Sharing Day, Gamer Edition

I think older audiences (raises hand) don't quite appreciate the impact computer games have had on the younger generation. We all talk about movies or books that profoundly influenced us while younger, but I suspect video games have done the same for a lot of folks.

So here's what I would like to know about you:

What computer game (not necessarily an RPG though of course it could be) would you say has had the biggest influence on you in real life?

In return, if you wish you can ask me any question you like about whatever you like, which I will answer either completely truthfully or not at all (in which case you can ask something else). You don't have to ask me anything if you don't want, but I'd still like to hear your answer to the question.

Speaking of which, my answer would be:

"Civilization". Seeing what a big difference location makes to the success of a culture definitely changed how I read history and view other countries. A few years after first being addicted to it, I was at a museum exhibit about the Aztecs, and you could really see how the resources they had starting out shaped the entire culture. Not choosing the "Wheel" tech was a big deal, too. And you could see how Tenochtitlan had to be built around massive irrigation due to the rocky surrounding climate. It was like seeing a game session played out in real life! It also led me to "Guns, Germs, and Steel", a fascinating look at how technology spreads, how resources vary from culture to culture, and how much of a difference early choices make in cultural development.

Plus, it was completely addictive fun!

Now it's your turn!

83 Responses to Sharing Day, Gamer Edition

  1. Anarchangel Anarchangel

    I share your love of Civilization Jeff. It was truly an addictive game yet I had trouble explaining to people why I enjoyed it so much. I had the same problem with the Sims which, on the face of it, seems incredibly boring. But at the time I couldn’t put it down. Having ultimate control over simulated peoples lives feeds my god complex. Mwahahahaaaa!!!

    Another game I think had an influence on me was Final Fantasy 7. Mostly because it taught me that so long as you have an interesting story, people are willing to overlook oddly shaped heads and strange movements.

    Life lessons 🙂

  2. Jeff, for two reasons I would have to say “Brothers In Arms” by Ubisoft/Gearbox. 1). Believe it or not, it was a minor, though compelling factor that influenced me in longing to serve in the U.S. Army (…particularly with the 101st/82d Airborne). 2). Because the developers of this game spent time with actual instructors from West Point learning squad tactics from WWII (…some still employed by the Army today), it has been somewhat of an education in evaluating situations tactically in order that I can make sound choices that not only get the job done, but most importantly, keep my men alive.

    *Phew* Ok, question for you Jeff…and it’s an odd one: I don’t know your religious affiliation, perhaps you’re an atheist even, but maybe you could humor me for this question– let’s say when you pass away there’s an angel/spirit guide to take you into the afterlife (…a rewarding afterlife, like Heaven), and he/she/it has taken the guise of a superhero. What superhero would you want to accompany you?

  3. Red Dead Redemption. Go ahead and call me out for liking popular games, but I’d like to recommend you play it. Some of the dialogue is the most philosophical stuff you will ever hear from a video game, as is the case with a lot of the newer Rockstar games. It showed me how people had to be to just cope with things in the harsh reality of a changing world in 1911, and the mantra: ‘Some violent piece of sh*t got himself mixed up with god…now we gotta deal with it’.

  4. @Dan 3, Hi Dan, I’m Dan. I think one of us has to change our name otherwise it’s gonna get confusing.

  5. Being of the “older audience”, I haven’t played many of the modern “classics” that are circulating. I am old school and still look for a place to insert my quarter when my kids play the Wii. I have dabbled with Medal of Honor and Call of Duty before and got a bit of a taste of the World War II scene. Storming the beach of Normandy was next to impossible on M of H and made me imagine what it was like for those poor sitting ducks that were actually there and experienced it first hand. The games made me re-think on how lucky we are that we do not have to live through those tough times that my parents (your grandparents) went through. These games gatewayed me to watch great series like Band of Brothers, The Pacific and review Saving Private Ryan again and again. All those who fought and are fighting for us civilians have earned my respect forever more.

    The only question that I can think of at the moment is “How is buisness?” I curious to know how the program is developing, what you can share (if any) in information on current and future developments and what you think of the evolution and how participants are using “your baby” today?

    Also on a side note, check out this trailer for a new online show that has caught my attention!

    http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/SuperHeroTooniverse/news/?a=41255

  6. Joshua asked:

    *Phew* Ok, question for you Jeff…and it’s an odd one: I don’t know your religious affiliation, perhaps you’re an atheist even, but maybe you could humor me for this question– let’s say when you pass away there’s an angel/spirit guide to take you into the afterlife (…a rewarding afterlife, like Heaven), and he/she/it has taken the guise of a superhero. What superhero would you want to accompany you?

    I guess in one sense it wouldn’t really matter, since it would be an angel/spirit just pretending to be someone else. Given that, I guess I’d pick Superman, since he’s most powerful as a symbol of power, hope, and goodness rather than being interesting in and of himself.

  7. ams asked:

    The only question that I can think of at the moment is “How is buisness?” I curious to know how the program is developing, what you can share (if any) in information on current and future developments and what you think of the evolution and how participants are using “your baby” today?

