Every game creator is inspired by the games of their youth, which in turn leads them to make the next set of games that inspires the next generation of developers.
Gamasutra is reporting that a panel today at GDC had four legendary game designers talk about the games that influenced them. The game designers in question were Will Wright, Sid Meier, Cliff Bleszinksi and John Romero.
For a bit of background, here’s what each designer is most famous for. Will Wright was the co-founder of Maxis who created games such as Sim City and the Sims. The last game he was a part of before departing Maxis was Spore.
Sid Meier is in the same boat as Will Wright as game designers that perhaps need no introduction as his name graces each game that he produces – Sid Meier’s Civilization. What you may not know is that he is also responsible for Alpha Centauri and Pirates.
Cliff Bleszinski may be the most contemporary designer on the list, but he shot up in notoriety as the creator of the Gears of War franchise. Before that though, he worked on Epic’s Unreal Tournament series. Cliff Bleszinski will always hold a special place in my heart, however, as part of the team that worked on Jazz Jackrabbit.
Finally, John Romero was a co-founder of id Software where the first-person shooter was born. He was involved in the creation of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, but may be forever remembered as the creator of the ill-fated and absolutely trashy game Daikatana.
Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s get to the games that inspired them to make their most famous games. Will Wright was up first and his inspiration was more of a tool set than a game. He said that Pinball Construction Set for the Apple II was his inspiration for Sim City. The graphical editor was especially of great importance as it paved the way for the simplistic editor tools that were in Sim City.
Sid Meier said that if it wasn’t for the classic PC game Seven Cities of Gold, he might not have started making historical games like Civilization. The focus on history and real world events led him to realize that topics like this could enter video games and still take hold of the player’s imagination.
Cliff Bleszinski may have shared the most entertaining story with how his love of Nintendo and The Legend of Zelda led to him being made of fun at school. It may have not inspired any game at the moment for the young game creator to be, but it did put him on the path to becoming a rockstar of the games industry. In his talk, he mentions this ad for Zelda that didn’t really sell the game for him. I wonder why?
John Romero spoke on how color in video games was his first “wow” moment. He was so used to seeing black and white games and then saw Pac-Man, which was his first game in color.
While some of these creators went on to make vastly different games from what inspired them, there still is something to be said of the experience that leads us to choose gaming as more than just a hobby.
What game was your defining moment that led you to realize this was more than just a hobby? Do you have any particular awesome stories? Let us know in the comments.
[Lead image courtesy of Gamasutra]