15 Years of – Ico: A Game That Bridged The Gap Inbetween Art – Play

15 Years of ‘Ico’: A Game That Bridged The Gap Inbetween Art & Play

I can’t even recall how I came about Fumito Ueda and Team Ico’s seminal platformer Ico. It’s like I came to learn about it via a fantasy of some sort. I guess I more than likely read about it in one of those PlayStation magazines I loved so much, or came across it online somewhere. Or it was passed onto me via a smooch from a mute deity one night when I was durable inbetween sleep and awake. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

But, despite how significant the game is to me, for some reason it doesn’t stand out as much as adventures with Ocarinas or Solid Snakes. What I do reminisce however is getting my mitts on it for the very first time.

Back on my native island of the United Kingdom, a acquaintance and I had returned from watching a friend who had moved away to pastures fresh for college-related activities. It was fine: we drank, danced, laughed, threw up – everything you imagine an eighteen year old getting up to away from home at that age. in Europe at least.

Parting was such sweet sorrow

But when I returned, suitably violated from the weekend’s frivolities, I had £20 left over to spend on what most likely should have been food. But instead, we shuffled into the nearest Gamestation we could find and came across Ico‘s limited edition – the one with the beautiful postcards – on sale for a cool £17.

Who in their right mind would let go of this near mint-condition copy of one of the greatest act/venture games ever consigned to disc? Someone who evidently didn’t know much about of the beauty of Ueda’s unique eye for puzzles, dilapidation and the awe of nature reclaiming its throne.

You see it was two thousand three and next to no-one had heard of the man and his fantastically beautiful and sparse movie games. He had worked as an animator on two titles prior to Ico’s release – Warp’s D and Enemy Zero respectively. And whilst both games were critically well received, it wasn’t until the aforementioned venture through an ancient castle with a boy with horns and a mysterious female that Ueda began receiving the admiration he so is worth.

How Does An Ico Come To Pass?

“Instead of making something that gets consumed in a few weeks, we want to have a game truly lives on in people’s minds.”

When you think of Ico, do titles like Flashback, Prince of Persia and PaRappa the Rapper spring to mind? Not right from the get go, right? But Ueda, the movie game auteur and former art student, wished to pool these influences together in order to homage movies, another art form he admires so dearly.

No pressure, right?

Being such an avid fan of cinema, Ueda got in contact with Sony and created a pilot movie that was outstanding enough for the gaming giants to suggest him the chance to create his own game:

“. I dreamed to do something to truly challenge myself—I dreamed to create and direct my own movie scene. So I told Sony, ‘There’s something I want to do on my own. Would you mind waiting three months?’ To my surprise, they invited me to come now, and said that they would let me create the movie I wished to while I worked for them.”

Tho’ it would have been fitting for the movie to have become Ico, it didn’t. But the foundations for the title were fortunately *clears mouth* set in stone. Had to. Sorry:

“Yeah, we did have a master planning document. It said how I desired to do something novel, to make “a brand fresh kind of game, something unlike existing games.” Lighter said than done, right? That’s how it seems to me when I look back on it now.”

So how would he go about crafting something so brand fresh?

“For some reason, I was indeed keen to make a game that featured AI. At the time, there were a number of games with AI characters, like Wonder Project J and Hello Pac-man. But I dreamed to make an AI that responded more directly to the player, not something mediated by the screen, like the ‘point-and-click’ style interfaces of those venture games. I thought one way to do that would be to put the player in the game directly, and make them work together with the AI character.”

Wonder Project J

And that idea of an AI character turned into Yorda, the awkward 2nd lump of a beautiful two part puzzle that paved the way for AI companions such as The Last of Us’ Ellie and the wonderful twin-stick act of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons amongst numerous other titles.

Man, the game even managed to inspire Crazy Dog and Nintendo to get the best out of Uncharted Trio and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess along the way. And that’s no mean feat. That’s how significant this game is, and is testament to its magical methods of shifting my reckoning of movie games as mere time passers to literal art forms.

And the game is magic. From its soundtrack, its misty, dust addled locales to the fair longing you feel when contemplating growing up with your closest childhood friend, and how the both of you tackled the tallest hills together, fell from bikes, fought hellions and boredom at school together. And grew so inseparable, you felt like you could take on the world – but only together.

If movie games are an art form — and who could disagree in the presence of Ico‘s painterly landscapes — then Ueda and his team showcased the world how skilfully they wielded their brush.

