Sometimes I get the feeling that game designers hate me. Either that or they don’t actually listen to some of the stuff that they put in the games. Alarms, ridiculous sound effects, and just plain grating sounds that just make me want to reach through the screen and throttle the person that composed that mess.
Don’t believe me? That’s why I’ve compiled a few examples for your listening displeasure.
1. Castlevania – Counting Down your hearts.
You all know the old-school NES Castlevania game. The one where you take Simon through the castle and have to make him kill off Drac’s minions. At the end of the stage your points are tallied up, and you get some bonuses for the amount of time and hearts you have left. Time, no big deal, sounds fine. But hearts? Oh man, each one has a metallic, grating ‘ding!’ that sounds as your bonus counts down. And if you’re like me and hoard your hearts to the end of the stage, you’re going to hear a lot of dinging.
Click here to hear what happens when I have 80 hearts at the end of a level.
2. Metroid Series – The HP Alarm
Samus, the heroine of the Metroid series, wears a super-advanced suit that lets her do all kinds of things: jump real high, curl into a ball, grapple from conveniently-placed rocks with grapple-shaped holes in them, and so forth. Her suit even comes with a handy alarm feature that lets you know when it’s low on energy. Even better is that this alarm will continue to go off indefinitely until you either get some energy to shut it up or you mute your television. I’m usually lucky enough to trigger the alarm right before I get to an area where there are no enemies to kill. No enemies = no energy pickups. No energy pickups = throwing your console into a wood chipper to make the sounds finally stop.
Click here for a small taste of the Super Nintendo’s version of the ever-so-helpful reminder.
3. Mischief Makers – Shake-Shake!
Mischief Makers stars a young girl robot who has to go around a planet to rescue the perverted old man who created her.
I think it’s a Japanese thing.
But, one of the core mechanics in this game is to grab things and shake them vigorously to find out what’s inside, or to trigger a switch, or to mix things up in a pot, or any number of other things. Each and every time you do that, your hero belts out a “Shake shake!”.
“Shake shake! Shake shake! SHAKE SHAKE!”
Gah! Good thing the whole game’s built around grabbing and shaking things, I’d hate to have any sanity left after I’m done playing it.
Click here for the tiniest sliver of the joy that you’ll experience as you meander through this game.
4. Mario’s Picross – Timer
Mario’s Picross is a puzzle game where you have to logically deduce how to draw a picture by using numbers. No big deal until you realize that you’re under a timer, and that’s not even that bad until you get to three minutes on the timer. Then you get a ‘ding’ every five seconds until you hit two minutes. Then you get a ding every other second until you hit one minute. Then you get that ding every second until you lose your mind or lose the game, whichever comes first. For me, it’s usually the latter since nothing helps me concentrate more than a repeated beep of a timer’s countdown.
Click here and see if you can concentrate on… well, anything with any sort of complexity while it’s playing.
5. Pokémon Series – The HP alarm
It’s the same old story. Your monsters fight other monsters for the express purpose of getting stronger. They also have a meter that gives you an idea of their overall health. When the meter hits ‘red’, you get a helpful notification that lets you know that your monster is on the verge of passing out. And this alarm keeps on going. Win the battle and cause the other trainer to pass out? Good for you, but the alarm keeps sounding. It just sounds and sounds until you either kill off your monster or the battle ends and you’ve gone through the post-battle speech by the rival trainer. At least the volume slider is really easy to access on the portable systems, of course the system is also really easy to throw from your car over the side of a bridge, too.
Click here too see if it inspires you to give your pet electric mouse a ‘potion’ or of it makes your ears bleed.
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The HP Alarm
Noticing a trend yet?
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles you get four turtles to choose from, all with their own separate HP bars. Whittle them down so much and you hear a helpful, shrill, and piercing alarm sound to let you know that your turtle is about to ‘get captured’. So you switch back to a different turtle for a while. Switch back, though, and it’s the alarm again piercing your skull and possibly shattering any glassware you have in the vicinity of the television.
Click here to check it out if you dare. But you might want to remove any glass from the area before you get started.
7. Waverace 64 – The announcer
Waverace tries really hard to be awesome. Even including an announcer to call the hot, Jetski action. The thing is, though, he only has about a dozen things to say, and he has to call absolutely everything that happens to you on the course.
Oh, and I should mention that Nintendo seems to have found the most annoying announcer-man in the country to do the voicework for this game. “OK! Good! Okaaay! No Problem!”
Except, yes, there is a problem. My television’s reception has been compromised by the amount of controllers I’ve wedged into the screen after a couple of races.
Click here to see if you can stand to listen to the guy for more than one race.
8. Yoshi’s unsettling grunt
Somewhere around the time of Yoshi’s Story, Yoshi got a voice. A voice that is equal parts childish and hydrochloric acid. Even worse is that when he jumps and needs to get a little extra lift, he flutters his legs and does a completely bizarre grunting thing. Something like a cross between being constipated and trying to shove a watermelon through a drinking straw.
Even better, he’s kept this sound through the Smash Bros. series, so that in the heat of a battle you hear these grunts pretty well all the time.
Click here to experience the fury of a green dinosaur sounding like he’s about to burst a vein in his forehead.
9. Yoshi’s Island – Mario’s Cry
We can hardly talk about Yoshi without mentioning the Super Nintendo game where he has to take baby Mario through a number of different stages. Touch anything more dangerous than the ground and Mario flies off Yoshi’s back, gets wrapped in a bubble, and starts bawling.
Even better is that he cries in what sounds like a recording of an actual baby bawling. And if you’ve ever heard a baby bawling, you know exactly how this sounds. In fact the sound is so annoying that you anything to get it to stop. You panic, lose your composure, and scramble around trying to get that stupid baby out of that stupid bubble so he’ll stop his STUPID CRYING.
Click here to be indoctrinated into the Church of Baby-Cry.
10. Legend of Zelda Series – HP Alarm
It’s just like the other series. Link takes enough hits and you get a helpful chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp to let you know that your health is low. Which, yeah, is helpful for the first five minutes, but after you kill enemy after enemy, and very very carefully avoid all the projectiles and dangerous articles in the world trying to find just one heart to refill your meter a little bit and get that beeping to stop. Oh, but there aren’t any more hearts for some reason. The world was lousy with them while you had full health, but drop to critical levels and the supply completely dries up. It’s like some kind of Heart Goblin comes down and steals them from beneath every rock and bush in the land.
Click here if you think you can stomach the Search for Just One More Heart To Stop That Beeping sidequest in the Super NES Zelda game.
11. Ocarina of Time – Navi
I could hardly compile a list like this without mentioning the Queen of Annoyance herself, Navi. Navi is a little fairy that helps link out in the Ocarina of Time. She’s oh so helpful by pointing out that you should “Look!” at something, “Hey!” you should “Look!” at something else, “Hey!” “Watch out!”. Every single time you target something, or want to get a closer look at something, or something is possibly interesting in the vicinity, or she just wants to talk to you for a while.
You literally hear her holler at you hundreds of times throughout a playthrough. And you can’t shut her off, she’s going to haunt your dreams once you turn the console off.
Don’t believe me? Click here for an (admittedly mildly excessive) example of what I’m talking about. Gird your sanity.