Aistarin

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What games have inspired you?
Posted on October 20, 2016 at 02:21

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.


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.
Posted by Aistarin October 20, 2016 2:23 - 6.4 months ago
| [#01]

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).
Posted by Mega October 20, 2016 5:14 - 6.4 months ago
| [#02]

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.
Posted by Cpsgames October 20, 2016 11:36 - 6.4 months ago
| [#03]

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.
Posted by Nopykon October 20, 2016 12:05 - 6.4 months ago
| [#04]

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.
Posted by Zuurix October 21, 2016 12:04 - 6.3 months ago
| [#05]

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)
Posted by Jani_Nykanen October 21, 2016 14:07 - 6.3 months ago
| [#06]

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.
Posted by LAR Games October 22, 2016 19:49 - 6.3 months ago
| [#07]

seiklus
Posted by nap October 23, 2016 1:45 - 6.3 months ago
| [#08]

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.
Posted by Kunedon October 24, 2016 6:10 - 6.2 months ago
| [#09]

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.
Posted by Aistarin November 01, 2016 1:44 - 6 months ago
| [#10]

Many of the games I love are often very (over-)ambitious, and released partly broken (but still fun to play for the most part). You can play around with a partly broken game, because it isn't a movie (well, at least old games aren't). You can see what it went for and fill in the blanks with your own imagination. Something I remember tha rami saying at some point went something like this; "No game is ever better than it was at it's imaginary state."

Unlike tha rami (well, he seems very practical and rational), I think it can be good to be over-ambitious. Not like "Let's make an MMORPGFPSRTSCASGLAF!!!11", but within a few areas that you care about, of a game that you are mostly capable of making. Bite off a little more than you can chew. What is even the literal point of making a game that is not ambitious about something? Even within the limits of a game jam, you want to make something more clever or funnier or new instead of going "Oh, only 24h, better make rectangle pong then."
Posted by Nopykon November 01, 2016 8:24 - 6 months ago
| [#11]

Nopykon mentioned "broken games", so I must mention...

Games with major game-breaking bugs and glitches

They are very inspirational. The glitches make you visit places you aren't supposed to be, experience events that weren't supposed to happen and see things that weren't supposed to exist. Something like Minus World in SMB or playing The Sims 2 with a broken (expansion pack) CD.
Posted by Jani_Nykanen November 01, 2016 9:23 - 6 months ago
| [#12]

Too lazy to describe the how & why right now, but here's some of my inspirations:

Silent Hill series (1-4, though there's certainly lessons to be learned from the games that came after...)
Gran Turismo series
Shadow of the Colossus
Posted by S3xySeele November 01, 2016 14:28 - 6 months ago
| [#13]

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