It is difficult to pinpoint the games that have had the most influence on what I expect from and enjoy about games.
There are recurring features about games that I enjoy; I like to see the ways games do them differently and similarly. How can I learn from these things and put them together and make them better?
In particular, I like character management and creation. I like ownership over the people I control. I like to be able to say who they are and where they came from and where they're going, not through a game's story, but through a game's mechanics.
Statistics are the most powerful way to define characters in a world of finite choices. Numbers extend the choices a character has available to them and expands the way I can interact with the world. The more numbers I can influence, the more I understand who the character is!
But there are only a couple of games that changed the way my brain works and I've never played any of them. And I never will!!!!!!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yJ7mP0DA44
This video blows my mind. This video is not real, it's some guy overlaying a psychedelic video on top of Depths of Dejenol footage, but I'm obsessed with what it represents. It reminds me of the SaGa games and Kawazu games and Last Remnant. It's this video of a hypothetical game governed by numbers, but where these things we just can't understand - psychedelic visions (or whatever!) - distort the world, and numbers, and mechanics and WEIRD THINGS blur everything together so it's all one thing and doesn't make sense and is this dense, impenetrable, incoherent mass of nothing and everything. It doesn't need to be coherent!!! I've gotta make this!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRgh9YiEbC0
DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED. I've spent a couple years thinking about this.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_w7JoIigco&t=0m30s
Starting at about :30 seconds. This is the best intro I've ever seen. This is amazing.
+ this weird old Japanese video of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas of Touhou characters flying around and explosions everywhere and everyone killing each other.
I've seen all those videos 100+ times. Put all those things together and that's the game I want to make and play.