Is your text notification the same generic sound that came as the default on your phone? Do you hear iPhone ringtones in public and wonder if it’s yours?
If you’re a video game fan, you can fix this problem in style. Video game music makes for awesome ringtones and notification sounds. Plus, nobody else will have the same tones as you. Whether you’re an Android or iPhone user, we’ll show you the best places to download retro video game music and sound effects. Once you’ve chosen some tracks, we’ll review setting them up on your phone.
Game Music and Sounds
Ringtones are obviously intended to alert you when you get a phone call (if you still receive those), but they work great as alarm sounds, too. Notification sounds are perfect for incoming text messages, emails, or any other quick pings.
To download a track from these sites, right-click on it, then choose Save Link As… and save it to a folder on your computer. We’ll highlight a few recommendations from each franchise if you’re not familiar with them.
The Mario series is one of the most iconic and important franchises of all time. Super Mario Bros. on NES made a name for Nintendo and marked the dawn of the platformer. And the series hasn’t slowed down since. Its variety of music makes for great ringtones.
For ringtones, check out Mario Mayhem’s soundtracks page. It contains links to MP3 collections of many Mario games, like Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 64, and Super Mario Sunshine. Mario Mayhem also includes plenty of Mario sounds, but we recommend visiting The Mushroom Kingdom for your notification needs. It has a better collection of sound effects, plus it divides them by subject.
A few Mario highlights:
- Super Mario Bros. — Main Theme
- Super Mario World — Athletic
- Super Mario 64 — Koopa’s Road
- Super Mario Bros. — 1-Up
- Super Mario Bros. 3 — Coin
- Super Mario World — Riding Yoshi
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda is second only to Mario when it comes to prolific Nintendo franchises. The incredible action-adventure series blends epic fantasy stories with challenging puzzles and tight combat. Whether you still love Ocarina of Time or just fell in love with Breath of the Wild, there’s a piece of Zelda music waiting for your phone.
You’ll find all the Zelda sounds you need at Dayjo. It covers all the main series games, as well as spin-offs like Hyrule Warriors and Link’s Crossbow Training. For Zelda‘s legendary music, check out Zelda Dungeon’s music page. It even includes some official remixes and Japan-only tracks.
Nobody can go wrong with these Zelda tunes:
- A Link to the Past — The Dark World
- Ocarina of Time — Lost Woods
- Twilight Princess — Hyrule Field
- The Legend of Zelda — Secret
- Ocarina of Time — Get Small Item
- The Wind Waker — Item Fanfare
Pokemon got a strong start with the original Red and Blue titles on the Game Boy. Since then, it’s seen many successful sequels (including the recent Sun and Moon), TV shows, movies, a trading card game, and more. Its mobile iteration, Pokemon Go, was a smash hit in the summer of 2016.
KHInsider holds a ridiculous amount of Pokemon music. Choose the game you’re interested in and you’ll find its complete soundtrack. For sounds, you’re a bit more limited. There’s a collection from KHInsider, but it only includes cries for the 151 original Pokemon. For some reason, they all have several seconds of Japanese speech after them. If you want a specific sound not found here, you’re better off grabbing it from YouTube manually.
Any Pokemon fan should enjoy these tracks:
- Red/Blue — Pokemon Center
- Ruby/Sapphire — Pokemon Gym
- Gold/Silver — Wild Pokemon Battle
- Ruby/Sapphire — Pokemon Center Heal
- Red/Blue — Level Up
- Red/Blue — Charizard Cry
Sega created the blue blur to challenge Mario, and the hedgehog with an attitude gave the plumber a stir back in the 90s. Those days are long gone, as Sonic games now appear on Nintendo systems. Most modern Sonic titles don’t match up to the classics, but you can relive the glory days with some awesome Genesis music.
Sonic HQ is our destination for Sonic‘s fantastic music library. Choose a game from the hedgehog’s catalog and you’ll find all its tunes ready for download. SoaH CITY is another good choice if you need an alternative, though the music comes in ZIP files there. For sounds, a user on the SonicRetro forums provided zipped files with all the sounds from many early Sonic games. But they’re not named properly, which makes finding the right one a chore. A YouTube download is probably faster.
