Waypoint Weeklies: The Distant Sound of Beeping

Kaching. Boing. Splat. Klang. Boom. Pow. Beep. Boop. Beep.

Sounds make up a huge part of the landscape of games, giving each little thing it’s own discrete personality. Good sound design can turn digital world into vivid simulations. A well-timed sound effect can make every action you take feel that much better. Alternatively, they can be annoying and frustrating. A voice quip can either be a nice bit of characterization, or a reason you quit the game.

What sound effects stick out in your mind? What sounds and noises are memorable and iconic?

What would Final Fantasy be without the little chirps the menus make as you scroll through them?

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Playing Xenogears right now and your hub ship has a friendly dolphin man that when prompted will play you a random sound effect from the game. He’s got like 200 of them. It’s honestly one of my favorite little touches in any game ever. Dude rocks.

Franz

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Is it cheating to bring up the Alien video games? Yes, the sounds are just recreating the ones from the film, which had impeccable sound design, but they bring so, so much atmosphere to the games. I am thrilled when I get a motion detector in an Alien game, because I get to hear that beep when something starts to get near. The guns, the xenomorphs, there’s a lot of iconic pew pews and shrieks to love in that franchise.

Also, my favourite menu noises: Kingdom Hearts. It’s nostalgia, but those short chirps hit me the way whole songs do in other games. They’re a little higher than a lot of games, but I like that.

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there are a lot of good ones in thief/thief2/system shock 2, but the one that occasionally comes back to me, unbidden, is from deus ex: icarus’ first transmission in chateau duclare.

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I’m going to be basic and say that the Gears of War headshot sound is best-in-class. That watermelon pop may be the most grotesquely satisfying sound in gaming.

Alternatively I submit literally every sound effect from the Metal Gear Solid games. This is compounded by the fact that they’ve been carried forward across each game.

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Mass Effect 3, Sovereign call. A.k.a. the garbage can lid from hell.

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I don’t know if they count as memorable or iconic but many of the StarCraft: Brood War sound effects are burned into my mind. The sound of a zergling attacking a building. That ‘ksshhh, ahh, that’s the stuff’ the Marines say when you use Stim. ‘My Life for Aiur’. The list goes on.

The next thing that came to mind was that weird crackling/crawling sound from Amnesia: The Dark Descent that plays when you’re in the darkness.

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While idle had another thought for this thread, and the only sound effects that truly hit home for me: ALL the voice clips from Battlefront 2 (2005)!

Off the top of my head: “FOR THE REPUBLIC!” “Save it for the enemy” “Watch out for those wrist rockets!” (The CPU literally never uses the wrist rockets.) To the rebels: “DIE! DIE! DIE!” “Just like shooting womp rats, ey kid?” To the perfect, snooty Brits in the empire: “The enemy has taken a command post… take it back.”

I could go on. I tried to find a video of the lines, but just hearing the lines by themselves doesn’t capture the energy. It’s these wild voice clips layered over lasers and grenades layered over Star Wars music that makes something so great.What a perfect game.

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There’s a number of video game sounds from late 90s PC games that stick out in my mind as the developers clearly just used some off the shelf royalty free sound effects that are also used in movies and TV shows.

One is the pig grunting sound that played when you clicked on a farm in Warcraft 2. Without fail if the camera pans past an animal pen in a medieval/fantasy TV show, that sound will play.

There’s also a number from Daggerfall. The creaky door sound from that game is in so many movies and TV shows. Same as the ‘horse whinny’ while riding your horse.

I actually find it pretty immersion breaking when I hear these sounds on TV and suddenly my mind flicks back to old PC games. The horse sound definitely showed up in the Witcher Netflix series. Funny a sound I associate with a 90s RPG ends up on a show made possible by the success of another video game.

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The Dark Soul menu selection sound, no clue how to write it out…

Huweerugh

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I can’t find it and I don’t have my piano handy, but the little piano jingle that cuts in every time the Joker makes an announcement in Batman: Arkham Asylum sprinngs to mind. The vaguely Db major-ish sting.

There are many great things about Titanfall 2, but the greatest is the sound that plays when you kill an enemy Pilot. (Specifically, the “shing!” at the start, the rest fades out very quickly when the sound plays in game.)

Probably my favourite sound in all of gaming, though, is the sound of your interceptor’s cannon in House of the Dying Sun. When you have a good firing solution, the cockpit makes this very satisfying buzzy WHRRRRR sound and then you pull the trigger and get this muffled (because space) but very bassy BUDDABUDDABUDDABUDAA. Perfect sound effect. Although of course the whole soundscape is great, down to the composer’s very good Bear McCreary impression.

I have to shout out my favorite part of Doom Eternal, which is the pop that happens when you glorykill a cacodemon

And then a great touch to Apex Legends is the ceramic breaking sound that plays when a shot of yours breaks your enemy’s armor. Super visually distinct and identifiable over the gunfire. Respawn’s sound direction is extremely strong.

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The classic Souls parry + riposte sound is a sound I swear I can feel

Another memorable sound for me is the moan of the Divider enemy in Dead Space. I’ve never simultaneously loved and absolutely hated a sound so much.

And finally, arguably the best part about the Nintendo Switch–that sweet satisfying click it makes when you reattach your joy cons to the system. (For Switch lite owners, is there no way for y’all to hear this sound??? :anguished:)

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Yeah, despite having only played about 15% of one MGS game, the “spotted alert” sting from them is still probably the first thing I thought of for this thread.

(Similarly, whilst it’s actually a generic sound from one of those “free sounds” collections originally, the “Doom doors” sound effect is now one of the most recognisable “futuristic door opening” noises in modern culture - probably fighting it out with the Star Trek door noise.)

I think it’s hard to think of the really excellent “foley” style effects in games because if they’re really excellent you can’t distinguish their existence from just being super immersed in the world.
I think that’s probably also why a lot of responses here go heavy on the “sampled voice lines” direction. (For me, that would probably be the C&C Red Alert “Reinforcements have arrived!” sample - the first time you hear it, from my recollection, you’re in the middle of the “lone obviously-James-Bond-inspired pursuit mission” in the early game, chasing a fleeing single enemy (who’s just exploded your starting base)… and just as he’s getting away in a ?boat?, you’re given two attack dogs [heralded by that sample] on the opposite bank. It’s a good moment.)

The runner up voiced line for me would probably be another Icarus line from Deus Ex: unlike Dani, my choice would be
“Observe your motivations for breaking the arbitrary laws of current government.”
, triggered when you, once again, continue the video-gamey habit of just walking into ordinary people’s apartments [this time in Paris] and taking all their stuff.

And if we have to have a great/annoying one: all of the sound effects from First Samurai on the Amiga - the “my sword” sample when his magic sword appears is great, but whoever thought that adding “orchestra hits” sound effects on every connecting strike, and a sample of “Hallelujah” played at very high volume when you achieve a significant point in each level…

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“Need a dispenser here!” “This medic is a SPY”
All those voice lines are just so good.

Also, simple but perfect:

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The PC Speaker sounds from the original Commander Keen games are burned into my soul.

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“Your Sound Card Works Perfectly”. I know some of you know exactly what that’s from and why I can still remember every nuance of that clip.

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