My job entails a LOT of driving, so I have plenty of time to brainstorm on my game. In trying to create the emotion and atmosphere I hope to convey during the gameplay, I started thinking about the title screen. It's too early in development for me to worry about that much, but it occurred to me that it would be, in my mind, very engaging to have an "interactive" title screen. More than just some (animated) images and a few options - "start", "options", etc - but rather the player can make things happen even before he starts playing.
In the Nintendo DS game, "Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story", before you've even pressed "START", the bottom screen shows a reflection of Peach's Castle as...Bowser's Castle???...in the pool of water. The water is rippling a little. And when the player taps anywhere in the pool, the water reacts by creating more ripples. It's really simple and that's about all you can do. Yet, to me it's that interactivity even before you've actually started the game that makes it all the more fun, and I believe it can help set the mood very well.
My game is a stealth game that I hope to embed with some subtle light-hearted whimsy as my robot main character seeks "more input" after escaping his creators shortly after his AI unexpectedly becomes self-aware (think of a mixture of the "Short Circuit" and "Wall-e" movies). On the title screen, I picture a side view of my robot in a platform view (the game will be top-down) and he'll automatically wander back and forth in the restricted area, with little animations interrupting things to show a tiny bit of his character. BUT! How much fun might it be to include some hidden functions when the player presses a key and find that they can control the robot to a limited degree? What might that reveal about the game? Will there be a tiny Easter Egg before the game begins? Will there be clues to the robot's otherwise minuscule character (he is just a robot, after all...or IS he)? And if you can do that little thing on the TITLE SCREEN, what ELSE can you do before the game begins?
Those are my thoughts. What do you all think and what might you put in your game if you employed this feature?