Sure the graphics are smooth, the game play is intense, and the music has me moving, but all I want to do is hear that sound. That sound comes from the most menial tasks, insignificant characters, and quirky developers on the landscape. They fill you with a sense of victory, completion, and enjoyment.
The first sound that always comes to mind is brought up here at Achievos on a pretty regular basis. I think we have even written blogs specifically about it's effects. The sound of an achievement popping is so satisfying as a direct result of what it represents. Every time one is unlocked, it means that a milestone in the game was reached, a significant portion of the game is completed, and the overall gamer score is on the rise. I imagine that gamers get the same response that a basketball players gets when he hears the ball swoosh through a hoop hitting nothing but the net. It's a sound that means victory.
My next favorite sound comes from the game Bastion. The in-game currency is this broken, blue fragment. Collect them as you go and use them to pay for upgrades. As they fall from dead enemies and broken pieces of environment, they do a fast drag along the ground to the player. The sound it makes is like a large, uneven but polished rock rolling or falling toward the main character. I think I like this sound so much not because of its monetary value, but because it's so unusual. When collecting currency, there is usually a high pitched chime or some other obvious tone related to money. Bastion provides a more hearty, deep, and somehow magnetic sound that puts a pretty serious smile on my face.
My last favorite sound is that of a well-connected shotgun blast. When that heavy thud matches perfectly with the backwards jerk of a body, it's unbelievably satisfying. To me, the blunt and violent sound of a shotgun blast feels like an instant victory. If my KDR is 5/20 with a sub machine gun or an assault rifle, I'm annoyed and feel like a gaming failure. But if I put up those same numbers using a shotgun, I feel like a king. It's instant gratification. I am close enough to see the whites of an enemies eyes and the shotgun blast declares me the immediate winner.
These are just a few of the video game sounds that brighten my day. It's not a John Williams score or an 8-bit repetitive tone, they are just small, simple sound effects that add a lot. What are some of your favorites ?