What are your influences in your work?
That’s complicated. There’s a lot. Between places I’ve been, things I’ve read, games I’ve played, and the experiences I’ve had. The following is not in strict chronological order.
Egoraptor’s sequelitis was an early influence. I wanted to make a game analysis channel with some friends because of him. It showed to me that there was a hidden layer to games that I didn’t really perceive. That’s what made those cartoons so successful I think. That’s why channels like NerdWriter or Every Frame a Painting are successful. It’s the basis of video essays. I had a similar experience early on in college with film theory. My storytelling professor told us about a scene from a film and he recontextualized the scene in a way that was incredible. He also broke down scenes from disney movies like 101 Dalmatians into all the staging and other elements going on in them, things that people see and perceive and pick up on, but don’t consciously examine why those elements are arranged.
Of course being on 4chan /v/ was a big deal. It’s a cesspool, but a bunch of intelligent people pass through and there’s no easier way to stay on top of what’s currently happening as well as get obscure content. I got introduced to extra credits, I found other blogs and resources on game design from amateurs, like Dagda-mor
Running into icycalm and the ghetto forum was something that helped me figure out where I stood and develop my ideas, even though I’m not a fan of their practices and my current ideas don’t really derive from theirs in any way. The ghetto ended up introducing a ton of games to me that I wasn’t previously familiar with, and I was able to get good at fighting games and play a bunch of obscure ones thanks in part to them. Got into older games and got a ton of NES recommendations from one guy. Nobody there agreed with my views, and I had to figure out a coherent way of voicing my position, and iterate on my position to really argue with them. From threads on 4chan and other resources I started assembling my playlists of vidya skill videos. I also gained countless infographics, like that old one positioning narratology and ludology as juxtapositions, opposites.
Early Gather Your Party videos like the rise and fall of bunnyhopping as well as instig8’s videos were an influence in presentation formats. Video essays like that are rather common now.
I read this a lot in high school and college. It probably helped my analytical thought process more than a lot of other things. In addition to it I read books on influential psychology, the “you are not so smart” blog, other resources on behavioral psychology as applied to human behavior, hypnosis, and neurolinguistic programming.
This work more than any others of raph koster’s has influenced my view of fun in relation to games.
I also became familiar with speedruns and TAS, and originally I didn’t like speedruns, only TAS. I had negative experiences with rhythm games, super meat boy, and other really rote score-based games that I did not really get the appeal of speedruns. TAS was cool because it was like pure magic. I eventually came around, I’ve explained that elsewhere. Speedruns have helped me understand a lot of how games are put together, though my own investigations have helped too.
Fighting games helped that, because they require you to know a lot about their systems. Thankfully Smash Bros Melee was well documented, helping me out with that game.
Sirlin helped out a lot, he’s done a ton of great and practical writing on games.
Kayin’s written some neat stuff, can be a dick over personal and game politics.
Sean Malstrom has made me think about how fun, arcadey action oriented games might not only be popular, but in the financial best interest of companies.
zeboyd published a bunch of nice stuff on RPGs
Radiator has interesting notes on level design, this one in particular
This is a larger compilation by Hamish Todd, who also independently published interesting articles on gama sutra and even kotaku
Reading Kirbykid’s writings and disagreeing with a large chunk of them and other stuff has been a big influence on getting me in the right place. Used to participate in google hangout sessions with him and other people affiliated with him. I worked with him on the starseed observatory, but regrettably never contributed a piece to it. I felt like I kind of missed out, because I did have a unique idea for it.
Raph continues to write cool stuff on his blog
I don’t know how I found all this stuff, it just comes to me, and I have a lot more stuff I could cite, but I won’t.