Q&A with Michael Beard, OG SNK Voice Actor

Mr. Karate II

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Speaking of which, one of the things I most wanted to get out of this interview is to finally give you some official credit, so that your contribution to the NEOGEO world doesn't just remain a secret reserved for insiders, but that it becomes a universally recognized topic even in virtual encyclopedias, which still today host and continually update information about the SNK world.

So, I will now proceed to ask you one of the most challenging questions of this entire interview. That is to say, do you remember all of the roles that you were involved in during your time working with SNK?

The ones I remember from memory are the following titles: please tell me if I'm doing something wrong or if there is need to add information regarding missing tasks.

Narrator/Referee:

1990:


Q2:
'Baseball Star Professional'.

'Top Player's Golf'.

Q4:
'The Super Spy'.

'Cyber-Lip'.

'League Bowling'.

1991:

Q3:

'Eight Man'.

Q4:
'Roby Army'.

'Fatal Fury King of Fighters'.

1992:

Q1:

'Football Frenzy'.

'Soccer Brawl'.

Q2:
'Baseball Stars Professioanal 2'.

Q3:
'Art of Fighting'.

Q4:
'Fatal Fury 2'.

'Super Sidekicks'.

1993:

Q1:

'3 Count Bout'.

Q3:
'Fatal Fury Special'.

1994:

Q1:

'Art of Fighting 2'.

Q2:
'Super Sidekicks 2'.

Do you consider this list to be complete? Is there anything to edit? Are there any roles missing that you are sure you have absolutely participated in?

I had my doubts about this title by the way, but by any chance did you also take care of the introductory video for 'Sengoku 2'?

In 'Cyber-Lip' how did you feel about playing a seemingly positive character, but one who ultimately turned out to be the true enemy of humanity?

When the characters in 'Eight Man' get power-ups is the robotic voice you hear always yours? For this title and 'Soccer Brawl' how was this particular mechanical effect achieved on your performance?

In 'Robo Army' when the narrator pronounces the title it seems to be different from your usual tone used during the other games: as a voice actor did you modulate your voice or was it someone else who pronounced the name of the game?

In Japan 'Fatal Fury' and 'Art of Fighting' have been great national successes; in the USA even the wrestler John Cena said he loved the 'Baseball Star' series [in this specific case however, he talked about the chapter released on NES] and in Europe and South America even the football series of 'Super Sidekicks' and 'Soccer Brawl' probably hasn't been any less. I ask you then how did it feel to have been an integral part of this?

One of the vanguards of the NEOGEO was also the fact that practically all the games in the catalog were marketed through a multi-language system: soccer games in particular were not only translated, but were also dubbed by the people from those particular countries. How did this particular kind of coordinated process take place? After all in that historical period internet did not exist or was practically insignificant.

Now let's talk about 'Fatal Fury': one of the series that even at the time of this interview has many fans asking for a sequel or a modern remake.

Your voice is present both in the Japanese version and in the English one, but why in the Japanese edition it's not you who pronounces the title 'Garou Densetsu', but immediately afterwards we hear your voice pronouncing 'PRODUCE BY SNK'?


Also, what's the name of your Japanese colleague, he lent his voice in the Japanese introductions of the sequels of this series as well, right?

In the English version who is that pronounces the title of 'Fatal Fury'?


By the way, when did the development of this first chapter of 'Fatal Fury' really start? Because in the introduction you can clearly see written 'OCT. 1990. PRO. NEO. GEO'.


At the time, nobody knew that the developers of the first 'Street Fighter' had moved in SNK and started the NEOGEO myth, so people at the time kept saying that 'Fatal Fury' and SNK fighting games were just copies of 'Street Fighter II' (even though it was actually the updates of the latter that copied the innovations of the games released on the NEOGEO).

So, did you ever think that if SNK had released 'Fatal Fury' earlier, you would have avoided all this bad publicity and above all you could have capitalized on the fighting game boom that broke out during that period?

Aside from you, is it true that the first 'Fatal Fury' was not voiced by professional voice actors, but by the same developers who created the game? If so, do you remember the roles of each of them?

Also, I've heard that for this very reason the president Kawasaki got very angry and that's why starting from the following chapters professional voice actors from the theater were employed. Is all this true or is it just an urban legend?

Do you remember if this kind of very amateur dubbing also happened in other titles of the same period?

