5 Weirdly Memorable Sounds from Classic Arcade Games
Classic arcade games didn't really have music. Unless it merited a spot on Buckner & Garcia's Pac-Man Fever, the best a machine before the videogame crash of 1983 could hope for was two or three measures that would stick in your brain long after you'd committed every last beep to one hateful memory.
They had sounds, though -- sounds memorable enough that they were the default we're-in-an-arcade-now cue deep into the '90s. This weekend ZapCon will actually sound like one of those sound cues; here are five effects to look out for while you indulge your inner Brian Eno.
Classic arcade games are creepy in the way ancient ruins are creepy -- our mind fills in what's missing from all the simple, blocky pieces we can see, and it almost always does a bad or unnerving job.
GORF, which is otherwise a simple clone of two or three early shoot-'em-ups at the same time, uses a primitive voice synthesizer to taunt you. It is very bad at taunting you as such; it can't say much, and its voice is goofy when it's even intelligible.
But -- its voice is barely intelligible, and it can't say much. And 30 years after the fact, it will still shout "LONG LIVE GORF" as loudly as its strangled speakers will let it. SURVIVAL IS IMPOSSIBLE, SPACE CADET.