Readers discuss the most iconic video game sound effects and jingles, from Sonic the Hedgehog’s rings to the Metal Gear Solid ping.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader D Dubya, and includes regular sound effects, short jingles, and even the noise of the consoles themselves. Readers were also encouraged to share a clip on YouTube, to help remind everyone of the sounds in question.
As many predicted, various Nintendo games got a lot of mentions, as did retro games in general. There were some newer titles as well though, and console noises such as rare achievements.
Sound effects evolved
The Halo franchise has many great sound effects, including weapons, power-ups, vehicles, and alien creatures, with many to choose from.
What makes Halo unique from other first person shooters is the great little sound effects that Bungie and 343 have keep over the years to familiarise the players with what each sound represents.
The shields rebooting is one of my favourites, which lets you know when you can get back into the chaos.
Another is the Covenant speaking, especially the Elites. This includes being spotted, ordering forces to attack, and the final death cry to let you know they’re nearly extinguished. The Flood have an odd sound when they are near, a great little touch as well.
Vehicles are very specific sounds: the Warthog’s engine, horn, and 50 cal. Then there’s the Banshee’s 360° spin, the Scarab firing, the Ghost speeding along, and the Scorpion tank moving.
Each weapon has its own personal sound effect, including the shotgun reload, Magnum reload, BR 3 round burst, AR rapid firing, sniper round, rocket launcher, and grenades effects.
Covenant and Forerunner weapons all have great sounds, my personal favourites are the energy sword, Needler, grav hammer, Z-250 rifle, and plasma rifle. Halo sound effects are fantastic and make the game come to life.
I had to mention Jeff Steizer the legendary multiplayer voice announcer: ‘Overkill’, ‘Slayer’, ‘Lost the lead’, and ‘Game over’.
OZ illuminati (gamertag)
Change for the worst
I’m very late to the party with this but I’ve just recently got into playing Fallout games (thank you Game Pass). I absolutely devoured Fallout 3 and it’s now become one of my favourite games.
I’m less in love with number 4 for a variety of reasons but one thing that’s been annoying me has been the difference in sound a body makes when it explodes. I don’t know what they did in number 3 but it was so enjoyably squelchy I never got tired of taking out hordes of baddies. Hoping they go back to basics for number 5, if that ever comes out.
The little sounds
A very interesting idea for a Hot Topic, which has had me thinking back over my years of gaming!
I love the start-up noise of the Game Boy Advance, a kind of ring followed by a ping. I still have a SP model which I regularly play, and the noise sounds welcoming and happy.
The PlayStation 2 start-up noise is also a favourite of mine, especially the ‘wob’ noise as a game starts. Gaming became a serious hobby for me on the PlayStation 2, so the console will always have a special place in my heart.
I think the Trophy ping noise on the PlayStation systems is good too. Especially when you’ve just achieved something tough like a hard difficulty. Sometimes there’s a slight delay from when you have done a certain feat and the Trophy being awarded. That little noise sounds especially triumphant then!
Onto games, I like the short title screen of the first Devil May Cry where Dante says ‘Let’s rock, baby!’
Resident Evil 4 has those chainsaw revs (although I’m not sure that’s a good sound!) and of course all The Merchant’s wonderful little lines!
Being an Uncharted fan I can’t forget the little noise when you pick up a treasure and of course Nate saying ‘Oh c***!’ a lot!
Sounds like trouble
Maybe a strange favourite sound but I would say the screaming headless bombers from Serious Sam.
Hearing a mass of screaming bombers always put a smile on my face, as I desperately looked around to see which dune they were about to appear from and tried to get some distance! Hectic fun!
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You’ve been spotted
Favourite video game sound effect is easy.
The alert when spotted by a soldier in Metal Gear Solid.
Tring! I think that’s the sound that happens when Sonic picks up a ring from the first games on 8 and 16-bit consoles right up to Sonic Mania, er, four years ago now. It’s just very satisfying, isn’t it? Especially when you play around in the debug mode and you put down a big, chunky ring made out of about 500.
Hmm, though I don’t think I’ve done that well with this one. I bet others have got superior examples.
How are you, Ken?
There’s only one choice.
But here are about 20 versions. Shinku Hadoken!
Clearing out the underground
That ridiculously satisfying crunchy block smashing sound from Super Mario Bros. The underground levels were empty when I had finished.
Sounds of gaming
I have loved so many video game jingles/sounds over the years that keep resonating in my head to this very day and I obviously can’t say them all here, but they’ve definitely affected me with many good gaming moments in my life.
The sound I have on my cell phone is ‘Hey Listen’ by Navi from Ocarina Of Time and other Zelda games, so technically that one is my favourite. But here’s a short list of others I have come to love or get a thrill from hearing.
The Metal Gear Solid alarm alert sound always gave me a good scare and sets my tension on high alert. Panic running to safety or having to take a guard out some way to try to get to a hiding place and wait until everything has cooled down. So many great gaming moments came from surviving these situations alive.
The secret sound effect in the Legend Of Zelda series when an item has been found or you’ve completed a puzzle which then has revealed something! Always excited me as progress has now been made. Opening a chest was another sound which is still cemented to the series as the classic Zelda sound.
The Hadouken which Ryu and Ken shout out when the fireball is released was always heard in the many local arcades when arcades were the places to go to. It was the iconic Street Fighter 2 sound which will fill many people with nostalgia about what they did in their free time at these old hangout places.
The GoldenEye Walther PPK silencer shot was such a great sound to hear and feel with the Rumble Pak, and just felt so good to take out an enemy with. Just such a satisfying sound in general and was absolutely perfectly executed.
The victory sound in the Final Fantasy series is as iconic as it gets! A trademark of the game from the very beginnings and it has continued to this day, with a load of remixes and variations of it. Still never gets old as the sense of achievement, from a boss battle win or when farming normal enemies for levelling your characters, is still timeless.
Many more could have been mentioned but I’m looking forward to other readers’ memories from their past or current gaming experiences. The little simple things are the key to the great vibes that makes our hobby so enriching.
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