A few decades ago the masses believed video games were a waste of time for lackadaisical youths to pacify themselves while ignoring their responsibilities as both kids and young adults. As more and more people started understanding the benefits of gaming so too did the perception of what a video game is and, most importantly, the benefits gaming can bestow on a person’s life changed. Hi, my name is James Bullock and I am a gamer who has spent the better part of my existence testing the laws of physics, exploring the vastness of a world ruined, and been a champion inside various arenas courtesy of digitized worlds both driven by reality and created through pure unbelievable ingenuity unlike anything seen by human eyes. And as a gamer I’ve discovered something else video games provide: life lessons. Today I examine one of my favorite PS2 games of all time and one that reflected my own life at the time, “Shadow of the Colossus”.
What You’ll Do For Love (“Shadow of the Colossus”)
It’s hard not to consider the greatest time to be a gamer thus far was during the sixth generation thanks mostly in part to the success of Sony’s Playstation 2. For yours truly, attaining a Playstation 2 was something of an example of hard work paying off. I spent several weekends in the blistering cold working at my neighbor’s booth at a farmer’s market about fifteen minutes from my childhood home leading up to the holiday season. Christmas of 2001 witnessed my second Sony console be unboxed and hooked to my fifteen-inch SD TV to begin a generation of gaming that has yet to be surpassed on the grounds of innovation, inspiration, and downright fun both from a single player and multiplayer aspect. Four years later and the sixth generation of console gaming was reaching its end. Though several big releases were still on the horizon such as “Final Fantasy XII”, the fact was by 2005 developers were working toward the future that was Sony’s Playstation 3, Nintendo’s Wii, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 – the latter being released that year. Before Microsoft ushered in gaming’s seventh generation, Team Ico delivered on the promise of presenting a game unlike anything seen before or even after its existence – a game based around the player conquering nothing but gigantic bosses. The entire premise of “Shadow of the Colossus” was enough to have yours truly interested, but it was the minimalist story that left a more powerful impression.
“Shadow of the Colossus” is less about one would-be giant slayer taking down beings made of both inorganic & organic items, and more about what someone would do for a loved one who has passed. The game’s opening cinematic is simple, yet incredibly moving as protagonist Wander enters a Forbidden Land on horseback with an unconscious, apparently deceased female companion. Wander enters this closed off land with the intent of bargaining with a disembodied entity possessing the supposed ability to resurrect the dead. The two years leading up to me playing “SotC” were some of the most painful of my life – times based around loved ones constantly dying and me thinking how much I would give just to see, talk, laugh with them one more time. The more I progressed in conquering colossi the more I started relating to the rigors of what I was putting Wander through – wondering if I could or even would do the same to accomplish something only attainable in the fantasy world of video games. As the years progressed, “Shadow of the Colossus” has become less of a puzzle-centric action-adventure tale bookmarking a video game generation for me; and more of a powerful reminder of how far we’ll go in an effort to help the ones we love – presenting less of a lesson and more of a question to gamers like yours truly: What will you do to help the ones you love?
Have you learned any major life lessons from playing “Shadow of the Colossus” or any video game for that matter? Leave them in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.