Beginning with Pong in 1972, these video game designers take viewers through a history and psychology explanation of classic video game sounds effects we all know. You wouldn’t have guessed how much time, effort and research goes into the sounds you’ve been hearing in games, sometimes subconsciously. Even for the non-gamers, these familiar sounds and tunes bring back memories and feelings, just as the designers wanted them to!
Pong’s simplistic, limited noises were the beginning of video game sounds used to incite emotions, actions and physical reactions in players. For example, take Space Invaders (as heard in the video). Its game designers purposely sped up the sounds to create tension in players, causing their heart rates to rise to the speed of the sound. Pacman’s insatiable “waka waka” noise imitates the seemingly possibly number of dots to be eaten on the screen. Tunes in Donkey Kong elicit emotion in the player, drawing them into the game and creating positive connections to the experience. Duck Hunt sounds as if it’s laughing at you, teasing you and challenging you to try again. Super Mario Bros noises let you know the progress you’ve achieved, when you’re transitioning and when you’ve collected something.
Whether explaining the progression of sound effects or the objects and tools they create them with over the years, these video game designers catch your interest in the science behind familiar sounds. They discuss how sounds give presence to a game, so the player feels as if they truly are there. Sounds brand the game and its company, becoming household tunes that most kids and adults know today. Certain fade ins or sudden stops of sounds allow gamers to know what’s coming next in the game, and the significance of what has happened.
Sound design is a major part of video game design. There are whole teams dedicated to finding the right tool to make a certain noise, creating the perfect non-sequitur language that will resonate with many different language speakers, and whole processes in place to align sound effects with the progression of the game. If your child is interested in video games and how they’re designed, they could have a potential education or career path in the video game design world. Check out our video game design summer camps for kids ages 7-9 and 10-14 on our website.