15 Years of – Ico: A Game That Bridged The Gap Inbetween Art – Play

15 Years of ‘Ico’: A Game That Bridged The Gap Inbetween Art & Play

I can’t even recall how I came about Fumito Ueda and Team Ico’s seminal platformer Ico. It’s like I came to learn about it via a fantasy of some sort. I guess I more than likely read about it in one of those PlayStation magazines I loved so much, or came across it online somewhere. Or it was passed onto me via a smooch from a mute deity one night when I was protracted inbetween sleep and awake. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

But, despite how significant the game is to me, for some reason it doesn’t stand out as much as adventures with Ocarinas or Solid Snakes. What I do reminisce however is getting my mitts on it for the very first time.

Back on my native island of the United Kingdom, a mate and I had returned from witnessing a friend who had moved away to pastures fresh for college-related activities. It was fine: we drank, danced, laughed, threw up – everything you imagine an eighteen year old getting up to away from home at that age. in Europe at least.

Parting was such sweet sorrow

But when I returned, suitably cracked from the weekend’s frivolities, I had £20 left over to spend on what most likely should have been food. But instead, we shuffled into the nearest Gamestation we could find and came across Ico‘s limited edition – the one with the beautiful postcards – on sale for a cool £17.

Who in their right mind would let go of this near mint-condition copy of one of the greatest activity/escapade games ever consigned to disc? Someone who evidently didn’t know much about of the beauty of Ueda’s unique eye for puzzles, dilapidation and the awe of nature reclaiming its throne.

You see it was two thousand three and next to no-one had heard of the man and his fantastically beautiful and sparse movie games. He had worked as an animator on two titles prior to Ico’s release – Warp’s D and Enemy Zero respectively. And whilst both games were critically well received, it wasn’t until the aforementioned escapade through an ancient castle with a boy with horns and a mysterious chick that Ueda began receiving the admiration he so is worth.

How Does An Ico Come To Pass?

“Instead of making something that gets consumed in a few weeks, we want to have a game indeed lives on in people’s minds.”

When you think of Ico, do titles like Flashback, Prince of Persia and PaRappa the Rapper spring to mind? Not right from the get go, right? But Ueda, the movie game auteur and former art student, wished to pool these influences together in order to homage movies, another art form he admires so dearly.

No pressure, right?

Being such an avid fan of cinema, Ueda got in contact with Sony and created a pilot movie that was amazing enough for the gaming giants to suggest him the chance to create his own game:

“. I dreamed to do something to indeed challenge myself—I desired to create and direct my own movie scene. So I told Sony, ‘There’s something I want to do on my own. Would you mind waiting three months?’ To my surprise, they invited me to come now, and said that they would let me create the movie I wished to while I worked for them.”

However it would have been fitting for the movie to have become Ico, it didn’t. But the foundations for the title were fortunately *clears mouth* set in stone. Had to. Sorry:

“Yeah, we did have a master planning document. It said how I wished to do something novel, to make “a brand fresh kind of game, something unlike existing games.” Lighter said than done, right? That’s how it seems to me when I look back on it now.”

So how would he go about crafting something so brand fresh?

“For some reason, I was truly keen to make a game that featured AI. At the time, there were a number of games with AI characters, like Wonder Project J and Hello Pac-man. But I dreamed to make an AI that responded more directly to the player, not something mediated by the screen, like the ‘point-and-click’ style interfaces of those venture games. I thought one way to do that would be to put the player in the game directly, and make them work together with the AI character.”

Wonder Project J

And that idea of an AI character turned into Yorda, the awkward 2nd chunk of a beautiful two part puzzle that paved the way for AI companions such as The Last of Us’ Ellie and the wonderful twin-stick activity of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons amongst numerous other titles.

Man, the game even managed to inspire Horny Dog and Nintendo to get the best out of Uncharted Three and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess along the way. And that’s no mean feat. That’s how significant this game is, and is testament to its magical methods of shifting my reckoning of movie games as mere time passers to literal art forms.

And the game is magic. From its soundtrack, its misty, dust addled locales to the fair longing you feel when contemplating growing up with your closest childhood friend, and how the both of you tackled the tallest hills together, fell from bikes, fought hellions and boredom at school together. And grew so inseparable, you felt like you could take on the world – but only together.

If movie games are an art form — and who could disagree in the presence of Ico‘s painterly landscapes — then Ueda and his team displayed the world how skilfully they wielded their brush.

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