10 Best Opening Levels In Video Game History

From green hill zones to zombified towns and back again...

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The first level/area/fight/wave of monsters trying to kill you is supposed to set the tone for the rest of a game, providing an instant impression that - if done well - should grab a player’s attention and convince them to keep playing.

In days past, it was often used as a demo for the full game. Madness, I know.

Poor first levels can often spell doom, as in this day of Netflix, mobile phones, social media feeds and even other human beings demanding our attention, few people have the patience to slog through something they are not enjoying, no matter how great they’ve heard the game becomes (looking at you, Final Fantasy XIII).

A great first level can engage a player instantly; teach them everything they need to know about gameplay mechanics, story and the world they temporarily inhabit, making the gamer want to invest countless hours into such a veritable digital playground.

First impressions count and opening levels will forever be important - but which are the very best?

10. Pac-Man

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The reach of Pac-Man's simple maze-based setup is so wide, literally almost every single person who has ever played a video game is familiar with it. The first stage is the most forgiving of all (though still no cakewalk), but instantly, players know what the objective is, the dangers that are present and how to play.

Everything you need to know is contained on that first screen. Later levels use the same maze, but the ghosts become faster and more dangerous, ramping up the challenge considerably.

Fun? Definitely. Iconic? Absolutely. Will you want to play more after the first level? Well, the dozens of ports to every game system imaginable - along with the millions of coins spent in arcade machines - certainly suggest so.


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