Influences come in many shapes and sizes and from a variety of sources, with even, what seems on the surface, the smallest incident able to have a profound affect on the character and development of individuals.

Those in igaming are undoubtedly no different, but one segment whose reach throughout the sector can’t be denied concerns the many generations of video games platforms and the seemingly unending spin-offs that ensue.

The early successes of Atari, development of Nintendo and today’s all too often PlayStation/Xbox debates have spawned an endless supply of entertainment, from board games to the thousands of apps many now have at their finger tips, and everything in between, also contributing.

In our latest edition we Jean-Christophe Antoine, who currently serves as the head of GGPoker Network and boasts 30 years of gaming experience.

Final Fantasy VI (on SNES in 1994 by Square Enix)

Why I love it

Final Fantasy VI is a role playing game which takes place in an heroic-fantasy world. The story, the music, the characters, their background stories… are just written to perfection. I could talk about it for hours.

This one is dear to my heart as it changed a lot the kid I was until then. Even if it’s a one player game, me and my best friend played it ‘together’ for days and weeks. We had a really hard time understanding what was going on because we were 12 years old and French, not speaking a word of English but we learnt some and managed to finish it with all the side quests and secrets!

Career influences

You need to act quickly and strategise before (choose your 4-character team out of 14 who have each different features) and during the battles as being too slow could mean the end of the game.

This definitely prepared me for fast-paced environments, getting enough knowledge of the situation beforehand to be able to adapt quickly if needed which I still use today when I am not well-versed in a subject I need to talk about.

Honorable mentions: Most of the subsequent (offline) Final Fantasy games.

Starcraft (on PC in 1998 by Blizzard Entertainment)

Why I love it

Starcraft is a real time strategy game, mostly played in 1v1 professionally but with options to play from 2v2 to 4v4. I started playing it on local area network with my friends in my hometown then online with 56Kbits Dial-Up modems (yes I’m old :)).

The story is epic, that needs to be recognised as a lot of players don’t even play the campaign. The three races are unique with a lot of different units each having their specific powers so it’s on you to choose how to build your army given the resources you have once you have chosen the one you prefer

Career influences

This game is difficult, it’s not for everyone. You need to train hard and learn some optimal plays depending on what your opponent has chosen to do.You also need impeccable hand synchronisation and mechanics to master the game. That’s why there are a lot of similarities with Poker and Starcraft superstars like Elky, BoxeR… transitioned to poker.

It definitely taught me how to strategise and organise my work thoroughly. Also to never despair or give up as a specific unit or spell (angle) can turn the tables especially since your opponents (competitors) are also human (fallible) and have incomplete information like you do.

Honorable mention: Starcraft 2 (with all its extensions)

God Of War 3 (on Playstation 3 in 2010 by Santa Monica Studio)

Why I love it

I have always been very straightforward and even if it sometimes caused frictions I never regretted it overall.

I really liked the ‘in your face’ feeling emanating from it; the developers were pretty much saying: ‘Our product is the best, we are fun and crazy but we’re so above the competition that it’s (almost) impossible to not like us. No bullshit, we gave it our all, take it or leave it but if you are going to join our adventure, you’re in for an awesome rollercoaster.

Also, who does not like (Greek) mythology? The gods, the monsters, the weapons, the locations, all of this immersed you completely in the game for the final fight against ZEUS!

Career influences

At GGPoker, we try to create features which are ahead of the curve and that our customers will enjoy.

Poker can be a very demanding game if you want to play it well but that does not mean you should not have a good time while at it. Our offering is welcomed by players because they see we are using the latest technology available, upgrading our game and their experience every month.

We are gamers like they are.

Honorable (series) mentions: God of War, Devil May Cry, Zelda, Bloodborne

UFO: Enemy Unknown (on PC in 1994 by Microprose)

Why I love it

Also called X-Com, this game has two awesome parts that need to be handled simultaneously. The first one is about managing your own base resisting the alien invasion with funds from governments that would decrease if you would let the aliens invade their countries and turn them against you.

You would buy new buildings, weapons, and staff while your findings in the research laboratory would allow you to enhance these then even use the alien weaponry once deciphered. The second is a turn-based action game where you need to
intercept and fight the aliens.

Career influences

Prioritising research vs development, supervising the whole thing, making sure you know every corner of your base and every soldier you have, multi tasking in short. That’s very akin to my current job.

Driving my teams with the bigger picture in mind while checking with other departments what is going on to understand if we are on the right path and recruiting new people along the way to handle our growth would be a good definition of what I have been doing over the last months.

A perfect blend of practise and theory as most things in life (and at work) should be.

Honorable mentions: X-Com 2, Final Fantasy Tactics, Vandal Hearts

International Superstar Soccer Deluxe (on SNES in 1995 by Konami)

I played soccer from the youngest age and my love for the game was the same on consoles. From ‘Soccer’ or ‘World Cup’ on NES through crazy arcade games like Hat Trick Hero (Taito Cup Finals) to Fifa 20 today where I am currently in the top 0.3 per cent online, the one that was the most impactful to me was ISS Deluxe then all the 2000s Pro Evolution Soccer games which were pure simulations.

Just because it was the best at the time and the Konami/Electronic Arts rivalry between ISS (PES) and FIFA had just started.

Career influences

Of course, like the sport itself, it taught me team spirit and how to choose the best players at the right positions coupled with the right formation to perform optimally.

‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ and it’s the same on the (virtual) pitch or at the office. We all play our small part, help each other and have the same goal so in the end, while we are all different, the result is astonishing and everyone reaps the fruit of their hard labour when it works.

If you would like to participate and elaborate on your own gaming influences contact [email protected].