The Sound of the End Marks a New Beginning
A ghost corners and gets Pac-man. Mario, Luigi, or Princess Peach crash the kart against a barrier. A zombie punches you in one of the tunnels of Area 51. All of these events mark a major “end” in a classic arcade game and have memorable sound effects that have become indelible in our brains.
The use of iconic sound effects in electronic games continues unabated today in sophisticated multi-player games such as Call of Duty and Animal Crossing. Sounds are not just used to mark ends in video games. The buzzer or the referee’s whistle at the end of a tense game. Or even the familiar closing chime of our computers. We have a deep association with certain sounds marking the end of things.
In a few days, party horns and clappers will mark the end of 2020. Perhaps we will be making and hearing these noise makers in less of an ensemble than in other years. They will nonetheless mark the end of something that we would rather leave behind.
But after the sound of the end always comes a new beginning. Here is to hoping that 2021 is filled with the pep of the pulsed tone, the buzz of the masking noise, the lilt of the international speech test signals (ISTS), and the babble of the Quick speech in noise (QuickSIN).