Hacked Off: When Video Games Have Title Screen Scenes

I find one of the most exciting moments of a game is right at the start. It’s the climax of all this anticipation waiting for release, making you giddy with every button you press. I often wish I could start afresh on games I’m playing. Sometimes when I’m still playing. It sounds weird, but it’s the impending thought of coming towards the end. So, this has meant over the years that I watch the scenes before the start menu. I’m just too excited that I want to soak everything in. Well, until a few years ago, when I realised they are pointless and stupid.

I always watched them in the hopes that it would be a scene that you are meant to watch before you start. As if it is a secret scene that if you miss the story will not make sense, or it’ll be extra background info. That thought alone is pretty stupid. Most people skip it straight away, so that would mean three quarters of players would be missing out on a part of the story. After a while I realised that this never happened, and in fact it was just laden with spoilers. Most of the time it just shows you a montage of scenes later in the game. Here’s a thought, I’ll just play the game instead and come across them when they’re meant to happen. If a character leaves but the scene shows them doing something they haven’t yet, it kind of removes the surprise when they’re back.

There is no need for these scenes. Are they trying to sell the game to you? They’ve already made the sale, do they seem to think people will just take it straight back if that scene’s not there? “Hey, I’d like to return this game as I loaded it up but there was no scene showing me what I’m going to do in the game. I was confused and assumed it meant there isn’t actually a game on the disc.” It is just a pointless addition, most of the montages aren’t even reused from trailers. This means someone has had to spend time to physically make something that will not likely be watched and has no point. It’s like being a tailor in a nudist community, you’re just wasting your time.

Loading up a game already takes enough time. Clearly, people love having to wait for games to load up, so why not make a pointless scene? Now they can load an extra thing they have to skip until they can get to the menu. It’s not something you’re going to re-watch anyway. You’d think something that happens every time you start up the game would be important. After four weeks of playing the game, you’re hardly going to sit there and watch it again. “Oh, that was definitely enjoyable, now that I’ve played the game I can see deeper themes and motifs. It’s truly a work of art. If this game is going to get any awards, it’ll definitely be for that.”

Then there are the scenes that happen when you’ve been sitting on the start screen for a while. As if you’ve been waiting in the hopes of a scene. “Oh, I’ve heard there is another scheduled screening of that scene in five minutes, that’ll be fun to watch.” Maybe the developers think that people are clearly waiting on the screen for something to happen. That if a scene doesn’t start, they’ll be there for days waiting for one. Or it’s something to do, as clearly people on that screen are second guessing whether they should play the game, so it’s to encourage them to press start. Most of the time people leave it on that screen, and it’s because they’ve left the room quickly. So, it is literally playing to no one. Is it for the pets to watch while they wait for you to come back and play the game?

Then there are the ones that reuse the game’s opening cinematic as this scene. An example is Final Fantasy X, as I’m currently playing the HD remaster. So, I assumed that as it was my first time playing it the game would skip the start screen and go straight into the game. So, I sat there and watched the scene. And then it ended and up came the start screen. That meant I had to sit through the same scene again. I couldn’t skip it as there was more to the scene. Well, wasn’t that fun? At least I’ll never forget the opening, I suppose. This one makes the least amount of sense. People are going to watch that exact same thing in less than ten seconds, why show it?

I just don’t understand the need for them, I would rather the scenes not be there and for us to be allowed to load the game quicker. But maybe I’m just a fool who can’t see the true beauty of the scenes.

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