Since the beginning of the video game industry, gamers have been able to play in some of the most imaginative and creative worlds ever to be conceived. With some of today’s most popular games, such as Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto, remaining in the competition alongside recent hits, there’s certainly a lot for people to choose from.
But what fans of these franchises may not know is the unusual origin that helped to bring them to life. Without office equipment or traditional toys, gamers may not be able to have some of these games today. But which ones proved to be the most memorable?
Assassin’s Creed Was Inspired By Prince Of Persia And A Real Order Of Assassins
Since its debut in 2007, Assassin’s Creed has grown to become one of the most successful action-adventure series in recent memory. Each sequel focused on a different time period, country, and the battle throughout history between the Assassin’s Brotherhood and the Templar Order. There’s no telling which historical periods the franchise will visit next.
The original game was intended to be a new Prince of Persia game, but the developers fell into their research and created a new title instead (via GamesRadar). The Order of Assassin’s was a sect that lived in Persia between 1090 to 1275 and this source became the start of the game transforming into the Assassin’s Creed series gamers know today.
Splatoon Was Inspired By Perfect Dark
One of Nintendo’s newest IPs, this third-person shooter introduced players to the Inklings, who are colorful squid-humanoids that must use an assortment of paint guns to splatter the most territory on each stage to win. It has now become a series, with a third game scheduled to be released on the Nintendo Switch this year.
While Splatoon had inspirations like skateboarding, British video game developer RARE, and their 2000 first-person shooter Perfect Dark was certainly an unexpected inspiration. One of the game’s directors, Yasuke Amano, used to play the classic N64 game while at college and was one of the ingredients used to form the base that would eventually create Splatoon (via GamesRadar).
Arms Was Inspired By Spectators Of Sports
Another new IP for Nintendo in recent memory, Arms is a boxing game with a twist. Each fighter uses spring-like arms to battle their opponents across a variety of stages themed around each of these characters. One of these fighters, Min Min, was even part of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s roster via DLC.
Looking at the world of sports for inspiration, the spectators of football matches were one of them. Fans of the game will undoubtedly recognize this in the game as their chosen fighter and opponent will have a sea of fans wearing masks and color schemes to support them in each battle. Perhaps seen by some as a small detail, but this is one of Arms‘ highlights.
The Pikmin Creator Was Inspired By Watching Ants
From Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, Pikmin was released on the GameCube over twenty years ago and was his latest creation at the time. It bloomed across multiple consoles with re-releases and spin-off titles on the handheld and mobile market (although now the GameCube games are one of the most expensive).
His inspiration for Pikmin came from witnessing ants carrying leaves across his garden (via Telegraph). Imagining them as little people instead and following a leader, a game idea popped into his head. As his first strategy game, it changed over time and would eventually become the game about a small astronaut named Olimar using the adorable Pikmin to help him rebuild his spaceship and return to his planet.
Grand Theft Auto Was Inspired By Pac-Man Dynamics
Nearly everyone who is a fan of video games has heard of Rockstar Games and their iconic Grand Theft Auto series. Now known today as a massive sandbox game where anyone can do anything across a city within each title, it didn’t start out that way.
The first Grand Theft Auto was released on the PlayStation and PC in the ’90s and was a top-down adventure game in an open-world environment. And in this top-down perspective, the gameplay and mechanics of Pac-Man inspired the way the player controls the character. Furthermore, in The Art Of Game of Design: A Book of Lenses, game designer, David Jones, also revealed they took inspiration from the ghost enemies to create the way police would chase the players in a similar manner (pg 90).
Pokémon Was Inspired By Bug Catching
Whether users visit a game or a toy store, there is no escaping the over twenty-year phenomenon that is Pokémon. The RPG series has no signs of slowing down as not also is there continued support for their existing games, but fans will be treated to one of the most anticipated Switch games of 2022, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, for the Nintendo Switch.
But how did this game come to fruition? As a young boy, Satoshi Tajiri would collect bugs in the local wilderness during his free time (via Kotaku). With a passion for technology as well, he would grow up to be the founder of Game Freak and create and help grow the Pokémon series from within his company. Now people everywhere and anywhere can enjoy the wonders of exploring and catching, no matter where they are.
Legend of Zelda Was Inspired By The Creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, Exploring Caves
Released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986, The Legend of Zelda introduced gamers to the magical world of Hyrule and its hero Link. Since then, it has become one of Nintendo’s flagship titles and one of the world’s most popular fantasy adventure games.
Its creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, cited the game’s origin from his childhood exploring the hillsides near his home and one unexpected and surprising discovery: a cave (via Electro Entertainment Expo, sourced WayBackMachine) Armed with nothing more than a lantern, he entered it and the experience and discoveries he gained would play a huge part in how secrets were hidden in The Legend of Zelda.
Sonic The Hedgehog Was Inspired By Environmental Awareness
At the time when Sega made their own consoles as well as video games, Sonic the Hedgehog was the latest mascot character and platformer introduced in 1991 (at a time where everyone was competing against Nintendo and their beloved plumber, Mario). The blue blur has remained one of the most universally recognized characters in the video game industry.
Sonic’s fight against Dr. Eggman’s robots to rescue the cute animals trapped inside has been a staple in the series. The support for environmental awareness grew in the ’90s and the idea of Sonic standing up for nature against Dr. Eggman and his destructive robots has remained at the core of the series ever since.
Super Smash Bros Was Inspired By The Marble Game, Ohajiki
The originator of the cross-over platform fighting game that has slowly grown over the years, Super Smash Bros is seen by many as the best example of how to do it right. Multiple games across the series have been used in major fighting video game competitions and tournaments and have become one of the best-selling within the genre.
But out of all things, how did marbles start this popular multiplayer game? Both the game’s director Masahiro Sakurai and the late legendary figure of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, based the gameplay on Ohajiki, a Japanese game involving disc-shaped marbles and boundaries that would inspire the rules of Super Smash Bros (via Nintendo Life).
Game & Watch Was Partially Inspired By A Calculator
The Game & Watch brand may be more familiar now as the character in these games, Mr. Game & Watch, is a fighter from the Super Smash Bros series, but it was Nintendo’s first handheld device before it was eventually replaced with the Game Boy console. While the Game & Watch handhelds are seen as collectors’ items today, modern gamers were treated to special Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda versions to celebrate their respective anniversaries.
And out of all the unusual inspirations, this may have to be one of the initially oddest. While riding the train in the ’70s, Gunpei Yokoi saw a bored man playing with his calculator (via NintendoEverything). The Nintendo game developer looked at it and could see a potential portable game machine and with the support of his co-workers and using some of the button layouts from the Donkey Kong arcade machine, he eventually created the Game & Watch portable device and the games.
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