The Top 7… bitchin' fireworks displays

4. Fantavision

We’d be idiots if we didn’t include Fantavision in this list. Fantavision was probably the first game that popped into most of your heads the moment you read the headline. It’s synonymous with fireworks in games, because it’s one of the only games specifically about fireworks.


Aside from being packed to the gills with colorful explosions, Fantavision is deceptively simple, and considering it’s a PS2 launch game, it still holds up beautifully. The object is to use a sticky onscreen cursor to link together as many unexploded skyrockets as possible, and then – once you’ve got a good chain going – make them all go boom in unison.

It’s relentlessly pretty and surprisingly fun. For a puzzle game about making colored dots explode above city skylines, though, Fantavision sure has a weird intro movie. It starts with this adorable moppet sitting on a box:

Above: Actual screen from intro video 

And eventually cuts to her entire family, who look like they stepped out of a Sears catalog circa 1981:

Above: Even-more-actual screen from intro video 

… only with more modern controllers:

Above: Holy shit, you can’t handle how actual this screen is 

We’ll chalk it up to Sony’s PS2-launch weirdness and a possible desire to link Fantavision with the inventive, mostly nonviolent spirit of the Atari 2600. And also to the difficulty of making a coherent intro for a game that looks like this:

But yeah. Fireworks.


3. Final Fantasy VII

Arguably the single most sentimentalized game of all time, Final Fantasy VII has one scene that’s more of a fan favorite than any other: the one where Cloud, unable to sleep at the ridiculously elaborate Golden Saucer amusement park, goes on a date with Aerith (or Tifa, or Barret, or Yuffie, depending on how you’ve made him behave up to that point).

Above: Not on a date with Aerith 

The scene’s climax comes when the two would-be lovers buy a ride on a cable car. Its track runs high around the outside of Golden Saucer, giving the two a bird’s-eye view of the place and taking them smack through the middle of what was, at that time, probably the most spectacular display of aerial pyrotechnics ever rendered on a console.

Above: If you look closely, you can see the gondola amid all the color 

The rockets weren’t just bursting over their heads, either – the cable car ran high enough that fireworks were exploding underneath it, opening up the kinds of liability questions that are immediately ignored because it’s a fantasy game and everyone has swords instead of lawyers.

Underlining the display is an awfully pretty piece of music, as well as some disappointingly awkward “romantic” dialogue (or just awkward dialogue, if it’s Cloud and Barret). It all wraps up with a full-frame view of the Saucer, as the fireworks continue to burst in the sky around it.

Above: Ooh, pretty 

Like a few of the other entries on this list, it’s difficult to fully appreciate the spectacle of the scene without seeing it in motion, so be sure to check out the video below if your sappy memories aren’t enough to sustain you:


Top 7

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  • KA800M - July 23, 2009 2:49 a.m.

    I know it's an MMO but what about the FFXI fireworks. Not only the even with the goldfish scooping but also the alchemy ones you can make.
  • gatornation1254 - July 8, 2009 10:23 p.m.

    Is it bad I've never played FFVII.
  • Vanguard3321 - July 4, 2009 12:56 a.m.

    Ahhh Chrono Trigger, definitly one of my favorite games, even though I can't beat Lavos. :[
  • TheWebSwinger - July 3, 2009 8:39 p.m.

    Mikel, your screenshots are too actual. Scale it back, buddy. Also, +10 cool points for remembering/referencing Lisa Frank.
  • saintpatrick - July 2, 2009 7:35 p.m.

    what about any of the civilization games and "we love the king" day?!
  • idunno - July 2, 2009 12:05 a.m.

    Woo Boom Boom Rocket! Way batter than any Guitar Hero or DDR.
  • Super bob 36 - July 1, 2009 2:16 p.m.

    Alright! Pyros of the world unite! Great article, guys.
  • Phazon117 - June 30, 2009 8:57 p.m.

    Ooh, I knew Boom Boom Rocket had to be on here!
  • AmazingKG3 - June 30, 2009 7:48 p.m.

    could you count geometry wars? thats not really fireworks as it is exploding shapes. good article
  • secretsearcher - June 30, 2009 5:23 p.m.

    Great article. Because everyone knows that fireworks are the only true way to celebrate Independence Day.
  • deathrebellion - June 30, 2009 4:28 p.m.

    gr8 one Mario bros wuz one of d 1st games dat popped into my head. i'm feeling really left out cuz i never played FF7 :((
  • Darthwaluigi - June 30, 2009 2:50 p.m.

    Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars! You actually control how many and what types of fireworks play at the end of this epic RPG by buying them from a Monty Mole in Moleville! I saw this article and I immediatly thought it would be on there... :[
  • iluvmyDS - June 30, 2009 2:39 p.m.

    You guys sure love that Chrono Trigger. As do I. Great Top 7 Wikiparaz.
  • ChrisAntistaSmellsLikePizza - June 30, 2009 7:15 a.m.

    cool, I wansn't expecting this as the top 7, but it was still awesome.
  • lovinmyps3 - June 30, 2009 6:23 a.m.

    @108796a "Learn to spell" haha.
  • 108796a - June 30, 2009 5:01 a.m.

    godammit y r u guys talkin about fireworks!? talk about something cool like a bloody head being decapacitated and torched with a chainsaw and a fucking grenade. now THAT would be awesome!
  • offthechart43 - June 30, 2009 4:57 a.m.

    I won't lie, I am extremely disappointed not to see Dolphin Olympics 2 on here. It is easily the number 1 game of all time and receives little to no recognition. Can i get a Hoo-Ra from everyone who agrees?
  • Harmon20 - June 30, 2009 3:51 a.m.

    this reminds me of the time when I went to the national jamboree in Boy Scouts. As we were driving into Virginia, we saw a store called "Horney's Fireworks". And on that store was a banner that said, "welcome Boy Scouts!". Yeah, they knew we were the biggest pyros...
  • SlightlyBetterName - June 30, 2009 3:15 a.m.

    You did the best you could with a kinda crappy top 7 Mikel and for that, I applaud you.
  • davidthebowie - June 30, 2009 2:23 a.m.

    A great original list. I would love to see someone make an Appalachian Region fireworks simulation game. You could control a redneck in his quest to purchase and light off various fireworks. It would be great.

Showing 1-20 of 54 comments

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