This list is comprised of iconic soundbites: this means that famous one-liners and quotes are out! When we say soundbites, we mean anything said by a video game character that is both utterly indecipherable, void of any meaning (in relation to the game) and not a piece of spoken dialogue that aides a narrative in any way. In effect what this list consolidates are 5 noises made by games characters that outshine dialogue: or rather noises that are equally as memorable as any line of dialogue you’re ever likely to hear. So with that brief disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump right in!
Kooloo-Limpah (Tingle, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask)
We know what you’re thinking, “hang on Byron, you said no spoken dialogue, WHAT’S THIS!!” Whilst Tingle’s timeless catchphrase is technically spoken dialogue, without researching it first, there is no way anyone upon their first hearing knew what to make of this statement or Tingle for that matter. The spandex-clad map salesman’s first appearance in 2000’s Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask left players with the haunting image of what seemed to be a middle-aged man adorned in a skin tight, ill-fitting body suit that was remarkably similar in design to our hero’s Kokiri get-up. Whilst Tingle’s origins, identity, apparel and even his fondness of fairies have been addressed, the origin of this line has not. The term Kooloo- Limpah is actually a Romanization of the term kururinpa: the western equivalent being something akin to “cuckoo”. So yes, to answer the question once and for all, Tingle is crazy.
Yahoo! (Super Mario, Super Mario 64)
Before gaming entered the 64 bit era, protagonists never really had a voice of their own. Sure lasers sounded like lasers and explosions sounded like… well they sounded like an angry pit-bull ripping its way through a pack of Ryvita biscuits but otherwise they did their job: they filled in the blanks in our imagination and allowed us to immerse ourselves in the game’s world. Our heroes remained silent. All that changed with the N64 and the Playstation: characters could actually speak and react to the world around them. This was mind blowing. Whilst the nineties did produce some knockout one-liners (RE1’s ‘Jill Sandwich’ became an instant classic) gaming’s new found optimism for the future in the face of brand new tech couldn’t have been more perfectly embodied than in the now immortalised soundbite of our industries most prized portly plumber, Mario. Picture the scene: the camera bobs and weaves its way under and over the grand Castle grounds, then it perches itself just above a small hill… There- in an instant – a cylindrical green pipe rises from the Earth; the camera begins to circle the object, capturing all 360 degrees of it and its then, at the apex of anticipation that it happens: gaming’s collective optimism was forever immortalized in Mr.Nintendo’s now legendary debut into the third dimension.
Link’s grunts (Link, Legend of Zelda Series)
You all knew these were coming: Link’s battle hardened battle cries have forever been etched into the hearts and minds of gamers across the world, across the years and across platforms. Although we’ve yet to hear him actually utter a syllable, these now iconic grunts have come to embody the hero in a way no single piece of dialogue ever could.
Wakka- Wakka (Pac-man)
Pac-Man was gaming’s first real character and the face behind the arcade boom in the late 1970’s. Easy to pick up, impossible to master, Pac-Man’s longevity and continued success can easily be attributed to the simple premise that underpins Namco’s now 36yr old collect ‘em up alone. However, as engaging and addictive as the gameplay is, Pac-Man’s look and moves alone aren’t the only tools at P’man’s disposal when it comes to courting Pac-women and gamers alike. But don’t just take our word for it: Pac-Man‘s iconic ‘Waka- Waka’ sound has been heard in the works of rock groups such as Dragon Force to the Jozun Crew’s Pac Jam and has even been heard on T.V in shows including Futurama. And for all you trivia nuts out there, Waka Waka is African pidgin which, when translated, means ‘walk while working’.
Laughing Dog (Duck Hunt)
If a sound could teach an entire generation to hate, then I would argue that no one sound did so quite like the anger- inducing, patronising and outright humiliating laughter that erupted from the now infamous Duck Hunt Dog. The player’s sense of frustration, compounded by their simultaneous rage and audible acknowledgement of failure, resulted in an industry-wide hatred for this character; one that can be felt and seen today. Anyone who picked up a copy of Super Smash Bros on the Wii U will know what I’m talking about. Whether you love it, hate it or simply love to hate it, there’s no denying that for all the hours of joy both Duck Hunt and SSBU have given players over the years it’s the Dog that gets the last laugh… and boy don’t we know it.
So that’s my top five (in no particular order) soundbites that outshine spoken dialogue, but what do you guys think? There are obviously plenty that I’ve missed and with that in mind I’d love to hear from you guys, so post your all-time favourite, memorable or simply despised soundbites in the comments below.