Inspirational Games

Discuss games.
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Inspirational Games

Post by rey-o » Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:46 pm

in the spirit of the inspirational movies thread, here is a place where you can discuss the video games that inspired you!


to kick things off...


Super Mario Bros. series

As a young'un, if i wasn't playing this game, I was usually drawing pictures about it. Mario smooshing goombas or shooting fireballs, breaking bricks with his head. the games are an excellent supplement to an already fervent imagination. Amazingly, years later I'm getting that same feeling about Galaxies, it just has that aura of awesomeness/insanity that the past games had.

I still remember drawing with crayons new Mario stages, all the while humming the song.


Katamari Damacy

Since Mario, I've been hard pressed to find a game that had set off my imagination the same way. That is, until Katamari Damacy came around. I remember reading in an interview that KD's creator, Keita Takahashi, simply wanted to create a game that would make people feel happy. After years of art school academics I found that simple and pure goal so refreshing.


Ico/Shadows of the Colossus

Both these games also share a similar focus in evoking an emotional response through simple means (the simple joy of holding ones hand, the feeling of lonliness in a barren landscape). I like to keep Fumito Ueda's games in mind as examples of how to express a singular feeling or concept through the entire process, from execution, to the final image.


Ok! thats about it for now! I've love to hear how others have been inspired by video games.
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Post by Ganter » Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:27 pm

Final Fantasy 6 and Secret of Mana had huge impacts on me when I was young. All of my stories have some element of them in there, be it aesthetics or philosophy. It's pretty silly...

Also, anything ZELDA.

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Post by Kazu » Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:26 pm

The Legend of Zelda (all): My favorite fantasy franchise. It has the leg up on Final Fantasy because it's much more cohesive. Great, great music by Koji Kondo, and perfect linear storytelling in nonlinear environments. I'm still wrapping up Twilight Princess right now and I love it.

Final Fantasy 2 and 3 (or IV and VI) (SNES): These games had a huge impact on me as a kid. I think there's a part of me that tries to re-invoke the feelings these games gave me whenever I work on Amulet. The new games are really impressive, but there's something about them that feels exhausting to me. The last one I really enjoyed was FF9.

Shadow of the Colossus (PS2): I was awestruck when Khang came over with his PS2 and showed this to me. I had to go out and get my own system right away (I was a late PS2 gamer). Thanks to Neil Druckmann at Naughty Dog for giving me a free copy! This game is spectacular in terms of setting mood and scale, and the animation is top notch. You guys probably know all of this already. Anyway, I can tell it's the most stylistically influential game to come out in the last ten years, and for good reason.

Resident Evil 4 (GameCube): I bought a GameCube to play The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, but RE4 became the real reason to own one. This is probably the best single player game I have ever played. The storytelling through the action and gameplay are phenomenal, and the pacing is perfect all the way to the end. I was never bored or frustrated, and I found myself staring at all the levels with my jaw on the floor as I made my way through. Plus, it's a great game to watch someone play. Amy would ask me to play this all the time.

Half-Life (PC): The reason I bought a PC, which led me to start working in Photoshop and Maya. When I saw the interactive storytelling in this game, I was floored by the potential. Nothing has come close to the feeling I had when I first moved around that little monorail guide car and the soothing voice would explain my surroundings to me. BioShock gets an honorable mention in this regard, but no cigar. The people in Half-Life seemed like real people, and I really felt like I was in the middle of a great, engaging storyline being told en media res. A classic. I just got The Orange Box, so I'll be playing Half-Life 2 soon.

Super Mario 64 (N64): I still think about this game from an artistic perspective and draw lots of inspiration from it. The idea of jumping into paintings in an empty castle to go on wild adventures is pretty much where the idea for the Copper homepage comes from. When I first ran around as Mario with the analog stick, I turned into a little kid again. I can't wait for Super Mario Galaxy.

