We all know there's nothing quite like coming home after a hard day's work, or picking up a fresh title, or simply rolling out of bed and booting up your favorite video game console. The reassuring "beep" and whirr of a meaty set-top box going through its warming up process is one of the most delicious sounds a household has to offer, don't you think?
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So which are the best of the boot-up themes? The fanfares that work to reassure us that all those dollars dropped on sprites were completely worth it. Come with me now down Nostalgia Way and tune your ears to the winds of time, gamer, and let's have a listen to-
12 Of The Greatest Video Game Console Boot-Up Themes
Which was your favorite?
Sega Mark III (1985)
Aah the #Sega Mark III, known as the Master System II in Europe. It was one of the great Japanese consoles to spring up after the North American video game crash of 1983. Built with superior tech compared to Nintendo's NES, the Mark III has probably the greatest boot-up music in its remix of the seminal Space Harrier's main theme. Even with that though, it was still totally trounced by the NES. But pretty much every console was then.
Game Boy (1989)
So simple you'd be forgiven for forgetting the Game Boy's easy going boot-up beeps. The scrolling #Nintendo text and two piercing beeps were all you needed to know that this seven hour car journey packed with your parents and smelly siblings was going to be the best seven hour car journey ever. Until you forgot to get a tonne of fresh batteries for the return trip....
Philips CD-i (1991)
For a format that unfortunately brought us Hotel Mario and a handful of the most shockingly bad Zelda titles you will ever see, Philips' CD-i didn't have a bad theme on boot-up. Whilst sounding cheap compared to Neo-Geo or the Atari Jaguar CD's offerings, the CD-i's boot-up theme feels like a time machine for the wealth of early '90s kids' TV jingles made with bulky Casio keyboards: cute and kinda fondly remembered, but pretty much a bad idea on paper.
SNK NeoGeo (1991)
Simple, classy and altogether elegant, the home of The King of Fighters and Metal Slug, this console powerhouse has one of the nicest boot-ups on this here list, as in both screen and theme. A simple white to black screen with a pulsating fanfare that is so wonderfully Japanese and futuristic, this is how you do a musical motif for a 24-bit console.
Sega CD/Mega CD (1991)
Much like the peripheral it was created for, Sega CD's boot theme was a raucously OTT fanfare that promised to free your games and take them to heady heights. Only it didn't, did it? Arguably the best game for Sega CD was Sonic CD, and the peripheral was super expensive too, hence why it only sold 2m units. Well, we'll always have Japan's boot-up. And yes, the boot-ups really were that long, unless there was a disc in place....
Sony PlayStation (1995)
The most notorious of nostalgia inducing boot-up themes—besides #GameCube of course—the #PlayStation's sub-rattling fuzzy bass notes, twinkling synth and sweeping, airy pads only aided in hammering home the obvious truth: the future is here and you're gonna have to be involved in rave culture to understand it.
Sega Dreamcast (1999)
The last and arguably best of Sega's consoles, in North America the DC had an orange swirl, and in Europe we had a blue one. But all in all, what the #Dreamcast offered every one of its owners was some of the best multiplayer action and first-party Sega games history can muster. And one of the simplest boot-ups on this list. Long live the Dreamcast!
PlayStation 2 (2000)
Here it is, the #PS2, one of the greatest consoles ever made and the fastest to ever sell 100 million units (took it five years). Coming off the back of the OG PlayStation's retro-futuristic beeps and sweeps comes this morbid nightmare of a boot-up. Intense, creepy, dreamy and exciting all at once, I think those adjectives all kinda surmise the PS2, don't you?
Nintendo GameCube (2001)
To put it bluntly, the GameCube had a fairly crappy time at the races when it released with an okay line-up of launch titles, and had the build of an expensive toy. But we have to remember that it was marketed mainly at kids, hence the purple, its, erm, handle and array of colorful titles. Trounced in sales by the PS2, Xbox and the N64 before it, a lot of good still came from the little purple box of middling mehs, like Eternal Darkness, Luigi's Mansion and this attention grabbing boot-up theme and sequence. Did you know GC had three different boot-up themes?
The great American reentry into the video game console market, the Xbox's boot-up sequence was weird. Really weird man, as a camera had us staring at an unknown green energy, or lifeform, that powers the X in #Xbox itself, before disappearing into its logo. The boot-up pretty much surmised the Xbox: a strange amalgamation of ideas and tech that somehow came together to work like some kind of alchemy. Yes, even the "Duke".
Xbox 360 (2005)
Though not the most exciting of boot-up themes, all iterations of the 360's were some of the most seen in modern day gaming. Arguably the best console of the seventh generation of video games, it's the sound at the end of the musical motif that really stands out for me—the one that sounds like a robot trying to fart silently. You'll recognize it when you hear it, because it became Xbox's signature sound.
PlayStation 3 (2006)
Though it had arguably the worst UI to ever befall consoles (damn you, XMB), and its first huge model with its Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie font was as ugly as sin, the #PS3 was one hell of a classy console with some of the best exclusive games you could ever imagine (eventually, that is). A weird floaty ribbon thing combined with the sound of an orchestra warming up is the boot-up? Well, this sultry box was certainly made for exquisite tastes. And with a launch price tag of $600, I hope you had the bank balance to match that pallet of yours.
Well done, you've reached the end of this post! And I bet you're wondering where PS4, Xbox One, Wii and Wii U's boot-ups are? Well, I chose to emit them because they're not great are they? And Nintendo's last two offerings don't really have boot-up sequences. Xbox One's is just their signature robot fart and PS4's is a blue screen with pretty boring music sweeping all over it. Maybe I'm being harsh, but shouldn't a console scream FUN or class when switched on? I mean we've been waiting all day to boot them up. What do you think?
What's your favorite console boot-up theme of all time?