    At the moment, given the still-fresh buyout of UGO by IGN, I’m more or less focusing just on the immediate task of fleshing out HM3 more. I don’t think anyone on that side of the business has yet figured out what they want to do with HeroMachine in the future, so … yeah, I am just plugging along.

    In terms of what you all are DOING with it, I’m just blown away. Seriously. I look at some of these contest entries and I literally cannot believe the software I wrote is capable of doing such amazing things. I knew when I put this all together that my goal was to enable people to express their creativity, but I didn’t at all foresee how that creativity would come out in terms of direct manipulation of the tools. I mean, I very much built HM3 with the intention of it being more flexible (getting rid of the “Why did he put that Companion THERE?!” issue was a major concern!), but your creativity has blown the lid off of anything I could possibly have imagined.

    I’m not just blowing smoke when I say I am truly humbled by what you all do week-in and week-out. Really, really amazing stuff.

  8. Captain Kicktar

    I’d say probably Mirror’s Edge, but not because it was a good game, but because at the time I got it, I still had a 6 year old computer. It spurred me to get my current gaming computer, opening the world of PC gaming. It also taught me about how to build and debug a computer to a much greater length then before.

  9. Mine would be Warcraft II. My cousin had it on his computer and I played it while my family was down visiting his family. It was the first PC game I really got into.

    After visiting, I went out and bought the game for myself (and Warcraft I). I was already into consol gaming, but Warcraft II really opened my eyes to PC gaming (and the capabilities of PCs in general).

    Not to belittle my abilities (or give up on improving), but after seeing the all the finalists for this last character creater contest, I don’t think I currently have the ability to compete with them. Do you think in the future you may have two different skill levels so those of us still learning can compete against others of similar skills(amature and experienced)?

  10. I’m not sure. I was never a huge player of computer games, and I’m still not. It also probably says something about me that pretty much the only computer games I play are Star Wars ones. The one that always stood out to me though, was the Star Wars Episode 1 Racer game. I first had a copy for my family’s old computer with Windows 98, and loved it. Having first watched Episode 1 not that long before, I was immediately hooked on the game. I even started crying once when I didn’t win a race.

    When we changed our computer to a Mac, I soon started looking for a Mac version. Say what you will about The Phantom Menace, but I loved the podrace in the film, and I loved (and still love) the podraces in the game.

    Question… If you could visit one country anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

  11. Well Pokemon for me, it was the first game universe i ever wanted to be a part of, create my own things for, it kinda sparked my desire to create.

  12. I think that question should’ve been ‘which one would it be’ or something, but it doesn’t matter too much.

  13. I love video games more then life itself (well someone’s life itself). However, I would have to say that I think the most influential game in my life has been one I have almost never played: Super Mario for N64. This is mainly because back when I was really little, I didn’t have any form of gaming system or games (this was when N64 WAS the height of gaming tech). Whenever I visited my relatives in Switzerland, we always go see my ant and uncle. I have many ants and uncles, but these ones didn’t speak any (or almost any) English. However they did have an N64. It was always so special getting to play Super Mario or Donkey Kong on the N64. In all honesty I was more excited about the video games then about seeing them. I also remember playing that game with a very good friend of my who I kind of ended up growing apart from. I guess I would find it influential because it was one of the first games I ever played and helped to spark my love of video games.

    As for a question for Jeff, I was wondering what type of game is your favorite? Personally I really love fighting games (Street Fighter, Super Smash Brothers, Marvel VS Capcom etc.) So, what’s yours?

  14. Honestly, I’d have to go with the Final Fantasy series (the older ones, not the newer ones). My first Final Fantasy was #10, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Hearing the music of Nobuo Uematsu on those games didn’t just increase my appreciation for music; rather, his music created it. Witnessing the stories of those games, likewise, created my appreciation for epic stories of heroism and the like. Not only that, but Final Fantasy has served as a “gateway RPG;” ever since then, I’ve been looking for other types of RPG’s to add to my gaming collection, with the likes of Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Phantasy Star, and Mother (Earthbound in America) being my favorite alongside Final Fantasy.

    As of right now, I have no questions related directly to my ability to draw, or any other pressing matters, so I guess I’ll have to go with this one:

    What is your favorite Internet Meme?

  15. I’m not much of a PC gamer, so no games have truly affected me. HM, however did allow me to actually use all of this creative energy I have and channel it into something which actually looked good. Given a pen and paper now, my work isn’t bad, but back when I first started HMing, I was limited to humanoid blobs. HM gave me a way to create characters I had come up with and that I am grateful for.

    My question for you is if you could see one comic book character flip universes, who would it be and why?

  16. mashlagoo asked:

    Do you think in the future you may have two different skill levels so those of us still learning can compete against others of similar skills(amature and experienced)?

    I try to judge these not just on amazing technical ability, but on how well they fit the contest concept. And I like simple designs as much as the crazy complicated ones. So, I don’t think anyone’s necessarily out of the running. Plus, I don’t know how I would qualify “amateur” …

  17. The biggest influence on me has had, I think, my favorite The Elder Scrolls 3 Morrowind. Before Morrowind I didn’t like all those elves-orcs things much, prefered first-person shooters. Now I am big Morrowind fan. The second – maybe Fallout 3. First I didn’t want to try it because thought it’s too grim for me, but then I said – hell, why not just try? And that’s how I became Fallout fan.

    My question is, what is your thoughts about flipping the characters from good to evil? Well, like Batman-Owlman, Superman-Ultraman and other Crime Syndicate guys?

  18. Trekkie asked:

    Question… If you could visit one country anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

    Italy, for the ancient Roman and Renaissance art. Plus the awesome food!

  19. Joel asked:

    As for a question for Jeff, I was wondering what type of game is your favorite? Personally I really love fighting games (Street Fighter, Super Smash Brothers, Marvel VS Capcom etc.) So, what’s yours?

    I’m a huge RPG guy. WoW, Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3, I am a sucker for all that stuff.

  20. Jadebrain asked:

    What is your favorite Internet Meme?

    Does LOLCats count? If so, that.

  21. Vampyrist asked:

    My question for you is if you could see one comic book character flip universes, who would it be and why?

    I’d say Spider-Man, so he can finally live in a universe where not everything sucks all the time for everyone. Maybe he’ll even make rent!

  22. I was pretty late to the party when it comes to gaming. I remember when a friend of mine got the original SNES StarFox for his birthday and I scoffed at it because I was sure video games would just be a passing fad (cut me some slack, I was 8). My first console was the N64, which I played to death.

    Of the various games I owned for that console (which was not that many; damn you Nintendo and your disrespect for third-party developers!) the one that impacted me the most was probably The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It’s easy to forget how groundbreaking OoT was. The graphics may not have aged well (though I think they still stack up impressively well even by modern standards) but the gameplay, controls, and story are so solid I can’t believe they haven’t been ripped off a hundred times by other developers.

    Sadly Nintendo has never really managed to recapture that same magic again. Every 3D Zelda game since OoT has basically been the exact same game. They just update the graphics, tweak the plot a bit, and give you different items to play with (most of which are only useful in the dungeon you get them). They’re not bad games but that’s just because they’re not really new games, just OoT clones with new gimmicks attached. Even Wind Waker which seemed like the most radical change was basically just OoT with the horse replaced by a sailboat.

    The only Zelda game that has even come close to recapturing the magic of OoT was Majora’s Mask. Which is ironic since superficially MM seems more like a clone of OoT than any other Zelda game.

  23. Me, Myself & I

    For me it had to be the Adventure Construction Set (ACS) back in the Commodore 64 days.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventure_Construction_Set

    Call me crazy but in some ways it is still better than many computer RPG games made today because you ould actually create your own adventures and have friends do through them. The interface was rather primitive though so you really had to learn how computers worked, especially the logical flow of cause and effect, to make a good adventure. It was quite advanced for its time and was quite customizable. Really, until HM3, it was the only program I ever used to help tell stories.

    Now a days I’m kind of hooked on Minecraft.

    Question for Jeff;
    Have you ever thought of making a larger (screen size) version of HM?

  24. Malfar asked:

    My question is, what is your thoughts about flipping the characters from good to evil? Well, like Batman-Owlman, Superman-Ultraman and other Crime Syndicate guys?

    Like anything, it can be done well, or it can be done poorly. In general I think it’s kind of a lame concept, mostly because it’s been done to death at this point. So the writer, I think, has an extra hurdle to overcome on the journey from Suckage to Not Suckage.

    Can’t say I am a fan of the Crime Syndicate in particular.

  25. I’m really not sure. I love video games, but I can’t say any of them have really influenced me in my actual real life in any significant way. I like writing but other media have had a greater impact of my writing than video games. Generally, I play the game, get incredibly immersed into it if it’s any good, and then when I’m done, that’s it. So, to that point, I think maybe the one that’s had the most influence on me is Assassin’s Creed 2, just because it’s made me interested in visiting Italy, particularly Florence and other regions of Tuscany.

    Jeff, what’s the worst comic book series/limited series/event story you’re ever read? I’d probably have to say for me that Countdown to Infinite Crisis (often just known as Countdown) is pretty much unreadable.

  26. GtaMythMaster43

    Well, the GTA series has had alot of impact on me, it’s pretty much a guide on how not to act as a person and how to think of realistic “shit hitting the fan” type scenarios and how to asure you don’t do anything like it yourself.
    Though, personal influence, I’d say the Driver series, it sparked my intrest in other places and seeing detailed copys of the citys in game sparked my intrest utterly, I could now say I know my way around some major citys without haveing been there.

  27. I’d be lying if I said anything other than WoW. I’ve had so much fun with that game, made a whole lot of friends and learned heaps about many different things – like leadership, scripting and economics.

    My question is; what do you do when you’re feeling all out of creativity? What makes your muse return to work?

  28. Final Fantasy 4, back when it was Final Fantasy 2 on the SNES. Before that, I’d mostly played the SMB and Megaman games on the NES; FF2/4 was the first thing that let me realize how much of a story a good expansive game could tell. That lead me to look into how I could do that for myself, and, well, as a result of that quest, I now program for a living, and do game design for an off-hours hobby.

    Can’t come up with any questions at the moment; I may be back after some thought on that.

  29. MMI asked:

    Have you ever thought of making a larger (screen size) version of HM?

    As built, it actually scales up to whatever size your browser is, as you saw in the “working” version that wasn’t integrated into the blog template. Currently it sits at 800 pixels in width (or whatever it is) due to the constraints of living in the blog template, not because of anything built in.

    I have a ginormous Mac Cinema Display I work on and when I’m tinkering with the program in Flash it’s literally as big as my whole screen. It’s pretty cool.

  30. Panner asked:

    My question is; what do you do when you’re feeling all out of creativity? What makes your muse return to work?

    I wish I were better at this, frankly. But I mostly just crank up some fun music and make myself try until something comes of it. It doesn’t always work, but usually I find that if I make myself do SOMETHING creative, even if it’s not the specific thing I wanted to do, I get back into the mode and can start moving again.

    Sometimes, though, all you can do is go back to bed and hope it gets better in the morning :-/

  31. For anyone wondering, that wasn’t me having a split personality moment, the guy who posted at #3 wasn’t me.
    Anyway, I think the first game that really hooked me in was Blood Omen : Legacy of Kain for the first Playstation. I had been playing games for a while, we had the old Atari 2600, and I had the original Game Boy and the Sega Genesis, which all had some classic games, but when the Playstation game out, it just sucked me in. The days of playing the same level over and over to try to get the pattern right to move on were gone. And Kain was one of the early RPGs on the PS, even before Final Fantasy 7. After playing that game, I was all in, and have been a Playstation guy ever since.

  32. Forgot my question. Jeff, is there any old Heromachine contests or blogs that you have retired, that you liked but it didn’t seem to catch on with everyone else?

  33. Dan (31): If it helps any, as soon as I read your comment introducing yourself to the other Dan, I actually knew which one was you (i.e. comic book expert/bad costume guru).

  34. @Myro, thanks my friend. The funny thing is I’ve actually been thinking of changing my screen name, just cause it’s kinda boring. But I post so much I didn’t want to confuse anyone.

  35. I would definitely hvae to say Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (And 2, though both are buggy), as it is the game that our poor computer couldn’t play and forced me into the console world. Before that, all I had was Lego Racers, Harry Potter CoS/PoA, and Runescape.

    Now Jeff… I’m just curious how many times you’ve seen Heromachine art shown off on other sites, and are you gratified or embarrassed by the publicity?

  36. @Tuldabar: Do you still play Runescape?

  37. The REAL Dan asked:

    Forgot my question. Jeff, is there any old Heromachine contests or blogs that you have retired, that you liked but it didn’t seem to catch on with everyone else?

    I was fond of the RPG Corner segment where we would talk about pen and paper games, but it just wasn’t a good fit as it turned out.

    What about you, any features you would like to see revivified? Any current ones you just roll your eyes at and skip when they come up?

  38. Tuldabar asked:

    Now Jeff… I’m just curious how many times you’ve seen Heromachine art shown off on other sites, and are you gratified or embarrassed by the publicity?

    There’s a little tracking widget thing in the WordPress panel that tracks when the URL is mentioned on another site, so I catch some that way. I’m always a little flattered, if I’m being honest. It’s a good feeling to know people are out there getting use and gratification out of it.

    On the other hand, I haven’t seen HM images actually published in print anywhere, although I get a lot of requests for it. I don’t quite understand it, honestly — these images are for a very specific kind of purpose, and using them for spot illustrations in a gaming magazine or whatnot doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. They just wouldn’t seem to fit.

    On the other other hand, it’s free, and that’s a hard price to beat, I reckon.

  39. @Jeff (37) hahaha The REAL Dan. I like that. Kinda like The REAL Ghostbusters. As far as the current features, I like them all. You know I love me some Bad Costumes. The only one I don’t really get into is Open Critique Day, and that’s only because I feel like I’m in no position to give critiques on anybody’s work. I’m still on such a basic level myself. I still read it, I just don’t post on it.

  40. Hmm… Computer game? That’s a toughie. I’d say the computer game that had the biggest impact on my life is probably Myst. Although its a little before my time, as I’m only 15 years old, my father always used to play it and kind of got me hooked on it when he introduced it to me. Its helped me with problem-solving, and its just an interesting and an eerie sort of game in general. I’ve only gotten through three of the games though. I gotta get going on catching up. I mean, its only fitting that I finish the story, right?

  41. Whoooo! I must be invisible. *starts running around naked*

    Sorry Jeff, looks like you bypassed me at comment #25. Not even a mention that you refuse to answer the questuon on the grounds of stupidity (presumably the question’s stupidity, not your own).

    Dan (39): You can always just post your illustration for critique from the others, without offering anything yourself. I’ve done that enough times (mostly because I’m pressed for time rather than a critique), but I did find critiquing other’s work definitely helps develop my own artistic skills.

  42. I’ve always been fascinated by video games, starting with text based fantasy adventures (I was a kid of the late 70s/early 80s) all the way up to the Xbox 360 where I have currently enjoyed some Enslaved and Batman: Arkham Asylum. The biggest influence I’ve seen is my increased interest in computers and digital media. I love seeing what the game designers can do with the technology, creating awesome visuals and gameplay.

    Just in case you are still around tonight here is my question. If you could have any book adapted into a video game what would it be?

  43. Besides being one of my first 3D computer games and one of my first non-educational games of any sophistication, the indie game developer Hamumu‘s “Spooky Castle,” (and later “S.U.P.R.E.M.E with C.H.E.E.S.E”) is the reason I like Chinese food. I didn’t like it as a kid, but to regain health in “Spooky Castle,” you eat Chinese food, General Tso’s being one of the ones that gives you the most health, so one time when I had the chance I tried it in real life, and General Tso’s Chicken is now one of my favorite foods.

    Hamumu games have also been a source of many in-jokes for my family.

    Followup question to 38: how do you feel about having HM images published in print? I.e. what do you say when you get such a request?

  44. Oh, sorry Myro! I’ve been having weird internet issues all day, so I answered yours but when I went to hit post, the connection had died and it never went through. So I got up pissed, and by the time I came back later I’d forgotten about it on account of I’m dumb. So here goes again:

    Jeff, what’s the worst comic book series/limited series/event story you’re ever read? I’d probably have to say for me that Countdown to Infinite Crisis (often just known as Countdown) is pretty much unreadable.

    The all-time winner for me is still “Secret Wars 2”. First of all, your main character should never have an Afro-mullet. That makes it really tough to take any of it seriously. On top of that, the art and story were both horrific. None of it made any damn sense and you couldn’t hardly get away from it due to the massive tie-ins. I just wanted it all to go away. Plus, it tainted the original Secret Wars by association, when I’d always really liked that.

    I honestly skipped most of the major company-wide crossover events since then. They’re just so overwrought.

  45. dblade, after being eaten by a grue, asked:

    Just in case you are still around tonight here is my question. If you could have any book adapted into a video game what would it be?

    Ooh, good question! Hmm … I bet whatever I pick, will turn out to already have been adapted and I just missed it. I’m lucky that way.

    I would say, probably a big space combat tactical game based on David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. He’s so (so very, so very very) technical and detailed in all the tech specs, I think it’d be neat to see that turned into something real you could actually tinker around with. I guess it’d be like a limited-scope … um, there was some game that came out around the time of Civilization where you were one of a number of space-going races, you had planets to colonize and tech trees to pursue, and you could build different kinds of ships with which to wage war … I forget the name. But it was awesome. So it’d be kind of like that, only based on Weber’s physics.

    The more I talk the lamer this sounds. But it’s cool in my head, I swear!

  46. logosgal asked:

    Followup question to 38: how do you feel about having HM images published in print? I.e. what do you say when you get such a request?

    First, now I’m hungry for Chinese food. Great.

    Second, usually I end up with just telling them if they put a link or credit to HeroMachine.com somewhere, I’m fine with it. I tend to just avoid the whole “I bet this is going to look really crappy” discussion, since most people don’t want to hear it, and I feel weird saying things that basically sound like I’m trashing my own work. It’s just, as an actual working artist/designer guy, I know there’s a huge difference between some generic piece (even a nice one like the better creators get out of HM) and something custom designed for the purpose.

    But hey, it’s their publication, if they don’t mind generic, then I am not the person to disillusion them, I suppose.

    I’ll be honest, when I look at the HM2 art, I kind of cringe. It isn’t very good. The line work all looks like it was done with a clumsy magic marker, the detail is terrible, and the basic item design crude. It’s very, very rare I see something out of that program and feel good about it.

    HM3, on the other hand, frankly blows me away with what you all do with it. Most of what I see from it makes me proud, and humbled at the same time. With HM2, you could make passable character markers. With HM3, you can make art. And it’s been cool to see what a difference the person putting it together makes, it really shows how you can be an artist in this medium just as much as with any other. If you have design talent, it shows, and if you don’t … well, honestly, that shows too.

    I’m feeling chatty, apparently finally getting rain after three months loosens the tongue!

  47. “Master of Orion”, that’s what that game was! Phew! The rain must’ve loosened up the ol’ brain cells.

    That was an awesome game. You could go with just a few huge ships, or thousands of itty bitty ships stacked on top of each other, each with one big black hole weapon. Man, that was fun.

  48. Jeff (44): That’s a good answer, I had nearly forgotten how bad Secret Wars 2: Electric Boogaloo really was.
    As gor your internet issues, I understand; your area has been notorious for dropped connections, and I’d hypothesize that the rain might be making it worse. My fiancee’s family lives in an area where internet and even phone service can be pretty sketchy when it rains.

  49. @Jeff: If you liked MOO and still want to play it, you should try this: http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/master_of_orion_1_2

    And don’t blame me if you get hooked again… I still boot it up every once in a while and, if you’re not one of those people that is too hung up on graphics, it still plays great.

  50. @Worf: Occasionally I visit one of the mines to gain smithing materials, but I’ve already completed all the non-member quests aside from dragonslayer (need to be higher combat), and skill grinding got old really fast.

  51. @Tuldabar: I see. I started playing as a member some time ago so I still have waaaaaay too much to do there. 😉

  52. If there was any game that *actually* influenced me, it’s probably something based in the fantasy or comic genre, like Street Fighter or The Legend of Zelda. Now, hear me out.

    Street Fighter was because I, like many here on Hero Machine, am trying to write and develop a comic. It showed that people from all walks of life with the appropriate skills could come together for a common goal if they had the will.

    The Legend of Zelda was for a similar reason, it gave clear tasks (though it did have a good amount of DMV-esque red tape and pointless meandering before tasks could be completed) that would eventually bring you to the end of your quest (daily errands.)

    Okay, I admit it. Those were kinda dumb, but it’s late and I’ve been working all day. Can I at least get extra credit for the DMV reference?

  53. Alright, I almost forgot about the question, so here it is: Who has consistently been your favorite comic book writer, or could you give a top 5?

    I’m gonna go ahead and suggest that this be a question for future Sharing Days. Or . . . you know, not.

  54. I’m happy to see some love for Master of Orion! That game was an absolute masterpiece, and I still enjoy playing it every now and then.,

  55. Worf, thanks for the link! I need to see about getting an emulator for my Mac so I can play it. Awesome!

    McKnight57 asked:

    Who has consistently been your favorite comic book writer, or could you give a top 5?

    I’d probably have to be boring and go with either Frank Miller or Alan Moore. I’m horrible about knowing who’s writing what … or even who’s drawing what. I get so caught up in the stories and characters that the creators fade out in my mind. I’m simple.

  56. Oh, another feature I just remembered that I no longer do is the OnomontoPOWia sound effects thing. I just couldn’t find enough egregiously bad examples without sifting through way more bad Image 90’s books than I could stomach.

  57. Finally, a get-to-know-you question for ME!

    Sorry, had to get that out of the way. But, video games have always been a huge part of my life. Recently it’s bled over into the comic world, with game-based books (currently reading the Arkham City lead-up for the new Batman). But, back to the question at hand. Prepare for my semi-famous long-windedness, o humble reader.

    Well, I just finished inFAMOUS 2 (which was fantastic, by the way) and it joins the long list of games that provoke the “wow factor,” especially the good side ending. I get big into a game’s story, and there have been countless great ones out there. I remember another good one was Manhunt 2, and when I found out about the experiment going on, I actually said “Oh my God!” out loud. BUT, back to the original question, I suppose the first “Hexen” game was one that was greatly influential. Back on the days of Windows ’95 (Hey kids! It’s Grampa’s computer system!) it was the first time I played a first-person-shooter, and it was amazing. Seeing the character’s perspective from behind the weapon, it was a whole new level of immersion I hadn’t experienced before. I have many fond memories of that game, and have lately found myself wondering if I should install it again. One of the neatest things about it was how the three classes differed, which I think was an important first step for games.

    Sadly, these days, variety in FPS games is hard to find. That’s one of the reasons I enjoyed Bulletstorm so much, it was an injection shot of freshness to the simplicity of gun-gun-gun-done. Not to mention the story was hilarious. I could go into a whole seperate dig on how not enough games are using humor to their advantage, but my god haven’t I said enough as it is?

    SO, to get to the question (and recommendation to Jeff), do you see any old contest themes returning for a second go-round? For instance, “Your character,” “Non-human character?” With all the new toys available in HM, it would seem to only make sense for another opportunity to foray familiar territory with more experience and tools at our disposal. We’ve already had three random contests, what’s the harm? 😀

    And finally, the recommendation for Jeff. If you have a PS3, then I would seriously suggest you get a copy of inFAMOUS 2, and possibly the original. The major driving force behind the suggestion is that the second one is set in “New Marais,” a fictional town based on New Orleans. Being that you’re from Louisiana, I figure getting to become a superpowered guy in your own territory would be candy all over.

  58. Brad, thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to check it out.

    do you see any old contest themes returning for a second go-round? For instance, “Your character,” “Non-human character?” With all the new toys available in HM, it would seem to only make sense for another opportunity to foray familiar territory with more experience and tools at our disposal. We’ve already had three random contests, what’s the harm? 😀

    That’s a good question. I don’t have a philosophical objection to it, I don’t suppose, and it would certainly be easier on me. Maybe a “Contest Classics” kind of thing?

    What do you all think about something like that — should I recycle some old contest themes, or only use new ones?

  59. Me, Myself & I

    Jeff Hebert (58) I’m all for old themes now and again.

  60. Reuse. Recycle.

  61. I’d love to see some old contests recycled.

  62. I’m up for a little contest recycling. There are a lot of contests from the past that I wish I had taken part in.

  63. Go for it Jeff! Being only 7 months on the program, I’ve probably missed some good ones. And also take into account all your newer Heromachiners who missed out on some “classics”.

  64. I’m all in favour of contest theme recycling. I wish I’d been around to take part in some of the contests like the sci-fi and Image Ninties ones.

  65. EnderX (60) Reduce? (…No, don’t do that part with the contests.)

    I’d definitely be happy to see some old contests again, especially since I’m still fairly new around here and missed some good ones.

  66. Corran Horn

    The game that has really influenced me would have to be Mass Effect series. To put it simply, Mass Effect to me is as Star Wars was to most people. It was an new universe filled with history and cool aliens (Turians FTW!!), as well as an amazing story. Essentially, the story is that you are James Bond/Kirk sent to stop big bad machines harvest organic beings once every 50,000 years for some reason, with almost half the galaxy trying to have you solve their problems too. They also have a lot of choices that the player can make (save a species or eliminate them, save your thickheaded bosses or watch them die so the brunt of the Human fleet can destroy one of the main bad guy, and be an alien hater or hook up with one), that will ultimately decide whether or not Earth survives. You decide the fate of the universe, not a predetermined story with only one ending. Earth could fall, all life could be destroyed, you save everybody, or anything in between. It is truly an epic experience, for me, to play through the games, and I can hardly wait for the next one.

    Now my question. Star Wars EU. What do you think about it?

  67. I can remember playing games with my brother on the Atari, sega, gameboys, nintendos, sega, playstaions, xboxs and so on. I pretty much grew up around games and loved playing them. I didn’t play computer games that much growing up because we didn’t have a computer but later on I got interested in the warcraft games, diablos, escape velocity and stuff. The best part of my day as a kid sometimes was getting off of school and playing Video Games with my brother. We were close and didn’t get to see each other much. I have always grown more to RPG type games where I can create a character and change armors and weapons and level up and add points where I want. I like 3D lands where I can run around and do different quest and even go online sometimes. I think that sometimes the games I have played have made me look at life differently. Like what things would be like if there really were mutants, or if we were in a time of the sword and shield, if we could go to space and make friends and foes of other races. I really love the post apocaliptic type games because they feel more real to me. Sometimes I think that the world is headed to something like that and I wonder what people may do or become in a world like that.

    Jeff if you could live in a different time or universe what would it be? Past/future or some world where the stuff in comics was real or what?

  68. Corran Horn asked:

    Now my question. Star Wars EU. What do you think about it?

    The European Union has their own Star Wars?!

    I kid. But not by much — the only EU stuff I’ve experienced are some of the early “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” types of novels, and a few “Clone Wars” episodes. I like that stuff pretty well, but haven’t really gotten into anything else. In general, I tend to steer clear of a lot of “extended” types of storytelling; I think it’s because I value the original creator and I kind of feel like once it becomes open to committees, a lot of the magic is gone. Not that you can’t still get really good stories, it’s just not the same. For me, at least.

  69. Tool asked:

    Jeff if you could live in a different time or universe what would it be? Past/future or some world where the stuff in comics was real or what?

    Hmm … I’d probably live in the early “Star Trek: The Next Generation” universe. There’s still really cool stuff going on at the frontier if you want adventure, but the vast majority of human-controlled space is basically a utopia. Tons of easily accessible information, amazing gamer tech (holodeck FTW!), cool alien species to study, freedom from want and suffering … what’s not to like?! Plus, bald guys rule, and can kick Klingon ass!

  70. Thanks Jeff, I think I would be happy in a Fallout setting, scavenging the world for whatever I needed to survive and not really living by any laws but your own code of conduct. The cool armor and weapons would be a plus too, just hope i don’t become some radiated zombie person ugh!

  71. @Corran Horn 66, I’m assuming you’re favorite Star Wars EU is the X-Wing series? 😉
    @Jeff, there’s actually a bunch of really good Star Wars novels, don’t let Splinter put you off. Some of my favorites are the Republic Commando series, the first half of the X-Wing series, and a really good stand alone called I,Jedi, which starred…Corran Horn.

  72. Corran Horn

    @Dan. I was actually looking at my book shelf for an idea for a name, and I saw Rouge Squadron and picked it. I stopped reading the X-Wing series after Iron Fist, when I realized the series was going downhill. My favorite series is the Hand of Thrawn series, which I believe started the EU, and was okayed by Lucas, the big man himself. X-wing is a close second, because I watched Blacksheep Squadron with my dad, and it reminded me a lot of it. And the RC books are good too.

    @TOOL. I would go with either Star Wars or Mass Effect. Probably Mass Effect, its got sarcastic Krogan (reptilian Wookies that you can actually understand) and funny Turians (who have “interesting” stories).

  73. @ Corran, I liked the mass effect. Havent got to play 2 yet, have you? @ Jeff, could I bargain for one more question, and that wasn’t it LOL. I was looking over post here and it made me think about a comic that I seen once back when I was younger. It was basiclly about the higher Gods if you will of Marvel and DC coming together and there is this big VS war then somehow the universes combine and there is new characters like a Captain America Superman, and Gambit Batman or something. Do you know what I am talking about, I think it was a short set but I would like to go back and look at it to see if it was as interesting as I rememebr and look at the character combos that came about.

  74. You’re looking for Amalgam Comics, TOOL.

    The first round was good dumb fun, but I never could get my hands on the second batch.

  75. Corran Horn

    @TOOL. I think it got even better than the first. My only problem with it was that instead of overheating, you had to reload. Sure, the game got harder and made it that much better, but I HATED running around to find a thermal clip. I got stuck fighting a YMIR mech without any ammo, Medi-gel was gone, Garrus was out for the count, and Zaieed was almost gone. If I didn’t have my biotics to throw a fuel canister at it, I would have been toast!! Otherwise, the game was improved on. The lack of a Mako (and the physics invlovled with it, if you remember those “fun” exploratory sections). And Trinity (Matrix movies) is in it, so you know its good.

  76. I’ll go ahead and answer my own question. My two favourites are Alan Moore and Geoff Johns. To be honest, though, my current favorite is Geoff because of his most recent runs on Flash and Green Lantern. I absolutely love that he brought back Barry Allen and more importantly, the way in which he did and the attitudes surrounding his return, same for the means in which he brought back Hal Jordan.

  77. Thanks Corran, I see that there was 24 books it said and it looked like a few different short stories put all together. I seen a few links to pictures of the differnt characters but just reading some it would of been a cool or different combo for some characters. I am going to have to find the books if I can and see if the story and art are as good as the idea.

  78. Ok so I did some googling and found a site that had a chart kinda with all the different people with picture and who they were a combo of with powers. Then I went and found the comics and some of them were sold from like 13 cents all the way to 113 dollars. I will just ask next time I am near a comic shop and peruse a few pages there LOL.

  79. @Corran (72) Yeah they totally went downhill once they switched authors from Michael A. Stackpole to Aaron Allston. When Allston switched out Rogue Squadron for Wraith Squadron, I just lost interest. We spent the last four books getting to know the Rogues, then Allston just does away with them, which was probably for the better since the few times they did appear in his part he didn’t really write them with the same flair that Stackpole did.

  80. Hey guys, been awhile. Never been one much for gaming myself, but my brother (the one responsible for getting me into all of geek culture) is fairly active when he finds the time. The coolest ones are where you can make your own characters, as that’s where he’s made me from just some network repair and installation tech to an ass-kicking machine!
    I think Soul Calibur is probably my favorite he’s made me in. It’s especially nice when they allow you to control the “topheaviness” of the female you’re making. Oh, but the best one was when he made me into a Spider-Girl clone. I even took over to play a little with that one.
    Well, onto the question, I suppose. Jeff, when the site ran that ad for “make your own character ‘Avatar’ now,” being that you’ve made it clear you don’t have a high opinion of the film, what were your thoughts on the piggyback promotion? Also, did you have to design the ones in the ad yourself? And I have to agree. I was out of the country when it was in its theater run, so I rented it later and honestly was sitting there the whole time wondering “When’s the interesting part going to happen?”

  81. knight1192a

    Man, tough question. I’m literally from the Atari generation and I’d have to say as a kid Math Grand Prix had the biggest affect on me in the real world. My folks we’re the “video games rot your brain” types. They were perfelctly willing to let me and my sisters play them. Heck my dad and I competed to see who could get high scores. But they also saw value in video games as educational tools (funny, Leap Frog is promoted for this purpose and some of the early video game producers were smart enough to realize that video games could be used in this way). My baby sister played Word Zapper a lot and she ended up in the school Spelling Bee a couple of times at least. Me, Math Grand Prix helped me with math. Never was great at it, but at least I did ok.

    As a teen I’d probably say “Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego.” Computer game rather than video game and even before we got the game I was already into history. It was a deal with the second computer we ever had, used computer and a used game. But I spent hours playing that, it more introduced me to international history and just further stirred my interest for the subject. The game also game with a World Almanac and forced you to have to look up the clues in the Almanac to determine where you were going. Played a more recent addition to the old Carmen Sandiego series (and by recent I mean it was released this century) and I was greatly disappointed. The fun of the games had been figureing out the clues and where they sent you. Now it’s like get the clues and instantly go to your destination. No choices, just find the total clues and you find where your going. Where’s the fun in that? Dumbed down what had been a decent series of learning games.

    So question for you, Jeff. You said “I think older audiences (raises hand) don’t quite appreciate the impact computer games have had on the younger generation. We all talk about movies or books that profoundly influenced us while younger, but I suspect video games have done the same for a lot of folks.” So just how old are you? I figured you were probably in your thirties, this sounds like your older than that.

  82. knight1192a: Emotionally I’m 12, but physically I’m 42.

  83. knight1192a

    Not terribly much older than myself, though at times emotionally much younger and at other times emotionally about the same age.