Halo 3 (Xbox360): I only played Halo 1 and 2 about two times total, and thought the game was okay but frustrating. After all the crazy hype surrounding it, and the fact that my friends and family love it so much, I decided to give it a chance and really apply myself when playing the newest iteration. I can see now why everyone is so crazy about this game. Currently, it's got me hooked. When I played the campaign, I thought the story was pretty lackluster, so I was wondering why people were so excited about it. When I started playing online multiplayer, all that changed. The storytelling is in the multiplayer gameplay. There you are rewarded for thinking strategically, for having patience, and being a good teammate, rather than just pushing through and collecting things. Efficiency is held in higher regard than sheer aggression (k/d spread over body count) and it often requires a calm mind to win the game. It is action chess, and it is the most well-balanced online game I've played since Starcraft. Everything that has to do with the multiplayer is pretty much perfect on this one, and when I play, I get the feeling I'm interacting with some very elegantly-refined math equations. I'm not a huge fan of console fps games, but this game changed my mind.

Other games that have had a big influence on me include Silent Hill (for fantastic mood), Street Fighter 2 (great character designs and animation), F-Zero (for infusing story into the racing by way of comics!), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade), Double Dragon (NES), Streets of Rage (SNES), Final Fight (SNES), Starcraft (PC), Rise of the Dragon (PC), and a plethora of old NES games including Tecmo Bowl, Ice Hockey, Contra, Bionic Commando, and Jaws (which was a crappy game, but I loved it). I guess the list could really go on, but I'll end here and go draw some comics. :D
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Post by Tony » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:24 am

Hmmmm... games that INSPIRE you? I can think of loads of games that I enjoyed thoroughly, but games I was inspired by?

Oh wait, actually, there was Space Quest 4, King's Quest 5, Sam & Max (the Original, and something I couldn't help but be a COMPLETE fanboy geek about when I met Steve Purcell at SDCC), Loom, and Full Throttle. Each of these olde-timey adventure games had (among MANY other EXCELLENT qualities) such fully imagined and beautifully rendered environments. I'm not sure whether it spoke to a pre-existing penchant for detailed imagined environments in me or whether they were instrumental in fostering the same... but I think back to those games quite frequently. I would say they had a HUGE impact on the way I execute environmental art.

Prince of Persia: Mostly the original, but also "Sands of Time" - wow, it just moved so beautifully. The original demonstrated the kind of animation we should all really expect out of video games.

Ico and SotC: The environments and overall art direction in Ico - this was a new type of style and mood (especially mood!) I hadn't seen before. The awesome, amazing, unbelievable sense of scale in Colossus. But you guys know that. I want a hi-def SotC.

The Ancient Art of War (?): This was an old game for the black & white 9" Macs back in the late 80's/early 90's. A Broderbund game I think. It was some sort of strategy game, but I remember less about how it played and more that it came with a map editor. That was a big turning point for me. I would spend forever just making maps...

River City Ransom: So many hours blown playing this in co-op. It's the only RPG I've ever been able to get into. Yes, it's an RPG. You augment character stats. That makes it an RPG. I think something about the style really stuck with me... it might have been my earliest exposure to the beneficial aspects of sushi (+6 HP!).

Portal: The humour and CHARACTER that comes out in Portal is so surprising and well-executed. It's so creative, so elegant, so well-crafted, and so *essential* that it's just a diamond of a game. When I finished Portal for the first time, and the end sequence was running, I was just staring at the monitor covering my gaping mouth with my hands, feeling a mixture of exhilaration, surprise, and probably disbelief. I have never been so moved by a game, and I haven't enjoyed a gaming experience as much in several years. I'm not sure how Portal will influence me in the future, but I know that it will.

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Post by Tony » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:29 am

Kazu wrote:Resident Evil 4
I can't get past the boulder-rolling part in the first level of the game. I think I am doing something wrong? Also, MAN - it took forEVER for me to realize that I wasn't actually supposed to kill all the zombies (or even be able to!) in the first village. This game seems so foreign to me, but on your recommendation, I'm going to have to try harder to get into it.

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Post by flatrabbit » Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:10 am

Final Fantasy (Series) - As a kid I played all of these endlessly. The story lines, art and music snared me and I never really got away from them. Everything from Square has been a "must buy" since then. Final Fantasy Tactics was always my favorite though, I guess the endless possibilities really hit it on the spot for me.

