom = Embryon. Now, there may be two guys, but of the ones I own, I'm calling same guy.
-mof

-1
#12 4 years ago
Quoted from mof:

I disagree. I think my Centaur voice = Fathom = Embryon. Now, there may be two guys, but of the ones I own, I'm calling same guy.
-mof

Not a guy, a voice synth. Made by texas instruments.
Speak and spell was first.
Then came others. See my above post.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_LPC_Speech_Chips

#13 4 years ago

i believe the man you're looking for is Ken Nordine, a Chicago jazzman and voice over specialist. Check out some of his spoken word jazz. add a little reverb and it's Centaur daddy-o.

#14 4 years ago
Quoted from mof:

I'm calling same guy

No way, unless it's slowed down to change the pitch. One is high pitched and goofy, the other is low and commanding. Come over and hear them both side by side if you don't believe me

Too bad they didn't use the Centaur/Medusa voice in more games...

#15 4 years ago
Quoted from erak:

Not a guy, a voice synth. Made by texas instruments.
Speak and spell was first.
Then came others. See my above post.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_LPC_Speech_Chips

I don't believe the TMS52xx "synthesizes" speech. It takes speech that has been specially encoded and stored in ROM and recreates the waveforms.

From the wiki:
"Speech data is stored through pitch-excited linear predictive coding (PE-LPC), where words are created by a lattice filter, selectably fed by either an excitation ROM (containing a glottal pulse waveform) or an LFSR (linear feedback shift register) noise generator. Linear predictive coding achieves a vast reduction in data volume needed to recreate intelligible speech data."

From Clive Jones' paper on the Squawk n Talk:
" The 5200 uses a method of data compression known as "pitch excited Linear Predictive Coding (LPC.) It can only process data compressed with this algorithm. Speech data held in the 6100 ROM or S+T EPROM(s) is compressed in this manner. The 6100 is connected directly to the 5200 which controls the addressing and fetching of speech data from the 6100 for internal processing after *first* receiving commands from the Squawk and Talk680x uP via the PIA at U7.

When Squawk and Talk is required to generate speech *without* the 6100 VSM in U9, the LPC encoded speech data is held in EPROM and accessed through the PIA to the 5200 VSP. With this method of data transfer, the 5200 is instructed to operate in a mode known as "speak external". In other words the uP says forget about getting data yourself from the 6100 VSM ROM (because it's not there), - I'll give you the data directly and I'll make all references to speech generation using the 6100 VSM from this point as it's a little more complex and less boring than refering to how the uP transfers byte-wide compressed data through a PIA to the 5200 VSP (but the 5200 processing description is the same no matter where the VSP gets it's data from). "

More here http://www.pinrepair.com/bally/squawk.htm

#16 4 years ago

Centaur was voiced by Ken Nordine. When I was younger I did a few radio spots. i always hoped to sound as great as Ken did in his spoken word jazz.

#17 4 years ago

Fireball II (Shoot for Fire Gods! Odin Released! Wotan Unchained! Pow! Bam! Bif! Zap! )

And does anyone remember the name of the woman who did the voice and music effects on Xenon?

#18 4 years ago

That was Suzanne Ciani. http://www.sevwave.com/early_ciani/ciani_xenon.html
Good topic buy the way. I have a few of the games mentioned (Fathom, Centaur and Flash Gordon) and I never really thought about them all being the same person. If it is then I certainly wouldn't have picked it for my games.

#19 4 years ago
Quoted from erak:

Son of the speak and spell.

Son of see and say.

th-61.jpeg

#20 4 years ago
Quoted from mswhat:

Centaur was voiced by Ken Nordine.

Can I ask how you know this?
-mof

#21 4 years ago

Ken Nordine

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Ken Nordine
» YouTube video

RAD.
At the end of the commercial, he could have easily said, "Only single value?"
-mof

#23 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Ken Nordine
» YouTube video

Hmm... sounds vaguely like the guy in the Gorgar promo album, but I don't think it's the same guy.

