The Top 7… bitchin' fireworks displays

Celebrate early with some of the best games to ever light up the sky

Clearing a level in Peggle is one of the best feelings in the world, and that’s thanks in no small part to the brief but brilliant fireworks display that erupts when, after starting with a screen that looks like this:

You turn it into this:

Above: Almost… almost…


Cue dramatic slow-motion, an emotional burst of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and a brief, fantastic spectacle that the following image absolutely does not do justice to:

The music and the huge, congratulatory rainbow that follows certainly don’t hurt, but it’s the bright lights and fizzling colors that really hammer the win home. And while their brevity means Peggle’s fireworks aren’t the most fantastic or enduring display of pyrotechnics out there, they – like the sky-fire in Super Mario Bros. – are among the most satisfying. And really, isn’t the unique satisfaction offered by explosions the reason we blow shit up in the first place?

Above: Notably less satisfying

5. Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger has something like 15 different endings, so it’s possible that you’ve never seen this one even if you’ve finished the game. But if you have – particularly if you saw it in the pre-PlayStation days – it’s likely you’ll remember the fireworks from the Millennial Fair as one of the game’s most evocative and moving images.

Above: No, not those puffs of smoke. Those are just a hint of what’s to come

At first, the fireworks don’t seem like much more than a few cliché firebursts that erupt over the game’s end credits:

Give it a few seconds, though, and the lights of the Millennial Fair come to life below, revealing the fireworks to be part of the festivities:

Above: OK, so it looks kind of flat. Use your imagination

If you’re seeing them after playing through the game, however, they’re more than just an end-of-game celebration; they’re a clear sign that the future is safe from the apocalyptic parasite Lavos. They’re also a reminder that the entire history-spanning adventure really only took place in the space of a single day. And then the heroes drift by, having grabbed onto a cluster of balloons just before the fireworks started, and, well… it’s kind of a pretty moment.

That said, still images can’t really do it justice. If you’d like a clearer idea what the fuss is about, you can witness its full majesty in the video below:


OK, we promise that’s the last entry based on vague concepts like satisfaction and emotional fulfillment. From here on out it’s nothing but the biggest, most colorful uses of celebratory explosives we could find.


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.
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