Some Guy Forced Roblox to Remove the ‘OOF’ Sound and I’m Upset

In the name of artists rights?!

Tommy Tallarico just walked up to millions of children, broke off a piece of their favorite toy, and left clasping it in his money-grubbing hands, grumbling “my toy!” over and over again.

Apparently, the self-proclaimed superstar can’t be bothered to make even the tiniest sacrifice in the name of art.

Ever since 2006, for 14 whole years, Roblox has used a short sound clip, that’s essentially just someone saying ‘OOF’, as the default death sound for the player's character.

During that time Roblox has become one of the largest gaming platforms in the world and the ‘OOF’ sound has become not only part of its primal brand but a part of youth culture as a whole. At this point in space and time, it’s a symbol fully associated with Roblox. They made it into what it is today.

Be that as it may, Tommy Tallarico somehow just recently realized in the lord’s year of 2019 that he’s the one who created the sound effect for some 20-year-old game called Messiah that’s now totally irrelevant and forgotten to time because it sucked. According to the games wiki page, “Computer Gaming World declared the title “truly repellent — I don’t even like to think of the sort of sadist who would enjoy it.”

Still, Tommy made the sound so Tommy deserves some credit. He asserted his copyright claim to Roblox last year and they’ve now come to a deal.

‘OOF’ will be completely removed from the platform as the default sound for character death but it can still be purchased by Roblox game developers per game for 100 Robux, which is about $1 in real money.

Roblox will be replacing the default sound for character death platform-wide with a new sound later this month. This effectively means ‘OOF’ is dead.

So to recap, Tommy Tallarico has now totally and legally destroyed a whole part of youth culture for his own financial gain, ruining one immensely successful piece of art to protect his own artist rights for a sound file he’d completely forgotten even existed.

I hope whatever paycheck Tommy’s getting is worth it.

To be fair, it’s pretty obvious that this situation sucks for every party involved, but in the end, the players suffer the most grievous wound.

Sure, Tommy was fully within his rights to make a copyright claim for the ‘OOF’ sound since he’s the one who created it. You can’t debate that.

And Roblox was wrong from the start when they used a sound clip without knowing who created it or bothering to get permission. Mistakes were definitely made.

But the truth of the matter is, Roblox gave one man's trash a second life, turning it into something new that’s become treasured by millions of children.

To now go and force Roblox to paywall that treasure in a way that limits the number of children who get to enjoy it just feels wrong, even if it technically isn’t. In the end, it’s the children who suffer the most. As usual.

Will the world go on? Yes. But making the world a bit worse for a few extra dollars makes me, and I’m guessing a whole lot of kids, kinda sad.

We don’t have much insight into who ultimately drove the decision to remove and paywall the ‘OOF’ sound, it could’ve been Roblox or Tommy Tallarico’s idea, but I honestly think there could’ve been a better solution that didn’t leave the players feeling so... OOFed.

There has to be a scenario where everybody could’ve won.

For example, Roblox is preparing to go public and may have a U.S. stock market listing that could come early next year.

If it were me, I would’ve been pretty happy to let Roblox use ‘OOF’ as the default sound for character death in return for some of those sweet sweet video game shares.

That move would’ve allowed Roblox to keep their work of art intact while also crediting the artist who made the sound. Who knows, it might’ve ended up being a more lucrative deal for Tommy Tallarico in the long run.

But it’s not about the money for me. Whenever possible I believe art should be the highest priority. And I believe it was possible here.

RIP ‘OOF’ sound 2020.

Artist and blogger. I help people bring more art into the world:

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