The classic sound of a room full of arcade games all going at once started to vanish before the coin-op arcade started its slide to extinction. Game audio and speech got more sophisticated and music evolved into soundtracks, creating a blend different from the early to middle 1980s. But the Arcade Ambience Project has created more than eight hours of mp3s, sorted by year that depict arcades at their height, buzzing, chirping and whirring like a field of crickets on a summer evening.
Creator Andy Hofle has mixed together the sounds of games popular in the years 1981, 1983, 1986 and 1992, for those who might feel nostalgic for the days of miniature golf, birthday parties or skating rinks. He put a new tool up that ensures the files will play on any sound card, which is why this popped back up recently. The files are about 80 to 90 megs and mirrored at multiple sites. If you want the uncompressed sound you can get that on a CD.
The site says Avril Lavigne used Ambience Project sound in the background of a music video. It was also featured (with permission) in the documentary "Tilt: The Battle to Save Pinball".
My audio memory of arcades is dominated by the sounds of Galaga, of Mario clearing barrels and collecting points, and the siren in Pac-Man. If they could release the mp3 in Smell-o-Rama or whatever, recreating that strange aroma of dust cooking on the back of a hot cabinet, sweetened by the scent of waffle cones.
Arcade Ambience Project [arcade.hofle.com]