​Goodbye, 'Start' Button. We'll Miss You.

 Goodbye,

You put in a disc or launch a game from the hard drive. The title screen glows in front of you, beckoning. Time to press the start button, like you've done thousands of times before. Not anymore though. Start's gone, shown the door by both the PS4 and Xbox One.

Next-gen console hardware always brings changes. Some of them, like upgraded user interfaces or new peripherals, are expected. But it's a bit of a surprise that the button in the centre of both the Xbox One and PS4 controllers doesn't have the word "start" underneath it anymore.

Start goes back to the arcade era, back to when your money was already accepted and all you needed to do was press a button to begin a grand adventure. And adventure is key here because the word "start" can be used as a verb. Video games are all about verbs: run, jump, shoot, dodge. Pushing start inserted you into a new skin and a new world. There's alchemy in "start."

 Goodbye,

But, now, the title screen for Xbox One exclusive Killer Instinct says 'Press Menu.' Menu? Accurate though it may be, that's not getting anybody hyped.

And on PS4's DualShock 4 controller, "start" has been replaced by 'Options'.

 Goodbye,

"Press Any Button" is becoming more and more common now, too.

The change in terminology also reflects on how things have shifted with regard to the making and selling of video games. You're not the one starting things anymore. They've already been started for you and they run in the background without you. You're not a hero; you're a browser, an end user. Both Options and Menu evoke a list of tasks. The same games lie behind each word but without "start", they seem less exciting.

R.I.P. Start button.


Comments

    The requirement to press start and only start is frustrating. It should always be 'any button'.

      Why should it be there to begin with? O.o

        Exactly! Why do we even need to press a button to start playing? Why do we need a title screen? Why can't it just load up where I left off?

          Probably for the same reason some programs ask you three times whether you are sure you want to quit, because they all think we are idiots that don't really know what we want

          enjoy not being able to edit your options before you get in game, say goodbye to lobby systems, multiplayer and singleplayer on the same disc? not without a menu you don't, what do you mean you want to start a new game? what was wrong with your old one? delete save? think of the poor African children who are completely saveless!

          all these kids and their newfangled menus, why can't we go back to the good old days where press start and press any button meant the same thing because the only button you had was start.

            The inFamous games were great because after the opening logos the game would throw you straight into your last save. If you wanted you access any other options, all you had to do was go to the pause menu (by pressing start).

              you mean after waiting for it to load a whole bunch of stuff you don't want anything to do with?

              it's great if all you want to do is continue your game, but it's silly to load all that if you want to do anything else. it's a system that only works for single save single game-type games, and even then it's not ideal.

              I'd rather avoid unnecessary loading and give players a low intensity game state that not only facilitates a more practical use (selecting what you want to do before anything you might not need is loaded) but makes for a great idle and overview state.

            They are questioning the need for title screens, not menus. They are entirely different things. This should be very obvious to you, but apparently not. Perhaps you should pay attention to what other people are saying, rather than simply launching into misguided rants at the drop of a hat.

              firstly, who's ranting?

              secondly, and I quote.
              "Why can't it just load up where I left off?"

              ^in order to simply load up where you left off it would need to skip any form of main menu as well as any title screen, in future work on your own damn reading comprehension before you make yourself look like a fool again.

        In the beginning, I think it was a handover from arcade days, when pressing the start button (or similar) was specified because allowing players to join too easily could have them accidentally joining, dying, then losing their money.
        Also helps that it was probably programmatically simpler to ask for one specific button than any button.

          In the beginning, I think it was a handover from arcade days, when pressing the start button (or similar) was specified because allowing players to join too easily could have them accidentally joining, dying, then losing their money.

          See, that makes a bit of sense. A throwback to the arcade days is fun and all, but it gets really annoying.

          Also helps that it was probably programmatically simpler to ask for one specific button than any button.

          In most cases I've come across the situation, it's been as easy or easier to grab any input verses a specific key.

    Tha was my favourite part about shit console ports to PC. "Push enter to start" -- Why? I have a mouse. Just put me in a goddamn menu with a play button.

      The really shit console ports didn't even bother to change the text, it just shows "Press Start".

    ghost recon future soldier made you press start to get to another press start screen. made me laugh everytime.

    Don't worry, the start button will get reintroduced in the next major update.

    And let's not forget the demise of the less popular brethren of Start Button, Select and Back, although their use was often a mere afterthought from developers who ran out of buttons. May they also rest in peace.

    It still confuses me these days when I'm playing the games of my childhood (ie. NES games) and the Select button was how you changed options in a menu, not with the D-Pad. Games these days also like to confuse me by having you press Start to bring up the menu, then only dismiss the menu by pressing Start again, or only by the O/B button, or only with the Back button, or only by selecting "Resume Game". Then you have the games that use the Triangle/Y button to bring up the menu, not Start. Of course, that's really just an RPG convention, but my point is, games need to be consistent. It's annoying to have to keep trying to figure out what buttons do what common actions each time...

    don't worry, it's still on WiiU.

    Removes start button from controller. Keeps the start screen, but changes the wording to a different button.

    Seriously games industry? Are you that stuck in your ways? They removed the start button because it really doesn't serve a purpose anymore, but you still put a start screen in there?

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