The Gaming Liberty November 11th 2010
Hi, folks, Retroplayer here. You know, here at TGL were always looking for new and interesting content. Well, I present to you the worlds first interview with Jeffrey Rath who voiced Link in the highly infamous Zelda games released on the CD-i in 1993. Developed by Animation Magic they became the black sheep of the Zelda franchise and have been officially stricken from canon. Still, it makes for an nice little interview! Enjoy.
Retroplayer: First off, tell us a little about yourself, Jeffrey.
Jeffrey Rath: I am a theater person. I ran a theater company in Newburyport, MA from 1994- 2009. I teach theater at Boston College High School. I am a father of 3 yr old Beckett.
Retroplayer: Were you aware of the Legend of Zelda franchise before getting role?
Jeffrey Rath: I had heard of Zelda, but never played it. Was never much of a video gamer.
Jeffrey Rath: I am an actor, we are always looking for paying work. A friend told me about the audition for a voice over. I thought it sounded fun. I auditioned, and they cast me as Link.
Retroplayer: Take us through a typical Zelda recording session.
Jeffrey Rath: The sessions were fun. They would show me pictures of the characters, give me a little script back ground, give me the script to read for about 15 minutes and then we would record. I stood in a sound proof booth and read my lines. There was never any of the other characters to work off of, so it was quite different than theater.
Retroplayer: What kind of direction were you given by the voice director?
Jeffrey Rath: Once I found the voice, I was only given direction regarding reactions to the situation of the script. The director was supportive and pretty hands off. We would usually do 2 or 3 takes.
Retroplayer: When you read the line, “I’m so hungry I could eat Octorok”, what was your first reaction?
Jeffrey Rath: I think I asked what an Octorok looked like. I had no idea what to think I just winged it. The studio guys were pretty fun to work with.
Retroplayer: How long did it take to complete you part in both games?
Jeffrey Rath: I usually went in two or three times per game. I don't think I was ever there for more than a couple of hours a session.
Retroplayer: Gamers and critics alike responded universally negative to the game and voice acting. How do you feel about this?
Jeffrey Rath: To be honest, I never saw the finished product. I wasn’t even sure it made it to the public. It wasn’t until recently that a friend told me it was such an infamous product. I think its hilarious, and cheesey.
Retroplayer: The games are infamous in gaming lore, Jeffrey. It’s been picked apart, parodied and generally tarred and feathered. Do you get a kick out of the reaction to the games online?
Jeffrey Rath: I think it is all very funny. I am glad I found out about it so long afterwards though.
Retroplayer: Have fans ever contacted you before, Jeffrey?
Jeffrey Rath: I have never been contacted by fans, but I have had students look it up to see if I was telling the truth. A couple of friends think its pretty cool.
Retroplayer: Are you a gamer yourself?
Jeffrey Rath: I am not a gamer.
Retroplayer: What have you been up to since playing Link?
Jeffrey Rath: I am an actor, teacher, husband and father. Not in that order.
Retroplayer: What’s next for you, Jeffrey?
Jeffrey Rath: Whatever comes my way. I am pretty happy with my lot in life, but try not to turn down interesting opportunities. I loved doing voice over work- would definitely do it again.
I’d like to thank Jeffrey for taking part in this interview. It’s great to hear that he doesn’t take it very seriously but no doubt proud of the work he did back then. Sure, the game was imfamous, the gameplay was terrible and Zelda purists took offence with giving Link a voice but it still serves as an interesting, obscure and odd little gem in gaming lore. Thanks, Jeffrey!