Saturday, January 28, 2012

Real World Implifications: Shadows Of The Colossus

I know I often come on this blog smilin' and laughin' but it's not always like that.  And as you get older, it becomes apparent that you have to struggle (to varying degrees) to get what you want.  Hey, look no further than the Bible and the crucifixion of Jesus--life is NOT EASY and if you think you have it bad, oh it could be worse.  The things you want the most are always the hardest to get.  And video games prove this.  What does this have to do with Sega racers?  I'll get to that in a sec...

Most EVERY video game requires the protagonist to go on some sort of "epic" journey to accomplish something great.  This usually means killing bad guys and going through copious amounts of pain.  This ranges from the docile (in Mario/Sonic, you touch a bad guy and fly off the screen) to the mundane (Zelda/Half-Life with the beeping when you're about to die) to even worse (just about any M-rated game with blood and guts).  But a lot of games seem to obligate protagonists into action because of the whole "save the world" scenario--if they don't do something, then life as we know it is "over."

But to see someone act on their own for some personal thing or reward, something that you may not see worthwhile, something very unlikely or ridiculous to achieve, is much more commendable.  I'd like to talk about two games here to make a point.  I haven't played any of these and please don't get on here and say "oh man, you ought to play these" or any of that nonsense cause I'm not going to take it.

The first of the games is Shadows of the Colossus (2005).  Oh geez, I can't believe I'm talking about the game.  PLEASE NOTE this is not a review of the game.  ere's the summary: You're this dude with no name ("Wander," I guess) and there's Sleeping Beauty who needs to be woken up.  Since you're no Prince Charming, you make a deal with the gods that by killing 16 humongous monstrosity beats (the "Colossi"), he'll promise to revive your girlfriend.  And off you go.  That's it, no real backstory, you save a girl.

This is the most beautiful game ever made...or not.

You only get three things--a sword, a bow & arrow, and a horse.  Kill the 16 Colossi in the world by climbing on them and stabbing them in the face with your sword.  There's no other bad guys to kill in the game.  Colossi on the ground, in the air, and under water.

Four problems with this pic: 1. Too much brown.  2. Enough with the G-D swords in games.  3. That huge ass monster is pissing me off.  4. There's no cars in it.  5. It's not a Sega game.

And that's all I can really talk about in terms of gameplay.  TBQH, I have little to no interest in playing the game and I know I'll receive tons of hate mail for this game.  I know about the game--it's puzzle-based combat and has great cinematics but that's all I really see.  The idea of playing as this raggedly-little punk who's able to slay giant beasts really puts me to shame.  Seriously--I'm tired of playing as characters who are much more able-bodied than I am because it makes me feel like a wimp.


...but the gameplay is not the point.  There's one thing about the game that I find interesting and it drives home the point I'm trying to get to.  Over the process of the game, as you kill more Colossi, you'll start to notice a change in Wander.  He looks dirtier, his clothes are torn, his skin is pale, his hair is black.  This captures the essence of a programmer's work life in progress: he shows up to work all stoked to work on the game.  Then over time, his eyes get beady, his hair grows long, he turns pale from lack of sunlight, he doesn't bathe, he gets fat from lack of physical activity.  All the meanwhile, the producers & artists are yucking it up with jokes and food from Popeye's and Subway.

Surprisingly, your girlfriend starts to come to life in the process (looks healthier).  So the running theme here is that you're basically sacrificing yourself for a girl.  Oh, how romantic.  But we see this crap all the time in the real world...people getting beating up for a cause they are passionate about.

Then what happens at the end of the game.  Well, your horse falls into a chasm then Wander turns into a zombie with horns and is shot with an arrow and killed on the spot.  Game over man.  But it turns out alright in the end--the girl wakes up, the horse somehow lives, and Wander is reincarnated as a baby.  BEST GAME EVER MADE.

I'll tell you what though--the month-long sprint to finish Super Sprint (ha) for school was as close to grueling as it got.  My game exceeded the instructor's expectations but I kept going.  So after I was done, I simply collapsed.  Oh boy, expect this to happen many, many more times in my career.  That's the breaks.

Let's have some fun shall we?  Between school, paying bills, being ping-ponged around EA for years and years while waiting for Sega to start hiring again, and answering my mom's calls every 30 minutes, the goal to make Daytona USA 3...err, just for fun, let's say Shenmue 3.  Yeah!  So Sega ain't buyin' it.  But you can go on a second quest--the video game gods ask you to slay the video game giants (Colossi) on behalf of Sega!!  And then, and only then, with Shenmue 3 live.  Here's what you got (EDIT: NOW WITH DLC BOSSES, IT'S AWESOME BABY!!!):

1. Atari - A giant 5200 console.  Really, it's that easy...
2. Tecmo - I don't know...a giant pair of boobs, it can be anything.
3. Zynga - A large farm.  I'm not kidding--a farm.
4. Konami - Metal Gear.
5. Rockstar - The Unstoppable Trolley of Doom from San Andreas.
DLC BOSS: Midway - Lizzy from Rampage: World Tour.
6. Namco-Bandai - Giant Pac-Man ghosts.
DLC BOSS: Lucas-Arts - The giant baby from Zombies Ate My Neighbors.
7. Square-Enix - Insert any generic RPG villain here.
8. Valve - Climb to the top of the Citadel (using portals) and fight Gabe Newell wielding a heavy machine gun.
9. Game Freak - Ho-Oh, Lugia, Entei, one of those legendary Pokemon guys, you pick.
DLC BOSS: Bethesda - A giant dragon.  No surprise there.
10. Activision - Giant Bobby Kotick with LASER EYES!!!
DLC BOSS: Bungie - The Flood Overmind.
11. Blizzard - A Protoss Carrier.  No, not Diablo or the Lich King, that's garbage.
12. Capcom - Giant green Zangief.
13. Electronic Arts - A giant John Madden shooting turduken and Tough-Actin Tinactin at you.
14. Sony - Giant Enemy Crab.
15. Microsoft - Attack of the little kids on Xbox Live!  Now Super-Sized!!!
16. Nintendo - A daunting Bowser/Ganon fusion on top of a scary castle.  What else did you expect.

Then after you kill them all, Sega gets taken out with a sniper rifle and then Shenmue 3 is revived but you've left a trail of death & destruction (Sega included) all for your sordid dreams.  The Internet hates your fanboyism.  Life is great.

It is finished.


  1. Hey,
    Very good blog post I love your site keep up the great posts.Thanks

  2. I'd gladly take down a laser eyed Kotick for some Shenmue 3. Haha, with much fervor!

  3. Yeah this calls for photoshops...but I think we'd all take him down for nothing.