I can't think of a sound that is more imitated by children and adults. The sound of a lightsaber is universal. If you wave even a pencil around while making the noises, everyone knows exactly what you're trying to do. They might make fun of you, but hey - they recognize it. Even non-geeks know this noise. The lightsaber crosses boundaries. It brings people together and... I'm getting a little carried away.
Oh, and in case you were not aware, you can download a dueling lightsabers app for your iPhone. It is endlessly amusing and perfect for a boring day at the office.
1-Up from Super Mario Bros
Though I really sucked at Super Mario Bros, it didn't stop me from playing hours of it. I really didn't hear the 1-Up noise much in game. Back in the days of cartridge blowing, Super Mario and Duck Hunt were my games of choice. They were also the only games I owned. If memory serves - and it often doesn't - I think they came with my Nintendo. It was the only gaming system I had for years, and I'm glad that Super Mario Bros has persisted until now. Unlike my other often-played game, Wonder Boy (I eventually inherited a Sega system).
Modem Dial Up
Ah, a key effect on the soundtrack of my teenage years. I had no idea I was so nostalgic about it until I played that clip three times. My first real experience with the internet was wandering the Yahoo! chat rooms. I had to drive to a family friend's house and limit my time online, and I waited impatiently for the dial-up sound to finish. Whenever I feel like griping about my slow broadband connection, I think back to these days. In later years, I would start the dial-up internet and go to the kitchen for coffee. It was like you had to pass through a magical gate.
Star Trek TOS: Doors
We were promised many things for the future. Transporters, spaceships like the Enterprise, and automatic doors. Well, at least one of them has come true. I think I would have picked something a little cooler, but hey, I've turned at least 500 less doorknobs or handles thanks to automatic doors. If only it was a requirement that this noise came with every installation. We take this technology for granted today, but when TOS aired, it was all manual. There was someone offstage in charge of operating the pulley system that opened the doors. The operator was cued with a light, but if that person wasn't paying 100% attention, the actors would just walk into closed doors.
The Wilhelm Scream
I know, we've been over this already in my post earlier this week. This sound is deserving though. Stormtroopers and Nazis have made this noise on screen. I mean it's been featured in every Star Wars movie, Lord of the Rings, and a bajillion other things. Once you've heard it, you can't help but notice it.
What sounds would you include?