Some of our favorite Sonic sounds and tracks are:
- Sonic 2 — Chemical Plant Zone
- Sonic 3 — Angel Island Zone Act 1
- Sonic CD — Stardust Speedway Present (USA)
- Sonic 1 — Collect Ring
- Sonic 2 — Checkpoint
- Sonic 1 — Jump
Donkey Kong Country
The big ape got his start as the antagonist in 1982’s Donkey Kong arcade game, but he didn’t receive a starring role until Donkey Kong Country in 1994. This masterful platforming experience created by legendary developer Rareware used (then) cutting-edge pre-rendered graphics for a more realistic look. Even better, it had an incredible soundtrack to match.
We’ll visit KHInsider again, this time on its Donkey Kong page. The three original Country games are the highlight here. For notifications, DKC Atlas has collected almost all the DK Country sound effects in one ZIP.
Get your gorilla groove on with these highlights:
- DK Country — Forest Frenzy
- DK Country 2 — Hot-Head Bop
- DK Country 3 — Rockface Rumble
- DK Country — Character Change
- DK Country — Bonus Room Opened
- DK Country — Level Clear
The Crash trilogy was one of the best platformers on the original PlayStation. While the bandicoot didn’t see too many great games after his PS1 days, a remaster of those games is coming to the PS4 later in 2017. We can celebrate this with some Crash ringtones.
Try these on for size:
- Crash 1 — Heavy Machinery
- Crash 2 — The Eel Deal
- Crash 3 — Desert Town
- Crash 1 — Collect Aku Aku
- Crash 2 — Collect Crystal
- Crash 1 — Woah!
Some video game music doesn’t belong to any of the series above, but it’s so awesome that we had to mention it. Here are a few bonus tracks we recommend adding to your ringtone and notification collection:
- Banjo-Kazooie — Treasure Trove Cove
- Metroid Prime — Phendrana Drifts
- Spyro 2 — Glimmer
- Earthworm Jim — New Junk City (SNES)
- TMNT IV — Big Apple, 3 A.M
- F-Zero — Big Blue
- Balloon Fight — Stage Clear
- Super Metroid — Acquire Item
- Banjo Kazooie — Collect Note
- Metal Gear Solid — Alert
Getting These on Your Phone
Now that you’ve downloaded some awesome ringtones and notification sounds, it’s time to get them on your device. To keep everything straight, separate ringtone and notification clips before transferring them. If you want to adjust the volume of any sound or shorten it, you can easily make those adjustments in Audacity.
The easiest way to send these to your Android phone is via Pushbullet, but you can also use cloud storage like Dropbox. If neither option appeals to you, there are two other choices. You’ll have to do all the downloading on your phone or connect your phone to your PC with a cable.
On Android, you’ll need to place the audio files into the appropriate folders so the system recognizes them as ringtones and notifications. Use a file manager app to move them from their current location (probably Downloads) to the Ringtones or Notifications folder in your phone’s storage. Then, go to Settings > Sound and tap Phone ringtone or Default notification ringtone to change them. The new audio effects show up when you pick a notification sound for a particular app, too. Check out how to randomize your text tone if you’d like to cycle all your new sounds automatically.
For iPhone users, this is a more difficult task. There’s no way to browse the file system locally like Android, so you’ll have to perform some trickery with iTunes on your computer to convert a track into a ringtone. Check out our guide on making your own iPhone ringtones for instructions.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of downloading and moving files over, check out the free Zedge app for Android and iOS. It lets you browse hundreds of ringtones and notification sounds that you can download right to your device. Note that users upload Zedge’s content, so tracks might have confusing labels or suffer from poor quality. There’s lots of video game audio on Zedge, so it’s a great place to check.
Enjoy Your Awesome Ringtones!
Now you have everything you need to remove your boring stock ringtones and replace them with classic video game sounds and music. There are dozens of other games with excellent sounds, so feel free to substitute any of the music above with your favorites. Check out GilvaSunner’s YouTube channel for lots of high-quality game music if you need some more inspiration.
It should only take you a few minutes to collect several new tracks — and don’t forget about Zedge if you’d rather bypass all the manual work!
Want to listen to game music while you work? Video game music radio makes the perfect background noise.
Which video game sounds will you use for your ringtone and notification sounds? Share your favorite classic game music and sounds with everyone in the comments!
Image Credit: Syda Productions via Shutterstock.com