Sunday, August 1, 2010

Long-Overdue Update/Shadow of the Colossus

So, I've been absent from this blog for quite some time. Grad school was kicking my butt, and in February, I started working at a site called Gaming Target, which has been amazing. I took a break in the spring from school and got really into writing at Gaming Target and Press 1, where I still have a column. In March, I went to PAX East, and in June, I got to go to E3, which was AMAZING!! I had an incredible time out there. After that, I broke up with my boyfriend, I was in the hospital twice for tachychardia (from stress), I've been diagnosed with acid reflux (from stress), I had a (VERY) brief love affair, and I've finished tons of games, books, and movies, and I'm very nearly at the end of Gurren Lagann, which I've been watching for ages. I do plan on writing a lot more in here - especially about my experiences at E3, which I think are worth writing down on a personal level as much as they were on a professional one. I was also promoted to Senior Editor at Gaming Target, which is pretty awesome! I tried to write about everything I saw at E3 but only managed to scratch the surface. There are tons of reviews I need to get back to, and a lot of games I want to play as well.

Which brings me to the second part of this post...

I just beat Shadow of the Colossus.

Backtrack: when I saw the trailer for the Last Guardian last year, I became obsessed with Fumito Ueda:

I went out and found a copy of Ico (pronounced EEE-CO, not III-CO), his first game, after reading all about it, played it, and promptly fell head over heels in love with it. Ico is a beautiful story of a boy, born with horns and cursed to be sacrificed, who escapes from his fate and helps a ghostly girl escape from hers. (It's more complicated than that, but I don't want to spoil anything.)

I bought Shadow of the Colossus after but I was afraid to start it with all the things I'd heard about it. Having gone through a break-up and then what was basically another heartbreak at the hands of the brief love affair boy, I decided maybe it was time to exercise some catharsis in a depressing game. Normal girls would probably just watch The Notebook; I wanted to play a game in which my moral choices to brutally murder beautiful creatures would make me sob into my cat.

Shadow of the Colossus is the tender tale of a horse and his boy, similar to the Neverending Story, except instead of riding on Falcor to save the girl, you stab him in the fucking head, repeatedly and mercilessly. (Did I need to curse there? Have you PLAYED this game? If you have, then you understand expletives can be necessary in this description.) You are Wander, and you want to bring a dead girl back to life, so you go to the End of the World and appeal to the powers there. The powers that be see that you've got the magic sword needed for just a certain little job he needs done, so he sets you to it - you must kill the embodiments of the 16 colossi that line the walls, and then he will grant your wish.

You go out, get on your trusty steed, Agro, hold your sword up in the sunlight to pinpoint the location of the Colossus, and ride off to find it, your bird soaring high above your head. You find the Colossus and discover very quickly that things are not what they seem. There's no impersonal swordplay, or grenade-lobbing. There's no Quicktime events, or RPG battle systems. You plain and simply find the symbol on the beast, climb up the beast, and then stab it to death. And you must do this 16 times. 16 times!!

I stopped crying after the 4th, but at the 14th, my weeping started anew (how couldn't it, with his tiny little body that moved like a sweet dog?). But it was the end that I couldn't bear.

SPOILERS AHEAD!! WARNING!! Please be warned!!

It was one thing to lose my precious horse - watching as Agro fell, listening as Wander screamed his name. It was another to be judged by my townspeople, taken over by a demon, and then turned into a baby - just as my love awakened! Will he ever atone for his sins? But at least Agro turned out to be alive, and now we can all be together as a happy family - right?

However, I've heard people say that this is supposed to be the spiritual predecessor to Ico - that this boy born with horns is a sign. Is he Ico? I thought Ico was born in a town in which every generation, a boy was born with horns and had to be sacrificed to the castle? Or, perhaps, is this where it all begins? Does the beautiful girl grow bitter towards the townspeople and grow evil, causing a boy to be born each generation with horns, forcing them to sacrifice them to her? Does she change the castle - is this really the castle from Ico thousands of years in the past? Already the end of the world seems so old, and yet perhaps it is far older.

That is all for today - I have some more editing work to do. Tomorrow I am going to comment on all the games I'm playing (and the ones I was playing that have since gone stale), and perhaps comment on some other things.


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