Last week, we kicked off our series of 'Game Changers' features by asking Gabe Newell the trio of titles that have had the biggest impact on his life.
This week, we've got asked the same question to another leading light of the industry: Mark Healey, the co-founder of MediaMolecule and co-creator of the wonderfully inventive LittleBigPlanet series.
Mark's impact on the global games industry stretches way beyond MM's brace of critically acclaimed PS3 exclusives, however. He was also a key member of Peter Molyneux's Bullfrog, where he helped oversee Theme Park, Magic Carpet and Dungeon Keeper.
He then moved onto another legendary UK studio, Lionhead, before taking the plunge and quitting to set up MM. (For those of you with long memories, it was Mark who was Molyneux said he sent mad at Lionhead with his obsession over making anatomically correct genitals in Black & White. Takes all sorts.)
Mark's Game Changers choices include titles from the '80s, '90s and Noughties - and are linked to some amazing stories of farting in jars, getting high and, eventually, going it alone...
1) Centrpods, Commodore 64 (1980s)
The first game that really sticks in my mind is this one, from my beloved C64 days back in the Eighties. It was a Centipede clone, and wasn't particularly amazing, but was the better of the only two games we got with the computer (the other was a missile command clone by Ocean I think). The thing that impacted on me more than anything about this game is the memory of playing it with my step father and his mates, who would all be inebriated and totally engaged in trying to beat each other's high scores - lots of passionate shouting, jeering and laughing made it a great social experience and a cherished memory.
This inspired me to later start a games night where I would invite schoolmates round. We'd put a pound in the kitty, all choose a game, play them all, tot up the positions and the winner would take the cash. The best bit was that throughout the night, anyone who wanted to fart had to do it into an empty pill box (and quickly put the lid back on). 'WHY?' I hear you ask - well, that was the loser's prize, a full inhalation of whatever gasses ended up in the bottle. I particularly remember Outrun being one of the games we played - whoever was playing would sit in a dining room chair, and the others would tilt and lean the chair to simulate g-force. When the player crashed, we would push the chair over and lay a few mild kicks in. Playing games is always much more fun with friends.
2) Mario 64, N64 (1996)
I was working at Bullfrog at the time, doing the graphics for Dungeon Keeper. We had just moved from Peter Molyneux's house into an office that was nearer the main office. (It's a long story, but Peter wasn't allowed to go into the main office...)
Anyway, the point is there were about four or five of us alone in this pretty massive space, and in the evening we would play console games on a massive telly. When the N64 came in with Mario 64, we settled in for a massive session (I remember we got really stoned too), and I just remember us all being totally immersed and mesmerised by the game. It really felt like having a little remote control man. I still maintain that it's probably the best example of a 3D platform game to date. There's a bit where Mario falls down this really deep hole and I remember us all leaning back and going: "Whooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa."