Name That Game 92 – Signature Style

Just like any other sort of artist, a lot of game developers have wells that they like to revisit. Sometimes it becomes possible to know who (or what studio) made a game just by watching some of the gameplay. (Though this can get difficult if a lot of other developers start biting their style.)

But sometimes a developer simply transcends and a mechanic, theme or combination becomes a signature of a particular developer.

Below I list ten styles for you to match with their creators. How many can you name?

1. This company made a game with a signature over-the-top art style featuring all-out war between elves, dwarves, men, and orcs. They then moved on to make a very similar game set in the far future between hulking marines in power armor, inscrutable glowing aliens, and nearly-unstoppable assimiliating alien bugs. They then went on to write an MMO based on the first game series.

2. This developer loves little semi-autonomous people and puts them in practically every game he makes – and he’s been making games for many decades. While he usually designs his games around the concept, he isn’t above shoehorning them into games where they don’t strictly belong.

3. This developer, choosing to work in the oeuvre of the text adventure, created some of the most fun, wacky and memorable game situations that had been seen at the time. His games also tended to be less difficult than other text adventures (even those created by the same company), allowing players to experience more of his games. EDIT: It has been impressed upon me that there is more than one designer who fits this description; I will accept either as an appropriate answer.

4. This developer took a board wargame, programmed it into a computer, then sold it as his own. (Seriously, the designers of the original boardgame should have sued the pants off him.) Since the game dealt with science fiction man-to-man combat and was fairly technical, computerizing the game made it a lot easier to play. He has since spent his entire career updating and remaking that first game in various genres.

5. This developer got his start making games for the Commodore VIC-20 when all of his friends were working on the ZX Spectrum. He pounded out lots of little fast-action games, some of which were krep but at least one of which is considered a classic. His trademarks are synesthesia and…uh, yaks.

6. This developer got his start by taking top-down, tile-based roleplaying games like Rogue, setting them outside and using tiled graphics to represent terrain, monsters and characters instead of numbers and letters. As his skill grew, he began to focus on the world simulation of the games he was making. Each one grew more and more detailed, with NPCs that had branching dialog trees, much more detailed (though still top-down and tiled) graphics and game worlds, and, ultimately, more thought-provoking plots than competing games.

7. This developer has worked on graphic adventures, action games, adventure games and real-time strategy games. His schtick is to make whatever game he’s working on completely bizarre and usually hilarious.

8. This developer pioneered both single-screen and online multiplayer games years – perhaps decades – before their time. Also famous for being one of the first transgendered game designers in history.

9. This developer wrote the first smash hit for the ZX Spectrum, then followed it up with an even bigger hit. He then disappeared, not only from the gaming scene but from society in general. It took years to find him, and it turned out that after blowing all his money he had just wandered around Europe living in communes, planting flowers, and working at fish canning plants.

10. This company had the goal of making movie-style experiences on computers and consoles – a difficult task given how primitive the machines were at the time. Their goal required them to become pioneers of game graphics and their games usually looked better than any of their contemporaries. Gameplay usually consisted of movie-style scenes with some degree of interactivity interspersed within a larger strategy or resrouce management game.

~ by Viridian on May 2, 2013.

14 Responses to “Name That Game 92 – Signature Style”

  1. 1. Blizzard

    2. Peter Molyneux (maybe)

    8. Danielle Bunten Berry

    9. Matthew Smith

    10. Cinemaware

  2. 1. Incorrect!
    2. Correct!
    6. Correct!
    8. Correct!
    9. Correct!
    10. Correct!

  3. ok, second guess:
    1. Games Workshop

  4. 1 would be Relic Entertainment if we’re talking about video games

  5. Dennis is correct on #1. Sorry, Irwin.

  6. 3. Brian Moriarty
    5. Jeff Minter
    7. Tim Schafer

    I feel I should know about the boardgame, but I’m drawing blank.

  7. Hmm…Brian Moriarty kind of fits for #3, but not as much as the person I’m thinking of. The other two are correct, though.

  8. The description to 4 kind of fits to Sid Meier and the Civilization series (though I think he made some other games as well).

  9. Civilization the computer game wasn’t much like Civilization the board game at all.

    I guess I’ll go ahead and spoil 4.

    Julian Gollop. Took a boardgame called Snapshot (by Game Designer’s Workshop) that dealt with turn-based man-to-man sci-fi combat and computerized it. He released the game as Rebelstar Raiders for the ZX Spectrum and was immediately hailed as an incredibly awesome guy. Later followed it up with another game using the same system called Laser Squad and then finally cemented his brilliance in game design with a game called X-COM.

  10. Heh, I even read the wikipedia article on Laser Squad when I researched that but didn’t find anything about a board-game there.

    Done some more research via google and wikipedia now and I think #3 also fits Steve Meretzky (Infocom).

  11. Yes! Meretzky was who I was thinking of, though a friend convinced me that Brian Moriarty also fit #3.

    Just so you guys don’t think I’m being too hard on Gollop, here’s the original Crash review of Rebelstar, which points out the similarity.

    And here’s another article from Crash that does it again, this time comparing the game to Snapshot’s successor, Azhanti High Lightning.

  12. ANYhoo, the list is now complete! Let’s recap:

    1. Games Workshop
    2. Peter Molyneux
    3. Steve Meretzky or Brian Moriarty
    4. Julian Gollop
    5. Jeff Minter
    6. Richard Garriott
    7. Tim Schafer
    8. Dnni Bunten Berry
    9. Matthew Smith
    10. Cinemaware

  13. Heh, my initial thought was that #1 must be Blizzard, then realized it perfectly describes Games Workshop also. I imagine that was intentional. Of course if you had been describing Blizzard, you probably wouldn’t have mentioned elves and dwarves as being a part of Warcraft, since they weren’t a part of the original game.

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