Menu Interface

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Some games provide a series of menus through which the player controls game entities that is analogous to menu systems found in interactive kiosks. The sophistication of these menu interfaces ranges from simple, flat menus to deeply nested menus with many sub-options. The specific representation of menu interfaces can vary as well, some games representing menus as a series of graphical buttons, others using text menus.

Menu interfaces commonly appear the beginning of a game, often at the title screen regardless of how menus are used later in the game. Past the opening menu, games often provide an option menu for saving. While these examples constitute menu interfaces, many games include menu interfaces to control entity actions as well.


Strong example

Final Fantasy Tactics

Final Fantasy Tactics [Itou, 1997] makes heavy use of menus to determine the actions of player controlled entities within the game. While in combat (the game's primary activity), players select from a menu of available actions including move, attack, skill and item use. When buying items in a shop, players select desired weapons, armor or other items from a menu of available options.

Kingdom Hearts II

This games' progressive system of interactive menus, both in and out of battle, organizes and collects game data for the player, such as which actions Sora or any of the other characters are capable of performing, which buttons are keyed to which actions, what spells to be used, where items go, etc. The menu changes based on whether the character is in battle or simply walking around the environment.

Weak example


Lifeline [Konami, 2004] provides the user a speech command interface that essentially works through a series of menus to execute the player's commands. While the game doesn't represent these menus visually, the player's commands are parsed by the speech recognition system such that they correspond to predetermined "recognized" commands.





Itou, H. (1997). Final Fantasy Tactics. Squaresoft, playstation edition.

Konami, developer (2004). Lifeline: Voice Action Adventure. Konami Corporation, playstation 2 edition.