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
See sample pages from this book at Wink. I love arcades, I love board games, I love pixel art. And Kemble’s Cascade ties them all together beautifully with a unique game mechanic that simulates a scrolling video game playfield. Everything in the box is made with a love for classic games and it shows. From […]
Ghosts, witches and werewolves! Trick, treat and boo! This special edition of Blue Orange Games’ Spot It! is perfect for the days leading up to Halloween. Like the original Spot It!, the circular cards have several different pictures and words printed in bright colors and easy-to-read fonts. Also like the original, the fast-moving game comes […]
Margaret writes, “Esteemed NYC game-maker Kevin Cancienne (part of the team behind highly adored Drop 7) is launching Home Free, an utterly unique dog exploration game. It’s Minecraft, but you’re a dog, and everything’s beautiful.”
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Power up your gadgets in the most unexpected places with the extremely compact SolarJuice battery pack. SolarJuice charges up at home like your average battery pack, but also lets you add extra juice on-the-go using its built-in solar panel—so you’ll never be left unplugged from the digital world.4.5 Stars on Amazon!Simultaneously charges 2 devices at […]