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.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This was my favourite part of Firefly, the lack of sound in space scenes. You should try making a game with proper space sounds. The immersion, the isolation, it'd be so entertaining! \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff
    Jun 17, 2012 at 13:23
  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ I hear you! And why was everything in 2D?! That was so annoying. Everyone knows real life is 3D. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Jun 17, 2012 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 if only i could +1 your comment! \$\endgroup\$
    – Grimshaw
    Jun 17, 2012 at 14:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ The community hates me. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 17, 2012 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SBR I upvoted. I think people were down voting because they thought it was silly. I think it was a valid question and a bit silly. The upvote rep outweighs the downvote, so no worries! \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Jun 17, 2012 at 15:42

4 Answers 4


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:

  • Respawn
  • Infinite fuel
  • Infinite power
  • Maximum velocity even with sustained acceleration
  • Faster than light travel
  • The stresses of extreme acceleration are ignored
  • and so on.

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.

  • \$\begingroup\$ And perhaps the most overlooked issue of them all (for mildly educated people :D): lasers! Not only they make sound, but you can clearly see the beams traveling slower than a trabby car.. yet the opponent can't dodge it. Games are often programmed with at most Galilean Physics in mind, nobody even tries to go beyond Newton in most cases. \$\endgroup\$
    – teodron
    Jun 17, 2012 at 14:51
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Ah yes. I had forgotten about lasers. So many things wrong with those. Of course there's shields too. Impervious to everything, except visible light (otherwise we couldn't see what was happening!) and any other wavelength used for scanning or communication. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Jun 17, 2012 at 14:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ well, after playing Kerbal Space program i think your 2nd paragraph doesn't apply to everything \$\endgroup\$
    – Quonux
    Jun 27, 2013 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Quonux Partially true. Still, respawn, stresses of extreme acceleration, sounds in space, etc. apply in Kerbal Space program too. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Jun 27, 2013 at 13:40

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.


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