As the narrator of the first 'Fatal Fury' your emphasis is very contagious (TERRY BOGARD~ Versus~ RICHARD MAYER~!).


Was this all the result of your own personal improvisation or did you receive direction from someone else?

In addition to the narrator, did you dub anything else for this chapter? Like for example the character of Michael Max?

Why in the Japanese versions of 'Fatal Fury 2' and 'Fatal Fury Special' were the introductions not dubbed by you, but despite that, SNK left your voice intact as the referee/narrator within the games themselves?

In 'Fatal Fury 2' and the special chapter you were the one to dub the characters of Krauser, Axel and Duck King? What was it like to dub these last? Why is Axel essentially a replacement for Michael Max? And have you heard that in 2022 the latter character will make an appearance in a stage in the brand new 'The King of Fighters XV'?

Is it true that these characters' phrases were all made up from your improvisations? And were you aware that some of your quotes for the Japanese became of the memes?

For example, with 'Fatal Fury', the 'You an angel baby!' By Duck King was perceived as 'OBENJO, BABY!' ('THE TOILET, BABY!'),
while Axel for them seems to say 'ESSASSA', which sounds like the typical incitement that is done during Shinto processions in Japan.

In your case, the misunderstandings with 'Art of Fighting' occur when Mr. Big says 'Over so soon' for them has become like 'Omiso Soup', in fact, even a youtuber of this nation has decided to nickname himself so (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSR9NGrpYzexH-sqAH0-mzQ) and lastly the 'Die, yabo!' (Die, ambition!) of Geese Howard for them it became 'Itai ago' ('My jaw hurts') or even as 'Diamond'.

In the NEOGEO versions of 'Fatal Fury 2' and 'Fatal Fury Special' the endings of the characters are dubbed by their respective voices, however, in the Japanese version there is a discrepancy between what is written on the screen and what is pronounced by the voice actors (who instead refer to the scripts of the English translated version). Can you explain the reason for this?

Why is it that in the introduction of 'Fatal Fury 3' the spoken is in Japanese, but all the text (apart from the logo) is left in English with the same lines spoken for the foreign edition?

In 'Art of Fighting' what have you dubbed besides the referee/narrator? Can you confirm that you played Jack Turner, Micky Rogers, Mr. Big and Geese Howard? What was it like dubbing these latter characters?

When Jack Turner wins the fight in the first 'Art of Fighting', what exactly is it that he says?


Also, when the same character wins without ever taking damage in the second chapter, does he happen to say 'Ah, Perfect!'? [https://youtu.be/n89HCY58TlI?t=726]

When in 'Art of Fighting 2' Geese wins the fight, the character exclaims 'Die, yabo!' ('Die, ambition!'). Why did you mix English and Japanese in one and the same sentence?

Do you happen to know the names of the other voice actors that worked with you in the first works released on NEOGEO, but that still today unfortunately do not result to have been accredited yet?

I'm talking about titles like 'Magician Lord', 'Top Player's Golf', 'Ninja Combat', 'League Bowling', the 'Sengoku' series, 'King of the Monsters' 1 and 2, 'Blue's Journey', 'Alpha Mission II', 'Burning Fight', 'Quiz Daisousa Sen'1 and 2, '2020 Super Baseball' and 'Mutation Nation' for example.

In the credits of 'Mutation Nation' is present the writing '
PRESENTED BY SNK TOKYO TEAM'. I had never heard of this division, could you explain its history and who it was composed of?

Have you ever known or have you ever worked with external companies, that have produced their own exclusives on the NEOGEO? And as in the previous question, do you know the names of the voice actors who worked on games like 'Ninja Commando', the 'World Heroes' series, Windjammers, 'Karnov Revenge', 'Gururin', 'Fight Fever', 'Aero Fighters' 2 and 3, 'Aggressors of Dark Kombat', 'Power Spikes II', 'Street Hoop', 'Puzzle Bobble' and 'Galaxy Fight'?
 
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Mr. Karate II

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Chapter 4, 'The Sunset Sky' 2021:

In the twentieth century Japanese games that were exported abroad, have always suffered a terrible treatment and unfortunately even SNK games of that period were no exception, indeed, the NEOGEO games of that time are often remembered ironically by foreign fans with the term of 'SNK ENGRISH'.

