Top 10 Memorable sounds in Games

HEY! LISTEN! That doesn’t count, this week we’re looking at our Top 10 Memorable Sounds in Games. Tell us if we chose good sounds or not!

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I once met a man who seemed possessed of an odd kind of wisdom. When I asked him what path I should take through life, the path of honesty, or the path of weasely underhanded backstabbing that led all the way to Successville, he turned to me and said: “Listen mate…”

He said a bunch of other things about restraining orders, but when I did listen, I found that the world was filled with ambient noises I had never heard before. SOUND advice indeed.

What? Tim’s the only one allowed to do puns? Fine, be like that! Here’s some sound-effects we talked about.


Top 10

10) Linking Book – Myst

Transitioning from one world to another should always be an epic moment, but when you’re doing so multiple times in a short space of time then it can’t be too grandiose an affair. The linking books in Myst come with a great deal of metaphor, being literal portals to other worlds that are written by an author.

But for those upon whom the metaphor is lost there are two iconic things that set them apart: a panel showing the world in which the new world is visible; and the noise. It’s a mark of success more often than not – simply getting to the books half the time is a task in itself – but the sound feels like it pulls you forward. It’s changed a little over time, but remains as much a part of the game as the beautiful worlds they present.

9) Creeper Hiss – Minecraft

Hisssssss~ Boom! That’s a nice house you’ve got there, it would be a — BOOM!

Let’s be honest here: Creepers are annoying in Minecraft, yet they are already an iconic gaming enemy. You know that when you hear the hissing in Minecraft, you’re probably not going to be looking at a spider (who make a different kind of hiss), but a green face and an explosion. It’s only natural that people assume the worst when building their grand to-scale model of the Deathstar.

But hey, at least you know you can hear them before they explode… But seriously, once the hissing begins, you do have to be fast to get away from a suddenly explosive ending. Nothing puts the fear of a build into players more than this hissing. Endermen affect buildings by taking their blocks away and placing them elsewhere. Creepers are the ultimate in destructive power. Remorselessness, relentlessness – Gah, don’t look behind you!

8) Portal Noises – Portal

Ok, there are a lot of noises in Portal and Portal 2. Mostly GLaDOS belittling you, turrets looking for you and the heartbroken, wracking sobs as the companion-cube burned.

In particular though we’re talking about the noises the Portal gun makes. Somehow being slung around the inside of a device that you are simultaneously holding, which is actually a miniature black-hole generator generating blue and orange circles that fold space between them like the engine in Event Horizon… I lost track, but it’s the soft little noises that somehow make this volatile and potentially deadly machine entertaining.

7) SHORYUKEN – Street Fighter (Ryu and Ken)

Be honest with me here, although this is a quote, this really does seem more like a noise that just happens to fly out of Ryu’s and Ken’s mouths. Their unadulterated rage causes their fists to fly and their mouths sort of just opens up and let’s out a garbled “SHORYUKEN!” We all know and love Street Fighter, but Ryu and Ken both have this Shoryuken which actually translates to Rising Dragon Punch. It’s a glorified uppercut! But it’s also a very memorable noise.

We were considering whether this or Hadouken was more well known, we believe the Shoryuken is just that little bit more memorable – But what do you think? Take to the comments with your thoughts!

6) GETOVERHERE – Mortal Kombat (Scorpion)

Much like Shoryuken this is kind of a quote or a catchphrase, but it represents something important and that is that Scorpion wants your attention and is prepared to go to great lengths (of spiked chain) to get it. It’s something you can say and every gamer in the room will immediately see the yellow mask and black hood, but it has to be said right.

The other major catchphrase of the game must be “Finish him” but there’s something more to “Get over here”, it makes people want to play Scorpion. It’s no fun to be on the other side of, especially as Scorpion’s demonic powers come into play, and he becomes an inescapable terror.

5) Snake? SNAAAAAKKEEE – Metal Gear Solid

There’s only so many times Otacon can make Solid Snake’s death seem to be a dramatic and heartbreaking loss. At first it’s the sound of someone losing their best friend and being too far away to do anything about it. After that it’s the overly operatic sound of your – what is that now? Fifth attempt at this part of the mission? Sixth? Is Otacon getting louder just to mock you?

You can’t hear it as words after a while. It’s just the noise death makes when it happens – oh seven times now. It’s more than just a little infuriating, but it’s memorable, if only because of the law of diminishing returns on emotional responses.

4) Spin dash – Sonic

Sonic has been around for a very long time now. This little blue Hedgehog is very fast and has been featured in a few Top 10s before. But, out of all of the sounds that the Sonic game series produces, nothing is more synonymous with Sonic than the spin dash. Y’know, when you press down and A and he curls up into a ball, revs himself up and launches himself forward full speed ahead? That’s the spin dash! Yes, it had a name.

You know of the spin dash, whether you like it or not. I mean arguably the ring noise is a tad more memorable, but I’ll leave that one up to you in the comments. Was I right to pick the spin dash over the ring collect noise? Let us know!

