Logo descriptions by shnick1985 Photos by Video captures by Editions by shnick1985
Background: Square Co. Ltd. (often confused as SquareSoft, the company's name used on games) was formed in September 1983 and produced video games mostly for the Japanese market. Most of their early games were unsuccessful and the company faced the possibility of leaving the video game market. But their game Final Fantasy (named since they believed it would be their last game) was a success, bringing them back to the market. They would go on to continue the Final Fantasy series, as well as work on other games like Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, the Parasite Eve series, the Front Mission series, the Kingdom Hearts series (along with Disney), Kingdom Fantasies series (along with Toshiba Miramax Communications), among others. In 2003, they merged with the Enix Corporation and became Square Enix.
1st Logo (1983-April 1st, 2003)
Logo: We see a still version of the company logo (usually the SquareSoft logo), consisting of "SQUARESOFT" in the futuristic font with the red scalene triangle inside the A, on a black background, which fades in, then fades out.
Variants: Some games used an animated or different variant. Xenogears: Two blue lasers circulate DNA-style and the logo fades in between them. They soon disappear, leaving the logo stand alone. Parasite Eve: We see a bluish circular light with the middle of the logo visible. It slowly zooms out as the light turns yellow, and once the logo is fully visible, the red triangle of the "A" in "Square" moves into place as the light disappears. Parasite Eve 2: The logo appears over a background of a dark city. The transparent background of the moon slides down from the top of the screen after a couple of seconds. After this, both the logo and the background fade out. Final Fantasy IX: In credit text saying "Published by Square Electronic Arts L.L.C" appears on a black background. On later prints of Final Fantasy IX, "Square Electronic Arts" is replaced by "Square Enix". Kingdom Hearts: The logo is on a white background Final Fantasy VII: On the original PC release and Steam re-issue, the logo comes in at an angle. A couple of Chocobo (Large avian creatures that are the series mascots and the series' equivalent of horses) run out from behind the S, as more run out from the other letters in the logo. The large group of Chocobo run off to the right side of the screen as the logo slowly turns to face us, a blue light gleaming off the tip of the E, creating some lens flares before a flash of white light fills most of the screen for a second, vanishing as quickly as it came, the logo fading out almost immediately afterwards. The PS4 rerelease replaces this with the Square Enix logo, but the static Squaresoft logo is retained if you watch through the opening credits sequence Can be seen on Kingdom Fantasies 1-2 (but in credit-logo with Japan System Supply) From 1987-1993.
FX/SFX: None for the still variants and different types of animation for the animated variants.
Music/Sounds: None or the opening theme of the game. For the Parasite Eve variant, there are several synthesized horror-like sounds, like crystallic shimmering sound and a dark choir note, which are the part of the opening theme to the game, "Primal Eyes". For the Xenogears variant, a synth rock theme plays throughout. For the Parasite Eve 2 variant, a synthesized horror-like theme plays throughout. For the Final Fantasy VII variant, the sound of footsteps from the running Chocobo, getting louder and rumbling as more of them appear, and growing quieter once they've run off screen.
Availability: Common, seen on all games of the era. Some examples would be the Final Fantasy series from Final Fantasy through Final Fantasy X (though later prints of Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy X would use the Square Enix logo). It also appears on the Parasite Eve series (where one of the variants can be seen), the Front Mission series (but Front Mission 3 was the only game of the series released before the merge that was released outside of Japan), Xenogears (where yet another variant can be seen), Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, as well as many other games released during the time. The last game to use this logo before the merger with Enix was Kingdom Hearts (where the white background variant can be seen). Unlike Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy X, the logo was saved on later prints of Kingdom Hearts (despite the box art containing the Square Enix logo). Can be seen on Kingdom Fantasies 1-2.
Scare Factor: Depending on the logo variant: For the still variants, None. For the Xenogears variant, Minimal, due to the animation, but this is mostly harmless. For the Parasite Eve variant, Low, due to the dark atmosphere (though this is intentional due to Parasite Eve being a horror game). For the Parasite Eve 2 variant, Low, due to the music and overall atmosphere (though once again, this is intentional since Parasite Eve 2 is a horror game). For the Final Fantasy VII variant, none to low. It might take you by surprise, but the cute appearance of the Chocobo shouldn't cause any scares. For the kingdom Fantasies 1-2 variant, none to low. It might take you by surprise, but the cute appearance of the Chocobo shouldn't cause any scares, but this is mostly harmless.
2nd Logo (1987)
Logo: We see a red triangular shard spinning clockwise. The shard then slows down and stops once it faces the screen, as the background flashes in multiple colors while the wordmark "SQUARE" fades in before this happens. The shard is seen taking part of the "A" of the wordmark, and is also fading through various colors before the whole thing vanishes off the screen via linear wipes.
FX/SFX: The triangle spinning and the flashes. For an 8-bit logo it's surprisingly well done...
Music/Sounds: A fast-paced 8-bit square wave theme.
Availability: Seen on King's Knight Special for the Sharp X1.
Scare Factor: Minimal. The flashing can be quite surprising.