Shadow of the Colossus. It’s a beautiful game that really took you on a journey and made you feel so many things. You felt love, loneliness, grief and power. You also feel regret, too. Being able to feel so many emotions in just one game is a great achievement.
The Colossal Cave Adventure. It predates Zork and is probably the first text adventure ever created. In fact, that game was an inspiration for an entire generation of game-makers, including all of those early pioneers on the 286 and Atari and Atari ST, and the early Apple games and stuff.
It’s been a long time but I remember that it was awesome. You’d play on a computer and you just get a paragraph of text that would describe some environment that you were in, and from that your mind would create the image. It was like reading a great book but it was interactive.
So it was like the first time we really felt like that kind of interactivity. It was the first open-world game really, in that you could chart your own path, but it didn’t use graphics. It was a big deal. I think we’re going to tend to bias towards the modern industry. But Colossal Cave was, like, one of the first things for computer gaming and computer programmers on personal computers.
Ultima Underworld. You have to have that there. That’s a game that inspired me most of any game ever made, with how it created a world that you can explore in 3D. Just the experience of being in that dungeon felt really real to me.
Civilization. I’ve played different versions of it for 20 years now. Those games take the scope of history and tries to encapsulate it into a gaming experience, which is amazing. The series deals with issues you don’t normally see, like how guns actually change the course of society and history. I just felt it was incredible experience and we’re still playing it 20 years later.
Grand Theft Auto 3. It’s there because it was just such a realized world. And I care about realized worlds. GTA3 just transports you. It’s a time travel experience.
The Legend of Zelda. That was probably the first game that to me felt like–because of the combination of an overworld and dungeons–it wasn’t just a linear experience. It was a world you could go around and explore. So powerful and unlike anything else. If you go back to gaming at that time, there’s just nothing even in the universe like it.
Adventure. The original game on the Atari looks like a very crude undertaking now. I would play that game forever just because again, it was a world unto itself. I’m just going with games that make worlds for you that you can explore and feel consistent in their design. Adventure to me was the first time I was like, whoa, wait a minute, it’s just not scroll from left to right. They’re telling you to explore, and there are tools you find, and improvisation you can do. I just love all that stuff.