Many gamers will cherish those holiday mornings when they open their presents and discover a hot new console underneath all that wrapping paper. Of course, the first instinct was to plug the thing in, press the power button, and watch the console boot up with a start-up animation. In modern times, however, consoles load much faster, making these elaborate sequences largely a thing of the past.
It’s a shame because these visual splendors make consumers’ first impression of a well-priced machine. Additionally, if the console is old, it serves as a nostalgic window into a long period of gaming history.
10/10 Xbox 360 heralded HD gaming for many customers
The Xbox 360 beat the PlayStation 3 in the race for the 2005 holiday season, serving as the launch of the HD generation for many consumers. The console’s tagline was “jump in,” and the opening sequence invites players to do just that. The camera zooms out and reveals a large sphere emerging from the darkness.
The sphere is then punched with an X-shaped hole before the green ring reveals the Xbox 360 logo. When the console interface was updated a few years later, the logo was changed to include a group of green dots overlaid on a sphere.
9/10 The Gameboy Advance was a huge leap forward from its predecessor
Before mobile gaming changed everything, Nintendo had a bit of a stranglehold on the handheld market for years. While the Sega Game Gear boosted color, it just didn’t have the software to back it up. However, the Gameboy’s technological limitations seemed to hold it back on the market.
The bright sequence of the Gameboy Advance logo shows how far it has come in the visual and sound department compared to its predecessor, the Gameboy Color. Several letters swing across the screen to form the Game Boy logo, along with some nifty sound effects.
8/10 The Sega Saturn was a welcome addition to 32-bit gaming
Often regarded as the console that doomed Sega in the hardware business, the Saturn spawned at least one snazzy start-up sequence. A group of small gray polygons emerge from the blackness like a swarm of insects and coalesce before revealing the Sega Saturn logo as a glowing beam of light. Simple but effective. It’s as if the console is saying, “Welcome gamers to the 32-bit generation.”
Japanese boot-up music went for loud and triumphant tracks, while American and European music was much quieter and more atmospheric.
7/10 PlayStation 3 prepares players for a gaming symphony
The PlayStation 3 had a rough start at the start of the console’s sixth generation, with its high price tag and lackluster launch titles alienating consumers. Shame because the console really makes a great first impression. Players who turn on the console are greeted with the sound of an orchestra tuning in as if preparing for a triumphant symphony of quality titles.
At the climax, the PlayStation 3 logo pops up and players are tasked with creating or choosing a profile. This makes players more prepared for cinematic titles such as Achat And God of War 3.
While the American Nintendo Entertainment System used cartridges, the original Japanese Famicom was a disc-based system that accepted cards. Once players turn on the system, they will be prompted with a descending icon to insert the disc card into the system. The screen with this request is a shot of outer space as Mario and Luigi run across the area.
Bolstering this sequence is a grand musical track that puts the players in a mood of fun and adventure. The track also made a cameo on the Nintendo GameCube’s browser menu with a slower version.
5/10 The Sega Dreamcast Swirl was downright ethereal
While it served as Sega’s final entry into the hardware business, fans can at least say the brand took off fast. As the console starts up, players are greeted by a small dot bouncing on the screen with a raindrop-like sound, revealing the letters that make up the Dreamcast logo, and creating a swirl.
The color varied by region: orange in Japan, red in America, and blue in Europe. It is said that the reason for Europe’s change was that the orange stripes were too similar to the logo of a German company called Tivola.
4/10 The GameCube’s bland logo held many secrets
A small cube drops onto the screen to form a giant G representing the GameCube logo on the correct wavy track. That’s impressive on its own, but the best aspect of this start-up sequence is the secret tracks players can unlock by holding certain buttons on the controller.
By holding Z on a controller, players are greeted with a squeaky version of the start-up tune complete with the sound of a child laughing. If the button is held on four controllers, the version is performed with a taiko drum that climaxes with a kabuki shout.
3/10 A later collection paid homage to the Sega/Mega CD
The boot screen of the Sega CD add-on varies by region, with the Japanese and European versions keeping the same music track, while the NTSC versions went for a completely different approach. The Japanese version features a bright blue sky as the logo moves in an elaborate fashion accompanied by upbeat music.
By contrast, American Boot-Up displays the Sega CD logo with a strangely awful track on Earth. Fun fact: The track played during the Japanese and PAL start-up sequences was remixed in M2 Sega Era Collection For Nintendo Switch.
2/10 The PlayStation 2’s towers aren’t just for decoration
Sony’s second foray into the console market featured a cluster of soaring towers emerging from the darkness before flashing the PlayStation 2 logo. Players may recall starting up their game and waiting with bated breath to see if the console would read the disc or send it to the browser menu.
A neat touch is that the rising towers aren’t just decorations. The console reads players’ memory cards to keep track of how many games they play and for how long. Basically, more games mean more towers and longer sessions mean longer towers.
1/10 The start-up of the original PlayStation is one of the most iconic
Arguably the most iconic console start-up of all time, the introduction of the original PlayStation left its mark on gaming history. Gamers get an ambient music track while the black screen lights up and the Sony Computer Entertainment logo greets them. If the disc is read successfully, they will immediately display the PlayStation logo on a black background.
This boot-up screen is so important that it has made cameos in other media, such as Ratchet and clank In the movie it pops up in very short short order Unknown 4.
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