Inspiration: The Games that Inspired Me
The games that inspired me is a brief walk through my gaming history. I will go over many of the titles which I loved as a child, and which have stayed with me over the years. These are the reason I have always wanted to build games.
Atari: Boring games… no real inspiration
I have been gaming as long as I can remember. I was born in 1981 and even then due to older siblings my parents had an Atari.
In my opinion the only fun game on the Atari was Chopper Lifter for the Atari 7800 and even that did not really inspire me. I will admit I have a copy of this game loaded on my RetroPi and my PSP and still play it.
NES: Fun games… little inspiration.
I do not recall when my family bought the NES. However, I have very fond memories of some playing it for hours. As with the Atari, I still fire up my favorites on the RetroPi and play. These were a few of my favorite titles.
- Bards Tale
- Battle of Olympus
- Bionic Commander
- Dragon Warrior
- Spy vs Spy
- Wall Street Kid
- Maniac Mansion
- Legend of Zelda
- Super Mario Bros 3
Those games defined my childhood and I still love playing many of them today. As much as I enjoyed playing them, most of them did very little to inspire me outside of fueling my love of gaming.
The games which did inspire were Bards Tale and Dragon Warrior. I loved the fact that not only could I explore the characters world and experience their story, but that my decisions directly influenced those events!
SNES: Awesome Games… my favorite console of all time… and more inspiration.
One side note, I had a PC before I had a Super Nintendo. However, the PC was the most influential system in my desire to develop computer games so I will cover that last.
- Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
- Chrono Trigger
- Inindo Way of the Ninja
- King Arthurs World
- Secret of Mana
Titles such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, and Secret of Mana had such great game play and immersive story lines I knew one day I would love to make something so artistic and creative. Inindo and King Arthur’s world helped show me just how many inventive mechanics 2D games could have.
If anything these games helped root my love of 2D games (or 2.5D in the case of titles like secret of Mana). They showed me that at times a story could be told more completely from this perspective than in 3D or a book.
PC: The best games… my true source of inspiration
I received my first PC back in 1990 when I was around 9 years old. I was playing on it the year before though as it was my brothers.
Some of the first games I played really helped cement my love of 2D games. Many of these were outdated by the time I started playing them, but I didn’t know that. All I knew is I could finally play the awesome ones my brother had played and enjoy them too.
- Bards Tale
- Kings Quest VI
- Starflight 1
- Starflight 2
- Castle of the Wind
- Eye of the Beholder
- Dragon Wars
All of these offered more of an open world than many on console games offered. They allowed me to take my character and explore. I made mistakes, I died often, they were hard. Yet they were also so rewarding when you finally made progress in them.
They began to show me what I knew 2D games could be. Yet the story lines were still so linear, you could explore to your hearts content, but progression was step A then B.
PC Games get more advanced:
As time moved on my PC got better and so did the games. I stayed to my roots enjoying many Roleplaying games be they Fantasy or Sci-fi.
- Neverwinter Nights
- Icewind Dale
- Fallout 1
- Fallout 2
- Warcarft I
- Warcraft II
- Diablo I
Neverwinter Nights and Icewind Dale offered compelling complex story lines which gave you the illusion you had freedom, as well as large open worlds to explore for the most part. I say the illusions of freedom due to the fact that each choice only caused a minor temporary branch in the game, which all merged back quickly and often had no effect on the end of the game.
Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 were in a class by themselves. The story was not as deep as those in Neverwinter Nights and Icewind Dale, yet your choices really mattered. The game had various endings, both good and bad, and they all depending on how you played the game. The biggest issue in my mind was moving forward from one game to another they had their own official version of how the story played out. This was not addressed for years by game companies.
Non-RPG Games… Gasp! Yes I did come to love RTS’s. These were less about role playing and more about leading your troops into battle. Yet they did provide enough of a story through cut scenes to keep my interest. I am listing them here because Warcaft I and II both show how a simple game with a compelling story can go on to create something as awesome as World of Warcraft.
Diablo was an odd game. It was more of a hack and slash which I had never enjoyed much before. Yet I loved the idea of delving into a deep crypt of unknown danger to reveal a story. I cannot count how many hours I spent exploring the depths under the Cathedral.
Watching how games evolved and went from my first list to this second one showed me that in the future games would only be limited by what you could imagine.
Modern 2D Games:
As we move forward into the modern gaming world we see 2D gaming is alive and well.
There are those like me still going back and replaying the classics. Yet, even more amazing there are new 2D games being created.
- Prison Architect
Many of these new titles are showing just what 2D games are capable of.
Prison Architect is one of the best building games out there. It shows just what 2D gaming can do when it comes to building worlds.
Pandemic is a board style video game, this is one area where 2D games really shine. Cards games fall into this genre too, so many ways to influence and tell a story when you build it out like a board or card game.
Factorio is an amazing game. This really shows the full range of what 2D games can handle with a very in depth building and automation system. Yet sadly it is not really designed to role play in.
Now I don’t want you to get me wrong. I absolutely love 3D titles. From World of Warcaft too 7 Days to Die I play many 3D titles. Why may you ask then did I decide I wanted to make 2D instead? Well I have two real reasons. One is nostalgia and one is practical.
The nostalgia reason is they are what first made me love gaming. No matter how shiny and pretty the latest 3D game is I will always love my old 2D games more.
The practical one is the size of effort needed to design a good game. When you are making 3D models and moving around in a 3 dimensional space your job becomes much harder. My goal is to tell stories other people want to experience and guide. I can do that much easier in the 2D realm.
What I want to Develop
As the name of my venture indicates, the genre I love most are games set in a pre or post apocalyptic world . Be it a Zombie Plague spreading or The Great Old Ones rising from the depths, I love stories about the end of humanity as we know it.
While I have many ideas I will discuss those as I begin development on them. What I want to discuss here is the type of game play I want to create.
- Board Games – I think there is a lot of room for dynamic board games which tell a story
- Card Games – This is harder as it has been done so well in the past and new mechanics could be hard to come up with
- 2D open world RPG/Builders I think much could be done to unite Building with RPGs more and this is a direction I really want to go.
In conclusion, over the years many titles have helped ignite my love of gaming and focused what types of games I want to build. This article is mostly to pay homage to those titles and give readers an insight into why I want to build the types of games I do.