Like the sound of coffee pouring in the morning, slot machines and other electronic gambling
games have an iconic noise. Each machine makes a different set of noises, like a fingerprint. The
sound resonates with the game, makes it stand out, and encourages players to seek it out. These
sounds may seem superficial, but a lot of thought and research goes into creating the
individualized sounds for a gambling game. Let’s take a look.
The first ingredient is cheer. Like a chocolate factory out of a movie, sound engineers search for
a sound that exemplifies the experience a gambler feels when they win. This cheery sound plays
every time the player wins, and it makes the experience amazing. Players hear this sound over
and over, and subconsciously yearn to hear it again.
Next, this winning sound is broken down and changed into several different noises. These sounds
still remind the user of the desired sound, but don’t carry nearly as much weight. They sound
nice, but aren’t satisfying. These sorts of sounds are played whenever the player inserts money,
presses a button, turns the dial, or lets the reels spin. This way, the user feels a sense of
encouragement and continues to feel hopeful even during a losing streak.
The most delicate step of gambling machine sound design is choosing the failure noise. The
sound must feel negative and enhance the impact of a failed bet. It also must encourage trying
again. These sounds vary greatly and vastly change the flavor of the game. The fail sound may
be very quiet and unremarkable, making it easy to tune out so the player keeps betting and
betting. The sound may also be jarring or sad, carrying a lot of impact and egging on the user.
When a gambler picks out a gambling game, the sound effects may have a lot to do with the
choice. One user may like the background song and side sound effects, which put them in a good
mood. Another user may especially like the winning noise and want to hear it every time they
win. Others may select a gambling game for the noise it makes for losing. The right sound will
encourage anyone to keep coming back, whether it is positive and encouraging or negative and
The significance does not end with gambling, however. Knowing what they know, some
gamblers have used these rewarding noises for themselves. By recording these favorite noises
and playing it later, users can reward themselves for anything from eating a salad to getting up
on time. These noises don’t have to be there just for marketing. Rule of thumb: When something
works, use it.
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