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The most annoying sound effects in gaming history

Xbox Live

What's that awful sound? It's actually not always an awful sound. In fact, it's one of the most welcome sounds on the Xbox: the tone that plays when you unlock an Achievement! Many folks devote many hours to making this sound happen, unaware of the fact that they could hear the exact same sound any time one of their friends logs onto Xbox Live - because that's not annoying at all.

How bad's it going to get? It's going to be the same welcome chime, every single time you unlock Achievement points. But nothing ruins a dramatic moment in a movie you’re watching or a game you’re playing like the annoying bloop that plays every single time _-+*SuAvE_HaLo*+-_ signs on to challenge you to a round of capture the flag.

Make it stop! You're going to have to make a choice: Achievements or friends. Oh, come on, like this is the first time you've ever had to pick.


Yoshi's Island

What's that awful sound? It's baby Mario! He's fallen off Yoshi's back, and he's wailing because he's afraid evil turtles are going to spirit him away and he'll never grow into a Charles Martinet-sounding imp of a man! Sure, irritation is a deceptively motivating gameplay tool, but there's “mildly annoying,” and then there's “making you want to kill babies.”


Above: The sound that makes us want to kill baby Marios

How bad's it going to get? The whining is going to increase in intensity and frequency until you rescue baby Mario, or you can be a horrible parent and just run away. Out of sight, out of mind!

Make it stop! Easily done, chum! All you have to do is get all the way through Yoshi's Island without ever letting anything bad happen to baby Mario. By which time, you'll be rarin' to move on to Yoshi's Island DS, in which there are five babies instead of one, each with a uniquely soul-rattling bawl. Hoorah.


Final Fantasy X

What's that awful sound? That's the alarm in the Al-Bhed city of Home. The Al-Bhed are a race that nobody trusts because they're always weaving arcane magic with their machining skills: anyone else would just put up a bell and be done with it. But the Al-Bhed are so clever that they have a vocal loudspeaker repeating what sounds for all the world like, “An annoying part! An annoying part! An annoying part!” Imagine that for the entire duration of the level.


Above: You’re right Rikku. This is definitely “an annoying part!”

How bad's it going to get? By this point in the game, the Al-Bhed are supposed to be sympathetic characters. The main effect of this hellish ordeal, though, is to convince you that they're the single most horrible bunch of people in any Final Fantasy game.

Make it stop! The alarm starts deep within Home, so all you need to do is make your way out and see what all the bother is, right? Well, you could take a five-minute jaunt topside and have that alarm turned off. But wouldn't you much rather stretch that out to half an hour with random encounters?


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

What's that awful sound? It’s Link’s quickening heartbeat as he ventures onward with little health.


Above: Don’t just feel the pain. Hear the pain

How bad's it going to get? This is one of the worst offenders precisely because it never seems so bad. It's not grating, high-pitched or atonal; it's a fine little effect that just happens to be playing very, very often. It's not until you finally smash open some clay pots and snatch up the hearts within, granting blissful relief, that you realize just how far under your skin the damn thing has gotten.


Above: Half a saga later, the damn chime is taking its toll

Make it Stop! Easy, just eat a heart, or a fairy, or whatever. The frustrating thing about this noise is that it's punishing you for conservative play: maybe you don't want to gulp down that potion as soon as your health gets low. But no, Link to the Past is going to keep on nagging until you patch up your trifling wounds.

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76 comments

  • jordanwhite - September 4, 2010 5:27 p.m.

    At the end of any online shooter you just lost, the voice that tell's you that you lost just in case the big red DEFEATED and failure music didn't alert you to the fact.
  • PocketRocket - August 20, 2010 2:50 a.m.

    Hey there! Staraptor is actually my favorite pokemon! But... my Hobo does have one high pitched wail, I'll give you that :\
  • Thequestion 121 - August 19, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    Those were annoying lol
  • firewolf - June 12, 2010 10:04 p.m.

    the little freaking blue bug from Ocarina of Time drove me CRAZY! why isn't it on here?
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  • lymanzaar - June 6, 2010 6:19 p.m.

    All good choices. I would have added the Bottle Sound from the first Sly Cooper.
  • EffinChrys - June 6, 2010 12:50 a.m.

    ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!ANNOYING!
  • secretsearcher - June 5, 2010 10:01 p.m.

    I agree with the about fifteen other people who have questioned why the following sound wasn't in the list: HEY! LISTEN! HEY! LISTEN! HEY! LISTEN! HEY! LISTEN! HEY! LISTEN! STFU!!!!!
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - June 5, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    i find the metroid power up sound likable
  • shyfonzie - June 5, 2010 12:58 a.m.

    The fucking gauntlet made me rip my ear buds out. Jesus!
  • eprahsnada - June 4, 2010 8:21 a.m.

    I know another bloody sound effect that used to drive me mad!!! The original sound of a pokemon with low health on red blue and yellow. that used to stick in my head for months after playing and i can STILL HEAR IT NOW!!!!
  • hist - June 3, 2010 9:39 p.m.

    Has to be the "Welcome to the Circus of Valuuuuuues!" from Bioshock. It's become a running joke in my house.
  • AggressiveMold - June 3, 2010 8:47 p.m.

    I think the Hidden Orbs from Crackdown should be there instead of the Metroid powerups.
  • Catalyst - June 3, 2010 8:35 p.m.

    @SgtSlushy and Willstron: Stupid Fairies.
  • Conman93 - June 3, 2010 6:15 p.m.

    LTTP one also put a lot of pressure when I heard it
  • AlmightyFuzz - June 3, 2010 5:25 p.m.

    I can't control the sounds either, they all play at once! Plus they are all replaced with slide bars!?! I'm using Chrome to view the page.
  • humpiedumpie - June 3, 2010 4:57 p.m.

    Great article but i miss Navi over here! HEY LISTEN WHATS UP?
  • MetalDooley - June 3, 2010 4:05 p.m.

    @Samael Fully agree mate.I've never understood all the hate for Navi.The way people complain you'd swear she was saying it non stop for the entirety of the game when it reality she doesn't actually say it that often The low on energy noise from the Zelda games has always been more annoying

Showing 1-20 of 76 comments

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