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Lagomorphs, demons, plumbers and punk, these are a few of my favorite things.

In the midst of a game overload, I list some of my favorite video game developers.

I've realized that while I could never narrow down all the games I've played into a favorite's list I could at least do it for some of my favorite game companies. Before I get started while this is a list of my favorites please don't assume that I am a fan boy for any of them. Thanks to being a multi platform gamer I can switch games at just about any time.

Also even though this list is pretty short that doesn't mean that I hate everyone else. These companies are those that I follow their developments and always keep an eye on what is coming next from them. Without further ado here are my picks (note: this list is made up of companies that are still around, RIP Working Designs):

Nintendo: Considering the first video game I've ever played was Super Mario Bros it should come as no surprise that Nintendo is on my list. Growing up I think I've played every system Nintendo has made and yes that includes the Virtual Boy. You can argue that Nintendo games these days come few and far between and that they are not going completely out there with new game designs, but their first party titles are still amazing. At this time I'm still working my way towards 100% in Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Looking forward to: Insert N3DS and E3 announcements here.

Telltale Games: The adventure genre for the longest time has been a genre that I avoided. I could not get into the old school design and considered myself adventure game challenged. I then found my way over to Telltale after they started working on Sam and Max and since then they have managed to get me back into the adventure genre. I recently finished Tales of Monkey Island which I loved and can't wait to see how season 3 of Sam and Max play out. I also have to give a shout out to their customer support, which whenever I had to contact them were excellent.

Looking forward to: Puzzle Agent, Back to the Future, the rest of Sam and Max.

Atlus: Atlus has for the longest time catered to a niche audience with titles like the Shin Megami Tensei series and recently Shiren the Wanderer. Fortunately for me I belong to that niche of gamers who like challenging RPGs and basically snap up any game bearing the Atlus logo. Besides developing unique titles they have also taken up the mantle of Working Designs to publish those unique Japanese titles over here that most often would not get picked up. This is how they scored a home run in the US with Demon’s Souls and how we got to experience Disegea before Nippon Ichi started publishing titles in the US. If there is one thing I learned from Atlus is to never wait for their games to go on sale, or you may not find them.

Looking forward to: Whatever game that bears the SMT prefix, Etrian Odyssey 3.

Grasshopper Studios: Speaking about niche titles, Grasshopper Studios along with their president the man known as Suda 51 has this department covered. Killer 7 and No More Heroes were different, disturbing and all around crazy. I dare you to completely explain the plot behind Killer 7, I've finished the game 5 times and still only have a vague clue as to what is going on. At the time of this entry his studio released Fatal Frame 4 in Japan which sadly doesn't look like it's going to be brought over here anytime soon, but I can dream (or import it).

Looking forward to: Continuation of No More Heroes, Fatal Frame 4( if it gets ported).

Valve: Valve has managed to achieve a feat that not a lot of developers are known for. They have reached a status not only as a powerhouse developer but also as a publisher with Steam. Their ability to not only create amazing titles like Half Life, Team fortress and Left 4 Dead but also develop them into full blown brands is amazing. When it comes to getting the word out with their blogs and videos they are second to none in this regard.

I basically bought Team Fortress 2 solely on how well done their videos were . Valve along with Nintendo and Blizzard are the few companies that I would love to be a fly on the wall during their design meetings to see how they come up with their game design. Granted they do take a long time to create their titles,(something tells me I won't be alive to see Half Life 4) but you can't say that the quality is not there.

Looking forward to: Portal 2, more DLC for Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 and whatever their E3 announcement is.

Stardock: Another developer that has also taken on the role as publisher. Headed by Brad Wardell, Stardock is known for releasing utility software , games and now publishing games along with their digital platform: Impulse. Galactic Civilizations 2 was an excellent 4X turned based strategy game which became even more epic after the expansion packs were added. Stardock is also known for listening to their fans and having extensive beta periods allowing them to fine tune their games and get feedback.

Looking forward to: Elemental

Cryptic Comet: Chances are most of you have probably not heard of my last choice. While it is the youngest of the companies on this list does not mean anything towards the quality. Run by Vic Davis, his first two titles Armageddon Empires and Solium Infernium are expertly crafted turned based strategy titles. In a time where many game companies are simplifying their mechanics both AE and SI go all out with complex play. You can just feel yourself getting smarter from mastering either title. The only real knock I can give against Vic is that neither title has continuous online multiplayer but I can easily let that slide with the quality.

Looking forward to: I believe he's working on a free expansion to SI and then your guess is as good as mine.

Honorable Mention goes to Treasure, while I love their games they rarely release information making it very hard to find out what they are working on.

Looking forward to: New Sin and Punishment for the Wii.


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