Super Mario Bros. (Series) - This is another series that I loved every title. From the original castle crawling fun to the more recent 3D versions Mario and the rest of the cast have made gaming fun on many levels. The New Super Mario Bros. for the DS hasn't left my pocket in a while.

Quake (Series) - I pretty much grew up on PCs so my video game addiction followed me there also, I got hooked on Wolfenstein and transfered to Quake as soon as it came out. Really only the first 2 really got a lot of play from me.

The Legend of Zelda (Series) - Although I still haven't found the time to play the most recent Wii version I've loved every one, A Link to the Past is easily one of my favorites of all time. My son is hooked on The Phantom Hourglass for the DS and I'm hoping to pick up a copy to play soon too.

Halo (Series) - I was an Xbox early adopter and have been playing the Halo games from the first day. really the multiplayer is my thing...during most of my parties we all end up downstairs playing team battle or slayer. In the begining we would bring multiple TVs downstairs and system link 4 Xboxes to play 16 player matches...real dedication.

Other notables: WoW (PC), Command & Conquer (PC), Street Fighter (SNES) , Soul Calibur (Dreamcast), Tetris, Secret of Mana (SNES).
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Post by dik pose » Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:52 am

Wow... games that inspired me? Yikes.. I dont know that they ever did, games mainly let me escape the world that I normally live in. They are my escapism, complete and total. I dont dwell on their beauty, I usually dwell on how to beat them. :)

But games I played alot of, and have a special place in my heart are these....

Ducktales on the NES. Man, could not STOP playing!!! Scrooge needs to get all the treasures, beat that stupid Flintheart Glomgold

KaBoom on the Atari 2600, This game was maddening, trying to get the bombs in the water barrels. And they came faster and faster... AHHHH.

Ken Griffey Jr Baseball on the Super Nintedo. I played and played and played... and I OWNED!

RBI Baseball on NES. I played and played and played... and the computer cheated all the time!!!!

XCom on the Playstation. Fight the aliens, build your own team, rename them so they can all be your real life friends, build up your stats as you live longer... it was alot of fun, lots of strategy.

Recent games, Halo 3 is fun. Counter Strike was ok, but too many hackers. Wolfenstein:Enemy Territory, I pwned! Super Mario Bros 3 was the best of that series.

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Post by Tony » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:09 pm

dik pose wrote:Wolfenstein:Enemy Territory
Oh yeah!! Wow, how could I forget this one? This was the game that showed me how awesome multiplayer could be! When I was working at a game company, we'd play it all the time - everyone would get in - , then we'd go down to the pub and -try as we might- we'd always end up talking over strategies and stuff. I've tried to recreate that kind of thing with COD at other jobs, but it wasn't the same. *sigh*

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Post by dik pose » Wed Nov 07, 2007 6:18 pm

yeah tony, WET was the first online multiplayer game I ever played... what a blast!

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Post by rey-o » Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:55 pm

some really great games listed here... all the adventure games that Tony listed, I love them all too! Games like Sam and Max, Monkey Island, The Dig had great characterization, and like you said, fantastic background art.


I'm a big fan of those two FF games Kazu mentioned too. Since then, I haven't really been able to sink my teeth into a FF the same way. I'd also like to add Chrono Trigger too. In addition to being a great game, it was also one of the first avenues for many North Americans to experience Akira Toriyama's art.


Another game I'd like to add to my list is 'The Illusion of Gaia' for the SNES. It was clearly trying to catch the same Zelda or Secret of Mana flavor, and isn't nearly as good as either of those BUT the one thing that struck me was that it took place in the real world locations. The dungeon crawling featured places like the pyramids of Giza, Angkor Watt, etc. It created this bond for me, between adventure, magic and ancient cities that sticks with me to this day.
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Post by ludeshka » Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:35 am

I get a lot of inspiration from rpgs :D
(Actually, I only own rpgs and music games...)

Real inspirational games for me?

