Shadow of the Colossus for PS2: spoilers ahead! Apparently people are calling this the pinnacle of game story-telling. The player must fight against colossi and horsemen to save a girl. Although a rather simple premise, apparently it’s quite the tear-jerker, especially since the hero is doomed to fail. However, one critic says that while emotionally manipulative, the game fails to convey a real story.
I found this very interesting since many claim that games fail to make players emotionally involved. One game writer posited that games and movies convey different emotions — he had never cried at a video game, but then he’d never felt like throwing his controller at a movie, either. Anyone who has ever played a game has felt emotions, however. Nicole Lazzaro of Xeodesign has presented at several conferences on this subject. She has pointed out seven emotions, from fear to fiero, that a player experiences without the benefit of developer-generated story.
Emotions clearly already exist in games, however a story gives context to those emotions, helping to create meaning. Shadow of Colossus, while successful in creating emotions, for one reviewer failed to give adequate context. From a game perspective, it may also have failed to give choice not only to the player, but also to the main character, and choices are the hallmark of a good game and good story. Tears do not a story make.
Have you played it? Did you think it had a story, or simply a manipulative emotional experience? Did you have fun?
This week’s game dialog was spoken by Manny Calavera in “Grim Fandango!” Check next week for more Guess that Game Dialog!