The Five – Sounds That Invoke a Specific Emotion

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to come up with unique ideas for my “The Five” lists. I like to try and think of things that I have at least not seen before. This idea came to me recently, and I am actually quite fond of this list.

While story and characters are key in video games sparking different emotional responses within the player, Music and sound effects also greatly add to that experience. While I am not a music expert in any way, the sound effects and short tunes in video games can have quite an impact on me, as I’m sure they do others. Below is a list of some of the sounds that have triggered an emotional response in me, as well as what emotion. Enjoy!


Level Up – Dragon Quest Series

Emotion: Happiness

When the trumpets sound, a hero becomes more powerful. In the earlier days of RPG’s, not many games would highlight a character levelling up with music. It would just be a box of text saying “XXXX gained a level” or something similar. Dragon Quest took it one further by playing music before the text appeared. That sound was carried over into future game titles, and is still used today with Dragon Quest Heroes. Not only does hearing the level up music fill my ears with joy, but it’s a sense of accomplishment at the same time.

The Dragon’s Roar – Suikoden

Emotion: Confusion

Imagine this scenario: You just started playing Suikoden, and you see a Dragon for the first time, and he lets out a mighty roar. Then you realize something’s not right. That was NOT the mighty roar of a dragon, but the sound of an elephant…

No, really… an elephant…

Needless to say, I wonder what the developers were thinking when choosing an elephant noise for a dragon. Did they just forget that sound effect at the last minute and decide “Hey, this is close enough. Let’s quickly get it into the game.”? Maybe they didn’t watch a lot of fantasy movies? I honestly have no idea.

The Chains of Death – Persona 3

Emotion: Fear

Persona three definitely had some horror-like elements throughout the game, but this one maybe invoked the most fear into me. If you stay on a single floor in Tartarus for too long, you will eventually start to hear rattling chains. Worst of all, the sound keeps getting louder. You are warned by your supporter that Death is near, and she is NOT joking. One of the most powerful monsters in the game is on its way to kill you. If you are early on in the game, your only hope is to find the stairs to the next floor. If you encounter him, you are either lucky enough to run from the fight, or hope that you saved recently.

Victory Music – Final Fantasy Series

Emotion: Nostalgia

If you’ve ever played an RPG, you know what Final Fantasy is. Even if you haven’t played one, you probably have some idea of what Final Fantasy is. If there’s one noise that everyone will likely know, it’s the victory music that plays when you win a fight. Most who have played some of the series know those notes, and remember all the good times they have had with their older incarnations. It’s a shame that it’s being used less and less with some of the newer installments. I at least hope it finds a home in Final Fantasy XVG

The Bumping Poke Ball – Pokemon Series

Emotion: Anticipation

“The suspense is killing me. Will the Poke Ball bump that third time and then click?” “Did I catch that Zapdos?”

These are just some of the things that have run through my mind when playing Pokemon games. That sheer feeling of anticipation that comes from trying to catch the Pokemon you have fought tirelessly to try and catch. Maybe it was a random Pokemon to build up a team, or maybe it was a legendary Pokemon that you have saved at just before, and it’s the 14th time you’ve tried to catch it. All the while, you are being haunted by the repetitive bumps of the Poke Ball, always hoping that it just clicks shut.

See you all next week!

The Five – Sounds That Invoke a Specific Emotion

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