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When video games first burst into arcades, title screens were a rudimentary affair, comprising the game's title, a few simple graphics, and an invitation to insert a coin. Often these screens would only be visible for a few moments before reverting to the game's Attract Mode.
As the market shifted to home consoles, title screens became slightly more fleshed out, offering a menu of options before starting the game proper, but again nothing to hold a player's attention for more than a few seconds before starting the game proper.
But some developers dreamed higher, of title screens that could actually entertain the player, or even function as a mini-game in their own right. Enter the Interactive Title Screen, where the game has included unique features purely for the player to mess around and amuse themselves with before starting the actual game in question. These diversions rarely, if ever, alter the main game in any meaningful way, but are a great way to add in titbits of world building, hide Easter Eggs, or just show off some effects or animations they couldn't fit into the main game.
Compare with Playable Menu, where game menus are integrated directly into the gameplay.
Laconic: A game has a title screen that you can do things on.
- Paprika has an in-universe example, when Paprika gives Detective Konakawa a business card for a website where she can resume his therapy treatment in the waking world. When he clicks on the website, he can interact with the bartender there and enter the dreamscape. At one point, he even gets some drinks from within the website while talking about his trauma. (Yeah, this is a trippy movie.)
- There's a variant in the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse short "Caught in a Ham": After Spider-Ham deals with Dr. Crawdaddy (and says that his name is really stupid), he gets trapped in a desktop screen where the mouse keeps clicking on him and messing with his outlines by messing with the color settings. Just as the glitches stop, a portal pulls Spider-Ham into the main movie, where he says, "I hope I haven't missed the first 62 minutes!"
Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends
- The main menu of Detroit: Become Human is staffed by Chloe, an android who greets you and narrates the options chosen. Occasionally, she will offer you insightful questionnaires, which will then show how your answers compare with other players.
- Chloe may eventually declare that she has gained sentience, and you are given the option to free her. Choosing yes means that she will walk away and not return.
Card Battle Game
- The main menu of Call of Duty: Black Ops is a room that exists in-universe, in which you are strapped down in a chair. If you ignore the start menu, which is displayed on an in-universe monitor, you can instead choose to break free of your bonds and wander around the room. Once you do, you can input codes into the computer behind your chair to unlock secrets and hidden games. If you choose the Zombies game, you can also hang around to see the silhouetted watcher in the observation booth be replaced by a zombie.
Hack and Slash
Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
- Subverted with the title screen of Braid, which instructs you to move with the left stick and takes you right into the gameplay.
- Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus lets the player move the camera with the right analog stick.
- Super Mario 64 is an iconic example, allowing you to stretch and pull Mario's face to absurd proportions.
- Super Mario Maker has various effects depending on what you tap using the Wii U controller, which is one of the game's many Call Backs to Mario Paint.
- Super Mario Maker 2 works differently from its predecessor, displaying its title screen over one of a few template stages. You can play through the stage and/or even use it as a template to make your own. You'll start recognizing these templates in other player-made stages pretty quickly.
- Nintendo DSi game A Kappa's Trail lets you use the stylus on the title screen to guide Kappa around, and he can even eat the nearby fish as he swims.
Real Time Strategy
- The title screen for Surgeon Simulator is the main character's desk, the contents of which can be interacted with in a variety of ways, which allows the player to get a grip with the deliberately awkward controls before the game begins proper.
Stealth Based Game
- Metal Gear Solid has a fairly simple title screen, with patterns that move toward the camera, but the colours can be changed by pressing different directions on the d-pad.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater takes the idea a step further, allowing you to change the colors, textures, camera angles, and movement speed of the characters grappling in the background.
- This is a trademark of the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise. Many of the menus for the games show the Fazbear mascots glitching in and out, while the VR version has the player interact with different title screen elements by walking around.
Wide Open Sandbox
Other Game Genres
- Mario Paint is one of the most well-known examples, containing (among other surprises) one of the early instances of Kazumi Totaka's famous hidden song.
- Many a game or animation hosted on Newgrounds and other sites has some form of interactivity on the title screen beyond the standard scene navigation.
- The old Homestar Runner website had an interactive title screen, with Homestar helpfully reading aloud the different menu sections if you scrolled over them.
- The Shredderman website, based on the Wendelin Van Draanen book quartet of the same name, presented this as an extra game when the website gets "hacked". To get rid of the hacker, you have to interact with the different title screen elements to find clues.
- In-universe, one interactive title screen starts the plot of Cyberchase. When Matt, Inez and Jackie meet at the library, they use a digital map to detail where they need to go. Unfortunately, Hacker uses their interaction to flood Motherboard with a virus and captures Dr. Marbles when he flies out to find the encryptor chip that Motherboard needs. Needing backup, Motherboard and Digit use the library's map to form a title screen, and summon the kids into cyberspace. She can make portals with any digital screen, meaning this trope reoccurs.