The best and most iconic opening scenes, which may or may not precede a relatively mediocre full game.

Keep your pre-release marketing hype; for me, nothing else establishes such a towering feeling of excitement to be followed by rapid disappointment as a well done opening scene. While not all of the games on this list are inarguably disappointing, they do contain some of the most instantly immersive and memorable moments I've yet experienced, and set a very tall standard for the subsequent hours. These are, in descending order, my favorite openings of all time (not listed: your mother's).

List items

  • With scoffing so loud that it was not only audible, but easily mistakable for the sound of someone choking on very pretentious food, I downloaded the demo to this... first person shooter (scoff scoff scoff)... one night in 2007, indignant that a friend of mine dared point out that with its first slate of reviews on Metacritic, it was momentarily scoring higher than Ocarina Of Time. The download finally finished at around five in the morning and anyone who's played BioShock while not blind, deaf or extremely dumb knows what I then experienced. Feeling so immersed that I could be mistaken for a baby during baptism, I crawled through the first thirty minutes of the game in terror and exhilaration, fearing my first encounter with a Splicer more than I fear most end bosses. It was a revelatory experience, one unparalleled since, in my opinion. Too bad about the rest of the game, though, huh?

  • Indigo Prophecy (or Fahrenheit, a worse title) is spoken of in two ways. One: "Wow, that was the most captivating first scene I've ever played," referring to the opening, wherein you watch your character, Lucas Kane, murder an unknown man in a diner bathroom while in a trance and then are given control in order to hastily sanitize the crime scene and escape, all while mystified over what you've done. Two: "Wow, the last third of that game was way too Matrix for me." Unfortunately, Indinheit Prophego never quite reaches that same intensity again (although it really does come close), despite all confrontations in the back half of the game being solved with airborne fight sequences controlled by an input mechanism reminiscent of two Simon toys placed next to each other, which is by all accounts the most intense way of handling confrontations ever (except for the two Simon toys part).

  • People of today may forget the significance of Metal Gear Solid 2 back in 2001, when information about the story trickled out through industry events in the most tantalizing way possible (the sentence "Ocelot is being possessed by Liquid Snake's arm" was accompanied by two exclamation points, rather than one exclamation point and one question mark and one slack-jawed "Huh?"), while we marveled at details in tiny little videos like the fact that you could shoot the ice bucket and the ice would spill out and the ice would melt and (are you ready for this, motherfucker?) the smaller ice cubes would melt faster. The Tanker realized Solid Snake and gave him countless details and Easter eggs to find; it's a playground in every sense of the word (as long as you meet me halfway and allow that the word doesn't necessitate things like swing sets and can include things like shooting Russian terrorists lots).