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System Splash Screens: Judging a Console by its Cover

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For many systems you fire up the first experience you have with it involves the splash screen, intro screen, logos, sound effects, rocket ships, flying carpets, and belly dancers. Like many things the quality and effort put into these introductions can have a profound impact on the player, or potential player, of a video game console, so let’s take a look at the good and the bad ones.

The Bad

Now, in order to be fair I will not include systems which completely lack a splash screen, this is only something that came to prominence in the late 80’s for the most part (with exceptions of course). So, which ones just leave you screaming for mercy?

Amiga CD32

Well, that was pretty dull. If you’re looking for uninspired intro screens nothing really beats this one, its a CD floating in space with a wordart logo above the disc with some flashy colors flying around. This looks like a $50 job that some video editing student did after discovering how awesome the Amiga is and how amazing a system based on Amiga software with CD support would be.

It would be a commercial failure of course.

FM Towns Marty

Well, my ears are bleeding now. For a CD based system the FM Towns Marty certainly has incredibly weak sound capabilities! It even released in 1993, the same year as the vastly superior 3DO Interactive Multiplayer and even the Amiga CD32 above, at least that one didn’t have digital garbage flowing out of the speakers!

Atari Jaguar

The Jaguar just has this look, reputation, and history of being a low budget machine with shoddy engineering. It was Atari’s last attempt at greatness (and killing off their fairly popular line of PCs to throw everything at the console probably did not help matters). Now to be fair this one isn’t entirely bad, its just a bit boring. A spinning cube with a Jaguar on it is hardly menacing. But, if they had done something like the MGM lion intro it would probably have been the greatest thing ever made by Atari or any company ever! The legitimacy of the menacing roar of the Jaguar is lessened by the rather cartoony, and already by then retro, little jingle that accompanies the cat.

The Good

Sega CD

What happens when a system has not just one amazing startup screen, but two? We end up with the Sega CD! Or Mega CD if you’re not a winning American. Oh, I’m not really counting the JVC X’eye, even though that intro is fairly enjoyable as well.

All I really have to say is one thing, I have never before been so entertained by dancing logos. This just shows how superior Sega’s execution was in the early 90’s, having some of the best hardware creators this side of Nintendo. Sega can just squeeze so much life out of hardware that could be considered inferior, giving their consoles so much passion and soul that no company has really ever been able to duplicate, not even Nintendo or Sony in my opinion.

Nintendo Gamecube

Nintendo, I love you to death. What cheeky bastards these guys were when designing the Gamecube and its startup screen. Everybody loves Easter Eggs, so let’s hide not one, but two colorful eggs on the very first screen you see when playing a Gamecube, all of which are enjoyable in moderation. Absolutely brilliant!

Sony Playstation

There are few words to describe just how amazing the experience of firing up an original Playstation is. Once you turn it on its like you, the gamer, are being sent into a powerful wind tunnel during astronaut training. Then you finally get to launch up into space just as the PS logo comes up and leave the atmosphere into cool, serene calm. An absolute joy for the ears, this is the THX intro of the video game world, and it will never get old.

So what are your favorite system start up screens, least favorites?

Retro Video Game Christmas Commercials: The 90’s

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I am a child of the 90’s, a love child. This was the age of Mode-7, Blast Processing, 3D, Playstation, and encompasses the rise and fall of Sega. So let’s take a look at as many Christmas commercials from the 90’s as we can possibly fit on our monitor.

Nintendo

What exemplifies the early 90’s more than the constant playground war of Nintendo vs. Sega? So it makes perfect sense for retailers to pick one side of the other in this argument or face everybody’s wrath!


Gee, would you look at the time? I missed the memo that I must write in rhyme! When it comes to your games, Sears has them all days. In the front or the back, come buy your new cartridge pack, and play the kiosk in store to curb your hunger for more.

Seriously, Sears kicked ass in the 90’s for gamers. What the hell happened?


This is just amazing, if there is one piece of media that makes me remember what it was like being a kid in the 90’s it is this right here. Entitlement of youth, grungy attitudes, snarky remarks, and a desire to sit down and play video games. I like how the rhyme goes, “South Park will be fine,” as if they’re just settling for it. “Yeah I’ll take it, but I really wanted Mystical Ninja you dumbass parents!”


A nice, generational war, of course. Then as soon as the douchey 90’s teens find out that grandpa likes to roll with some Tetris they decide that old folk aren’t bad. If grandpa’s hearing aid worked he might learn that Tetris was made by a dirty Communist!

Sega

So those were some pretty entertaining commercials from Nintendo’s side of the ring. But does Sega always do what Nintendon’t? Can they top the Big N and encourage people to buy any of the 3 systems they released in the 90’s? How about the add-ons?


Sega advertising at its finest, if you want your kid to be the cool kid on the block then go out and buy him a Sega Genesis for Christmas, then every kid in the city will want a piece of that Blast Processing action.


As a constant follower of Midget Wrestling this is one of the quickest ways to grab my attention, and they have good taste in video games since they just made a ton of money selling the game to Sega, somehow.

Ok, now let’s move away from North America for a moment and take a look at what Sega brought out for their Japanese commercials.


This may very well be the greatest thing I have ever laid eyes on. I am going to perpetuate the story of Segata Sanshiro as Santa Claus to my children, citing this commercial as definitive proof. If you’re unfamiliar with Segata Sanshiro and why he helped the Saturn dominate the Japanese sales charts then just check out this playlist.

Word of warning, the American Saturn commercials are weird as all hell, and incredibly frightening in some cases. Search at your own risk.

Sony
A newcomer on the scene of home video game hardware in the mid 90’s, Sony and their Playstation quickly rose to global dominance and kept its grip firm for over a decade. Is it because their commercials were great?


Yes, yes they were. Oh that sound and the PS logo really take me back, excuse me while I nostalgia-gasm all over my room. Again, this commercial shows what the 90’s was all about, trying to find your own voice, going against the grain, and supporting Bill Clinton.


What’s awesome about this commercial is that everything the singers say about Crash Bandicoot: Warped is 100% factual. This is one of the greatest parodies of a Christmas carol I’ve ever heard, I might start singing it this year. I feel bad for Canadians though, $50 for a new PS1 game and its already $10 off? Man, you guys will hate when I say brand new PS1 games in the States were $40. What was the exchange rate in 1998? Tell me Crabby!

Let’s head back to the Land of the Rising Sun.


Crash Bandicoot and PaRappa walk up to a random guy bearing Christmas gifts, just another thing to add to my list of things to experience before I die. Cosplayers, make this happen!


Kick! Punch! its all in the mind.

Well that about does it for the nostalgic video game Christmas commercials. I will be going on a small hiatus until 2013 rolls around. Until then, please share if you’ve enjoyed this post and my others, comment with feedback, and hit that follow button on the sidebar. SirPsycho out!

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