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The Top 7... Loading screens that don't suck quite as hard as loading screens normally do

NOW LOADING INTRO...

*Please wait*...

(This intro would have been much better if it had one of these loading screens to fill it)

 

7) Plants vs Zombies

While this is undoubtedly the most traditional loading screen on this list, there's a lot to be said for a loading screen that we actually look forward to seeing. Perhaps it's the brevity of the whole thing (it's over in a few seconds) or just the fact that it gets us in the mood for this fantastic game. Either way, while it's the most traditional loading screen you'll find on this entire list, it's a favourite.

A roll of turf starts on the left-hand side of the screen and unravels as the game loads up. As it unfurls, flowers pop up in a line behind it. But then, instead of the last one… it's a zombie head!

In fairness, I admit, that sounds crap. But look at the cute little fella:


Above: Pop, pop, pop, pop, "uuuurrgh!" Classic

The cartoon style takes all of the horror away, but preserves some B-movie atmosphere with its music. It would probably be childish to sing 'Plantses versus Zombies / Plantses / Zombies' to the tune. I mean, 'Plantses' isn't even a word, no matter how nicely it fits the tune. So we definitely don't do that. No, sir.

The intellectual analysis:
The literal interpretation of the term 'pushing up daisies' makes light of the undeniably morbid subject matter. You're seeing the emergence of the undead menace and laying down the premise for the game. For example, the roll of turf represents the track every zombie is stuck to, the flowers lie its path and the zombie is facing left. It's symbolic of the entire experience you're about to have, while drawing attention away from the necessary load time with humour and charm.

The layman's analysis:
A zombie poked his head up. Lolz.

 

6) Bayonetta

Our next example can sadly be completely spoiled by using Xbox 360's 'install' option. Why? It run its course in seconds, meaning the game's loaded before you can really get to grips with just how awesome this loading screen really is. How's that for a sign of a quality loading screen? It's so good, you're annoyed when it's over. Curse you, optimisation! On the PS3 version, however, it's a totally different story.

Those loooong load times translate into the perfect opportunity to learn the Wicked Weave moves or to perfect combos, displaying command strings for every move available to you.



The intellectual analysis:
This loading screen effectively acts as gaming purgatory, preparing you for the heavenly delights of the main gameplay, which cleverly complements the game's underlying subtext while offering practical and consequence-free use of the multi-faceted combat system.

The layman's analysis:
Look - I made her nekkid!

 

5) DiRT 2

One of the most inexplicable omissions from the otherwise exemplary DiRT 3 was Codemasters' fantastic load screens, first introduced in Race Driver GRID. They're all rendered in proper 3D, which you can view from slightly different angles by moving the stick and using the triggers to zoom in and out. But DiRT 3 does that bit. What it doesn't do is stats.
     

The loading screens tell you how well you're progressing through the game. How close you are to getting a certain achievement or trophy. How far you've driven. The number of flashbacks used… even your average finishing position (which, for us is always 1st, naturally).

The intellectual analysis:
The barrage of statistics offer validation, not only as subtle encouragement that you're making progress towards clearly-defined goals, but suggesting that the game is watching and indeed applauding everything you do, elevating the individual's sense of self-worth as a result. 

The layman's analysis:
Is there really an achievement called 'two cups one girl'?

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51 comments

  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - June 20, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    >>The Top 7... Loading screens that don't suck quite as hard as loading screens normally do Hahaha nice concept
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - June 20, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    >The Top 7... Loading screens that don't suck quite as hard as loading >screens normally do Hahahaha nice concept
  • shadowreaper72 - June 20, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    Firsties!!! I feel so proud of myself lol!!!
  • shadowreaper72 - June 20, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    Firsties!!! I feel so proud of myself lol
  • Clovin64 - June 20, 2011 10:16 a.m.

    The long PS3 loading times in Bayonetta can actually be seen as a positive? Who would of thought?
  • sternparez - June 20, 2011 10:28 a.m.

    haha I was about to moan "where is FIFA?" It's good that a brit did this Top 7, good call!
  • Mooshon - June 20, 2011 10:31 a.m.

    Invader load made c64 gaming so much better. Before that it was just waiting on a pixel art title screen to build line by line, if you were lucky. Great days...
  • Threesome - June 20, 2011 10:35 a.m.

    How about Assassains Creed? Bayonetta copied there from there ( ] o,____o,)]
  • ranzatsu - June 20, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    The loading times in Portal 2 were shit, but I honestly think seeing the Aperture logo (SPOILER: or the Wheatley logo) fade in was pretty cool.
  • shadowreaper72 - June 20, 2011 11:19 a.m.

    DAAAAAAMMMMMMMNNNNNNN!!!! I fail.
  • Tomkins - June 20, 2011 12:04 p.m.

    If you press select on 360 while loading Bayonetta it lasts for as long as you want it to.
  • Lemming - June 20, 2011 12:24 p.m.

    I always thought the No More Heroes loading screen was designed for the easily amused. Figuring out the right combination of buttons until the loading star spins the opposite direction via optical illusion.
  • RichieIRL - June 20, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    Definitely agree with the Bayonetta loading screen. I took a bit of a break from playing for a few weeks and when I went back into it the practice screens were perfect to catch up a bit on some of the stuff I had forgotten.
  • SonicX_89 - June 20, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    The second I saw the picture of the door from Resident Evil I thought of the Muppets Party Cruise. TDar has taken over my life.
  • rxb - June 20, 2011 1:04 p.m.

    I cant lie Justin, I made sure I read this feature just to make sure Ridge racer was on the list, but now I have read it I think it should have been number 1. Im sure you know that completing the Galaxian screen unlocks more cars in the game, therefore making it relevant too.
  • Asmodean - June 20, 2011 1:06 p.m.

    What no 8-Bit Game Heroes? What's better then 8-bit versions of classic title art.
  • flabslapper - June 20, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    Wow I'm actually able to contribute to this one! Test Drive for the PS2 had Pong during the loading screens, where if you decided to play, you could have a full blown match with two players even after the game was finished loading, all you had to do was hit start after you were bored of Pong and it took you right to the racing
  • HereComesTheHypeTrainCHOOCHOO - June 20, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    I quite enjoyed the Killzone 2 loading screens where you can rotate them with the sixaxis motion controls in the dualshock controller. Simple but satisfying.
  • edtrotter - June 20, 2011 1:13 p.m.

    Very disappointed to not see Wave Race: BlueStorm make this list!
  • BigWillis - June 20, 2011 1:17 p.m.

    I remember Die Hard Arcade had a submarine game in it, can't remember if it was part of a loading screen or just a secret.

Showing 1-20 of 51 comments

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