A console boot-up sequence is the first impression the hardware makes on you. It's the tone and animation that welcomes the player in, with either a chance to wow them with sound and motion, or just get them in a chipper mood for some GameCube-fueled fun.
Over hundreds and thousands of repetitions, these sequences get burned into our brain, until merely saying the words "GameCube start-up" makes everyone fall into a sort of synesthetic reverie. Sadly, with how fast these consoles look to be booting these days, and how slim current consoles' sequences are already, those bite-sized bits of gaming's glory days seem long gone.
Still, even if they disappear, we'll never forget what we had, while we had it. So we'd like to know: what's your favorite console boot-up sequence?
The first one that comes to mind is the starting sequence of the original PlayStation. I have that series of tones burned into my mind in the same way the modem connection noise is. But I think that's because it's tied to so many fond memories, not because the sequence itself is great.
This question is also probably not fair to modern consoles, since we don't boot them up per se. Instead, most of us simply put them in sleep mode and then bring them back. The need for a memorable boot up sequence is depreciated.
I think my answer is probably the playful boot-up of the Nintendo GameCube. That tiny blue cube drawing out the full logo with each turn before slamming home in the center is just so well done. The PlayStation boot-up sticks with me, but the GameCube's is the best.
I love a good boot sequence. The right sound, the right animation, and it can all blend together into something warm, inviting, and hopefully memorable. Nintendo has always been my favorite in general; the Game Boy Advance's swoop in and little ping at the end, and the Nintendo GameCube's endlessly meme-able introduction.
The one I feel the most nostalgic for still, though, is the PlayStation 2. It's just kind of this vague, almost vacuum-of-space, eerie symphony of noise. It would fade in and out, and then acknowledging the disc was locked and loaded, do the simple tone and logo of the PlayStation 2. It was go-time. Seeing that animation brings me back to days of eagerly booting up Jak and Daxter, Final Fantasy X, Guitar Hero, and more. A little portal into an open world of possibilities.
I don't know if I think it's the best boot-up, but I am quite partial to the one for the original Xbox. There's something perfectly turn-of-the-millenium about it: the weird, pulsating Flubber orb in some kind of reactor connotes "gaming power" in a way that's, well, kinda dumb. The flash of the chip for the Xbox One X boot-up is just a somewhat classier approach to the same silly idea. Branding a console based on what's inside it (real or imagined) is goofy—if Sony had done something similar with the PS3's Cell Processor it would be rightly lampooned today. For me, though, the O.G. Xbox blob is so disconnected from reality that it loops back to being good again.
The GameCube boot animation. It's fun and iconic, and it matches up well with the system's cheeky personality, which has aged far better than the Dew-driven tryhard mentality of the Xbox. Like the NES games of old, it even has a built-in secret—hold down Z at startup and you'll hear a squeaking monkey mixed with children's laughter. Truly, the GameCube boot screen is the best example of what has become a lost art in this day and age.
I don't know how anyone can possibly supply an answer except for "the original PlayStation jingle," which I love so much, I wrote an article about its widespread appeal. No other sound can carry me right back to an exact moment in time as effectively as the PlayStation jingle. It was just me, Final Fantasy 7, and the dark of my bedroom at 2 a.m.. Meeeemorieeees…