Get your headphones ready, because it’s time to have a listen to a game with effects and music that don’t just sound good—they feel good.

Sound design is the star of Nintendo’s Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics, which it released last week on Switch. It’s an excellent collection of board, card, and sports games that wouldn’t be nearly as engaging and endearing without its incredible sound design. The clink of plastic pieces on a wooden board, the scuttling of dice inside a velvet-lined leather cup, the thwack of playing cards on a table—all of these sounds add the illusion of physicality to this collection of virtual amusements.

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The video above takes you on a brief journey through some of my favorite sounds from Clubhouse Games. It starts with the opening menu music and transitions to the game selection screen, where game pieces click and clack with every choice. Then there’s the dropping of pieces into the Four-in-a-row (Connect Four) board, including the pleasant clattering of checkers when the game ends in a tie and the pieces are ejected.

The chuckling sound of cupped dice in the game’s version of Yahtzee comes next, a sound that makes my jaw tingle pleasantly. One can almost feel the plastic mechanisms propelling the fighters in toy boxing. Dropping and shuffling Hanafuda cards is sublime. We end with a race around the slot car track, as tiny toy racers desperately cling to perilous curves.

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The sound of game pieces dropping while cycling through the menu is comforting.
The sound of game pieces dropping while cycling through the menu is comforting.
Screenshot: Nintendo (Kotaku)

Playing the classic games of Clubhouse Games in real life isn’t just about watching cards and plastic pieces move about. It’s feeling those cards in your hand. It’s those pieces rattling as you pull the game box from the closet. Clubhouse Games’ captures the spirit of the games with its outstanding audio design.

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.

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DISCUSSION

cartoonist
Cartoonist

Is sound the latest frontier in gaming? I fell in love with the new Animal Crossing in part for the beautiful, relaxing, and all-around excellent sound design and recently have been enjoying Lonely Mountains: Downhill, in part, for the same reason.

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