Emotions Revealed
Zetetic versus Skeptic

Brief Interlude

180pxridley_nesStill haven't completed the NES Metroid. But we beat Ridley last night. He was asking for it after that tediously difficult boss battle near the end of Metroid Prime. I hate pattern bosses. Also played a little more Shadow of the Colossus. Don't expect any analysis of this game any time soon... it's going to take a while to slog through it. It's fantastic at evoking awe (wonder and fear to Ekman), which is some compensation for its deficiencies. Must we always have Hard Fun to get to Easy Fun? I sincerely hope not. Okay, back to the salt mines...

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Take your time; it's only a "slog" if you think a 16-course meal needs to be eaten like a drive-through fast food meal!

I believe the optimal style of play for Shadow of the Colossus is episodic, and that the quality of play/presentation degrades somewhat if you try and force more than 1-2 colossi per play session. As I'm sure you've already noticed, despite having fairly sparse save points (but well integrated into the world), the game works very well with a half hour to hour play session, with its chapter like divisions seperating each quest.
Of course a driven player can burn through the game relatively quickly, but that would mean missing on so many of the game's rich charms.

For all the games I just have had no desire to pick up and play, let alone finish, Shadow and the Colossus was enormously compelling and uplifting in an odd way. Why should I keep returning to inhabit this melancholic, desolate world? Maybe because it was that immersive for me, despite (because of?) some invocation/subversion of classic videogame tropes. The game is such a clear product of unified design in the mechanics, visuals, sound design...

Anyhow, I could already write a book about what that game does for me. Back to the point: it's true, the game basically relies on a hard fun puzzle principle, not too far removed from Ico. That's far from my favored style of play, but it allows and encourages so much of a sense of free exploration leading up to those hard fun encounters that it was never really an issue for me. Though I am still very keen on hearing your analysis of the finished game, I don't want you to rush the experience :)

Well I wouldn't worry about my rushing the game. It's only going to get played on Wednesdays evening's most weeks, so I have no choice but to take it slow. I hope you're right that most of the colossi can be found and defeated in 30-60 minutes. In this last session, we just rode around the desolate landscape for an hour gasping at how awful the map is and wondering if we'd missed something obvious. It was kind of disappointing, actually, because I was looking forward to climbing something.

My relationship with Ico was pretty bipolar as well. I fell in love with the game, until about halfway through when I couldn't determine what was expected of me at a certain point, and kept dying (and being put back right before an annoying fight). It soured me to the game, and I consequently gave up.

Then, after a friend and colleague completed the game and assured me that this problem was not indicitive of the rest of the game (my fear being that the difficulty was going to continue to ramp up to insanity), I went back and finished it.

Ico was a beautiful game, but it was built with such stoically old school sensibilities. I was, and still am, highly conflicted over it. I believe art should not intentionally create barriers between it and its audience, and as such I have never been able to see Ico as the masterpiece that some people consider it to be, despite its spectacular look and feel.

I expect I shall be similarly conflicted about Shadow of the Colossus. The experience of the game is impressive; the controls, camera and map are rather poor. Time will tell how I will feel at the end of it all, but it won't reduce my respect for the game, even if I end up disliking it.

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