Sitting down in front of your television, grabbing your controller, and preparing for a late night of video game fun and junk food is a fond memory that a lot of gamers have in common. This memory is full of nostalgia, but one thing that has stuck with us through all those late nights is the start-up sounds of many different consoles.
We can hear them now, the sweeping chimes, the echoes, and the soaring roar of our home entertainment systems coming to life. Below are some of the best console system start-up sounds ever!
SAY-GAH. You can hear it now, can’t you? The classic two-tone exclamation whenever you booted up the SEGA Genesis. The SEGA Genesis, also known as the Mega Drive outside of North America, was released in 1988 and boasted a library of more than 900 games. Much like the Nintendo Entertainment System was one generation’s home console, the SEGA Genesis introduced another generation to the world of video games.
Some of the most memorable games on the SEGA Genesis deserver modern remakes. The likes of Altered Beast, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, ToeJam & Earl, Golden Axe, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Double Dragon, and how could forget, Earthworm Jim, should find a home on modern consoles.
The Dreamcast was one console that just couldn’t stick around, despite having some of the most forward-thinking ideas wrapped into one console. A phone line port in the back of the console meant the Dreamcast was internet-ready, totally prepared to take our living rooms online.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. What remains is one of the smoothest start-up sounds of a home console. The droplets of water and the deep bass would rumble around our stereo speakers. Some great games also found their start on the Dreamcast, with the likes of Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Crazy Taxi, Phantasy Star Online, and Soulcalibur.
The PlayStation 1 is likely one of the first consoles a lot of gamers these days had or at least the one where they had the most control over what they could buy and play. With such titles as Driver, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and… you get the idea… the PlayStation 1 introduced use to franchises that would live on for decades. Despite all this, that start-up sound is still lodged firmly in our brains.
Then in 2000 there was the PlayStation 2, where Sony fans got the chance to sink back and get comfortable for what would amount to a lifetime of loyalty. Switching on a PS2 would greet us with that classic tune, as we fell toward what can only be described as a city covered in fog.
Though the PlayStation 1 gave us some excellent franchises, the PlayStation 2 had the quantity of games, reaching well over a thousand. There were hundreds of gems within that library, with such standouts as Shadow of the Colossus, Kingdom Hearts II, Gran Turismo 4, Ratchet and Clank, and many others.
A year after the PS2, Microsoft threw their hat into the ring with the release of the Xbox. This huge black box crashed onto the scene and showed the PS2 what a gaming console could do at launch. On start-up, the Xbox played one of the best sequences, a pulsing heart full of green energy that eventually erupted, filling out a massive green “X”.
The Xbox would offer some of the best games to date, with the likes of Halo, Fable, Blinx, Jet Set Radio Future, Phantom Crash, Project Gotham Racing, Dead or Alive, and Conker: Live & Reloaded.
Nintendo’s GameCube was Nintendo’s last console that focused primarily on standard controls, before the company discovered the magic of motion controls. Despite the reaction to the Nintendo 64 controller, Nintendo stuck to their guns and created the GameCube controller, one just as oddly shaped as its predecessor.
Controllers aside, the start-up to the GameCube was pure joy, and one of the few consoles that had secret start-up sounds. Depending on whether you were holding a button on one controller or more, the GameCube would play different tunes when it loaded up!
Nintendo also had some real winning games on the GameCube, with several memorable titles: Super Mario Sunshine, Viewtiful Joe, Super Smash Bros. Melee, TimeSplitters, Pikmin, and Animal Crossing to name a few.
Sony continued their success with the PlayStation 3, which took the synth and electronic and swapped in a more refined orchestral theme. Powering up a PS3 was pure class as the stringed instruments echoed their excitement and the colored waves greeted you.
The PS3 was also home to some of the finest pieces of storytelling in gaming to date, with a couple of standouts being Heavy Rain, Last of Us, the Uncharted Series, and even the brutally difficult Demon’s Souls.
The Xbox 360, with the rising sun and the swirling sphere branded with the iconic “X” was a start-up screen that would greet millions of gamers on a daily basis. This start-up sound was like sweet music to your ears because it meant that not only had your console avoided the red ring of death, but you would be able to play some of the best game franchises ever released.
While many of the original Xbox titles wouldn’t make the transition, there were dozens more than would find their feet on the Xbox 360. Thanks to it, we have such titles as Halo, Gears of War, Forza Motorsport, Viva Piñata, Dead Rising, and Assassin’s Creed.
Now we’re in the age of the PlayStation 4, which took what the PS3 did with its start-up tune and made it, somehow, even more classy and relaxing. The sweet ambiance of the PS4 start-up welcomes us to another day of gaming, a more refined and civilised experience. In this day and age, we can play games like The Last Guardian, Bloodborne, Destiny, and Horizon: Zero Dawn.
The Xbox One is one of the newest entrants into the gaming scene, but one that offers a simple, yet pure start-up sound. Taking the core sounds of the Xbox 360 start-up, the Xbox One gets to the point and gets us into the action sooner. Throughout all of Microsoft’s Xbox consoles, the classic whoom sound has continued, and will hopefully continue to greet us as the Xbox Scorpio prepares to drop.
No matter how old you are, when you got into gaming, or what your favorite console is, we can all agree on one thing: console start-up sounds hold a special place in all our hearts. We don’t know about you, but this is making us want to dig out our PS1 and boot it up! What’s your favorite console start-up sound of all time?