#24 4 years ago

Wowwwwwwww! I just about lost my mind, it IS Ken Nordine! I never knew that. I love his trippy record Colors, it's one of my all time faves. I'm losing it. This might be my very favorite pinball fact, in fact. And from my fave game era!

Ken Nordine! I'll be damned. Seriously so cool.

#25 4 years ago

I should not have stated this with such confidence. I always assumed it was Ken.

#26 4 years ago

I'd love to see some "internet evidence" that it was him. It sure sounds like Ken.
He *is* still alive, so perhaps someone knows someone that can ask him?
-mof

#27 4 years ago

Wow that is too cool! Thanks for the Levi's throwback commercial too!

#28 4 years ago

I have Ken Nordine's Colors CD! That album RULES!!! I had no idea he did those voices! So he voiced Medusa? I kept saying it sounded like James Earl Jones. "Challenge Medusa!"

And forgive my asking, but what game is EBD?

#29 4 years ago

Eight Ball Deluxe. And of course there's his handsomer friend EBDLE in the more desirable Limited Edition cab

2 months later
#30 4 years ago
Quoted from mof:

I'd love to see some "internet evidence" that it was him. It sure sounds like Ken.

At a seminar with Kevin O'Connor at Pinball Expo 2007 Medusa designer Wally Welch stated that the guy that did the voices for Medusa also did the voice for Hubert the Harris Lion in the Harris Bank commercials years ago.
http://www.pinballnews.com/shows/expo2007/index4.html

The Hubert voice was done by comedic actor Frank Nelson.

-1
#31 4 years ago

— You Should Have a Harris Banker.

1 year later
#32 3 years ago
Quoted from jibmums:

Would this be the voice of Flash Gordon and Vector also?

I have Flash Gordon, and it does sound like Ken Nordine doing the voices.

I would add that it sounds like Ken Nordine on Centaur too
("Bad move human")

#33 3 years ago

Cool topic. I'm pretty sure it's the same guy in most of Bally's Talking Games, but maybe not All. Vector seems slightly different. Someone should track down Ken and find out!

3 months later
#34 2 years ago

Regarding the amazing voice in the early 80's Bally games, especially Centaur and Elektra for example, I wanted to clarify this is almost certainly not Ken Nordine. I'm a huge fan of these games and of Ken Nordine, but I am about 99.99% certain the voice Bally used is the same guy they used in 1982 for Williams Sinistar - Mr. John Doremus. (He was a Chicago radio and voice talent that passed away in 1995, while by the way Ken Nordine is still alive and in his 90s).

They have similar voices, both deep. But Knordine has a more throaty voice while Doremus has a more nasal sound. Keep in mind the voices in the games are some times slowed down or otherwise modified. Especially in Centaur, you can really mess with the voice.

Here's a link of John Doremus doing a cheesy 80's promo video for a private school Fast forward about 1 minute into the video and then listen. It is clearly the Centaur guy's voice (without the reverb). It would be really cool if someone who knows how to make new roms sampled some of his words in this video and created new callout roms for Centaur!

And of course, here he is in Centaur:

And here he is (factually, as matter of record) as Sinistar:

#35 2 years ago

There is only one Bally game prior to the Cheap Squeak / Sounds Deluxe period where the voices are actual samples: Xenon. All the Squawk & Talk voices are electronically synthesised, and programmed with remarkably realistic (for the time especially) inflections. Those inflections may well be based on actual vocal talent, but the voice itself isn't 'real'. There is no way that game roms this old could hold dialogue this extensive.

Compare with Williams games of the same period, where (often) Steve Ritchie's voice is spoken in a deliberate harsh monotone and then electronically treated to sound more alien or robotic. Because actual DAC-controlled samples were used, the number of words was limited within the small amount of memory space, and this technique allowed them to chain words together in a fashion that felt 'right' for the game. Gorgar's vocabulary for example is only seven words, but it seems like more. Black Knight's lexicon is around a dozen, but Steve really goes all out to taunt the players in that game.

