"Hey, hey, hey! Are you ready to have some fun? I got some kicking music, and I'm ready to see you drive! Get those coins out of your pocket, throw them in the machine, and let's get started! CRAZY TAXI!"An Arcade Game that isn't being played goes into "attract mode" (sometimes called "advertise mode", "demo mode" or "game over mode"note ), which is intended to attract passersby to play the game. Typical attract modes show several of the following elements:
— Announcer, Crazy Taxi
- The game being played by itself (with varying degrees of skill)
- Cutscenes showing the game's Backstory
- Character descriptions
- Lists of high scores
- Tutorials explaining how to play the game
- A table of values for Scoring Points (often including at least one "mystery" value in games of the Space Invaders era)
- "Extra life at N,000 points" (in arcade games, the value of N often depended on the owner-adjustable difficulty switches)
- The occasional PSA exhortation not to use drugs
open/close all foldersVideo Game Examples
- Leaving the start screen on The Legend of Zelda games idle for a time usually brings up something. In the two original NES games, players were treated to a scrolling explanation (famously misspelled, in The Legend of Zelda) of the game's plot. Most recently, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess features an attract mode with a lengthy montage of cutscenes and game action set to some of the game's best music. Ocarina of Time also has one that shows brief scenes of the Fire Temple, the Spirit Temple or the Forest Temple.
- The Sega Genesis version of The Lost World: Jurassic Park had demos set in arenas with random characters, showcasing how the hunters and dinosaurs are hostile not just to the player but also to each other. One cheat code allows the player to view one battle after another, as it's actually rather fun to watch and bet on who will win. Of note is that the Stegosaurus is the top dog among the characters and that sometimes the demos feature an infant version of it that isn't ever used in the proper levels.
- The attract mode in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes had, besides showing off the game, a title screen theme that did not play anywhere else (a snippet of it appears before the credits).
- Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles had a pretty cool one where the different Jedi show off their powers.
- Super Metroid has several sets of demos, the initial ones just showing normal gameplay but progressing far enough into the game would unlock demos that actually show various tips and tricks, most of them being obscure stuff you wouldn't think of doing such as the charge beam-powerbomb combos and fancy ways to use the Speed Booster.
Beat Em Up
- The Astérix Arcade Game had a tutorial illustrating all of Asterix's and Obelix's moves and the controls for them, and a slides of a few of the Gauls.
- The Battletoads arcade game had profiles of Pimple, Rash and Zitz, a bunch of short gameplay videos, and a high score table titled "Greatest Grave Fillers."
- Most console RPGs will have some sort of story-related sequence play out while waiting for the player to press Start. Some examples which aren't just the opening sequence which would automatically play when you start the game.
- Nippon Ichi games either show story-related cutscenes or cycle through clips of gameplay demonstrating some of the more interesting moves available.
- Add Atelier Iris to this list.
- Chrono Cross has one that shows some events that don't actually happen in the game, and with characters that you can't have at the points displayed, and has The Dream That Time Dreams/Time of the Dreamwatch play. Except for one obscure alternate ending, this is the only time it plays.
- Chrono Trigger's montage of events from various time eras accompanied by the very appropriate track "Premonition".
- The Final Fantasy series has these examples:
- The DS rerelease of Final Fantasy IV features an awesome FMV introducing nearly all the characters, and making use of both screens (occasionally by having credits on one screen, action on the other, and also having action going on both screens, such as the shot of the Tower of Babil.) It also spoils certain plot-points in the game.
- The Game Boy Advance remakes of Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V feature one of the main themes from the game playing while a brief explanation of the story is shown.
- Final Fantasy VIII's "Overture" illustrating the weapons of the main characters in black and white.
- Final Fantasy IX contains brief cuts of other FMVs in the game as well as a sweeping view of the world map which isn't seen anywhere else. Similarly, Final Fantasy XII's attract mode mainly consists of cuts from existing FMVs.
