Chris Kohler on Ico, the cult video game that's "inspiring everything."
Almost 12 years after its quiet debut on Sony’s then-new PlayStation 2, Ico (ee-koh) seems to be more popular now than it ever was then. What was once an obscure niche game is now increasingly cited as a source of inspiration for current games. And I don’t just mean indie efforts like Brothers. It’s also cited as an influence on the biggest of the big triple-A blockbusters, like Halo and Uncharted. Everywhere you look, you’re standing in Ico’s shadow.
One key is what Ico director Fumito Ueda calls subtractive design: just remove everything that doesn't tangibly contribute to the success of the whole. His follow-up, Shadow of the Colossus, was a perfect example: the entire world is depopulated of enemies to fight other than the "bosses". Long stretches of time spent wandering around an empty landscape would be anathema to lesser designers; but in Ueda's games, it becomes the soul of the entire thing.
Also, pervasive desaturated bloom effects. Which I think, maybe, we have had enough of now.
Not talked about enough is the weird, serenely mythological styling of these games' artwork, especially the melding of native American and European influences.
Ueda's third game, The Last Guardian, will be released in w͓̲͙͖̥͉̹͋ͬ̊ͦ̂̀̚ ͎͉͖̌ͯͅͅd̳̘̿̃̔̏ͣ͂̉̕ŏ̖̙͋ͤ̊͗̓͟͜e͈͕̯̮̙̣͓͌ͭ̍̐̃͒s͙͔̺͇̗̱̿̊̇͞
Fabulous Beasts is a new game from indie studio Sensible Object, which combines stacking/balancing (think Jenga) with smart, sensor-enabled blocks that talk to your mobile device as you play the game, creating fun and complex challenges.
Last year’s AI Video Competition featured Mario Lives! An Adaptive Learning AI Approach for Generating a Living and Conversing Mario Agent, in which researchers from Germany’s University of Tübingen explained how they’d modified Super Marion Brothers to turn the characters into adaptive, machine-learning chatterbots that discovered how to play the game together.
Bennett Foddy, of QWOP and Sportsfriends fame, has already destroyed your brain with Zebra. Though a very simple implementation of the classic “3D maze” genre, it renders the walls as alternating angles of zebra pattern, ensuring you’ll have a skullcrushing headache within seconds. Good luck!
If you’ve been blessed enough to avoid them yourself, you’ve definitely heard the horror stories. Late night, crushing out a ton of work, writing, coding, anything, then boom – your computer crashes. The battery blows, you spill water or coffee all over the place, or it just shuts down with no explanation, and you’re screwed. […]
You travel around a lot. It might be that jet set life from New York to LA to London to Tokyo, or it might be back and forth from the coffee shop to the office, or from the kitchen to the couch. Any which way, you’re mobile and that’s the way to live. When you […]
It’s 2016 and we like our technology really small. Our phones fit in our pockets, our remotes are lighter than ever, and even our cars seem to be shrinking. So your new drone shouldn’t be an exception. This Axis VIDIUS Drone is 21% off right now and it’s so little, your biggest problem won’t be […]