The 10 worst game intros of all time

Quick question: What's the first thing you see when you boot up a game for the first time? OK, yeah, a loading screen, a bunch of company logos and a title screen, but what about after that? You see an intro sequence, a carefully constructed bit of (usually) non-interactive wizardry designed to hook you into the game and get you interested in its characters and plot in those crucial early moments of play.

Of course, not every developer realizes how important a decent intro can be, and they've been known to drop the ball in nasty ways. Occasionally, the game is good enough to recover - that's why the 15-minute codec conversation from Metal Gear Solid 3 gets a dishonorable mention instead of its own entry. But more often than not, a bad intro is a harbinger of a terrible game, and the worst opening sequences are like glowing toxic warning signs to stay the hell away.

Sometimes, though, warning signs can be funny. Hilarious, even. That's why we've braved the impossible, collecting the 10 worst game intros ever and sticking videos of them into the following pages for your entertainment. Brace for horror.

10. Zero Wing
1991 | Genesis

Let's just get this one out of the way immediately, so you don't spend the whole rest of the article going, "yeah, but… what about that 'All Your Base' game? That was pretty bad, right?"

Conceptually, there's nothing wrong with Zero Wing's intro. After a massive spaceship is dealt a lethal blow by an alien fleet, its captain - taunted by the alien commander and realizing death is imminent - makes one final, defiant decision to scramble all fighters as his ship goes down. Only one makes it out in time, and that solitary pilot is left to take on an entire armada by himself.

But the poorly translated English used to illustrate all this is so bad, so hilariously abysmal, that the intro was rediscovered and turned into a major geek phenomenon years after the game itself had faded into obscurity. No other game can claim that. It was all thanks to the villain CATS and his immortal line, "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US," but the sequence has a few other gems as well. If you've somehow never seen it until now (in which case we can only assume that you came to this site by accident), then prepare to recoil in shock at the revelation that "SOMEBODY SET UP US THE BOMB," and shed a tear at the captain's final order to "MOVE 'ZIG'. FOR GREAT JUSTICE." We sure did.

About the Author
Mikel Reparaz

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.