Archive for October, 2010

Building an awesome team

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Just read an article on Inside Social Games, and there was a great quote in it by Curt Bererton, the CEO and co-founder of social game developer ZipZapPlay, about building an awesome team that I thought was worth sharing. I’ve seen first-hand what an awesome team can do and also the opposite, so I agree with this statement wholeheartedly (I’ve bolded a key statement):

“Our philosophy is that we aren’t looking for prima donnas or drama queens, just smart and cool people who love games and get things done. Turns out this combination is pretty hard to find. Probably the most significant factor in our success is the people I work with: my co-founder Mathilde and our awesome team of great people. Having fun, highly skilled people without egos working together means you can move quickly without getting bogged down in drama or politics. Speed is the probably the most important factor in the success in almost any business, and this is doubly true in social games. I’m just happy to go to work every day and make great games happen.”

What experience do you have of working in or building an awesome team?

15 Games that have influenced me

Friday, October 1st, 2010

jumpingjackimage: Jumping Jack

A few days ago some game designers started posting 15 games that have influenced them, and not one to let a bandwagon pass me by, I’ve done the same! These are more-or-less in chronological order. Of course I could have added many more but the aim was to make the list quickly without thinking too much.

1) Jumping Jack on Spectrum 48K. This was the first computer game I ever saw! Not long after I got my first computer and the rest is history.

2) Horace Goes Skiing on Spectrum 48K. This game came with my first computer and it opened my eyes to what was possible. It wasn’t particularly great but it made me want to play more games and make games too! The Spectrum had tons of great games, and early on I played things like Manic Miner, which I’ll remember forever.

3) Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins on C64. This was such a well produced (and hard!) game with excellent music. There were so many fantastic C64 games I could put here like Cybernoid, Ikari Warriors, Bounder, Commando, Paradroid, World Class Leaderboard, Tetris, Arkanoid, Bubble Bobble, Wizball, Way of the Exploding Fist…you get the idea.

4) Gauntlet arcade cabinet. Need I say more?

5) Laser Squad on C64. This was my first introduction to tactical squad-based combat, and it was amazing. Later on Xcom, created by the same designer really hooked me.

6) Turrican on Amiga (and C64). This game simply blew my head off, and so did the sequel. Amazing use of the technology and a great varied platformer shooter.

7) R-Type on C64 and Amiga. Loved this game, although it was bitchin’ hard. Nearly put Flying Shark or 1942 or Battle Squadron or Slapfight here instead.

8 ) Dungeon Master on Amiga. As soon as I heard the first footsteps and moans of mummies in the distance, my love affair with RPGs began. There are a zillion amazing Amiga games I could list but I’ll stick with just a couple for now.

9) Golden Axe arcade cabinet. When I first saw and heard this, I could hardly believe how good arcade machines had got. It’s still classic today.

10) Doom (I’m not even going to link to this one, because if you haven’t heard of it, what are you doing reading this blog!?) When I saw Doom, I build my first PC (a 486 DX4 100MHz with 4Mb RAM) to run it. Then I played pretty much every decent FPS since, so I’m not going to list any more of those. Although an honourable mention must go to Hexen which I feel really expanded upon Doom in a good way.

11) Screamer on PC. I never really liked racing games before this (with the exception of Buggy Boy on C64 ad some top down racers), but Screamer got me into them. Later on I played things like Gran Turismo 3 which lead directly to me buying a Subaru Impreza Turbo 2000, which was an awesome car.

12) Tie Fighter on PC. Played with an analogue joystick, this space shooter was similar amazing. I’ve never played anything in that genre as good since although there have been some notable efforts such as Rebel Strike on Gamecube.

13) Tomb Raider on Playstation. I just really dug the 3D exploring aspect that hadn’t really been done as well before.

14) Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle on PC. This is probably one of the best RPGs ever and the others in the series rock too. Other notable RPGs are Baldur’s Gate II and Planescape Torment, and more recently the Avernum series.

15) Bejeweled on PC. When I played this back in 2005 I really liked it and thought “I can make a game like this” and so I did. It was called Xmas Bonus and it was my first commercial game! It didn’t do great, but it did sell and make some money, and it taught me a lot. The rest is history.

Wow, making that list took a while and was really hard. Most of those games are pretty old, but maybe that’s because in those days when something new came along, it really was new and influenced a lot of people! There are some amazing games around now of course, and I could probably list tons but I’ve ran out of list numbers, bah!

Also, I feel sad not to have included some classic older games like: Dizzy, Double Dragon, Rolling Thunder, Space Harrier, Streets of Rage, Xenon 2, Rainbow Islands, Populous, Archon, Sim City, Sonic, Monkey Island (and all those point and click adventures), Alien Breed, Stunt Car Racer, Speedball 2, Gods, Flashback, Worms, IK+, Earthworm Jim, Ecco the Dolphin, Desert Strike, Crash Bandicoot, System Shock 2, Silent Hill 2, Zelda Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, Mario Galaxy, Tekken Tag, Wipeout, Resident Evil, Jak and Daxter, Rachet and Clank, Ico, Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Solid, God of War, Ridge Racer, Burnout, Beyond Good & Evil, Final Fantasy VII/X, Super Monkey Ball, Viewtiful Joe, Paper Mario, Prince of Persia, Elite Beat Agents, Hotel Dusk, Advance Wars, Half Life, Portal, Call of Duty and last but not least Farmville (OK not old or classic, and not great, but certainly influential).

OMG I could easily keep going to 100 games no probs, so I’d better sign off for now.

What 15 games have influenced you?
Post links to your lists!