Why are there sound effects in space shooter games like asteroid and such?
There is no medium in space for sound to travel by. Yet we get hear gun shots & explosion.
I am not talking about the background music/sound.
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Seems strange to pick apart on just the fact that you could hear sound. There's a good deal of things that many space games do that doesn't relate to reality:
The point is to remove these constraints because it's not supposed to be a simulation. It's supposed to be a fun game. It's not fun to obey the laws of reality.
Secondly, many people are not as educated as you or I. They know things make sound, so they expect things to make sound. When they don't, it's something wrong with the game and it's less entertaining.
First off, this trope is hardly specific to games; it is extremely common in movies and TV shows too (refer here http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceIsNoisy )
The reason is pretty simple: those sound effects are cool, and a completely silent game would be boring.
Because it's a game.
You can do stuff like that in games. When's the last time you saw someone do a double jump in real life? Or heal fully from half a dozen bullet wounds in the space of ten seconds? Or be shot to within an inch of death, only to touch a medkit and be perfectly healthy again?
It's not realistic. It doesn't have to be. It's a game. You can do unrealistic things.
It just has to be fun.
You can hear the sounds of explosions and gunshots because they make the game much more interesting. An alternative approach could be to only play the sounds that originate from one's own spaceship.
Space games without any combat sound effects can be nice too, if you have a nice playlist of music to make up for it. In my opinion, the MMO Eve Online did this quite well.