Forget Unreal: I'm All About Twisted Pixel's 'Beard' Engine

Like many folks, I've got a complicated relationship with pre-game splash screens. On the one hand, I like that series of middleware introductions, publisher logos, and various other graphical preamble that flash across my screen, largely because of how I savour them the first time I'm playing a game that I'm excited about.

I watch them roll by, enjoying the build-up to the "start new game" menu, to diving into an entirely new, exciting experience.

But the bloom quickly comes off of the rose, and soon I'm clicking my way through splash screens as fast as I can, cursing at the ones that won't let me get past them. "I know that you use stupid Havoc physics! Stop telling me!"

But one recent splash-screen is so randomly, hilariously great that I watch it every time it comes on. It's for Twisted Pixel's proprietary "Beard Engine", which is used to power their (delightful) new Xbox Kinect game The Gunstringer.

You kinda just gotta watch it; it's hypnotic. Some combination of the goofy drawings, the "Beard 2600", and tongue-in-cheek gauntlet-throw at Unreal Engine just kills me. Or maybe it's some remnant of my lifelong beard-envy.

I wrote to Twisted Pixel to ask about how they came up with the whole thing, and it turns out the "Your move, Unreal" guy is Twisted Pixel CTO and co-founder Frank Wilson. The folks at TP were even kind enough to supply the following (largely made-up) origin story:

The idea came about last minute because we had a previous Beard Intro (that you can unlock in Ms Splosion Man) that wasn't going to work out. CCO Josh Bear worked tirelessly for two minutes to come up with a new intro and hired a famous Hollywood director to create the epic piece, and creative Dizney artists crafted the fabulous art works scattered over Frank's desk. We also brought in Industrial Lights and Majiks to actually create an animatronic beard onto Frank's naked face that actually shoots lightning bolts. The whole video cost about 2.5 million to make and is worth every penny.

Heh. They also sent along this picture, which gives a delicious taste of what could have been:

All this has me thinking about the splash-screens of yesteryear. Maybe it'd be fun to catalogue them somehow. In the meantime, what are some of your favourite splash-screens?


    My least favourite ever is the NVidia splash screen for Borderlands.

    It's unskippable, twice as long as a normal splash screen and has the most annoying character since Navi front and centre.

      editing one of the INI files can actually remove the intro videos entirely.

    I'd have to go with the Beard Engine splash screen and the Conker's Bad Fur Day screen with the chainsaw

    So thats what Chainsaw's nipples look like...

    I haven't seen the Beard splash. But I feel the exact same way about splashes. Savouring them the first time I play a game, then skipping them most of the time there after.

    I always remember the Splash Screen from Diddy Kong Racing.

    They used a stock sound of children laughing that pops up everywhere. It's the Wilhelm scream of the N64 Generation.

    Some guy even made a website about it:

      I am going to watch every single one of these when I get home.

    Don't forget: if your Dad doesn't have a beard, you've got two Mums.

    thinking about this for 1 second and instantly thought of the Need for Speed (very first game) splash screens/logos

    I loved the EA Canada and Pioneer logos and accomponing music. I'd watch them everytime i booted this up on my struggling 486

    I quite like the brief logos in Deus Ex HR- they almost seem like the intro to a movie, esp. with the music running under them

    Got the trial for Ms Splosion Man which was a hefty 1.9gb.

    I wonder how much of that 1.9gb was taken up by the Beard intro...

    As for what splash screens I like... I always liked the old "SEEEGAAA" ones. Hilariously, my old dog used to love the Banjo Kazooie - N&B one. Every time it came on he'd stop whatever he was doing and listen to it.

    "Accolade presents:.....Test drive 2......The Duel"

    My favorite game doesn't have splash screens, it has one title, and that's it.

    Its called "The VOCAL WAR games", Amazon has it on sale for $1. I am waiting to challenge a lawyer-

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