Maybe it's just me, but I love hearing game developers talk about their favourite games, and their influences. Gamasutra currently has a really interesting piece up from GDC, asking Will Wright, Cliff Bleszinski, John Romero and Sid Meier what some of their favourite games were, and it's a great read.
I won't spoil them all, but I will quote one of my favourite parts of the piece, from Bleszinski talking about Zelda. I think anyone over the age of 20 can relate to the smell of a newly opened instruction manual!
I fell in love with Nintendo. This was my first true love.
I was teased at school a little bit. I was chased off the bus and called Nintendo Boy. It kind of sucked back then, but my life is fucking awesome now, and they can just go on with their lame lives.
I don't know if you recall the ad, it was this guy with a black turtleneck...my friends and I are sitting there...like, really? You're going to take me from Mario to this? It was really a bad representation of what this game is.
Then I learned about the cartridge, and that it was gold. Our minds were blown...that was my first lesson in branding.
Then I found the manual. I didn't have the game yet...and my friend showed up one day with the manual...I still to this day remember the scent of that thing as I opened it.
In other media — music, cinema — creators often feel as though they have to hide their influences. I love that, in video games, it's still cool to properly be in love with other games and other creators. I hope that never changes.