Best Sound Effects: BlindSide
Sound effects have become increasingly more important in adventure games since computers moved past midi. From the cartoonish plops and boinks of Day of the Tentacle to the sounds of running water and machinery of Myst, nothing sets the mood and tone like the aural backdrop in any given environment. And when the environment can only be perceived through the noises it makes, it becomes infinitely more important to make sure those sounds are up to the task of drawing a clear audio picture. Epicycle's BlindSide is a pitch-black game that would have completely failed without an immersive soundscape to accurately inform us about what was really going on in the world around us. Creating one successfully would mean our Aggie Award for Best Sound Effects in 2012.
Obviously, the game rose to the occasion. Everything from a dripping faucet to a wall clock; from a running fountain to the scraping of furniture as it’s dragged across the floor, is convincing enough to fully "visualize" the surroundings without any visuals at all. Of course, the most important sound effects of all are the creatures chasing you through the game. Creeping blindly through a gymnasium full of sleeping monsters all around you remains one of the most nerve-wracking horror moments of the year, though the only evidence they exist is their heavy breathing and throaty snarling. What we imagine is often scarier than what we see, and the sounds they make are more than enough to terrify. What do the creatures look like? We’ll never know. But based on their horrifying growls alone, we’re sure we never want to know. BlindSide convinced us of that, in no uncertain terms.
Runners-Up: Miasmata, The Cat Lady, The Walking Dead, Yesterday
Readers’ Choice: The Walking Dead
There are some sounds in The Walking Dead that you really don't WANT to hear, like the telltale murmuring that alerts you to the presence of undead walkers closing in on your position. And then there are some you do, like the crack of your handgun as you put a bullet between the eyes of yet another oncoming, hideously murmuring zombie. But whether good or bad for your welfare, the audio backdrop is always convincing, never breaking the immersion of a story that kept us all glued to our chairs from gut-eating beginning to gut-wrenching end.
Runners-Up: Botanicula, Deponia (series), The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, The Cat Lady
Next up: Honorary Aggies... the envelope, please!Continued on the next page...