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1st Logo
(1995-2002)

Logo: On a black background, a purple spark appears and immediately carves the left and top outlines of the then-current Microsoft logo in white. Once the spark reaches the bottom of the "t," the outline suddenly becomes the full Microsoft text in white. Then it glows and disappears.

FX/SFX: Early CG FXs.

Music/Sounds: A loud, creepy phaser-like noise when the spark carves the "Microsoft" outline, followed by two pings, then a dreamy synth note when the Microsoft logo glows and disappears.

Availability: Pretty common. Should be on Windows 95 CDs and on other game CDs from the era, such as some Magic School Bus games and Nickelodeon's 3D Movie Maker. It was seen on Monster Truck Madness, Hellbender, and Deadly Tide.

Scare Factor: Low to medium, due to the loud phaser noise, black background and high-contrast colors.

2nd Logo
(1997-2002)

Logo: On a space background, we see an unknown white planet. The camera pans to the planet, until the screen turns completely white, then Microsoft's logo fades in, and zooms to us, then stops.

Variant: A still version exists. 

FX/SFX: CGI.

Music/Sounds: A dreamy, space tune which then becomes a fanfare.

Availability: Common. Seen on games from the late 90s like Age Of EmpiresMonster Truck Madness 2, and Midtown Madness 1 and 2. The color-reverted still version appeared on MechCommander.

Scare Factor: Low. However, the next one is worse... 

3rd Logo
(2001-2005?)

Logo: On a black background, we see a thick white blur, which forms into the Microsoft logo of the time. The logo fades out, and the Action, Combat, & Simulations (ACeS) logo fades in, with the music carrying over.

FX/SFX: The blur forming into the logo.

Music/Sounds: A very loud phaser/synth note, with a loud crashing noise when the logo is revealed, and another when the ACeS logo appears.

Availability: Rare. Only seen on games produced at the (now defunct) ACeS studio. Seen on Microsoft Train Simulator for the PC, and Bloodwake for Xbox, among others.

Scare Factor: Low to nightmare. The loud music can send some to the moon if you're not expecting it.

4th Logo
(2001-2008)

Logo: On a smoky white background, a silver liquid orb rushes in, and black mliquid crust starts to cover it. Suddenly they transform into a pack of water bubbles and black drops mixed together. They move across the screen, leaving the long trace. Then the black drops form the words "game studios", and silver bubbles blast "Microsoft" in it's then-corporate font above, also forming the x-shaped figure below. The logo zooms in a bit, then transforms into bubbles again, and leaves.

Variants:

  • On portable games, such as MechAssault for Nintendo DS, it is the white print logo on the black background
  • On Halo 2, it is a black print logo on the light blue gradient background as in the Bungie logo, which follows after it fades out.


FX/SFX: The liquid bubbles moving and forming the  logo.

Music/Sounds: A mix of various whooshing sounds with aerated water sound.

Availability: Common. Seen on Viva Piñata for the Xbox 360. It can be seen in Rise of NationsZoo Tycoon 12, Dungeon Siege 2, and other games for PC. It can also be seen on games for Xbox like Halo and Project Gotham Racing 2.

Scare Factor: None.

5th Logo
(2005-2011)

Logo: On a bright leaf-green, glowing background, we see many vague white particles. The camera zoom in to the 1987-2012 "Microsoft" logo being formed from these particles. A light streak appears and bumps into the half-completed word, making the big soft explosion. Then the words "game studios" appear below. Another two streaks appear, creating the x-shaped figure. The logo fades.

Variant: On Kinect Adventures, the logo looks like an embroidery on white fabric.

FX/SFX: The light effects and streaks.

Music/Sounds: A few blob-like sounds ending with a whoosh.

Music/Sounds Variant: On Halo 3, after the logo completes, the first few notes of the Halo choir begin. This continues into the Bungie logo.

Availability: Common. Appears on Project Gotham Racing 3 and 4, and many other titles for Xbox 360 as well. Can be also seen on several PC games like Gears of War and Age of Empires: Asian Dynasties. 

Scare Factor: None.

6th Logo
(2011- )

Logo: On a grainy white background, a black load of paint makes its way from the down left corner and to the center, where "Microsoft" (in a different typeface than before) fades with "Studios" below. The paint moves down to the words, swirls and stops as a prolonged spot.

Variants: 

  • On Kinect Sports Season 2, the logo clears away when balls bearing the Rare / Bigpark logos begin to fall.
  • Sometimes, it is white on the black background.
  • On the Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions of Minecraft, the logo is in one line and is pixellated. Also, it is still.


FX/SFX: The paint swirls around.

Music/Sounds: Mellow bubbling soundtrack.

Availability: Common. Appears on newer Xbox 360 games, including Kinect series such as Sports Season TwoKinect Rush: A Disney•Pixar Adventure andStar Wars. Also appears on several Xbox Live Arcade titles, such as Bloodforge and Fable Heroes, and Xbox One games like Zoo Tycoon (2013)Forza Horizon 2, and Project Spark.

Scare Factor: None.

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