Persona 5 has this attraction to it... this attraction that’s hard to put into words. Its present right there at the menu screen. Currently, I am 25 hours in and every time I boot up the game I am drawn in by the simple click of the menu selection.
Its not the above screen that initially pulls me in though, its a screen you are sent through each time you boot up the game.
Upon booting, you are met with this screen...
Do you want to be connected to the rest of the players online, yes or no? Either choice is fine, but what I want to draw attention to is the sound effect of the click upon selection.
Its significant because it is the first choice you always have to make when starting the game, but its also got this soothing noise. It sounds pleasantly analog. It sounds like a natural sound, like the click of a type writer.
As gamers we all navigate menus, and typically the sounds that accompany our selections have something they are trying to communicate about the game.
To illustrate this, let’s look at 3 games I have been playing alongside Persona 5. Lets check out their Menu Screens.
Dark Souls is a game I play a lot. The selections are accompanied by a big “whooooosh” or a giant chime in keeping with the suitably epic scope of those games.
Horizon Zero Dawn
HZD takes place in this far future where nature and machine have melded in a unique way. The selection sound effects have a mechanical nature to them that sound a bit unnatural.
Nioh has selection sounds that are inspired by Japanese instruments and mythology. It puts you in that mindset.
Each of these games, starting from the title screens, put you in the proper space to soak in the worlds that they inhabit.
Its the same with Persona 5, but something is of interest here for me personally. It seems like an idyllic view of high school life. Of coming up against injustices, and being able to tackle them by finding this inner strength that you didn’t quite know about. That sounds like a pretty typical arc of a story, but what I find so interesting is how Persona takes this concept and blends the fantastical and mundane in such intriguing ways. Its intriguing to me most of all perhaps in how it blossoms this out of a very ordinary life comprised of school, and friends, and difficulties.
The groundwork for all of this I believe can be found in the sound effects that meet you as your boot up the game. Its this gentle click. This gentle, mechanical click, that calls to mind a simple and purposeful way of being.
You will see the phrase “Take Your Time” at every loading screen with a stylized portrait of the player character.
The click that meets me as I start the game reminds me that I should take my time. Its as important in Persona as it is in life. The game is reminding me that all my actions have consequences, its wooing me with the gentle clicks every time I make a selection to the methodical scratching as your character sits down to study, that I need to think through my choices and take my time.
The sound of that click soothes me. It helps put me in the mindset to enjoy my time with the game. To not rush. To own my choices. To see where they take me. Those three words that greet me on the loading screens bolster this approach.
Take Your Time.