Video Feature: The Iconic Sounds of Gaming

Video Feature: The Iconic Sounds of Gaming

From Pac-Man to Metal Gear Solid, we highlight the importance of sound effects in games.

From musical scores to simple waveforms, sounds shape the way we game.

The sound of Mario jumping. Mega Man exploding as a missed jump sends him into a spike pit. Peppy imploring you to "do a barrel roll!" Sounds are an important element of video game design, and have been since Pong's first blips tied the senses of vision and sound in a logical way. Hit a ball in real life, and a sound accompanies the action. On the screen, the paddle meeting the pixel produces an auditory cue, and that meeting of the two senses made the experience that much more immersive.

Some sounds in games have risen above the status of a mere "sound effect," and were wielded skillfully by their designers to mesh perfectly with the gaming experience. An iconic or memorable video game sound works within the framework of the game, but does so in a way that allows it to detach from the game in which it features to become a piece of popular culture. Think of how practically any sound from Super Mario Bros. for the NES can be taken out of context, but still remains recognizable and evocative.

But who wants to read about sounds when you can hear them? That's why I put together this video, highlighting some of gaming's most satisfying, iconic, or memorable sounds. Honestly, the list could go on and on, and anything missing from the video is mostly due to the seemingly endless supply of video game sounds done right. Chime in with your favorite game sounds, and ignore that horrible pun, in the discussion in the comments.

We regularly post videos as well as archived streams over at our Youtube channel, so do us a favor and subscribe to our channel for more awesome USG content in streaming video form.

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