The most annoying sound effects in gaming history

Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum

What's that annoying sound? That's the cry of Staraptor, the final Starling Pokemon. And don't think this was an easy choice: the Pokemon series now boasts more different pocket monsters than ever, all of them with a battle cry that sounds like a fax machine being tortured. But not all of them make you wince quite like Staraptor's high-pitched squawk.

Above: Now, if only we could make it disappear 

How bad's it going to get? Ambitiously, the Pokemon games have been attempting to synthesize the calls of made-up animals ever since they were being cranked out on the primitive Game Boy sound chip. Bizarrely, now that they're being played on the DS – a much more advanced system – they haven't gotten any better.

Make it stop! If you're willing to go through the game without bringing Starly to its ultimate potential, you need never hear this horrific noise at all, unless you're challenged by another trainer with one. In the meantime, there are about 5,999,999 other horrid noises to withstand.

Metal Gear Solid series

What's that awful sound? That's the Codec, a device implanted deep inside your inner ear. It will never alert any of the myriad bad dudes that you, as any variety of the Snake fun-bunch, are tasked with avoiding. No, you're the only one who'll be hearing that sound, over and over, whenever successive Metal Gear Solid games feel too much like a tactical espionage action videogame instead of an interactive essay about postmodernism.

Above: The Metal Gear series gave us books with better collision detection and Codec’s incessant beeping 

How bad's it going to get? For sections of the games, your job will basically be that of a Codec-responder with an occasional break for actual gameplay. We admit that the Codec sound could be worse, which is a good thing because it sure seems like you hear it a lot.

Above: Much the same as it was five minutes ago, Roy! 

Make it stop! Depressing the Select button will cease the Codec's bleeping, allowing players to progress to a lengthy conversation sequence that somehow stops all other in-game action. Finishing this conversation sequence will allow another Codec-answering challenge to commence. Let’s hear it for devices that advance a game’s story!

Metroid Prime

What's that awful sound? Hard to hear, isn't it? Subtle, yes? That's the humming of a power-up, somewhere in the immediate vicinity and yet just beyond your reach. If you (hypothetically) wanted all the health and missile tanks, you could (hypothetically) spend hours quietly putting up with this subtly vexing tone!

Above: It’s the sound of a power-up you haven’t collected. Completionists beware 

How bad's it going to get? Well, you can walk away from it and it'll go away completely. But then you'll just spend the next six hours of game time with an equally nagging voice in your brain telling you to go back and find the damn thing.

Make it stop! That won't be easy. Either raise hell and high water to collect the power-up, or walk away and face the consequences of never fulfilling your full potential.

Above: And hey, bully for them 

Said consequences being that the next time you hear Metroid Prime's second most irritating sound effect, the buzzing of the War Wasp, the horrendous creature will stand a better chance of stinging you to death.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

What's that awful sound? The cloying bray of the Cliff Racer: a dopey beast that will never kill you, never give you good experience, and never drop any loot worth a damn. And yet they love to attack in droves, slowing your progress to a crawl and providing an excellent advertisement for any kind of fast travel feature.

How bad's it going to get? As if the sound itself weren't bad enough, imagine the noise of the ridiculous, pterodactyl-meets-dodo creature constantly dodging your attacks, and imagine that this is trying to happen whenever you're trying to get anywhere.

Make it stop! Why bother? Kill the horrid beast, try not to catch some sort of horrible disease, and the next one will assuredly be along in about a minute. Repeat until you get to a town and prepare for the townspeople who, frankly, are probably even more annoying.

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  • 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?
  • shopping88 - June 8, 2010 1:37 p.m.

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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.

  • 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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