...and the following are three seperate frames captured from the splash screen of Raven:
Now, personally I think that the Raven splash screen (captured from my copy of Quake 4 btw) is actually pretty cool, and I'll admit I've let it play a few times. How many times have you put in your favorite game and simply pressed escape, or space, or whatever key happens to skip one of these splash screens though? How many times have you actually watched one of these splash screens? I think you'll find that apart from perhaps the first time you rarely watch the splash screens; you want to get to the action (never mind the fact that you'll still have to navigate a menu before you can get to the gameplay!) and the splash screens - sometimes in groups of up to 3 or 4 - are slowing you down, wasting your time.
Worse still are games where you can't skip the splash, and are sometimes also subjected to an intro movie (it was cool the first time...). I'm sure every avid gamer has some amount of hatred for the EA games' "create everything" splash, and keeping gamers from getting to the gameplay isn't really a great idea. There is however a method to the madness of these big studios and publishers; they're building brand loyalty. You'll remember most of the annoying splash screens, and that might help generate sales in future; in theory you'll remember the excellent games you've played before and be more inclined to purchase (or at least consider) future titles by the same companies.
"So, what's your point?"
I'm glad you asked. My point is that your indie or hobbiest game need not inflict players with this same annoyance. I see a lot of people including a splash screen just because it's what all thier favorite games do; you don't need to. If you do include any sort of cinematic, make it skippable. You aren't a big studio, you don't need to stoop to these marketting tactics.
Still want to display a logo somewhere and build some brand loyalty? Here's a not-so-secret: The player will look at the menu screen every time they load up your game. Put a logo on there somewhere if you must, and earn points from your players by not stopping them from getting to the action.
Anyways, just a little rant, hope someone finds it interesting. [wink]
By the way, check out Primal Damage, by mcguile25. The website isn't very impressive yet, but it looks like it'll be a cool game - he's been posting about it in his journal, and now he's also looking for help (2d/3d artists, web design).