3) Jump – Super Mario

We decided against the famous starting sound of Super Mario Bros. Instead, we’ll leave that for another time in perhaps another Top 10… Or perhaps not! Instead, in Mario, think about it. It might not be a noise you immediately piece together as memorable, but I can almost guarantee that if you heard the jump noise, you would know what game it comes from. Yes, the jump sound from Mario is very memorable, but again you’d probably not go singing home about it.

There’s not too much to say about this noise. It’s iconic and people can easily piece two and two together and suss out that the game the noise comes from is Mario.

2) Decent of the Space Invaders

Is that music? Nope, it’s the sound of death shimmying its’ way towards you, bit by oscillating bit. So far as invasion strategies go it’s wildly ineffective, but at least it’s sinister! As the phalanx of aliens drifts from side to side like an indecisive shopper in a supermarket, slowly being whittled away by your missile shooting tanks that somehow go “pew” instead of boom, one sound rules above all…

1) Wakka Wakka – Pac-Man

Oh come on, did you really think there was a noise more memorable than Pac-Man’s “Wakka Wakka”ing? I mean let’s face the facts here for just one second: Every single time you move over a dot, he makes a wakka noise. Like it or not, that’s him eating his way around the arena filled with ghosts and ghoulies. These little maps are filled with pac-dots, ready to be consumed by the amorphous blob that is Pac-Man. But that’s not all…

Pac-Man is a game that has stood the test of time, with many iterations and many different versions… But one noise has been continuous throughout. If you ever find a game of Pac-Man without the Wakka Wakka, you’re not playing a Pac-Man game. Instead, you’re playing a lifeless, soulless rendition of it… And that would be really sad.

Honourable Mentions

There are so many sounds that built up the history of gaming, some ambient, some iconic, some really, really annoying! From every “Pew” and “thud” to the whistle of the wind through a tree, from the 8 bit crunches to the studio sessions, to the sound of crows in Left for Dead that I’ve had as my text tone for about seven years now. How could we possibly- no, how do we dare whittle such a vast body of work to just ten favourites?

We thought of so many, forgot a bunch more, and debated hard over some. Compromises were reached, and though some will never see the light of list we must offer our thanks to some that, while they did not make it to the lofty heights of actual numbers, we still looked at and said “shove it in the honourables?”

The Wilhelm Scream

It’s everywhere, you’ll know it as soon as you hear it, even if you didn’t know it had a name, a fifty year legacy, and even a punk band. Once you’ve heard it enough times you’ll hear it everywhere, even if others don’t. Although it’s better known for films, as gaming has grown it’s adopted the legacy, and taken to it rather well.

You might argue that it lends a certain credibility to the art form, or you might argue that it’s overused enough without games getting in on the act, you might argue with a haddock for all the difference it makes, but I can guarantee you that when I slap you with that haddock you’ll only make one sound!

Terrified Screaming

Five Nights At Freddy’s was a thing! Hoo boy, was it ever a thing!? It took the internet by storm, becoming a viral sensation seemingly overnight. But more impressive than the game itself, was the amount of people becoming absolutely terrified over the game of Chuck-E-Cheese like animatronics coming to get you. Whilst many theories and speculations exist about the game, the thing I’ve taken away from Freddy’s is the sheer terror in peoples screams as they see these jump scares.

Gamers across the world have been subjected to scary looking animatronics, with slowly more mutated features appearing in their face. I even have Five Nights At Freddy’s 3 on my phone, allowing people to experience sheer terror in the palm of their hands… Or just to be startled a little bit. So enjoy some reactions from none other than Markiplier. If you don’t know of him, he is a highly amusing Let’s Play maker! Oh, but the video isn’t exactly PG! This isn’t exactly sounds from the game, but players are a big part of the experience, so although they’re not programmed in, they make it into our Honourable Mentions.

Now that we’ve subjected your ears to our Top 10 memorable sounds in gaming, it’s time for you to join in the fun! Help us decide what will be the next Top 10 featured on the website! Also, let us know in the comments what Top 10’s you would like to see in the future.

Have you heard enough from us now? Then let us know what your thoughts are on this weeks’ Top 10! Did you like the choices, or do you have any better ones? Would you have re-ordered any of these? As always, thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment below or over on Facebook and Twitter.

Author: GeekOut Media Team

GeekOut Media is made up of Joel and Timlah, with extra support from friends and other writers. We often write Top 10 articles together, so join us for some strange Top 10 lists across all geek content.

10 thoughts on “Top 10 Memorable sounds in Games”

  1. Ha! B and I were talking about the Wilhelm Scream just the other day (having just done the Wilhelm fight in Borderlands 2) once you know about it’s amazing just how often it crops up!


    1. See, the reason it only gets an honourable mention is because of its roots. It is a stock sound used in soooo much – So it’s not reaaallllyyyy a “gaming” sound, if you catch our meaning?

      Mind you, you’re absolutely right. I’ve seen some hilariously misplaced Wilhelm Screams, too!


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