Final Fantasy 7...I was incredibly impressed by it when I was young. (I still consider it the "best" game I've ever played). The city you start in (Midgar) burned itself in my mind. I still try to sketch "Midgar-like backgrounds"...and I still fail terribly at it :D

SaGa Frontier 2 Have you seen that one? Watercolor backgrounds all around. And the character designs are awesome. And the story rocks, but I can´t really go into it without ranting. http://www.gamershell.com/playstation/s ... shots.html (link to some screenshots, in case you're curious :) )

Odin Sphere but that one has its own thread, so I won't spam it here :D Again, beauuuuuuutiful visuals and story.

There are several more, but this is my first post in this forums, I shouldn't prove at once what a nerd I am. It should come as a gradual discovery :p

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Post by Steven » Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:53 pm

The Myst games all really inspired me. They are so dynamic and creative. Righ now I am playing Assassin's Creed, and it has inspired a few doodles, too :D

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Post by dark77778 » Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:00 pm

[Double Edit: I'll add in my reasonings for why these games are so inspirational over the next comming days. The list is huge, but seriously, if these games don't move you in some respect, I'll be very surprised.]

The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang (SNES): My cousin picked this up out of a random bin, and we thought it was going to be something absolutely terrible. Turns out it's rather rare and quite possibly one of the best games I've ever played. I've spent many nights working out how to make a sequel to the game, as it so rightfully deserves one. The laughs and action are all over the place, and the game is quite difficult [though short] despite it's lighthearted appearance. The music is catchy, the levels are gorgeous, and the dialogue is witty and funny. It plays like Zelda, but where in Zelda can you find me a boss who's weak point is a bowl of Chicken Soup? Game comes complete with Batmobile. Good luck finding a copy unless you're in a vintage game store, so emulate it. Eat hat cat!

Astynax (NES): Zelda who? Link what? Sidescrolling action in this NES port of an apparantly Arcade game, while the storyline might be cliche, the character models are great...in the cutscenes. Yeah, there are full out cutscenes in this NES game, though done in manga style. Great, great music as well. See if you don't find yourself humming along with some of the music while you play. The character names might suck, but whatever, the game is fun and challenging and addicting as any arcade game should be.

Blackthorn (SNES): A little-known Blizzard game. Wherelse can you shoot Orc's in the head with a pump-action shotgun? Nowhere. The game plays like the original Prince of Persia, but with fast paced action and a modern, brutal twist. Sure, you're sent to save your people from slavery...but they didn't say that you couldn't simply free them from the mortal coil all together. *pumps shotgun*

Zelda: Link to the Past+Orcarina of Time: Nuff said. They're epic scale adventures with a great storyline, atmosphere, and a giant arsenal of fantasy dream weapons.

Beyond Good and Evil: Mere words could not do this game justice, which is why it did so poorly during sales. It's so absolutely stunning that you'll be hooked within the first couple minutes of gameplay.

Sonic: The fanchise was going so well until the last couple of years, whereas now I don't even think Sonic Team knows where the storyline is going. I mean...they need to hire on Bioware to pull them out of the hole? Come on!

Ecco: Sure, the game itself isn't all that spectacular, but it's eye candy again, and I've never played a game yet that makes controlling a dolphin feel so much like controlilng a dolphin. It's a ton of fun just to swim around, even if you don't get very far.

Myst: You want something that'll fully immerse you in its world? Turn off all the lights, bring some carrot sticks, water bottle and trail mix into your computer room and play Myst 1 and 4. You'll forget where you are.

Soul Blazer 1+2 [Soul Blazer 1 being the followup to Act Raiser and Soul Blazer 2 being Illusion of Gaia], Dark Cloud 1+2: I'm grouping these all together, as they're all games that have a nice storyline and allow you to rebuild, reshape, or restore the game world piece by piece, with the exception of Illusion of Gaia, but that's just a great game in it's own right and has a certain amount of Soul Blazer's core mechanics left.

Final Fantasy 6+Tactics Advanced: If I ever need a helping hand from some of the greatest characters in videogame history, I'm glad I know where these guys live...inside nice little cartridges.

NiGHTS: This game has so much potential, and it frustrates me to the point where I start thinking of so many ways to improve it, and that in turn gets the ball rolling to use that energy to fuel another creation.

Chrono Trigger+Cross: You want one of gaming's most fleshed out worlds ever with great characters, music, and a story that ties every little insignificant piece together. You've got it!

