The sounds in games can be thrilling. They can help you understand what’s going on around you, or they can also spell disaster. Some of that audio is designed let you know there’s nothing you can do – that’s it, “GAME OVER”, gg. Gaming is all fun and games (literally) until you hear these sounds, and then you know you’re screwed.
Super Smash Bros. – Home-Run Bat
You heard it just then didn’t you? That high-pitched, sword-clashing, chiiing as someone manages to connect a baseball bat to the forehead of your character. It all started back in Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64.
The Home-Run Bat was an item that, if you saw it drop, you had to get it before your opponent. With the flick of the stick and the press of the A button at the right time, the Home-Run Bat would do a devastatingly quick wind-up, and if you were on the other end, you were almost certainly going to turn into a star.
Halo – Shield Warning
Halo wouldn’t be Halo if it wasn’t for its guns, enemies, combat, vehicles (okay, a lot of things), and its shields. The shield is the only thing that stands between you and imminent death by a single Spore on Legendary or someone blasting away at you with a Pistol.
As soon as you hear that shield pop and the warning klaxon, it’s all over, unless you can get into cover. But chances are, the moment you know you’re screwed is when you hear that buzzing, pulsing noise while running across an open field with no cover in sight.
Honorable Mention: When you get rocked into low health in that other Bungie title – Destiny
Mortal Kombat – Finish Him!
You fought valiantly. You fought to the best of your abilities, but it wasn’t enough. Your opponent, whether it was your older brother, someone online, a school friend, or the computer, had fought better. And now you awaited those dreaded two words.
Thus was the life of a Mortal Kombat match. Once it reached a certain point, there was no going back once the words, “FINISH HIM!” were screamed by the announcer. If you were the one kicking ass, it was amazing. If you were the one who was getting their tush kicked, you knew you were screwed as soon as you heard those words. Sub-Zero was about to rip your spine out.
Super Mario Bros. – Lose a Life
It was such a subtle sound, like the chirping of a tiny bird. It was the sound of losing a life in Super Mario Bros. The sound that preceded the tune was so tiny and so unassuming that it can often go overlooked, but it’s there, and it’s definitely hardwired into our brains.
The sound of Mario getting hit and doing the little brrrp noise was the moment we all knew we were screwed. Even before he flies up into the air and falls off the world, that little teeny, tiny, itsy-bitsy sound tells us it’s over.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – Grenade
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG as the cool kids like to cool it, is an unmitigated success, with players flocking to it by the hundreds of thousands. For a game jam-packed with so many sounds (a lot of which is screaming in the lobby), there’s one sound that will strike fear into even the most hardened of players.
There’s nothing worse than hearing that familiar pin drop and heavy thunk of a grenade landing next to you. It’s like some sort of dangerous avocado that doesn’t want to be spread on toast, it wants to spread you all over that tree, or floorboards. This sense of fear is heightened when you’re using a headset like the Elite Pro and Tactical Audio Controller, with the quieter noises boosted – you can really feel the weight of the grenade hitting the ground.
It’s a terrible moment when you hear a grenade, that you didn’t throw, land near you. From that point, and for about 3 seconds after, you know you’re done for. Sometimes you’re lucky and the grenade will land far away, but if you can hear it land under your feet – that’s it, you’re screwed.
Friday the 13th: The Game
Finally, we couldn’t very well compile a list of sounds that let you know you’re screwed and not include a game that tells so much with its sound design – Friday the 13th: The Game. The Counselors are always trying to get away, whether it’s on foot, by car, or by boat, but they so rarely all make it out alive.
As Jason slinks around trying to kill you, there’s one noise that lets you know you’re screwed. While the “Ch-ch-ch-ah-ah-ah” sets the theme, when you hear a VHS tape scratch and turn to static, mere moments before your screen crackles and pops, you know that death is waiting for you. This sound means that Jason has just teleported near you, and if you’re out all alone in the woods, you’re screwed.
Video games are full of fun sounds, some of them are to add to the atmosphere, while others are to help you understand how a character works. There are also sounds that are meant to instill terror into your heart. Whether it’s a baseball bat knocking you for six, a grenade landing near your foot, or an announcer screaming “FINISH HIM”, these video game sounds let you know you’re screwed!