This is just the beginning of my look at the sounds in the NES Mega Man games. I want to break down a lot more of the Special Weapons to see all the different approaches they used. But first, I’ll go over some of the simple sci-fi techniques the games use.
Say what you will about Simon’s Quest’s shortcomings, but its sound design is some of the best on the NES. Unlike the first game, with its ridiculous number of generic, tonally inappropriate pickup sounds, Castlevania II succeeds at creating satisfying, organic sounds that help flesh out the creepy world you’re exploring.
Why Sonic 2 instead of Sonic 1? Because Sonic 2 has a sound test! Hurray for sound tests!
To this day, Zelda games continue to take a highly musical approach to their sounds, each effect a little composition. It’s what makes the sounds so memorable and iconic! It also provides some excellent lessons in just how melodic you can be in your sound design.
Metal Gear’s sound design is an interesting mix of imitating real world sound effects and recreating spy movie-style musical cues in 8-bit. It manages to find that great balance between serious and lighthearted that’s been a series hallmark ever since!
Ever since the NES days, Nintendo’s been king of melodic sound design, and they were already masters of it by the time they made Super Mario Bros. These sounds employ musical ideas in ways that perfectly describe their animations, and even though it’s been 30 years since they first spilled out of a CRT TV’s speakers, they still suit the series perfectly.
On this page, I want to explore the magical place where sound design meets melody and rhythm. I’m going to start a repository of classic sound effects in musical notation and MIDI, along with analyses of the sound design techniques each one employs.