We Interview Chris Avellone From Obsidian Entertainment: Part 2

Well, in terms of influential yet obscure, that cuts a lot of games out – I feel a lot of the more common games have had a big influence on my designs (Portal, Chronotrigger, Ultima Underworld). If I were to name some “obscure” ones, I’d probably say System Shock 2 is the top of the list (it’s basically a design doc for how to make a great game), Amnesia: The Dark Descent for introducing a challenge mechanism that could simultaneously terrify you, Bastion’s narration mechanics, and Wasteland for proving to me how you could use game mechanics in the context of a “conventional” RPG to make some truly brilliant levels if you took a step back and thought outside the box.

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We Interview Chris Avellone From Obsidian Entertainment: Part 1

Neal Stephenson (with Snow Crash) is not only a huge host of design ideas on just about every page of his books, but he taught me when it was important to describe something and when it was not – there’s a end chapter line in Snow Crash that simply says “and a car chase ensued.” He had no need to describe anything further, that was enough, and it was simple, elegant, and I appreciated he didn’t try to force details and action when none was needed. Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics to this day makes me understand why it’s better to have less voice and less focus on ultra-realistic visuals if you truly want a player to empathize with a subject. Sometimes it’s easier to empathize with a stick figure than a highly-rendered 3D model, and it’s because the viewer is able to project more of themselves onto an abstract than something someone else has excessively detailed.

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Ten Questions: Matt Barton

I don’t think Matt Chat is unique. There are many, many other YouTubers out there doing similar shows. For instance, ianwilson1978 does great work on the Sega Genesis and Marlin Lee covers a variety of games. I guess one thing that makes my show special is that I feature games from all platforms, especially covering PC and computer titles that the others miss. Most other shows are dedicated to consoles, especially Nintendo classics. I figure those games already get enough love, so I try to cover ground that is not covered by the other shows–such as Dungeons of Daggorath for the Tandy CoCo, Tunnels of Doom for the TI-99/4A, or even the PLATO platform. I also feature interviews with classic developers, such as John Romero and Al Lowe. I’ll soon release my interview with Chris Avellone.

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Planescape: Torment

Since your memory is gone, you choose what class you want to level up in as you gain experience, and you are not limited to that class each time you reach the next experience plateau. More importantly, experience is rewarded for more than just combat. How you speak to NPCs can result in a bonanza of experience points, as can completing tasks. The choices you face in every encounter can adjust your alignment depending on what approach you take. In short, everything about Planescape: Torment is open-ended, the hallmark of an excellent RPG.

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Fallen Earth Q&A

We’re all huge fans of the Fallout games, but most of our inspiration came from post-apoc and dystopian books and films. It’s a genre we’re all very much into and favorites range from “A Boy and His Dog” and “Road Warrior” to “Six String Samurai.” We’re also pretty addicted to the Post-apoc shows on the History and Discovery channels. “Life After People” and “The Colony” are two of the more entertaining ones.

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