- Final Fantasy X-2's homage to FF 8 involves a gorgeous piano melody illustrating monochrome examples of weapons belonging to various dresspheres, with the main characters suggested nearby but never shown.
- Final Fantasy Tactics (the original release) has no less than three or four totally separate FMVs that cycle around, ranging from story introduction to gameplay footage to just cool stuff.
- Fire Emblem games give short descriptions of units while they show off their moves. Genealogy of the Holy War adds some dialogue and map shots.
- The latter actually contained over 40 possible scenes, progressively unlocked by the player completing multiple playthroughs or ending with a better rank. Most notably, some confirm important plot points that are only suggested in the actual story, such as Levin dying at the end of the first generation and being resurrected by Holsety.
- Both Kingdom Hearts I and Kingdom Hearts II feature orchestral remixes of their main themes accompanying a few verses of poetry and quick cuts of scenes that take place within the game.
- Parasite Eve has a fast-paced, horrifying montage with FMV cuts interspersed with scientific DNA technobabble (similar to Metal Gear Solid 2).
- Persona 3 (here) and Persona 4 (here) alternate between a short animated music video and a montage of gameplay and cutscene highlights playing over a second song. (The FES remake of Persona 3 has its own montage, separate from the original.)
- Resonance of Fate actually has an important plot point hidden away in the attract mode.
- The Tales of... series generally has anime cutscenes with fast-paced (often vocal) music. Sometimes it's the only anime cutscene other than the ending. Similarly with Valkyrie Profile.
- Vagrant Story, in an interesting take, shows an FMV that features a dancer playing Mullenkamp, the deity of one of the factions in the game. It's notable in that it's the only FMV in the entire game, and features practically nothing about the game itself. Leave the game unattended a while longer, and it will show the meeting at the VKP Headquarters where Ashley first gets his assignment.
- Vandal Hearts has an absolutely berserk free-for-all between characters from all over the game, all between Levels 27-29 (in a game where 20 is quite high). It ends after several minutes with Dumas casting Plasma Wave.
- The Wild ARMs series also uses anime cutscenes set to some song. Later games alternate this with some random battle demonstrations, but the first game actually showed a very plot-related in-game cutscene of some backstory... that you never see anywhere else. The remake kept this.
- Xenosaga 2's haunting vocal melody played while a mysterious device is being assembled. It's the ES Asher having its Vessel of Anima being installed (or rather, the ES Asher being built around the Vessel of Anima).
- Some games in the Mortal Kombat series allowed you to move a joystick or press a button to show certain high score lists during attract mode. Very nice if you wanted to see whether someone had beaten your best score without waiting around. The arcade version of Ultimate MK 3 had a fake character, a purple ninja named "Rain", appear in attract mode, although he became playable in the home versions and later games.
- Each MK arcade game also used its attract mode to tell its story through numerous stills and character bios.
- ...to GO!! to SHINE!!
- "Transcending history and the world, a tale of souls and swords eternally retold." (title screen without intro)
- "The heroes finally meet under the star of destiny." (gameplay demo)
First Person Shooter
- BioShock has a particularly chilling one.
- The early Doom games would cycle through three or four gameplay demos which would always end in the player getting killed. However, Final Doom crashes after the first loop. As well as this, any Game Mod that replaces the maps featured but not the demos would have the player running into walls and shooting randomly.
- Wolfenstein 3D and its sequel Spear of Destiny had attract modes cycling between demos ending with player death or timing out. The Spear add-on packs would break the hard coded demo loops due to map diffrences not matching the script.
Hack And Slash
- Astro Marine Corps showed the menu and high scores list while panning back and forth over the first level background.
- The later Commander Keen games 4-6 had attract modes with demos and an hidden level demo as an high score table.
- Killer Queen has an elaborate one consisting of animation featuring the game's sprites and live-action footage of teams of people playing the game.
