Many gamers will cherish this holiday morning when they open their presents and discover the new console under all that wrapping paper. Of course, the first instinct was to plug the thing in, hit the power button, and watch the console boot up with a boot animation. In modern times, however, consoles load much faster, making those elaborate sequences a thing of the past.
It’s a shame because these visual splendors give the first impression of a machine that consumers have paid dearly for. Plus, if the console is old, they serve as a nostalgic window into a time in gaming history that’s long gone.
10/10 Xbox 360 announced HD gaming for many consumers
The Xbox 360 beat the PlayStation 3 in the race for the 2005 holiday season, serving as the herald of the HD generation for many consumers. The console’s slogan was “jump,” and that’s exactly what the opening sequence urges players to do. The camera zooms out and exposes a large sphere emerging from the darkness.
The sphere then gets an X-shaped hole before a green ring reveals the Xbox 360 logo. When the console’s interface was updated a few years later, the logo was changed to incorporate a bunch of green swirls wrapping the sphere.
9/10 Gameboy Advance featured a huge leap forward over its predecessor
Before mobile gaming changed everything, Nintendo had quite a grip on the laptop market for years. While the Sega Game Gear boasted color, it simply didn’t have the software to back it up. However, the Gameboy’s technical limitations manifested themselves over the years it was on the market.
The flashy GameBoy Advance logo sequence shows how much it’s leaped forward in the visual and sound department over its predecessor, the Gameboy Color. Several letters sway across the screen to make up the Game Boy logo, along with some nifty sound effects.
8/10 The Sega Saturn gave 32-bit gaming a warm welcome
Often seen as the console that would eventually doom Sega in the hardware business, the Saturn at least boasted a slick boot sequence. A bunch of small gray polygons emerge from the darkness like a swarm of insects to join together before a flashing ray of light reveals the Sega Saturn logo. Simple but effective. It’s like the console saying, “Welcome, gamers, to the 32-bit generation.”
While the Japanese kick-off music opted for a loud, triumphant track, the American and European music was considerably quieter and more ambient.
7/10 PlayStation 3 prepares gamers for a symphony of games
The PlayStation 3 got off to a very rocky start at the start of the sixth console generation, with its overpriced tag and disappointing launch titles turning consumers away. Too bad because the console actually delivers an excellent first impression. Players who turn on the console are greeted by the sound of an orchestra chord as if preparing for a triumphant symphony of quality titles.
At the climax, the PlayStation 3 logo appears and players are tasked with creating or selecting a profile. It further prepares gamers for cinematic titles such as Unexplored and god of war 3.
While the American Nintendo Entertainment System used cartridges, the original Japanese Famicom was a disc-based console that accepted cards. Once players turn on the system, they would be prompted by a down sign to insert the disk card into the system. The screen accompanying this request is a photo of space as Mario and Luigi run through the area.
This sequence is enhanced by a majestic musical track that puts players in the mood for fun and adventure. This track even made an appearance with a slowed-down version played in the Nintendo Gamecube’s browser menu.
5/10 The Sega Dreamcast whirlwind was downright ethereal
Although this was Sega’s latest foray into the hardware business, fans could at least tell the brand had a go. As the console boots, players are greeted by a small dot that bounces around the screen with ethereal sounds resembling raindrops, revealing the letters that make up the Dreamcast logo and forming a whirlwind.
The color was different depending on the region: orange in Japan, red in America and blue in Europe. It is said that the reason for the change in Europe was that the orange swirl looked too much like the logo of a German company called Tivola.
4/10 Gamecube’s benign logo had many secrets
A small cube falls across the screen to form a giant G representing the Gamecube logo on a suitably whimsical track. That’s effective on its own, but the best parts of this boot sequence are the secret tracks that players can unlock by holding certain buttons on the controllers.
By holding Z on a controller, players are greeted with a squeaky version of the startup melody that ends with the sound of a child laughing. If the button is held on four controllers, the version is done with tycho drums that culminate in a kabuki shout.
3/10 Sega/Mega CD was honored in a later collection
The Sega CD add-on’s splash screen varied from region to region, with the Japanese and European versions retaining the same music track, while the NTSC versions opted for a completely different approach. The Japanese version shows a bright blue sky as the logo moves in an elaborate manner accompanied by upbeat music.
Conversely, the US boot-up features the Sega CD logo hovering over the Earth with an eerily sinister tune. Fun fact: the track that played during the Japanese and PAL boot sequences has been remixed in M2. Sega Ages Collection for the Nintendo Switch.
2/10 PlayStation 2 towers aren’t just for decoration
Sony’s second foray into the console market featured a bunch of rising towers emerging from obscurity before flashing the PlayStation 2 logo. Gamers can recall putting on their game and eagerly waiting to see if the console would play disc or if they would be sent to the browser menu.
A neat little touch is that the rising towers aren’t just decoration. The console reads players’ memory cards to find out how many games they play and how long they play them. Basically, more games mean more rounds, and longer sessions mean longer rounds.
1/10 The original PlayStation startup is the most iconic
Arguably the most iconic console startup of all time, the introduction of the original PlayStation left its mark on gaming history. Gamers are greeted with an ambient music track when the black screen s turn on and the Sony Computer Entertainment logo greets them. If the disc is read successfully, the PlayStation logo is immediately displayed on a black background.
This splash screen is so essential that it’s made cameos in other mediums, like a sneaky little Easter egg in the Ratchet & Clank film. He even appeared in a short little sequence in Uncharted 4.
NEXT: 10 PlayStation Games That Are Better When You’re An Adult