Monday, May 19, 2014

The Noises Emanating from Mega Man

I've been playing a bit of Mega Man at this point, mostly due to the fact that over the last year+, Capcom has been releasing each of the Mega Man titles of the NES era (I - VI) and I've been gobbling them up as fast as they are being released.  I do not mean that I have been completing the games mind you, just collecting them in my seemingly growing list of games that I have yet to get to.

I did play a bit of the NES Mega Man (Men?) titles around the time of their original release, but I was never able to beat any of them because of perpetually losing those little slips of paper that contained hours worth of priceless passwords.  Coupled with the fact that I never owned a Mega Man game until I bought Mega Man X from the video store I used to work at before they closed, meant that I had made and subsequently lost a lot of little slips of paper.

So Mega Man, or specifically the sounds that emanate from the game.  Both the sounds that Mega Man himself makes as well as the sounds in the world around him.  I will not cover the music however as that would require additional posts although there is a good chance that they were created by on-in-the-same person.  And, as it turns out the music and sound effects were in fact created by Manami Matsumae.

What I find so fascinating about the sound editing or I guess the foley artist for these games, is how well each individual sound effect works not only in this futuristic world, but how these authenticity of the sound effects are not questioned.  I have never gone through a play session in any of the Mega Man games and thought, "I don't think that's what an ball of propelled energy would sound like when it hits a robot made of who-knows-what-type of alloy.  I simply accept it as fact that that is what an energy blast would sound like when it comes into contact with a metallic robot.

I have fired a couple of firearms in the past, specifically 12 and 20 gauge shotguns and two different types (??) of .22 caliber rifles.  That is it.  I know what those are supposed to sound like both with and without ear plugs.  10 feet and a mile away, I know what a shotgun blast sound like.  If I hear that sound, I know what is making it and I do not question its authenticity.  The same way that when I hear that characteristic "brrzzzp" sound, I know that I am hearing an energy blast from Mega Man's arm cannon hitting its target (most of the time anyway).

Even the other sound effects, such as the sound Mega Man makes when he jumps, that obvious "brdrp" sound whenever he lands.  Without that little sound, the game might run the risk of sounding empty, incomplete.

Finally, the last sound effect that I want to touch on is the "explosion" when you die (enemy fire, pit, spikes).  It's that "Dgewdgewdgewdgew" sound.  No grandiose sounds explosion of flesh, oil, electricity/nuclear fusion (or whatever it is that powers Mega Man) and metal as they shockwave out to the edges of the screen. The sound, like the artistic style of the series, is a very cartoony one, but it is the sound we have come to expect from such a demise.  Even in the SNES era of Mega Man games, the sound is the same albeit updated with a 16 bit sound processor.

Why then this disconnect between the cartoony explosion of Mega Man dying and the "Yeah, I think it would sound like that" when an energy blast hits an enemy?  Maybe it is that we subconsciously are glad about the destruction of the enemy robot horde, but would rather not have our own demise mimic reality.

In the end though, "it's all fun and games until the domesticated robots created to help humanity, turn against us.  Then we'll wait for our blue robotic hero to arise."  That's a real saying, isn't it?


No comments:

Post a Comment