Two retro video game controllers sit next to a delicious bowl of popcorn. / PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR
When I play video games, most of the time I am focused on the game. Is it catchy or annoying? Does it help or is it bothersome, and most importantly, does it work with the game? These are all questions that game developers should be thinking about when it comes to elements of game design. What about console design though? The sound that plays when the console is turned on? There have been nine console generations, and I am going to look at what my favorite start-up sound for a console is.
Right off the bat, I will say that the Sony Playstation One (PS1) is my personal favorite. This is due entirely to nostalgia for the PS1, which was my first console growing up. My Mom bought it for me on my fifth birthday and I still have that console. Every now and then I will boot it up to play Brave Fencer Musashi and I am reminded of that iconic start-up sound. It feels like greatness is about to happen on that console when you first hear it, but I believe that the game library for the PS1 has a huge part to do with that.
A lot of people my age that I have talked to also include the Nintendo Gamecube in this list of greatest start-up sounds and I would be remiss if I did not include it. I love it too, it is just not my favorite. The GameCube is a great console, and I played many different games on it, but the start-up for it never wowed me like others. It is great, do not get me wrong, I just prefer others.
Such as the basic one from another Nintendo product. This time being the Gameboy advance. I initially thought of the original Gameboy color, but I played my Gameboy Advance much more than the original Gameboy. Both start-up sounds are simple in nature and execution, but I think that the advance edges out the original Gameboy. Nintendo uses great design with all of their consoles, but I have to signal out the GameCube and Gameboy as their best start-up sounds. Honorable mention goes out to the Super Nintendo (SNES) though, as I did not own one as a kid, but picked one up later in my life. It is another simple start-up, but it has a certain style that is reminiscent of that 16 bit era that makes me happy.
Just recently, I acquired a Sega Dreamcast and I have to say, that start-up is great. In terms of great consoles, the Dreamcast does not wander into the younger generations eyes, but I have to say, I love the Dreamcast. I mainly have fighting games for it, but the sounds that come out of that system are great. Like the others I have mentioned, the Dreamcast has a simple sound to it, but it feels calm and majestic. Nothing like the games I play on it, but the majesty of Sega’s console is apparent right at start-up. I am looking forward to playing more Capcom vs. SNK on that system.
The amount of consoles is staggering, there are close to thirty that I listened to that I have used or have seen, but that does not even come close to all of the sounds out there. The best one is the PS1 followed by the GameBoy Advance and then the Sega Dreamcast out of the ones I listened to.