Favorite First Impressions

MOST RM games haven't got a selling point, because even though you say 'I have story! I have graphics! I have CMS DBS ZTS PMS ADD!' when you put it up there, ultimately it looks and feels the same as the next game with a supposedly different selling feature.
The same can be said for a lot of games, period, it seems.

Inspired by this post in the stalemated Selling Feature topic, I'd like to do a quick field study-

What are your favorite games, and what inspired you to pick them up and try them in the first place? Not what you like about them, having played them through already- unless that happens to be the same thing- but why did it ever catch your eye to begin with?

At Your Service- The Menu

Menu Systems are throughly uninspired, by and by. Nearly every RPG falls back to the cookie-cutter border/windows style inspired by the 16-bit RPGs of old. Suppose we wanted to break this paradigm, where does one begin?
At it's core, that's a matter of graphics design, but for anyone wanting to begin to tackle such an issue, the designer must first examine the function of the menu. Well, that's simple enough- In theory, menus are designed to serve the player, cater to their needs, desires and obey their every whim.
But for so long, menus have been limited to boxy backgrounds, a list of commands and maybe a styled pointer. While it gets the job done, as an artist, I am bothered by the lameness of this. At the same time, one is forced to consider the potential chaotic effect an aesthetic revamp could have. So, in such a dilemna, we must find out where the priorites lie.

Which do you prefer, simplicity or style?
Is there anything you find yourself wanting from them, but that menu systems often lack?
What are some innovative alternative system formats that could break away from the norm?

Personally, I find it a bit depressing how unoriginal and over looked menu design is. Menus are your loyal servant, your personal butler, your Microsoft Word Paper Cli- oooh, no- but they certainly shouldn't be so neglected. Let's help them help us. So, how may we be of service?

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