How “Hup!” has become the standard sound effect for jumping in video games

Brian Menegus takes us on board a story of the “hup!” vocalization that accompanies the jump in video games. It’s an interesting entry point into the story of player feedback. Synthetic portamento beeps in the 2D era gave way to silence in early 3D games. Hop! emerged in the mid-1990s, developed in parallel, in which jumping became a key part of navigating fully 3D environments that required commentary but had a pseudorealistic vibe that called for something sharper than a swoosh. Since, Hop! drifted in and out of style.

According to McGee, a jump sound was the almost inevitable result of a maturing industry. While sound design was once one of many hats a game developer had to wear, a number of interconnected factors led to larger teams with higher levels of specialization. At the same time, hardware became more powerful and consumers enjoyed faster and more reliable access to the Internet. Teams like Id were just beginning to have the mental bandwidth to consider the impact of sound on deathmatch, but as the machines these games were built and played on got more capable, deathmatch itself even evolved.

An example of the 2D era that comes to mind: the years 1987 shinobi has a very Hop! jump.

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