What games have inspired you?

Posted by Aistarin on Oct. 20, 2016, 1:21 a.m.

This is an open-ended blog I've been meaning to write for a while now, so here it is.

I'm certain that most of you have been inspired to be game devs based on the games you grew up playing, and I'm curious to know what those games are. Were these games that inspired you to take up game development? Do you look back on them for inspiration on how to design your own games?

My own list of personal inspirations is quite long so I'll be updating the blog periodically as I think about what to write for each one.


Aistarin 3 years, 5 months ago

I'll start out:

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (Famicom, 1986/ SNES/Super Famicom, 1993)

I was about 4-5 years old when I first saw my brothers playing this game and overall was my first exposure to the Mario series. Surprisingly enough it would be another 5 years before I actually got to play the game myself, and until then it was only known as "that Mario game with the poison mushrooms".

Probably the best thing I loved about this game was its insane difficulty compared to its predecessor, and was likely the first game I played that required intense split-second decisions. The inspiration I got from this game's difficulty manifested itself in some of my very early attempts at platform games, usually to the point where people would become too frustrated to keep playing.

Mega 3 years, 5 months ago

Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES/Famicom, 1988)

I started playing NES titles from the ridiculously young age of 2 (SMB 1, Bomberman and Adventure Island mostly), but didn't really "click" with them until I got my hands on SMB 3 a few years later at around age 5 or 6.
My family was moving to the opposite side of the country, and one of my uncles gave me a Super Mario Bros. 3 cartridge as a gift for the occasion.

This was the first time I sat down with a game and felt a sense of adventure. I wanted to explore the game, find all of its secrets, share them with anybody who would listen to me for a minute or two.
I'd rush home from school and sit for hours if I could, rushing from World to World looking for secrets and the elusive warp whistles.

This game basically made me into a gamer and game designer all at once. It was the first time I felt challenged to go further than the 'main' game, hunting for all the things I'd missed, trying to see how fast I could get through the game, that kind of thing.
I remember being so proud this one day, rushing up to my dad when he got home from work and telling him all about this playthrough that I managed to get 73 extra-lives by the end of the game (He played too, we used to swap secrets and tricks).

I also used to spend a load of time and paper designing my own levels for the game, taping them up section by section to my bedroom wall and drawing in the objects, enemies, powerups and so on.

This game and the Megaman series are what gave me most of my drive to get into game development in the first place, and it was this game specifically that started me down the road of becoming a "gamer".

Eventually my cart burned out (It was a repro cart, Famiclone, which was all we had in South Africa), but I always held the game in the highest regard (And was forever seeking out another cart until I discovered emulation a few years later).

Cpsgames 3 years, 5 months ago

I like the idea of this blog, but I can't really nail down any specific games. So many of which have inspired me in different ways to the point it's all just mixed together. Most of which are the well known classics, so I'm sure other people will mention them anyway.

I look forward to reading more people's answers though.

Nopykon 3 years, 5 months ago

I hate all games so I've made it my mission in life to make the first good game. That's my inspiration, or drive rather. Well, ok, flappy bird inspired me a lot.

Zuurix 3 years, 5 months ago

Runescape died, so I started making my own games.
Now it's kind of back, but I'm too busy making games.

My games usually have nothing to do with RuneScape.
I never liked copying.
I want to be ahead of AAA companies, not behind.
I want to make new games, not retro games or cheap rip-offs.

Jani_Nykanen 3 years, 5 months ago

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

After I played that game almost every enemy and player character in my games have been smiling, even when dying. Before playing that game, it wouldn't have occurred me to make a hanged, smiling baby an enemy (like in Operation Fungus) or a heart with baby-face and orbiting fetuses the final boss of the game (like in A Journey to Eternity).

Very inspirational game.

(There are more, much more games I could list, especially those I played in my childhood, but I'll list them later)

LAR Games 3 years, 5 months ago

For me, Dark Souls 1 was the game that made me truly appreciate all of the thought that is put not only into level design, but world building and difficulty design as well. Well, for most of the game at least. Once you get the the ability to warp, the thoughtfulness that went into designing most of the world kinda decreases quite a bit.

nap 3 years, 5 months ago


Kunedon 3 years, 5 months ago

Old games, coin-op and otherwise, are my main influence. It used to be Sonic but I've grown out of that phase

So now I'm an old fart both in terms of game design and taste.

Aistarin 3 years, 5 months ago

Here's a second one:

The Getaway (PS2, 2002)

I admit that this probably isn't the most innovative game out there, in fact I guess you can say that it's mediocre at best. But one thing I really loved about playing this game is how it attempts to immerse the player into the action by doing away with the HUD altogether and the use of visual cues to convey information to the player (especially the turn signals on a car replacing a traditional map). Though I admit, the movie-like immersion of the game was often broken by the clunkiness of the controls and bad AI.

This will be an aspect that I would love to take a crack at within my own projects if I can figure out how to make visual cues more intuitive. However it would probably be wise to settle for a balance between visual cues and HUD information so I don't go overboard like The Getaway did.

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