Why many contemporary artists sample game sound effects

It has become commonplace for contemporary music artists around the world to use video game sound effects in their songs

In recent years, some of the world’s major artists from the music industry have started using video game sound effects directly from certain iconic games in their songs. Some of these sounds are more subtle than others, and they have included either quotes from actual video game characters or sound effects that instantly conjure up images of famous video games.

Whether you’re familiar with Playstation, Sega, Nintendo, Xbox video games, or any other popular video games consoles from the past 30 years, the more music you listen to today, the more unmistakable video game sound effects you will start to notice in songs, especially retro 1980s electronic video game sounds. It seems to be an emerging trend among contemporary artists around the world to include this in their music, but why?

Do contemporary artists sample video game sounds to draw in a certain type of person?

There’s no doubt that video game sounds are repetitive and can be addicting, and they are instantly recognizable, especially to a younger generation. These distinctive sounds are also familiar to the original video game generation from the 80s and 90s who are now in the 40s or 50s. The people that are familiar with these particular sounds may be more likely to go out and buy the song. Perhaps this is why so many contemporary artists have started using such sound effects in their work.

Today’s hit songs that include video game sound effects are basically the same as songs that don’t have them. However, at the same time, they are also extremely unique. Some of these songs really stand out as soon as you hear them. Viewing one of these music videos is like watching someone play a video game but seeing a music video instead. You are also more likely to instantly recognize a song with video game sound effects when you next hear it again because of these quirky little additions.

Video game sound effects have been sampled in multiple famous tracks from a variety of popular music genres, such as indie, rap & hip hop, grime, pop music, EDM, and K-pop, to name just a few, and some of the most commonly heard sound effects that you can hear today have been taken directly from various iconic video games, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter II, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders, plus various other hit titles.

It’s not only musicians that use these sound effects. For example, you can also find these repetitive video game sounds on certain rides at fairgrounds and carnivals, in many platform and strategy games as well as when playing live roulette online and other online casino games, such as slots, and also in today’s popular cartoons on TV streams.

Examples of songs that use video game sound effects

There are literally too many songs that have used video game sound effects to list individually here. Instead, here are just a handful of tunes that you may want to check out at some point. In no particular order of importance, first up, you have the “Guilt Trip Song” from Ye (formerly and still commonly known as Kanye West). This song was released in 2013. Next, is a song called “Girl,” by Beck, released in 2005. There’s also 50 Cent’s “Ayo Technology,” which featured Justin Timberlake and was released in 2007, as well as Grimes’ “California” track from 2015. The audio in this track has been likened to a modern fantasy video game.

Other honorable mentions

Some of today’s other famous tunes that have also sampled famous video game sound effects are “Brand New Colony” by The Postal Service, “Concrete” by Crystal Castles, and “Please Don’t Go” by Mike Posner. You could also include “Street Fighter Riddim” by D Double E, as well as Aphex Twin/Power Pill’s Pac-Man song, and “R-Type” by J.O. You also have “The Legend of Zelda” by Zedd, “Tetris” by Doctor P., “8 Bit Superhero” by Excision & Datsik, and “Cartridge” (Feat. Goldfinger) by D.J. Cable, to name just a few.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com