'Analyzing under the microscope' the texts of that period, I noticed that the foreign versions of the NEOGEO games in many cases did not respect what the dialogue writers, the scriptwriters and the Japanese developers themselves had originally created through their own ideas, but rather there was a tremendous barbarization, which resulted in dialogues completely invented by people outside, which produced as if that were not enough of the texts completely imbued with an additional dementia, which was also accompanied by strange terms completely unnecessary for the real game experience: and even in cases where everything seemed normal, there were still problems related to the loss of content and the translator not understanding the true context of the game.

There are those who think this was caused by the Japanese themselves not knowing the language they were working with and those who think it was the work of several native English speakers: as some of the lyrics were infused with the local pop culture of the time (such as the 'Wubba, Wubba' taken from MTV that Terry says in 'Fatal Fury Special' or the fact that Mr. Big in 'Art of Fighting 2' exclaims that Geese has escaped to Wisconsin!).

What I wanted to ask you is who caused this and how the localization processes worked of SNK's games work abroad?

If you have noticed in this interview I have referred almost entirely to the period of time that included the first half of the nineties (1990-1994) and here I ask you, but why did you completely disappear from circulation at a certain point?

The person who as a referee/narrator replaced you in 'Super Sidekicks 3', 'Fatal Fury 3' and also started playing Wolfgang Krauser, is BJ Love?

What kind he was and how did you feel about his performance? Through the additional content of a special edition of 'KOF '96', I learned that this voice actor was from Michigan and that at the time of that game's release he had already been an actor for about 20 years.

Speaking of prototypes, have you ever dubbed of the games that in the end never being released? If yes, do you remember the names?

What is your favorite SNK/NEOGEO game that you have dubbed and why? And do you also like something else you haven't lent your voice to?

After that the your time working with the NEOGEO it is concluded, did you continue to be a voice actor or anyway work in the video game world?

In the late nineties SNK made a series of harmful choices, which eventually led this company to self-destruct. Do you think that all this could have been avoided?

Because I recently heard from the ex-executive producer of 'Street Fighter II', that if it wasn't for 'Resident Evil' also Capcom could have gone bankrupt in the exact same period of time and after all the exact same thing happened also to ex-leaders of the industry: like for example Technōs and Data East.

After the 'death' that SNK suffered at the beginning of the millennium and its subsequent 'lethargy' of low-budget productions, now it seems that this company is finally resurrecting, to so return to the table of the biggest developers. What do you think about all this? Is it something that it makes you happy or today are you completely indifferent to it?

By the way, did you get married? Did you have any children?

During this time that you've lived in Japan, have you ever passionate about it to local entertainment: I'm talking TV shows, movies, anime, manga, video games, and so on? If so, can you tell us the titles?

What do you like most about Japan? And what do you never got used to it, because it's something that you really can't stand?

Will you live for the rest of your life in Japan or will you one day return to the place where you were born?

Aside from the narration of the first 'Fatal Fury' that we've talked about before ('
TERRY BOGARD~ Versus~ RICHARD MAYER~!'), the phrases I most loved about your work have been these four:

ONE) 'Again, Legenday Men... RETURN...' ('Fatal Fury 2' English introduction).


TWO) 'BUST YOU UP!' (Axel Hawk in 'Fatal Fury 2'/'Fatal Fury Special').


THREE) 'You're good. You fought well' (When Wolfgang Krauser wins a fight in 'Fatal Fury 2'/'Fatal Fury Special').



FOUR) 'I'll chisel your gravestone, sleep well!' (The introductory phrase that is spoken by Wolfgang Krauser along with Mozart's last 'Requiem', which is heard at the end of 'Fatal Fury 2'/'Fatal Fury Special').


'I'll chisel your gravestone, sleep well!' It's not a line that only I liked, because I've seen it often quoted by other fans as well, moreover, in 2008 a remastered version of 'The King of Fighters '98' was released, which was called as 'Ultimate Match': in this last version there is also Krauser, who was dubbed always by BJ Love, however, did you know that if Krauser meets a character who was originally part of 'Fatal Fury Special', in the introduction you will hear this very line dubbed directly with your voice recorded in 1992?


Could you create an audio file where you interpret these lines by dubbing them in the present day?

Who else do you know who worked at SNK and would be pleased to be interviewed by fans today?

Before we move on to questions from the audience, I wanted to end this interview by thanking you for being here with us today and for having had the patience to answer all of the questions that have been asked of you.

