Culture, Gaming

Moments We Remember: Aaron Lee on Shadow of the Colossus

Chronicling stories of how gaming has changed us – one moment at a time
Shadow of the Colossus, Avion 00 Arena (1833x1030)~ How to get involved and share your own special gaming moment ~

Title: Shadow of the Colossus (Sony, 2005)
Format: PS2
Spoilers: mild, gameplay-related

I’ve got the measure of this, I thought naïvely, urging the Link-like adventurer, Wander, and his horse, Agro, on through a narrow uphill path in Shadow of the Colossus. This is a game about atmosphere, sacrifice and wonderment. It’s minimalist because it is totally focused on delivering its narrative – which is shown more than spoken – and gameplay in as graceful a manner as you could wish for back in 2005.

Culture, Gaming

Introducing Moments We Remember

Chronicling stories of how gaming has changed us – one moment at a time
Gaming at home, Aug 15, 2009, by Maria Morri (1920x1080)I’m about to embark on a journey with this post – and I’ll need your help. This journey will either lead to a honeycomb of new tales and new faces, or it will peter out and be assigned to the graveyard of faded feature ideas. So on that jolly note, here goes.

Real-life story features in game magazines and websites are some of my favourite. They are the ‘My Favourite Game’ articles. The community spotlights that were previously so common on GameSpot and IGN before social media killed forums. The career spotlights in the likes of Develop magazine. Or, occasionally, the one-off posts by guest writers who give you a whole new perspective on a game or genre.

Books, Culture, Film, Gaming, TV & Radio

Why do some finales leave us dissatisfied?

Reading on Broadway, Oct 6, 2007, by Michele Markel Connors (3008x1692)Endings are tricky affairs, particularly for fiction and screenwriters.

They don’t always need to be comfortable or straightforward. In fact, they shouldn’t be. No matter what the medium, you expect the author to fulfil a sort of unwritten agreement that, at the end of it all, you will have gained something from taking the time to engage with their story. That could be as simple as learning something new (as the classic parables of old do) or it could be more personal (learning deep truths about the nature of life or society through the eyes of a character you identify with).

Endings and why some of them leave us dissatisfied have been on my mind recently, since finishing the finales to several video games and fiction series. Both mediums have presented me with examples of endings that livid up to my expectations and others that fell short.

Art & Design, Culture, Gaming

Filling in the gaps: why mythology encourages more engagement

Half-Life 2, Harbour by Valve/thmxShort of a modest FMV sequence to tease your appetite, a game’s manual intro page was once all the backstory you were given. In a time where any major franchise worth its salt is accompanied by a herd of canonical novels, comics and web shorts, game mythologies are being undervalued. The thrill of discovering mythology in-game, of that knowledge impacting gameplay and playing purely for wonder is being undersold.


Whatever happened to the Killzone comic?

Even with the demise of DC’s WildStorm imprint, the number of video game licensed comic books is showing no signs of slowing. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see comics announced for Uncharted, Crysis, the new Tomb Raider and the new Devil May Cry.

So with these possible conversions in mind, I thought it would be nice to look at a video game comic that failed to materialise. Killzone was to be made into a comic back in 2005, but the publisher, DreamWave Comics, went bust before even a single issue was published. Shame really as scriptwriter John Ney Reiber was onboard and the art showed promise. And instead of still images of cover-to-cover shootouts, narratives could be built out of Killzone’s existing universe.

There’s actually a respectable amount of background to the Killzone series, which you can view on The games themselves only give you brief hints of this, with most of the story given over to atrociously bad dialogue and objectives that have to be done “now, now, now” because you’re moments from getting gunned down and curve stomped by metal-faced shock troopers. In comic book form however, I think there’s a wealth of intriguing material for writers and artists to draw on that would be good for an ongoing series showing the First Extrasolar War, the formation of the ISA, the rise of Scolar Visari, and so on.

Seeing as we’re on the eve of Killzone 3, I also have a few personal ideas that would be perfect for the serialised medium of comics, as I’m almost certain Guerrilla aren’t going to fulfil my narrative wants with this third title. I’d like to see a short story following Hakha, the bald, half-Helgan ISA spy from Killzone 1 – his intelligent reasoning made him one of the characters I regret not seeing in the game’s sequels. I want to see Luger without her wet flannel of a mask on. And I’d like a humorous recurring strip, ‘1001 ways for Sgt Rico to bite the dust’, because, yeah, that dude just gives every black guy of the future a bad name.

Given the current trend in video game licensed comics, I see no reason why a Killzone comic couldn’t surface eventually. Whether it would leverage its narrative potential is a question I would dearly love to see. In the meantime, we’ll find out next week whether Killzone 3 manages narrative and dialogue better than its predecessor.