Republished on Tuesday, 2nd December 2014: We're bringing this article back from the archives to celebrate the PSone's big 20th Anniversary this week. The original feature follows.
Originally published on Friday, 12th April 2013: While it’s difficult to topple the trembling sense of anticipation that comes when you greedily tug at the cellophane concealing a brand new piece of hardware, watching said system’s startup screen for the very first time gives the momentous occasion a run for its money. Ever since the very first PlayStation took the world by storm, Sony has made a point of manufacturing memorable boot sequences for its portfolio of platforms, resulting in a family of unforgettable animations and sounds.
Chances are, you’ll have seen and heard the following idents thousands of times. They are as much a part of gaming as the adventures that they have prefaced, and are all individually inspired for their own unique reasons. But while we wait anxiously to see if the PlayStation 4’s introduction is more interesting than the PlayStation Vita’s, which of the subsequent startup sequences is your favourite?
The original PlayStation’s boot screen represented a real statement of intent from the freshly formed Sony Computer Entertainment. Pulling no punches, the console’s sudden swell of deep, beefy bass was powerful enough to knock you sideways – as it often did if you’d accidentally left your television’s volume too high. There was no need for fancy visual effects or glossy animations, because the sound conveyed everything that you needed to know about the system. We don’t think that the platform holder could have produced a more potent introduction if it had ushered Ken Kutaragi into a sound booth, and forced him to scream obscenities into a microphone.
With the PSone already on top of the world, Sony opted for something a little more subtle with the PlayStation 2. The company ditched the powerful bass swells of its predecessor in favour of an organic pad, as the screen panned around an image of featureless tower blocks and dancing DualShock button-coloured orbs. But while the sequence appeared restrained on the surface, it was actually a lot more interactive than most realise. The system would take into account the data stored on your console’s memory card, and render slightly different cities as a result. How it actually worked is still up for debate today, and remains one of the device’s enduring mysteries.
Much like its home console counterpart, Sony’s first foray into the portable market opted for bright twinkles and breezy guitar slides ahead of the face-melting bass of its ancestor. We suspect that the emphasis on high-tones may have been solidified by the PlayStation Portable’s tinny speakers, but the chirpy nature of the startup sequence felt appropriate for a system primarily designed to be played outside in the sunshine. While previous boot screens opted for dark colours, the handheld focused on bright whites and a cheery lens flare. We often wonder if it helped to inspire the Japanese manufacturer’s famous ‘Make.Believe’ ident.
For the PlayStation 3’s introduction sequence, Sony worked with PixelJunk developer Q-Games. Originally the Kyoto-based studio concocted a concept involving a full-scale rendering of the planet earth, but the idea was scaled back and later re-explored in one of the system’s music visualisers. Unlike the synth sounds used on all of the platform holder’s previous consoles, the manufacturer opted for an orchestral tone, giving the opening a more organic feel. Fascinatingly, the boot screen actually changed when the PS3 Slim launched on 1st September 2009, replacing the original ‘Sony Computer Entertainment’ text with the refreshed hardware’s new logo.
What direction would you like the PS4’s startup sequence to take? Which of the above classics is your favourite? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.
Which PlayStation platform has the best startup sequence? (121 votes)
Please login to vote in this poll.