While data install has been a necessity with PC games ever since it's conception, console games have rarely needed an install to run. Originating with Final Fantasy XI's install on the Xbox 360, console install processes have led to a community outcry. Blank screens, bare-bone progress bars, system-default install screens... These have been plaguing the console gaming community for years now. With most PlayStation 3 games now requiring mandatory installs and Xbox 360 games simply running better when installed onto the hard drive, the long and unfortunate wait to play the game you just purchased is becoming an unpleasant standard.
Thankfully, certain games have taken up the responsibility of making this process entertaining. From Metal Gear Solid 4's Solid Snake cigarette smoking to BioShock's (PS3) advertisements sprinkled with 50's-era music, certain game data install screens have become a pleasure to watch. At least for a few minutes. This is not to say that this phenomenon is entirely new. A host of PC games have had fun, interesting and entertaining install screens for years. You'll also be able to find them here.
Some games use Installing as a way of catching up on the story. Ninja Gaiden Sigma
for the PS3 had an optional install feature. During the install process, little bits of story info was shown during the lengthy install process. Similarly, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
had a prologue during the required install which explained events prior to the game's beginning. A clever, and well-produced, way to fill the player in on some backstory. Similar to this is the install screen displayed for Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix
. As the files copy to the player's hard drive, a news broadcast is played, detailing the events that precede the start of the game, introducing the player to the story's main conflict.
One of the most interesting install screens to date is found in Heavy Rain
. Upon entering the install screen, the player is instructed to take out a piece of origami paper included in the game box and is given on-screen step-by-step instructions on how to fold the paper into the game's iconic bloody tipped crane. The instructions unfold
as the game installs onto the hard drive. It is also worth noting that the instructions given have a small mistake in them. One step requires the paper to be rotated in a certain fashion causing the final crane to have blood on the beak and one of it's feet, as opposed to blood being on both its feet. This can easily be fixed by rotating the origami sheet 90º in a counter-clockwise fashion from the original instructions. (Having the marked area rotate to the upper-right instead of the lower left) Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
for the PSP
includes a looping song and animated kitten that dances on beat as the game installs data onto the PSP Memory Stick.