REposting this because I made some changes - played new games since May and I also remembered I liked some games more than others.
FAVORITE VIDEOGAMES in no particular order
Just as important to the way I draw and tell stories to my work as comic illuistrators are…. I have to say what really got me into drawing wasn’t so much comics, but actually videogames.
This also might as well be called “The short list of stuff I do fanart of occasionally”
My brother was a huge videogame nut and played them all the time (and still does) so I spent most of my life watching him play videogames and developing an interest in them.
Eventually I began more than just a casual interest, I saw something cool in how they engaged a player in their atmosphere, how they used visual techniques to appeal to a broad range of audiences and ultimately how some videogames have the finest sense of emotion and atmosphere that makes a lot of comics and illustrators look like storytelling chumps.
I bring to you, from top to bottom, the most influential videogames to me. This list will be short considering I barely consider myself a “gamer” but I consider the few games that make it here huge, huge huge influences that can NOT be excluded from my list of inspirations and are probably more important to building me as an artist than the comic book illustrators were.
1. Mother 3
For lack of a better term everyone has one constant subconscious variable in their life that on some geekery level has defined who they are. Something consistent that has been a touch stone in how they’ve grown as a person, developed as whatever career path they’ve chosen, even determined who they’ve dated or hung out with. For some it’s religion. For others it’s Batman. I’ve met a couple of people that would say Gurren Langan or My Little Pony was theirs. Mother3 has been that variable for me. Ever since I was a little kid, 4 years old, watched my brother play Earthbound for the SNES (whch is also on this list, and I know it’s cheating to put two games from the same series on the same list but they are really, really different games) and it being my first gaming experience, how I beat it a million times when I was 12, picked it up again when I was 16, it leading to a starting career point and then a multitude of questionable life decisions thereon out. I remember when this little game here, Mother3 was in development as Earthbound 64 and my wide eyed curiosity as a 12 year old. How I was crushed when it was canceled. How I was excited when it was reannounced. How I was cautious when it came out.
And how utterly in love I was when it came out as an adult.
I don’t think there is a single game, or piece of media for that matter, that has come as close as meaningful to me as Mother3 has. Maybe The Little Prince which makes me cry like an infant every time I read it, but that’s because Mother3 is so rich in poignancy and beauty that as a sham of an artist as I am if I could just bottle up one tenth of the emotion that radiates off of this masterpiece I would die a happy person. Mother3 is just a rich game that proves that you don’t need space marines or nazis to make your game mature enough to make a human being feel completely overwhelmed with complex emotional bliss/agony, all you need is to tap deeply into the pathos of what makes us human. You will (maybe) cry, laugh, smile, be emmersed, feel distant, it is a game that takes storytelling to new heights beyond not only the medium of videogames, but beyond storytelling itself.
It’s a good game you guys.
It’s a really, really, REALLY good game.
Could be suited for a better medium than a videogame? Probably. Would have made one hell of an alternative comic.
I honestly don’t know how you even know or care about my art if you don’t know about the Mother series.
2. Cave Story
Cave Story is the ultimate pick me up motivational story. Here is a guy who single handily created one of, if not the most enjoyable videogame on the planet. It’s probably my favorite game. Now as much as I just gushed about Mother3, it’s not my favorite game. I cannot pick up Mother3 and play it over and over, oh no. Mother3 is too exhausting for that. But Cave Story? I’ve never beaten Hell but I’ve gotten there enough times to tell you that I can replay Cave Story for months at a time and not get sick of it.
What a great game that pretty much does every single thing perfectly.
I mean it. The graphics, while 8 bit, convey perfect use of sihlouette and style, the music is SO INCREDIBLY WELL COMPOSED, the gameplay is fast challenging and fun shooter platform frenzy, the story is touching and sentimental and given to you in an investigative manner. It’s just such a well done masterpiece of a game that to think that it is done by one person is just outstanding. I can’t get over it. Every time I feel down I think “Cave Story” and perk right up.
I’m cheating because I did mother3 and I’m going to repeat almost everything I said about Mother3 but about Earthbound.
Highly influential game for the same reasons, beautiful and fun. The only difference is… it’s not quite as beautiful as Mother3, but it is less exhausting and it is much sillier and more fun. I recommend you play Earthbound before you play Mother3, if not for the in jokes, than just to ease yourself into the feel of the series.
MOTHER is also a great game but it pales in comparison to its sequels.
4. Shadow of the Colossus
I would talk about ICO but I’ve never played it.
Shadow of the Colossus on the other hand? Played that! What a gorgeous game. Look at those textures man.
Beautiful storytelling. You are a man. On a horse. trying to save your dead girlfriend by killin’ the 16 monsters scattered in a vast empty landscape.
Such a gorgeous game. The use of decoration and emptiness is so inspiring, it’s not hard to see what I ripped off here.
My favorite collosi are the bird and the cemetery horse.
5. Megaman 2
Okay, maybe since Protomen I have a new found appreciation of Megaman, and maybe because Megaman is a huge tribute to Astroboy, but it’s not hard to fall in love with the crazy platform landscapes of Dr. Wily’s robot masters.
6. Super Mario RPG
It’s a cartoony squaresoft game. It’s not so much a Mario game as it is a final fantasy game with cute characters.
Mario and Bowser do their daily dance of rescue the princess when a giant sword crashes on the castle and kicks them all out. When they meet a mysterious wizard angel doll thing that informs them that the Star Road has been broken and wishes can’t come true anymore, it’s up to Mario and the gang to collect the missing star pieces and bring order back to the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s really a classic square SNES 16 bit game that everyone ought to play, if not to get in touch with the starry eyed wonder and that part of their heart that reminds them what being a kid is like - a revitilizing thing that cartoonists need.
Psychonauts is a great game. Funny, dark, artistic and huge. It has this very Burton-esque feel to it.
Plus, both Scott C. and Tim Schafer were involved in this. You know it’s good.
Psychonauts follows the adventures of Raz, a wisecracking psychokinetic young boy who is sent to a camp for boys and girls with psychic powers. However, he learns that the camp seems to hold a dark secret when his fellow campers’ brains suddenly go missing. It’s a fun little platform/rpg romp where you can set squirrels on fire that features great art and characters. What’s not to love?
8. Super Metroid
Super metroid! Back when Samus was still respectable.
Love how Moebius and Alien inspired it all is.
9. Final Fantasy 7
Say what you will about how it has aged, its fanbase or whatever. But FF7 still in my opinion- and my opinion is fresh as I just finished playing it last summer - has some damn fine storytelling. When it came out its use of cinematics was revolutionary and to be honest it still works well. It’s still a good story with good characters and good goodness. Cid is still the best character though.
Simple yet beautiful, Pikmin is a dark fairy tale that is both cute, charming and twisted.
Also, I love how the characters are designed. Did you know they made the pikmin so simple as a cheat so that they could render 100 of them on the screen at a time without slowing the hardware down? Further proof that good character design =/= putting a thousand belts on your characters. I say that right after saying FF7 was one of my favorite games
There you have it. Games that helped shape me as an artist. Tune in next time for more!