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A guide to the first 15 seconds of every game

Welcome to the thrilling world of middleware

Patrick Gill (he/him) has been making serious and unserious videos for Polygon since 2016. He also co-hosts & produces Polygon’s weekly livestreams on Twitch.

When you turn on a game, you see a bunch of stuff. Some of it you’ll recognize. Publisher logos and studio names. Some of it you rightfully gloss over— like the big paragraphs of legal jargon. And then there are the things that make you go, “hmm?”

Who is this terrible little octopus, and why is he in all of my games?

I was tired of wondering, so I figured it out. This little guy (and a lot of the other esoteric symbols you see when you boot up a game) are the logos for very important game dev tools. Tools that summon perfect trees, automatically simplify animations to save resources, and make guys fall over in funny ways. Click the video up top to join me on a journey of discovery in the realm of vide game middleware.

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