There’s a lot of random/weird things that I find myself really fascinated with it. As you can tell from the title of this post, video game title screens are one of them. They’re one of the very first things you see when you start a video game and I can’t help but feel that it adds to the experience when they make a lasting impression and get you motivated to play the game.
So, just for fun, I’m here to share five video game title screens that I would consider to be among my favorites. It’s not a Top 5 List per se because I clearly didn’t narrow from all the title screens in existence but these are five I most certainly love in no particular order.
BioShock Infinite (Multiplatform, 2013)
[Uploaded by Loizos Loizou]
A common aspect shared among all three BioShock games is that their title screens focus entirely on its setting. Bioshock 1 shows the lighthouse, 2 shows towering buildings of Rapture, and Infinite shows a street in Columbia. There’s also not a lot of busywork happening in any of them which is a heavy contrast from the chaos you run into during actual stories.
Where Infinite‘s title screen has a leg up on the Rapture games is its sound. The game plays its cover of “After You’ve Gone” by Turner Layton and Henry Creamer as though it is playing on a record player (if you check the settings, you’ll even see it as such). Combined with the ambient sound of a calming breeze and birds chirping and you really feel like you’re watching a calming day on the skyward city.
How fitting that the menu is accompanied by “After You’ve Gone”. Not only does its 1918 release date hint at the anachronism that you encounter in the actual game, the lyrics tie surprisingly well into Infinite‘s story. I’d elaborate but that would go into serious spoiler territory.
The Last of Us (PlayStation 3, 2013)
[Uploaded by PapyChampy]
I’m honestly trying to remember if this window is actually in The Last of Us‘s campaign. It doesn’t look that familiar to me. Still, I really like the tone this title screen sets. Just a window in a house looking out to a sunny day. Not a single zombie in sight.
And yet, this title screen always felt eerie to me. Part of it is the music (at least the first track) not sounding all that happy or peaceful. There’s also the deterioration on the walls, overgrown plants surrounding the window, and a knife perfectly tilted against the frame of the window. It all reminds you that the game you’re about to play is set in a world where most of humanity has died. If anything, the title screen captures something you don’t really consider when thinking about a post-apocalyptic scenario: how quiet and empty the world is when we’re all gone.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GameCube/Wii, 2006)
[Uploaded by TwisterDX]
To be honest, there’s too many great Zelda title screens. Ocarina of Time has calming ride on horseback. Majora’s Mask is a terrific sequence that slowly unveils its dark premise. Wind Waker has that sweeping shot of Outset Island, not to mention one of the best musical pieces in Zelda history.
I chose to include Twilight Princess out of nostalgia. It’s one of the first Zelda games I ever played and I remember the first time seeing this title screen, it gave me chills. It’s a very simple sequence: Link riding across Hyrule Field on Epona before suddenly becoming a wolf in a realm engulfed in Twilight. The melancholic music especially works to great effect here. I often like to let the title screen play itself out entirely because it always got me excited to embark on the game’s epic adventure.
That all said, I will admit that the mirroring between the GameCube and Wii versions of this intro is a strange and amusing detail.
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii, 2012)
[Uploaded by Gyoru]
Another title screen I love to sit through in its entirety. I’m just in awe at how masterfully put together it is.
It’s a very minimalist image that conveys quite a lot about Xenoblade Chronicles. The Monado is positioned right in the middle of the frame to denote its significance to the game’s plot. It’s situated in the middle of a vast field of grass which encompasses the sheer scope of the story as well as the open environments you get to explore. Just at the left of the Monado are the remains of a machine, fitting considering what you often fight in the game.
What makes this title screen so memorable though is the sequence. It plays out an entire day to night cycle (which is a mechanic in the game) and it’s timed perfectly well to Yoko Shimomura’s musical theme. The sunset crawls from the right at the exact time the title theme escalates in intensity and dips into the night and twilight as it descends and comes to an end. It’s admittedly a long sequence, I mean just look at the time code in the video I included. At least for me though, it’s always worth watching all the way through. It sets me in the right mood to play the game.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PlayStation 2, 2008)
[Uplodated by micahely]
It’s my favorite game of all time. Of course, I’d include Persona 4‘s title screen.
What I love most about it is the coloring. All of your teammates save for Yu and Teddie are silhouetted in different shades of yellow (the game’s primary color) except for their glasses which are silhouetted in white. Coloring the glasses differently denote its importance in navigating the foggy TV world. Teddie being completely white thus makes sense since he doesn’t need glasses to see. As for Yu, I think it’s to differentiate him from everyone else since he is the protagonist and the leader of the Investigation Team and, by extension, the one leading the team to solve the mystery.
Clearly, Atlus thought the coloring was terrific framing as they do the exact same gimmick with the title screen of Persona 5 with the Phantom Thieves silhouetted in red save their masks which are colored white. That menu is admittedly a bit more dynamically animated though.
The musical track that plays during the title screen, “Corner of Memories”, is also quite lovely. I love that it’s a variation on the game’s ending theme, “Never More” which is very smart musical framing on composer Shoji Meguro’s part.
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