A very short post for this evening, but one full of love. An ode to a particular sound in a particular interface. Specifically, I wanted to say how much I like the sound it makes when you press the “Start” button to begin playing Mass Effect. You see a standard “game screen” with the instruction to press start to begin (or “Any Key” in the case of the image here). You press the button.

It makes a delightful sound. A small sound. A hopeful sound. A sound that speaks of the future in a gentle way. I don’t know how to describe the sound in words at all, it’s a kind of lightly modulated tone, I suppose. A futuristic doorbell, maybe.

It’s also completely different from what I expect from such an interaction. In generally I find that I expect that initial button press, the “I’m ready to play”, to be interpreted by the audio designers as something far more aggressive and determined. A “ka-chunk!” or a throbbing guitar riff, say. The lightness of touch of the sound that Mass Effect uses is refreshing every time I hear it.

It makes me feel as though I’m playing a small instrument, a science fiction triangle, in a larger orchestra.

7 September 2010
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