terça-feira, 22 de abril de 2014

From the past: ICO

Ico is a 3D adventure game developed by Team Ico (2001) and published by Sony for PlayStation 2. I played this game many years ago and am, at this moment, playing the HD version for Playstation 3.

I really like to replay some games years later to observe things that I didn’t notice the first time. From 2001 to today, I have read many books and studied a lot about gaming concepts and game design, so this is a singular opportunity to discuss some important features of this game with an updated view.

The story of the game is about Ico, a boy who was born with horns, which among his people is considered bad omen. Ico is locked in an abandoned dark fortress, where he must explore and run out from. During the exploration, Ico encounters Yorda, the daughter of the castle's queen. The queen has an evil plan to possess the body of Yorda for eternal life and Ico needs to take the girl out of the fortress. The main mechanics of the game is created with puzzle-solving and some combats against demoniac shadow creatures (it’s truly creepy).

You can check the gameplay and game’s intro below:

The game breaks a paradigm of the gaming industry by presenting an interface devoid of tutorials. By controlling the character, the player must try the buttons and add knowledge from other games he/she played for solving puzzles and traversing the scenarios.

Sometimes it is quite difficult to visualize how to solve a puzzle or what sequence of commands must be clicked. However, this is not a defect, it is a gaming feature. Ico works with the idea that we must explore the environment and learn from it. The game operates on a very strong procedural logic/rhetoric inside its interface.

As Bogost says (2007, p.3) “just as verbal rhetoric is useful for both the orator and the audience, and just as written rhetoric is useful for both the writer and the reader, procedural rhetoric is useful for both the programmer and the user, the game designer and the player”.

So, it’s good to have a chance to discuss old games with new observations. I’ll try to do this more frequently from now on.


BOGOST,Ian. Persuasive Games. The MIT Press, 2010 (paperback) http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/persuasive-games

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