The opening cinematic from Uncharted 2.

Boss Rush Banter: Which Video Game Has the Best Opening?

Ah, the video game.

This type of media has entertained for for decades through a variety of formats, but at the end of the day, we can consider these to be stories.

That’s not to say each game has a narrative because many absolutely do not. Rather, video games follow the story format: they have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

More often than not, we will play the beginning of games more than we see their endings. That’s largely just because we usually start a lot more games than we finish. A good beginning may be the factor as to why you stick with a game.

So, which opening to a video game is your favorite?

Unlike other media, video games are interactive and need to teach the player how to operate within the title. That makes openings unique in video, but it also allows them to have different types of openings.

In your action-adventures and role-playing games, the opening is often narrative driven.

Squall Leonhart from the opening of Final Fantasy VII.
A dramatic duel in the opening minutes of Final Fantasy VIII that leaves Squall bloodied. (Image Credit: Square Enix via Final Fantasy Wiki)

Games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Final Fantasy often use opening cinematics to reel in the player. Horizon Zero Dawn lays out its story in a fantastic opening cinematic that grips you into the game. Final Fantasy VIII uses an opening cinematic that features Squall and Seifer fighting with operatic music playing behind them.

Other RPGs often lean into a movie that happens prior to starting the game such as Chrono Cross and Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. In that same vein, The Legend of Zelda often has a sort of cinematic story time before creating your save file.

This approach works great for narrative-driven games, but what about non-narrative titles?

Platformers like Super Mario 64 often stick you in a tutorial level that goes over the basics while allowing you to progress the stages. Bob-omb Battlefield is the opening level in Super Mario 64 and it provides you with a lot of tutorials on how to control Mario and defeat enemies.

Even sports games have tutorials that can put you in a big game or another moment. WWE 2K23‘s opening tutorial is a training center match with another wrestler while other games put you in the middle of last year’s Super Bowl or NBA Finals to teach you the basics.

Regardless of how a game opens, it’s likely to make or break the game for us. We are so busy and if a game is slow to get started, we are more likely to move on.

So what do you think? Which video game opening is your favorite? How do you prefer a game to start? Was there an opening that turned you off of a game? Let us know in the comments below or head over to our Discord channel to join the conversation.

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The Boss Rush Podcast

The Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and The Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, LeRon, Stephanie, Edward, and their friends from around the internet come together to talk their week in games, entertainment, and more while also bringing topics for conversation, answer listener and community questions, and cover major news and events happening in the video game industry. Watch The Boss Rush Podcast live on Wednesday Nights on Twitch at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT or on Monday mornings at 7 a.m. ET on YouTube and podcast services everywhere. Thanks for listening! You can also get this episode one week early on Patreon.

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