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Games: My Biggest Influences

Brutal Legend Eve Online Final Fantasy VII Minecraft

Brutal Legend

Brutal Legend

I would imagine that you are scratching your head right now trying to figure out why Brutal Legend is at the top of the list. The ambiance is truly unique and I love the whole style and feel of the game. I thought that the integration of the RTS elements in the game worked out really well too. In truth what changed my life about this game was not as much the game itself as it was the development of it.

To get into graduate school I had to do an assignment for the production track. The option I picked was an analysis of a game in regards to how the development process affected the final product. Vivendi Games subsidiary, Sierra Entertainment was the original publisher of Brutal Legend, yet during production, they were acquired by Activision. Activision announced several games that were going to be kept, leaving several companies up in the air, including Brutal Legend's developer Double Fine. Assuming the worst, Double Fine started shopping it out to other publishers. EA picked it up, and after a legal battle with Activision, ended up publishing the game.

Another interesting factoid is that Double Fine switched over to Scrum during this timeframe too. I suppose this was my first exposure to the development process that I would later come to love. The only feedback I got from the assignment was acceptance into grad school, so there's that.


EVE Online

My Orca and Hulk

Eve is not a game for the casual gamer. In fact the running joke is that EVE has a learning cliff compared to most existing MMOs. I also sometimes refer to it as Spreadsheet:The Game. Neither of these do EVE justice. EVE is an MMO about spaceships. Players acquire ships, fly them and do pretty much whatever they want. EVE has no scripted single player storymode, no cutscenes, and little handholding. You can start playing for the first time and set off into the unknown and build your own future.

And speaking of building, nearly every item in the game is built by players. And that is quite the reason I wanted to play EVE. I wanted to pursue Industry rather than PVP, so I did. And now I build capital ships to order and have a regular client base. There are no "worlds" or "servers" that seperate the player base. Everyone playing EVE is in the same Universe. Players group up into corporations, alliances, and even coalitions to take control of the outer regions of space. This is a breeding ground for real world politics, espionage, and conquest.

EVE runs in realtime as well. If you want to fly a new ship you have to train the skills in real time. If you want to use the appropriate guns for that ship you have to train those skills too. Appointment mechanics are super addicting as evidenced by Farmville, and other social games, but you don't see those in MMOs as much. EVE is truly an amazing game and the community-developer relationship is pretty astounding. I dare say my story in EVE is far more interesting than that of my real life. I could spend all day regaling you of my successes and failures in game. But what is most significant for this list is that EVE is a framework for all sorts of real life unscripted drama.


Final Fantasy VII


Final Fantasy VII has a legacy of its own from memes to merchandise to cosplay. I list this here not to jump on the hype bandwagon but because it had a significant impact on my taste in games. Before I was aware of its existence I was almost exclusively a Nintendo gamer, if only because of hand-me-down games from my older cousin. At that time games like Zelda, Banjo-Kazooie, and the Mario franchise were all I knew. Then at a friend's house I saw FFVII and was deadset on playing it. I ended up buying a PS2 and a Game of the Year copy of it. I loved the game's story, the strategy involved with materia selection, and even the grinding. I would go on to seek out and play other awesome RPGS like .hack//, Xenosaga, Shadow Hearts, FFX, FFXII, Lost Odyssey, The Last Remnant, Magna Carta and FFXIII.



Tunontis Trench - Local Minecraft Server

I was first introduced to Minecraft by my younger cousins. My brother and I started playing at the same time and it was alot of fun building things and exploring the world. Our original local multiplayer server became corrupted, but we would go on to start new ones with friends to experience the thrill and fun of trying to survive those first few days. Eventually one of those servers became our primary server and the world was given the name Zyx.

The working relationship between us was perfect. Like with EVE, I focused on mining and resource gathering. My brother focused on large building projects, and a mutual friend focused on building and exploration. The only problem was that they would tire much more quickly than I would, and many of their projects lie unfinished in the world. The picture above is proof of my resolve and dedication to completing projects. The area used to be a cavern just below water level in a swamp. I decided to dig it all up, rather than get lost in the monster infested caverns deep under the earth.

For those of you that have played, I used only stone tools to clear the excess material, and hauled nearly 50% of the lava into a silo above ground for storage. Note that this is a completely vanilla minecraft server. No mods or level editors were used. With all of that material to store I would go on to build large storage warehouses for use by anyone playing on the server. Some say that my tenacity borders on insanity, but it serves me well. For more screenshots of my projects in Zyx, click here.