- Kirby Super Star, a game made up of several sub-games, will play a series of story sequences explaining the plot of each of the sub-games if you let it sit at the title sequence long enough. What most people don't realize is that letting the game cycle through these scenes twice will play an extra scene that acts as a prologue to the final sub-game, "Milkyway Wishes". Since many players are unlikely to ever find this scene, the final boss appears to be a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere.
- Though each sub-game will show its plot at its own sub-title screen as well.
- The attract mode of Rastan covered the Excuse Plot in a few short blurbs and had a list showing what every item in the game did.
- The demos in The Revenge of Shinobi were set up to have lame gameplay for Joe to die at some point. Since they are affected by the difficulty settings, you could have Joe killed in just a few seconds or cause him to survive and stay idle with nothing to do, which leads to the game becoming stuck on the demo until you press start.
- Sonic the Hedgehog's idle mode was somewhat controllable. In some versions of the game, holding A, B and C would prevent Sonic from being able to jump. Most notable during the Green Hill Zone Act 1 section, as Sonic would run straight into the game's first enemy and die.
- Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins also had demos you could control with a specific button combination. Normally, the demos would end after a set number of button presses, but one of the demo stages was actually beatable in that amount. Doing so would crash the game.
- The title screen of Super Mario World shows Mario running through an apparently generic stage. That's the fifth level of the Special World, "Groovy". Poorly made ROM hacks are notorious for Game Breaking Bugs caused by allowing Mario to die during this sequence.
- The NES port of Arkanoid would show demo play from different levels, up to level 23. A bug enabled you to trick the game into thinking the Game Over screen from these demos were real, enabling you to use a continue and start the game at level 23.
- Equinox has its attract mode designed for demo kiosks at retailers. How can you tell? Because it includes an advertisement for the game.
- The original Lode Runner had a demo of three levels of gameplay (which were actually levels 12, 31 and 11).
- Marble Blast Gold, if left on the title screen long enough, will launch into a playthrough of Advanced Level 40 ("Ordeal") that ends halfway through.
- Skweek didn't have one that played automatically, but selecting "About Skweek" would bring up the title character's demonstration of the game's features.
- One of the many games titled Zookeeper would show the usual demos of the game being played — and, if the controls were jiggled enough, had a chance of letting you play for free for a brief time.
- Mario Kart games have always had several attract modes, playing in sequence if you left the title screen undisturbed.
- The original SNES game had modes showcasing two-player Grand Prix, Time Trial, Battle Mode and one-player Grand Prix.
- The Wii version even has Mario and Luigi demonstrating how to race with the included Wii Wheel like they are the players in the real world before going to a more traditional in game attract mode.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3DX+ has a song during the attract mode called "Stay Where You Are" where a female singer repeats the title over and over. Guess what the game wants you to do.
- DJMAX Technika 2 has one of the more interactive examples; during the Attract Mode, most of the time there are buttons that allow you to cycle among the tutorial, the score rankings, and the song preview. The former two are straightforward enough, but song preview allows you to select a song to play briefly, so you can hear what it sounds like before starting a game.
- Both Guitar Hero and Rock Band would have random songs being performed if left at the title screen for too long.
- Guitar Hero 5 takes it a step further and has the attract mode be "Party Mode", which takes random on-disc or DLC songs (no customs, including Neversoft's) and has the currently set up band onstage performing them while allowing people to jump in and out at will on any instrument without worrying about failing. Additionally, anyone playing can pause without interrupting the song and switch difficulty or handedness, or even request a song change (which is one of the few actions that does stop playback).
- Rock Band 2, on the other hand, loops between two songs: "Let There Be Rock" and the "Hello There" video.
Shoot Em Up
- In Berzerk, one of the earliest uses of a voice chip in arcade games is apparent when the game says, "Coin detected in pocket," during the attract mode.
- Blazeon has an attract mode showing off the abilities of the TFF-001 Garland and all of the units it can absorb.
- The arcade game Galaga had an attract mode that, due to a bug, you could actually control. Taking too long to beat it would reset the machine.
- Salamander 2 also has an interactive attract mode, though it's implemented on purpose.
- Sinistar does more than simply try to attract players — it actually taunts them, using its HC-55516 voice synthesizer chip. Phrases such as "Beware, I live!" and "Run, coward! I am Sinistar!" were frequently heard in arcades whose managers didn't shut off the voice during the attract sequence. It wasn't a cheap game to own for most arcade owners.
- The Touhou games do the standard "showing off how the game is played" thing. Why isn't entirely clear, considering that you're not going to find them in an arcade and there are not a whole lot of tricks to show.
- Later Ace Combat games would feature a video sequence if left alone at the title screen. Most of the time it's just a trailer for the game itself.
- The Animal Crossing games show a random villager in the town walking around, interacting with the world like normal. Bizarrely, in the first game, very rarely the attract mode will be somewhat different—it'll be a villager frantically cutting down trees.
- Madden games pick two random teams (that are not historical teams or NFL Europe teams), and pits them head to head in a full CPU-controlled game, using the current settings.
- Dead Space has an attract mode that showcases the many ways you can die in the game.
- Not only coin-op arcade games do this. Console games, too, will have attract modes that activate if idle, for use in video game stores. Ghost Hunter's attract mode features the voice of Michael Gambon booming out, "There are thousands of ghost stories... into some intrude the living."
- The very original Resident Evil features the Shaky P.O.V. Cam of... something as it sneaks up on Chris and ends with screaming and a spatter of blood. Of course this was before the series was a franchise, and to find out what had attacked him you had to start playing.
Tactical Action And Strategy
- After idling on the title screen of Domo-Kun's Angry Smashfest long enough, a scene will play out depicting evens that happen before the beginning of the game (you still have to press buttons to advance the text, though).
- The official Arcade version of Fix-It Felix Jr. had an attract mode that shows why Ralph is wrecking the building, as well as an explanation of the game's mechanics.
- Glider PRO, if left too long on the title screen, will start an automated playthrough of Demo House.
- The ancient Hudson Soft game Itasundorious (also known as Driller Tanks) had a minute-long sequence completely explaining the player's and enemies' powers.
- Data East's Secret Service pinball was renown for its "karaoke" attract mode; it would play the chorus from "Nobody Does It Better" (from The Spy Who Loved Me) while displaying the lyrics.
- Not all classic coin-ops had gameplay demo sequences. The attract mode of The Tower of Druaga consists entirely of the title screen, the high score table, the title screen again, the Opening Narration, the title screen again, etc.
The Kiddie Ride
- Coin-operated kiddie rides joined the bandwagon since the early 1990s. Many rides made in Japan and Italy would play a snippet of the song that it would play while running (which may or may not be accompanied with speech inviting kids to ride the thing). Those made in the United Kingdom play back speech snippets (which, among other things, invites any passing kids to play with it and explains the type of coins accepted by the ride, as most rides originating from the country are multi-coin capable, as well as the vendor's service phone number), but music sample is optional and not all rides play it. Some are just plain illogical (the interactive van series of rides by R.G. Mitchells are often cited by parents as scary, due them playing, of all things, an Evil Laugh snippet as their attract sound). Certain new Chinese-made rides are starting to have an attract mode, too, which has nothing to do with whatever music the ride actually plays. Many new lower-end rides, however, do not have an attract mode at all.
- Atari 8-Bit Computers (the 400 and 800 and later variants) had what was commonly called "attract mode" built in. In truth, this feature was more akin to a primitive screensaver, simply cycling the color palette after about nine minutes of no input, in order to avoid screen burn. (This, of course, didn't preclude games from including a "real" attract mode).
- Movie example, or rather game-within-a-movie example: "Greetings Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada!" (Especially noteworthy in that the movie also shows the game's glitched Attract Mode, when the machine goes nuts in response to detecting either Centauri or an alien assassin in the vicinity.)