How "Hup!" became the standard sound effect for jumping in video games

Brian Menegus takes us on a history of the "hup!" vocalization that accompanies jumping in video games. It's an interesting entry point to the history of player feedback. Synthetic portamento beeps in the 2D era gave way to silence in early 3D games. Hup! showed up in mid-1990s shooters, developed in parallel, in which jumping became a key part of navigating fully-3D environments which demanded feedback, but had a pseudorealistic vibe which called for something sharper than a swoosh. Since then, Hup! has drifted in and out of style.

As McGee sees it, a jump sound was the nearly inevitable result of an industry that was maturing. Where sound design was once one of several hats a game developer would have to wear, a number of interconnected factors was leading toward larger teams with higher levels of specialization. At the same time, hardware was becoming more powerful, and consumers were getting faster, more reliable access to the internet. Teams like Id were just beginning to have the mental bandwidth to consider sound's impact on deathmatch, but as the machines these games were being designed and played on became more capable, the deathmatch itself evolved.

One 2D-era example that leaps to mind: 1987's Shinobi has a very Hup! jump.