Megaman X 1+3+4: Not for Megaman, for Zero.

The whole King's Quest series too: Yeah, sure it uses moon logic, but sometimes ya just gotta push a few old ladies down the...oh wait, that's Day of the Tenticle. Um.... It's a great series of games and will charm you, even at it's most annoying of times *pulls out his magic map*.

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Post by [adam] » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:22 pm

Inspirational games ...

Final Fantasy X: Something about this game, and I've never been able to accurately explain why...but something about it just resonates within me. Visually stunning, and by far the best soundtrack from the series (Final Fantasy IX and VIII are a close second). I've listened to The Sight of Spira maybe 500 times, and each time I hear it, I listen to it like it were the first. I also connected with the land and environment on a deep, personal level, like each of those places existed somewhere in my mind, and was created just for me. The culture, the peoples, the religions, the message - I found all of it engaging and wonderful. Like Kazu, I feel I subconsciously try to invoke this mood in all the works I've created since I first experienced the game. The game is also, among other things, a source of inspiration for a number of characters I've created.

Unlimited:Saga: My recent trip to Japan made me remember this game after a brief trip to the Square/Enix store. Best part about this game: I couldn't even tell you what the story was about. ALL I remember from this game was the visual style and the music, and how PERFECTLY they worked together. Game play: crap. Storyline: reused and boring. Visuals: wonderful use of color and texture, with an original and creative soundtrack that I cycle through regularly.

Bioshock: Aren't enough creepy games in the world like this. Not since Silent Hill have I ever been more afraid to progress through a world then this one. And the subject matter and storytelling are well paced and creative. My dad thought it was fantastic and his gaming list includes maybe 2 other games; Super Mario 3 and Mario Cart.

Gears of War: Another example of fun, creative storytelling. It felt like you were playing an action movie, but with 2 times the content of most action movies. An established time line, a fast-paced environment, and funky character design and style, this is a game I flick on when I want to remember what it's like to inhabit a well constructed world.

Metal Gear Solid: Really no point in saying which one, but this is one of the few game franchises I've played in my life where I can't play it - I have to think it. It sounds weird after typing it, but it essentially means this: this game demands your engagement. No mindless button mashing in Snake's world. My 2 ALL-TIME favorite moments in video game history are in the MGS franchise:

*When I loaded a saved game from MGS 3: Snake Eater, where my last save point was mid-battle with The End (the old sniper with the parrot). When the game loaded up, The End was directly behind me, his sniper barrel pointed to the back of my head while he rattled off some witty line, like, "Nod off, did you?" He found me when I was AWAY, not even playing! THAT is innovative gaming.

*Fighting Psycho Mantis from MGS. 'Nuff said.


It made you reevaluate your media, and the standards everyone accepts them in. It's something I try to carry into animation and play with whenever possible. Also, the work by Yoji Shinkawa is really inspiring in itself.

Silent Hill 1-3: Come ON! The mood and tone in this series is unparalleled in classic horror of ANY media. I first rented Silent Hill for Playstation at age 14 and never beat it cause I couldn't play past the hospital - I was too scared. Nerves aside, I honestly think Silent Hill is a perfect example of how to tell a story through metaphor. It's even a great example of how to tell a story simply through camera angles alone.

Ico/Shadows of the Colossus: It's all been said...

The Matrix Online: Not a huge MMO player, because they are prone to take up SO MUCH TIME, but I've come to find a certain appreciation for them. The Matrix Online was my first ever MMO, and my passion for The Matrix universe finally found a physical manifestation within its digital realm. Some of my most experimental times in storytelling and acting were role playing my character within this 3d world.

So I guess that's my list, or at least the games that instantly come to mind. This doesn't even tap into games I just downright like playing, only the ones I really find inspirational to my work in some way or another.

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Post by Plouffe » Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:05 pm

My inspirational Games:

Final Fantasy 7
All Zelda games
Shadow of the colossus
Flashback ( the old side scroller dos game)
All the Myst Games
all the Sega Genesis Sonic the hedge hog games
Return to Zork
Metal Gear Solid 4
Portal
Half Life series

im sure im missing a tone ...

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