#36 2 years ago

I'm not aware of any digitally synthesized voice in the 1981 era that was human sounding. Black Hole by Gottlieb, Wizard of War and Gorf by Bally Midway, all had the same Votrax SC-01 synthesizer and they were almost unintelligible. (I own them). Centaur's voice would be an amazing synth voice even in 2016. Sega at the time was the only game company with synth voice somewhat human sounding, but still more like a Speak and Spell machine. I'm inclined to believe the Bally sound board just had more ROM space on it to accommodate additional recorded speech. Rom space got larger and cheaper by the year. Also we know Xenon ( a game several years earlier than Centaur) was recorded speech, so why would they not use recorded speech for the subsequent games? All Williams talking games from Gorgar, Black Knight, Space Shuttle, etc. through the decades were recorded speech.

1 week later
#37 2 years ago
Quoted from calico1997:

Regarding the amazing voice in the early 80's Bally games, especially Centaur and Elektra for example, I wanted to clarify this is almost certainly not Ken Nordine. I'm a huge fan of these games and of Ken Nordine, but I am about 99.99% certain the voice Bally used is the same guy they used in 1982 for Williams Sinistar - Mr. John Doremus. (He was a Chicago radio and voice talent that passed away in 1995, while by the way Ken Nordine is still alive and in his 90s).
They have similar voices, both deep. But Knordine has a more throaty voice while Doremus has a more nasal sound. Keep in mind the voices in the games are some times slowed down or otherwise modified. Especially in Centaur, you can really mess with the voice.
Here's a link of John Doremus doing a cheesy 80's promo video for a private school Fast forward about 1 minute into the video and then listen. It is clearly the Centaur guy's voice (without the reverb). It would be really cool if someone who knows how to make new roms sampled some of his words in this video and created new callout roms for Centaur!
» YouTube video
And of course, here he is in Centaur:
» YouTube video
And here he is (factually, as matter of record) as Sinistar:
» YouTube video

IMDB link to John Doremus:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1707880/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

#38 2 years ago

I'm not convinced it's John Doremus. Ken Nordine is a dead ringer. My Centaur and Medusa side by side and I just can't see a match with JD, reverb or not.

#39 2 years ago
Quoted from calico1997:

I'm not aware of any digitally synthesized voice in the 1981 era that was human sounding. ... Sega at the time was the only game company with synth voice somewhat human sounding, but still more like a Speak and Spell machine.

Those Sega G-80 games back in the day did have good voice, but it's still obvious they're synth: Lots of clipping in the playback.
Star Trek was probably the best sounding of the bunch, except for one line on Astro-Blasters (Fighter pilots needed in Sector Wars! Play Astro-Blasters!). Others like Space Fury were so-so.

Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
$ 39.95
$ 14.50
Electronics
PinballElectronics.com
$ 21.00
$ 7.65
Cabinet Parts
Third Coast Pinball
From: $ 5.00
Cabinet - Other
Rock Custom Pinball
4,200 (OBO)
Machine - For Sale
Allentown, PA
From: $ 140.00
From: $ 13.00
Electronics
Third Coast Pinball
$ 10.00
Playfield - Decals
Metal-Mods
From: $ 155.00
5,700 (OBO)
Machine - For Sale
Susanville, CA
$ 20.00
Electronics
Yorktown Parts and Equip
$ 19.95
Cabinet - Shooter Rods
Super Skill Shot Shop
$ 50.00
$ 45.00
Gameroom - Decorations
Pinball Photos
$ 139.00
$ 90.00
Lighting - Led
Geeteoh Electronics
$ 10.00
Playfield - Decals
Metal-Mods
$ 96.95
Cabinet - Shooter Rods
Super Skill Shot Shop
From: $ 10.00
Electronics
Third Coast Pinball
$ 45.00
Gameroom - Decorations
Pinball Photos
4,000 (OBO)
Machine - For Sale
Zürich, ZH
1,750
Sale Pending!
Nanuet, NY
Hey modders!
Your shop name here

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside