That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning.
Welcome back! This my second list of 7 Top 7’s and today I’m talking about my all-time favorite game developers. I wonder if you guessed my #1 pick correctly?
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#7. Heart Machine
Before I began filling out this list, I knew right away that I wanted a name to represent my love for indie games. Once I realized that, I knew I had to mention Heart Machine, the developers of Hyper Light Drifter. Director Alex Preston’s congenital heart disease formed the thematic foundation for the tale of the Drifter, and it was something which wordlessly resonated with me. I’ve spent some time in hospitals myself thanks to genetic kidney issues and I now have just one kidney left (whom I’ve christened “Solitaire”), so Heart Machine uniquely spoke to my health issues in a way no other game had. It surprised me and opened my eyes to the value of the singular focus of indies.
Favorite game: Hyper Light Drifter
#6. Double Fine
Few development companies so consistently nail hilarity but even the Double Fine Productions logo is bizarre, memorable, and strangely hilarious. Founded by Tim Schafer, himself something of a comedic icon, Double Fine is responsible for Psychonauts and Broken Age, as well as remasters for adventure classics like Day of the Tentacle. But for me, the game that started it all starred Manny Calavera…
Favorite game: Grim Fandango Remastered
#5. Team Ico
A sizeable part of my list is occupied by development studios who have only put out a few games, and Team Ico is no exception. I can name their achievements on one hand: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and only partly The Last Guardian. Their titles are instantly recognizable with their attention to bloom lighting and minimalist storytelling, and Shadow is easily one of my favorite games of all time. I simply had to mention them here, despite their being defunct.
Favorite game: Shadow of the Colossus [PS4]
Between Team Ico and Thatgamecompany, you have a sense of a lot of what I enjoy in video games. Thatgamecompany and its creative director, Jenova Chen, have crafted flOw, Flower, and of course, Journey, which is a true masterpiece of emotional storytelling. They’re currently working on a game called Sky and I am looking forward to it with great anticipation. Thatgamecompany is second to none when it comes to stirring emotions through video games.
Favorite game: Journey
Capcom, my beloved Capcom. Some of the very first video games I remember playing came courtesy of Capcom. Mega Man has been with me for as long as I have had memories and you can bet your honey baked butt I’ll be playing Mega Man 11 next month. Home to some of my other favorite series like Breath of Fire, Marvel vs Capcom, Darkstalkers, and Monster Hunter among them, though they’ve had many, many IPs throughout the years.
Sure, they’ve kind of petered off for a while there and their retro presence seems like their most significant contribution to the world of gaming, but it appears they are finally ready to start pushing their franchises out into the world once again.
Favorite game: Mega Man X
Of course Nintendo is on this list. The oldest company invested in gaming (?) at 129 years old, Nintendo’s accolades are innumerable: they saved gaming in North America with the NES, they have influenced the industry with their inventions and icons, they brought us Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Pokémon, and Donkey Kong among many others… they have led from the front lines and from behind, constantly innovating and reinventing while remaining the same. They have left the largest fingerprint on the gaming industry, taken as a whole.
It seems as if their motto is “Whatever happens, happens.” Though they’ve had frequent struggles with hardware, they have delivered software with a reliable regularity of quality for over three decades. No other developer can make that claim. Just a few years ago, we were talking about whether they’d drop out of hardware or not, and here we are again with Nintendo cranking out a GOTY win and a wildly popular system. For every era of gaming, you can find Nintendo icons to enjoy: accessible, magical, lighthearted fun for everyone from Super Mario Bros. to Super Mario Odyssey.
Favorite game (THAT is a hard choice): Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Not Square. Not Square Enix. Not Squeenix. Squaresoft, the crafter of classics, the sultan of sweet golden oldies, the king of icons, the wizard of why am I still writing these? Note, I’m still going to give you a point if you guessed Square Enix or some variation.
Yeah, I’d argue that Squaresoft was a dramatically different company from the Square Enix of today. For one, they knew how to balance openness and linearity a lot better and they didn’t tank their E3 and franchises. Also, JRPGs aren’t what they used to be. Now it seems they’re much more for the anime niche crowd than they are high fantasy or sci-fi stories telling tales on a grand scale. …But I’m still giving you a point if you guessed Square Enix because I don’t want to be a picker of nits.
Classic Squaresoft defines most of what I love about gaming. They are almost singlehandedly the reason why I love RPGs. They are is responsible for some of my all-time favorite games: Final Fantasy VI, VII, and IX, Vagrant Story, Brave Fencer Musashi, Kingdom Hearts, Super Mario RPG, Chrono Cross, and of course…
Favorite game: Chrono Trigger
GUESS TOMORROW’S #1
All that’s left is to prompt you to guess tomorrow’s #1 pick! Tomorrow’s Top 7 list will be… my 7 favorite Pokémon! Gotta catch ’em all! This is a little switch up as I originally planned to do top 7 favorite genres, but honestly, I don’t even know what my favorite genre is anymore, so Pokémon it is. There are only approximately 720 possible answers. Really, since there are so many, I’ll just narrow it down for you: my #1 is in Generation 1.
Let me know who you think my #1 top favorite Pokémon is in the comments below TODAY! Remember to leave your name or username so I know who you are! Link to your Twitter or blog if you want to. Follow the event on Twitter with #TWRM7top7.
I’ll reveal my Top 7 favorite Pokémon in a post on this site tomorrow (Saturday), so come back and discover the truth! OR you can poké around the site and see if you can pick up any clues… or review the rules.
Good luck and happy guessing! WIN WIN WIN!
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