18 Most Iconic Sounds In Video Game History

The sound effects that have stayed with you forever.

super mario bros

Video games are often remembered for the things you do in them, the areas you explore, and the sights you see, but imagine what they’d be like without sound. More specifically what would classics like Sonic the Hedgehog, Doom, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time have been like if they didn’t have sound effects? Or what if that Shotgun sounded like a spud gun? It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?

Just like you remember the first time you saw an Imp running towards you in Doom, you’re equally likely to associate that with the sound that monster made and the chills it sent running through you. Mario loves to collect coins, but would that be the same if the game didn’t make that memorable chime each and every time?

Video games are just as much an aural medium as they are a visual one. Here is a look at the 18 most iconic sound effects in video game history, covering way back in 1980 right up to the modern era.

How many of these do you remember?

18. Collecting A Ring – Sonic The Hedgehog (Mega Drive, 1991)

super mario bros

Sonic the Hedgehog was a revelation back on its release in 1991. Nintendo had Mario as its mascot (back in the days when mascots were a thing consoles seemingly needed to have above all else) and SEGA desperately needed a character of its own. Step forward Sonic. A hedgehog might not immediately give the impression of a multiple million selling franchise, but SEGA knew best.

Today you only have to hear the chime above and you’ll instantly be taken back to the days when running fast was all it took to be cool. Rings played a vital part in Sonic the Hedgehog’s gameplay, offering a second chance should you get hit by an enemy, the player then frantically attempting to collect the rings that had gone flying into the environment.

Rack up 100 rings during a level and you’d be awarded an extra life, which would come in handy against mean old Dr Robotnik.


Games industry veteran with over 12 years of video game editorial experience. No game will ever be as good as PGR2.