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Desert Island Games: Insomniac's Ted Price

For this week’s look at an industry personality's top 5 games of all-time, Insomniac president and CEO Ted Price (Ratchet & Clank, Resistance: Fall Of Man) picks his favored titles, from the "superb game balancing" of World Of Warcraft throu
For this week’s Desert Island Games, a column that looks at the top five games of some of our favorite industry personalities, we speak to Ted Price, CEO and president of developer Insomniac Games. Price established Insomniac back in 1994, and the company released its first game, the PlayStation FPS Distruptor, toward the end of 1996. In 1998, the company released Sypro the Dragon for the console, the first of three well-received platformers in the series by Insomniac. In 2002, Insomniac released its next title, Ratchet & Clank, for the PlayStation 2. As with Spyro, the game proved successful enough to launch a franchise, and the sequels appeared at a rate of one per year up until Ratchet: Deadlocked in 2005. Following that, the company moved on to PlayStation 3 development, and released Resistance: Fall of Man as a launch title for the console. The game has been generally well-received, and Price has confirmed that Insomniac Games sees the title as a probable franchise, though no confirmation regarding a sequel has been made at this date. Currently, the company is working on Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, a next-gen update of the franchise slated for launch in the third quarter of this year. In regards to his favorite games, Price does “if it were appropriate” to include Insomniac’s titles, Resistance would be on the list. “I'm biased of course,” he grins, “but I could play Resistance multiplayer non-stop for a long time.” We spoke to Price recently, and asked him about his desert island, all-time, top five most memorable games – in no particular order, of course. World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment, 2004): "Give me an internet connection and a decent computer and you could put me anywhere with WoW. I mean, I'd take a dark closet with bread and water versus a tropical paradise. When I was playing WoW I wasn't paying much attention to much beyond my computer screen...which is why I had to stop playing. I started when WoW came out a couple of years ago and was immediately hooked. My addiction was the result of superb game balancing. The guys at Blizzard just nailed the formula. Plus the art was stunning for a MMORPG. Definitely a deadly combination for me. I've been trying very, very hard to avoid Burning Crusade. So far I'm winning that battle. Barely." Battlefield 2 (Digital Illusions CE, 2005): "Battlefield 2 has been almost as much of a time drain for me as World of Warcraft. And if it's about staying occupied on a desert island, this game would definitely help me avoid thinking about food, water, etc. I first started playing it when it was in the form of the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1941. What really sucked me in initially were the vehicles. I had never experienced an online game with such a huge assortment of well-balanced vehicles. The helicopters in particular were a real draw simply because there was such a learning curve involved. Anyone who can master one of the attack varieties becomes a killing machine. Unfortunately for me I spend more time crashing the helicopters than flying them. Another aspect of BF2 that I appreciate greatly is the class balancing. Each class is a blast to play and each has a really unique role in the world." Sid Meier’s Civilization III (Fireaxis Games, 2001): "The Civ games are some of my favorite single player games ever simply because, again, the play balancing is spectacular. The games are incredibly complex but paradoxically they're incredibly easy to learn. Plus the difficulty ramping is spot on and the system of rewards has few equals. I think Civ III in particular is the ultimate "okay, just one more turn" game. You're always just a turn away from accomplishing something huge and that's what keeps me glued to the keyboard. Finally, this is one of the only single player games that I enjoy playing over and over - simply because there are SO many options to tweak. I think this game would be a must-have for any extended desert island stays." Team Fortress Classic (Sierra On-Line/Valve, 1999): "I began playing Team Fortress around the time we were making Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, I think. Quake deathmatch had been a favorite in our offices back in the Disruptor days but Team Fortress transformed traditional deathmatch and capture the flag modes with its super cool classes. Having a medic that could poison enemies and an engineer that could construct gun emplacements was pretty darn unique. There were definitely some balancing issues with some of the classes but there were so many options to try, it didn't detract from the game – at least in my opinion. The gameplay was lightning fast; great for someone like me with a short attention span. And I loved the exaggerated character style. Even though I haven't played it for a while, I would definitely want to have it with me on a desert island - provided I had that all-important internet connection!" Super Metroid (Intelligent Systems/Nintendo, 1994): "I think I first played the game while we were in preproduction on Disruptor back in 1994. Maybe I'm getting my dates completely wrong. But what I do remember is being astounded at how well-designed the game was. I had played Metroid in college and loved it. But Super Metroid took the game balancing and variety within the game to a new level. For me the game was a perfect example of how to offer the player new goals that were always just out of reach – these goals were wonderful carrots that kept me playing all night. And I don't think I was the only one at Insomniac who appreciated this type of design...if you analyze it carefully you can see a significant Super Metroid influence on our Ratchet & Clank games. So why would I take this to a desert island? Even though this game has far less replay value than the others on the list, I could still play it over and over simply because the basic gameplay is so much fun."

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