Look, I know what you're thinking. You're already pre-emptively scrolling down to the comments to say "OBVIOUSLY it is the GameCube, Lord of All Noises", but just hold fire, okay? Let me at least make the case for some of the others.
Before I do, though, a quick note as to why I'm not including the Nintendo 64, since I know you'll ask — the start-up noises for the N64 depended on which game you were playing, and although it had some really good ones, like Banjo Kazooie and Mario Kart, I just... can't be bothered to list them all. I'd be here all week.
But enough bad news, let's get onto the good news: which one of these beepy-boops gets you fired up to play games? Which ones send shivers down your spine? And which ones do you turn the volume all the way down for? Let's get stuck in.
Famicom Disk System (1983)
Those marching drums, that bloopy little fanfare — whether or not your parents were particularly happy about this pricey purchase that took your attention away from homework, they surely couldn't help smiling at this triumphant little ditty. It makes you feel like an important person, just for turning the console on!
Game Boy (1989)
Ah, the Game Boy: that aggressively loud PA-DING! that would alert your parents to the fact that you were playing games in bed if you didn't turn the sound down. So simple, yet so effective — the sound that bookended most of our fondest childhood memories.
Game Boy Advance (2001)
If you could write a grin into music, it would sound a lot like the GBA startup jingle, which is a neat little twist on the Game Boy's simpler PA-DING, adding a nice bwaaaa at the beginning that feels a little more sophisticated and melodic than its predecessor. A nice noise, this one.
Yes, yes, we know — it's the GOAT, and plus, it had those secret versions if you held down various buttons while the console booted up. Everyone loves the original, though, and it's hard not to — it's a bouncy, joyful pizzicato that ends with a satisfying BLUMP, and the accompanying cubey visuals are just very satisfying to watch. It's just perfect. Startup sounds may have peaked here.
Nintendo DS (2004)
We're starting to get into Nintendo's minimalist postmodern phase of startup sounds, where everything sounds a bit new-agey, but the Nintendo DS startup is still a cracker. It takes the simplicity of the Game Boy's PA-DING and creates something echoey, doubling up on itself, in a tribute to the DS's two screens. Neat!
Nintendo Wii (2006)
This one counts, right? The cutoff between startup sound and that quiet, background music is hard to discern, but Nintendo was pretty clearly taking inspiration from Apple here with a computery, ethereal smattering of notes. Ss far as startup sounds go, it's inoffensive, and it's certainly nostalgic if you owned a Wii, but it's not very musical.
Nintendo 3DS (2011)
Turn up the reverb, buddy — we're going to play 3DS games. This startup sound is probably supposed to evoke a feeling of futuristic wonderment, but I can't imagine this is many people's favourite — like I said earlier, this is the era of indistinct new-agey stuff.
Nintendo Wii U (2012)
Much like the Wii U itself, this one doesn't do a fantastic job of distinguishing itself from the Wii. And maybe I'm just reading too much into this (as someone who had to buy a Wii U for work back in the day) but doesn't it sound a little... sad? Like it knows it's the Wii's disappointing younger brother? Aww, it's ok, Wii U. Some of us liked you.
Nintendo Switch (2017)
Click. It's a new dawn, Nintendo fans — the beepy-boops are over; the age of click is here. Down with jingles, up with cool soundbites that you can replicate with your own fingers! Sure, it's a simple little sound, but it does a pretty good job of making the Switch seem like a pick-up-and-play device, with fun little clicky bits. The actual "click" of a Joy-Con is more like a sort of... clack, but what does it matter? The click makes us want to play games.
Feel free to elaborate/attempt to spell your favourite console startup sounds in the comments below. We'll even permit discussion of *SHOCK* other platforms!