How do you want to end this interview? Say what you want, but at least I ask you to greet all SNK fans, which they will read this interview, moreover, if you want to take advantage of this space to publicize some of your personal projects, well, do it.

Thanks also to everyone who has read this interview up to this point, okay, the time has come to move on to questions from the audience.
 
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Mr. Karate II

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Chapter 5, The questions from the Audience:

Gmegbln from Canada asked:

Neat! Did he do the NAM-1975 "ARRRRGGHHHH!" from the attract screen?

I guess besides an actual confirmed list of the games he's voiced in, since Neo Geo engrish has a very special place in my heart I'd be interested in knowing how much, if any leeway he was given in correcting any awkward non-native "engrish" lines that he was given - was he allowed to voice the lines as he interpreted them and have them make more sense, or did he have to stick to what was on the paper?

Ajax instead said:
No way...! A friend and I always joked that the Nam 1975 guy (also the Magician Lord and Cyber Lip guy?) was the janitor at the SNK office building. To this day, decades later, we still reference "the janitor." I guess the standard, "how did you get the job?" will do the trick, but if you could ask if he was a janitor at the SNK office building at any point, it would mean a lot to us.

Burning Fight!! from Brazil requested the following:
I just want to see what the guy looks like. Is his name really Michael Beard? Did he do any other voiceover work outside of SNK (in gaming or otherwise) or was he just some Intl Relations guy that had to help with voices every once in a while? Did he have any contact with the other localization "offices" for ie. Portuguese audio?

This is awesome, keep us posted. I've always been interesting in early video game voices and just the mention of a possible interview has made my day. My holy grail neo-geo wise would be to know who did the Super Sidekicks 3 narrator voices in the Brazil dipswitch setting, but that's such a long shot :timid:

Tron of Maryland absolutely wants you to tell us about 'Baseball Stars Professional 2':
If you get to interview him ask him about baseball stars 2,cuase he needs relief !!!
[video]

#28 of the Whidbey Island said:
Hope I’m not too late.

Until recently I had assumed Michael Beard was some kind of baseball announcer (maybe in the minors or something) since he’s perfect for it in Baseball Stars 2 and he namedrops himself with every game. If he was “just” a voice actor in Japan, does he have any particular insight into why it was that “this is Michael Beard” was part of his script for the game?
 
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Burning Fight!!

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Well if he takes his sweet time to answer the "interview" now I know why. Not to complain about anyone's efforts, but holy autism, let's pick someone else experienced with talking with other human beings via email about vague memories from 30 years ago next time.
 

LoneSage

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LMBO did Mr. Karate II just attempt to take over and control the interview from Fygee? Bless his heart.
 

Mr. Karate II

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Well if he takes his sweet time to answer the "interview" now I know why. Not to complain about anyone's efforts, but holy autism, let's pick someone else experienced with talking with other human beings via email about vague memories from 30 years ago next time.
The interview will be in written format, so, Mr. Beard will not be chained to a table for two/three hours until we say enough: if he wants he can easily answer these questions in several different days/weeks (the important thing is final quality, it is not important that he answer immediately to our interview), moreover, who originally worked on the Neogeo system is by now towards the end of his life cycle, so it is better to ask everything possible without having any regrets, because when one day they will all die then it will be too late for think of other questions to ask.
 

Mr. Karate II

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LMBO did Mr. Karate II just attempt to take over and control the interview from Fygee? Bless his heart.
I didn't write this before because I didn't think it was necessary, but I'm not actually 'stealing' anything from anyone, because Fygee and I we made a agreement about a week ago.

7zSedji.jpg
 

LoneSage

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No matter, but you are way, way in over your head with the majority of those questions. Some of those questions are downright off-putting, like if he's married and has kids. The end result of this interview will be nothing gets answered unless you pay him $1,000 because at this point it's flat out work.
 

Mr. Karate II

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No matter, but you are way, way in over your head with the majority of those questions. Some of those questions are downright off-putting, like if he's married and has kids. The end result of this interview will be nothing gets answered unless you pay him $1,000 because at this point it's flat out work.
To tell the truth I don't really care the his private life: it was just a way to end the interview in a natural way (without an excessive detachment during the conclusion), if Fygee thinks it's necessary he can also eliminate all the questions that have no direct connection with SNK.
 

sylvie

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I would like to add some questions to the interview, which are more in line with Mr Karate's.

