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.
(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.
(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.