Video games have come a long way since 8bit graphics and arcade sticks. It’s always refreshing to replay the classics. Re-experiencing favorite childhood games is not only a fun, personable experience, but also a reminder as to why they were embraced as timeless in the first place. I personally find myself dusting off my N64 to get a little Super Smash Bros action in or reassess my Mario Tennis skills pretty frequently these days. I, as well as most gamers, are more than willing to excuse downgraded graphics and limited features for the opportunity to reconnect with games from the past. It’s easy to see how far the gaming industry has come technologically but also how far they’ve strayed from those warm fuzzy feelings we got when cruising in Fox McCloud’s Arwing or bouncing on goombas in Mario 64.
Perhaps one of the most nostalgic elements of old-school gaming is the music. Though often times the sound effects of old were of extremely low quality or encased in the dreadful loop (music restarts every time you leave/enter a room), music remains a vital component in the overall gaming experience. While recalling my favorite video game tunes, I put together this list of the most satisfying and incredibly entertaining video game sounds, music, and noises of past and present (in no particular order).
1. Mario 1UP Sound
We’re starting this list off right with Mario. The helpful little mushroom that grants our favorite Italian hero (besides Ezio) immortality is at the top of our list as one of the most iconic video game sounds of all time. Who doesn’t feel a little smidgen of glee when hearing that renowned jingle?
2. Gears of War Headshot
Anyone who has experienced GOW, especially the multiplayer has heard no, felt the particular sound in question. Headshots are always satisfying but something about a gun that can shoot AND saw a head clean off makes the killshot seem oh so much more gratifying.
3. Zelda Chest-opening Theme
A crude description I’ll admit, but I guarantee every Zelda fan is humming the familiar tune as they read this. New items make Link a happy boy and big ol’ treasure chest songs make me a happy girl. The feeling is more than mutual.
Nobuo Uematsu is a master of music. From the chilling intensity of the One Winged Angel to memorable character themes, Uematsu has crafted a musical dynasty within the Final Fantasy franchise. By far the melody most familiar to fans and even recognizable among your everyday Joe is the FF7 battle theme. *Dun-dun-de-dun-da-da-dun-da-dun.*
Anyone who has read a tad of my writing can probably tell I’m a huge Metal Gear fan. And that’s perfect for this list because there are a ton of catchy sound effects to go around (all of which have been my ringtone at one point or another). From the codec ring to the game over tune Metal Gear definitely knows how to stick a song in your head. My personal favorite is the alert exclamation.
There’s nothing quite like battling an army of space aliens hell-bent on destroying the human race. It’s just child’s play for Master Chief though so why not have a little fun on the journey with the help of handy dandy plasma grenades? Grunts are by far my favorite target. I can still remember the sounds they make in the few seconds before exploding. Ahh good times.
Pac-Man has become an icon in the gaming world and far beyond. Maybe eating dots and avoiding digital ghosts is universal in every culture? All I know is if Pac-Man happens to run into Blinky, Pinky, Inky or Clyde among the twists and turns of the maze, I can’t say I’d be too upset. That sound effect is just so darn memorable.
The button mashing, trash talking, competitive intensity of fighting games brings out the best and worst in people. I can recall heated moments and bitter rivalries among friends…now acquaintances while playing Street Fighter. Even more so I remember blasting my challengers with the almighty HADOUUUUUKEN, until crushing them with my supremacy. I don’t know what it means, but I know the satisfying feeling of winning and that’s enough for me.
9. Mario Kart Star power
The classic invincibility-granting item from the Mario universe is even more fulfilling when driving a turbo charged go-kart. It doesn’t hurt that the Star power is accompanied by an upbeat jingle either. Win win situation.
10. GLaDOS Portal 2 Credits Song
This sassy jam transformed the monotonous credit sequences that we are more than accustomed to into a rarely enjoyable encounter. Finally someone out there actually cares that we hate sitting through names scrolling across the screen for 10 minutes.
How many of these sound effects, noises, and tunes have you heard in your gaming escapades and which ones are you personal favorites?