Love is a Game: Ico Revisited

Ico is a very good game. It is pretty, it is fun, it has a great (and understated) story and is a true artistic statement — a well realized vision that incorporates its theme in a holistic way, from its aesthetic straight on down to its mechanical structure.

It’s also old (almost 11 years old! A junior high student by now!) and was very difficult to find copies of until this fall when a remastered collection of Ico and its spiritual sucessor, Shadow of the Colossus were re-released as a single, lovely PS3 disc. I’ve just finished playing through Ico again thanks to this collection and was surprised to find that the experience held up as well as it did. Nostalgia has a way of colouring things, after all, and more than a decade of time has passed between playthroughs.

Like any good art, Ico also revealed far more of itself on a second time through than it did at first and the message it evokes struck home far more differently to my 25 year-old self than the 15 year-old version of me. Simply enough, going into Ico knowing what to expect (and having my reading coloured, no doubt, by emotional maturation) transformed the game from a lovably surrealist fairy-tale to a strangely impactful exploration of love.

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Skyrimming Part 2: (Unintentional) Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

This was originally meant to be the second installment in a long series of Skyrim-related posts, but it turns out that everyone and their mother has already written this game to death. This leaves the continuation of Digital Love Child’s inagural gamiary in a bad spot, further complicated by the fact that I no longer even want to play Skyrim much anymore. Why write more about something that’s lost its magic? Why add more text to an experience that everyone is already chronicling like crazy?

That idea, in itself, seemed like a good thought to follow through with. It only seems fitting to wrap up this miniscule, two-part series on Skyrim with a look at how I became a werewolf then because, if nothing else, this (maybe familiar) story and it’s details demonstrate why such an absorbing game can start to feel hollow after the passing of no more than a handful of weeks.

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Skyrimming Part 1

Play enough Skyrim and the game can start to convince you that it is not so much a collection of other people’s work but something of a personal toybox instead: a sort of fantasy madlibs creator. Every encounter, whether with monster or human or random item lying on the floor of a cave, wants to shape the story playing out in your game.

Bethesda’s latest — and maybe greatest — is the kind of game that seems tailor made for these Gamiary entries. It is a massive world that begs to have its dynamic narratives chronicled and shared (which is the point of this whole thing, after all) and is, luckily, also a stupid amount of fun.

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