Last updated on October 4th, 2023 at 03:03 pm
Part of the reason I recently decided to learn more about making video games is that video games are like 80% of what I do/watch. I have steamers running all day long. I’m always interested in what different players can do with the same game. Player ingenuity is remarkable, and through them, I’m always learning different things, even with games I’ve been watching for a long time.
So, while I’m making an active effort to watch and play more video games in the future, I wanted to share some more video games that inspire me and that I keep coming back to. These are the type of games I want to create in the future.
Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods is my favorite game. When people ask me what kind of games I want to make, my answer is always “similar to Night in the Woods.” It’s my biggest inspiration. I love it because it’s a game about growing up, friendship, and how you survive while the wide world changes around you.
The mechanics are fairly simple. It’s basically just a game in which you go around having conversations and jumping on power lines and buildings. But the story and characters have depth. It’s a game that keeps giving. Every time you play it, you discover new secrets, dialogue options, and different events. You literally can’t get every scene in one playthrough, so I’m always discovering new things. If you’re interested, I have a close reading of Night in the Wood’s Possum Springs.
Speaking of secrets and always discovering new things, Hollow Knight is full of hidden paths and encounters. Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania, and the main challenges are platforming and boss fights. I’m pretty good at the platforming. I am awful at the boss fights. So, despite my best efforts, I have not finished this game yet. I swear I’m trying.
But Hollow Knight is a gorgeous game (especially for the small indie team), and it has a lot of lore to discover and figure out. Entire YouTube channels are dedicated to figuring out Hollow Knight lore. I’ve watched comprehensive playthroughs of this game, and I also watch a lot of speedrunners. It’s amazing to see how differently everyone plays the game and how many challenges you can pull out of this game. While I probably won’t make a combat game in the future, I’m continuously inspired by Hollow Knight’s art and story.
Stardew Valley is my chill game, which means it’s kind of my go-to game. I’ve spent, I think, a few hundred hours in Stardew. Stardew Valley is a farming simulator, but it’s also way more than that. You can go mining/monster hunting, unlock villager backgrounds, and discover tons of little secrets.
This is another game where I love seeing the different ways everyone plays it and the different challenges you can do. It seems like there’s always something else you could be doing. There are even speedrunners for this game, believe it or not. I’d like to put my own spin on this genre of game someday, but we’ll see.
These are the games that I tend to play when I’m in the mood. These aren’t necessarily the type of games that I’m interested in creating, but they are games that are important to me or that I grew up with.
Pokemon was my favorite series for the longest time. I started to not play them around Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu because I felt like the game was losing its challenge. But I’ve got over 600 hours in SoulSilver alone.
Next to Pokemon, I’ve been playing Kingdom Hearts the longest. The first game is my favorite, minus the terrible camera system. I think it’s partially because it holds the most nostalgia for me, but I also like the basic mechanics better. Once KH started adding in all the gimmicks (god, the amusement park rides), I lost interest in actually playing the game versus just watching someone else play it. But still, I love it.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
My husband bought ACNH for me, and I wasn’t super interested at first. I still go through periods of time during which I play a lot, and then I’ll drop it for weeks or months. It’s just a game that really emphasizes design, and I’m terrible at design. I’m more of a practical completionist, so I like collecting the different bugs and fish. But really, there’s not enough in Animal Crossing to regularly sustain my attention, though I appreciate it for what it is. It just always makes me want to play Stardew Valley.
Full disclosure: I cannot play this game. I am terrible at Cuphead. I can’t even make it past the first run and gun. But I like the design of the game, and I find it really fun to watch.
The Last of Us
I can’t play this game either. One, I suck at shooters, and two, this game makes me too jumpy. But it’s hard to say you want to make story-driven video games without mentioning The Last of Us. The first game is a masterpiece of story-telling. It’s also one of my husband’s favorite games, so I’ve watched multiple playthroughs, and I’m always amazed by the small stories told within the bigger one. I love reading all the collectibles and exploring how the world changed.
I’m not a fan of the second one. I think it was the wrong direction to take the story in, mostly because I find it too bleak. I think The Last of Us was ultimately about hope, and Part II didn’t continue that trend for me.
This was really a way to highlight for myself all the games I find inspiring, but these are also the games I recommend others play (or at least watch). Though these are pretty famous games, so it’s unlikely you haven’t heard of any of them. But if I’ve introduced one new game to you, I’m happy!
What are your favorite games?