"When was your last prostate exam?"

"Who was the doctor that did it, how old was he, does he have any daughters (please list their ages) and does he/the daughters play Neo Geo as well?"

"On May 12 1992 at 4:08 PM, do you believe it's possible that you were recording voices for a Sengoku game at that very minute?"
 

madmanjock

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‘What time does your wife get home from work?’

’Do you usually get home before or after your wife? How long is that time interval?’

’Does your apartment have a basement?’
 

Dr Shroom

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"Can you tell us where you live? The exact address, please?"
"Do you have any family?"
"What does your schedule looks like?"
"When are you usually alone at home?"
"Do you prefer hemp or nylon ropes?"

Please stop asking these people such terrible cringe-ass autistic questions, who gives a shit if he's married and has children? Just ask how he got the job, what games he did and how the recording process worked, don't send him five pages of inane shit and expect him to answer every single one and also don't expect him to remember stuff he did thirty years ago.

No wonder the general population thinks that video game fans are retarded.
 
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Burning Fight!!

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My favorite questions are the ones related to obscure trivia like if he thinks a team name in baseball stars refers to some obscure europe distributor, or having four introdutory paragraphs about SNK localization practices starting with "In the twentieth century Japanese games that were exported abroad". Some questions would be stupid to ask even if Fygee was interviewing Eikichi Kawasaki himself, and lol at thinking interviewing someone via text is anything close to sending kilometric texts with inane trivia questions for someone who is 100% likely to not know or care about.

No one knows what Mr. Karate II works with (where do you work? what was the financials for your company's japanese branch in 1991? did you meet this one guy John that used to come repair AC units in the Osaka corporate building?), but we do know he's definitely not a journalist.
 

madmanjock

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"Have you ever seen Mr. Tomiyama's Mercedes Benz S600 W140 V12 with 'NEOGEO1' written on the license plate? (Also the Hyundai of Mr. Okada was particular, because behind it was written 'GAMLORD')."

what does this have to do with anything?
I’m impressed you bothered to read the verbal puke in that list. You know your in for a good time when a poster says at the end ‘character limit reached, continued next post’

Asking Sylvie’s, mine and Dr Shroom‘s questions as a set is less creepy than the autism list.
 
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Burning Fight!!

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Imagine being some old white guy in japan chilling in your old apartment drinking sake while your wife pretends you're dead and buried, like any average day, when you receive 4 consecutive unwanted emails that start with "character limit reached, continued" and random questions about the development of some fighting videogame you vaguely recall playing once, someone's vanity license plate in California and what pop idol group did you like in the 90's.
 

madmanjock

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Imagine being some old white guy in japan chilling in your old apartment drinking sake while your wife pretends you're dead and buried, like any average day, when you receive 4 consecutive unwanted emails that start with "character limit reached, continued" and random questions about the development of some fighting videogame you vaguely recall playing once, someone's vanity license plate in California and what pop idol group did you like in the 90's.
I’m dying… thread delivers.
 
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sylvie

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moreover, who originally worked on the Neogeo system is by now towards the end of his life cycle, so it is better to ask everything possible without having any regrets, because when one day they will all die then it will be too late for think of other questions to ask.
2a1.jpg
 

madmanjock

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’A forum user called Jockman has a Malaysian Proton Saga car which was made in 1991. Proton based this car on the the 1983 second generation Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore. If you had not gone into voice work, do you think it is possible that you may have been involved in the negotiations between Proton and Mitsubishi to create Jockman’s car, given Mitsubishi are a Japanese company and you live in Japan so it’s seems likely?’
 

Neo Alec

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Please try to distill the list down to a few main questions for Mr. Beard, particularly ones that relate directly to his experience working with SNK. I would leave the stuff about his background as one more open-ended question so that way he can share the details he is comfortable with. Then if he has some extra time and seems game, you can do a few follow up bonus questions.
 

madmanjock

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Please try to distill the list down to a few main questions for Mr. Beard, particularly ones that relate directly to his experience working with SNK. I would leave the stuff about his background as one more open-ended question so that way he can share the details he is comfortable with. Then if he has some extra time and seems game, you can do a few follow up bonus questions.

This is good advice.

Don’t try ask the guy more than 5 questions, 10 questions absolute tops, and keep personal questions or very obscure references out. If you send 5 fucking chapters of questions to the old guy you’ll not get even 1 response.
 
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