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Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:28 am
by tepples
From top to bottom, most NES games' title screens are title, menu (Start, Password, Options), and a copyright notice if one didn't appear on the previous screen. How jarring would it appear to have the menu appear above the title?

My boss proposed a title screen. I reordered it to the conventional layout, and he said the result was "a little out of balance. [...] the overall look is more important than where players expect to see things." I told him I had to respectfully disagree with the idea that look is more important than usability. I'm looking for pros and cons and whether it really affects balance that much at all.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:46 am
by Bregalad
To me the 1st looks weird while the 2nd look perfectly normal.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:36 am
by koitsu
First screenshot is completely non-intuitive. Not to be rude, but it's gotta be the second one. See Monster Party for an example.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:57 am
by TmEE
Second definitely wins.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:19 pm
by Dwedit
Top looks awful.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:40 pm
by tokumaru
The first one makes absolutely no sense. The interactive part (which is the most important part!) suffers from unintuitive placement and lack of focus (dark text over dark background). Bottom one definitely wins.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:19 pm
by proveaux
Ditch the top one.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:45 pm
by tepples
We're going with the menu below the title.

Disclosure: My boss OK'd both this straw poll and the other before I posted them.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:11 pm
by rainwarrior
At the risk of being a devil's advocate, I don't quite understand the argument that this affects usability: you don't need to accelerate someone's first-time progress through a title screen. It feels like the only consequence here is that they might spend a few more seconds looking at it, once, and I'm not sure why that's a problem.

(Not saying that an unusual design won't be detrimental to usability elsewhere, but this is something that requires context sensitive judement. Specific to this title screen I don't think it's problematic at all.)


Aesthetically, I kind of like the thought of having the START / OPTION on top. Kind of unusual. I don't like the "large pixel" pumpkins, or that big ugly "2" eating space at the bottom-- the composition seems unbalanced to me, and I'd want to shift everything down. It didn't really sound like OP's question was about aesthetics though, and I'm not a fan of "design by poll", but my opinion seems slightly contrasting here so I thought I'd risk the comment.

Actually, regarding balance: was the START / OPTION added to the first image as an afterthought? The composition makes more sense to me without that text there at all.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:31 pm
by rainwarrior
On the subject of unusual title screens, though, BrĂ¼tal Legend has one of my all time faves:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzPaw6Bu9vY

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:37 pm
by FrankenGraphics
You could also try lowering the whole thing down so that it is more like 2/3 black, 1/3 green BG. That would also leave room for a more centered start/continue. A little unconventional still to have the options above the title, but not a biggie in itself. Or you could cut the green in some fashion from below.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:25 am
by jitendra118
I will go with the first look. It looks good and creative. The second one does not have good attentions to details.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:56 pm
by mikejmoffitt
"Haunted Halloween 86 2"? Why in the world isn't it just Haunted Halloween '87? Doesn't it deserve its own subtitle as well?

FWIW, I like the second title screen. Why are the pumpkins double-sized? Are you scaling them up when writing to CHR RAM to save a little PRG space?

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:59 pm
by thefox
mikejmoffitt wrote:"Haunted Halloween 86 2"? Why in the world isn't it just Haunted Halloween '87? Doesn't it deserve its own subtitle as well?
In case you're not joking: I believe the "2" is the company logo.

Re: Title screen ordering

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:47 pm
by tepples
mikejmoffitt wrote:"Haunted Halloween 86 2"?
Thefox is right: That's an R for Retrotainment Games. We ended up cutting the R from the title screen and putting this immediately prior.
logo112.png
logo112.png (1.14 KiB) Viewed 9637 times
Why are the pumpkins double-sized? Are you scaling them up when writing to CHR RAM to save a little PRG space?
I don't really know why the artist chose to draw them that way. But World 4 of Super Mario Bros. 3 has a similar chunky aesthetic.