15 Years On, The Lonely Legacy Of 'Shadow Of The Colossus'

Fumito Ueda's moody video game about a young hero wandering a landscape empty of everything except for 16 towering giants originally came out in 2005 — but its loneliness speaks to today's gamers.

10/24/2020 9:17:00 AM

Fumito Ueda's moody video game, about a young hero wandering a landscape barren of everything except towering giants, originally came out in 2005 — but 15 years on, its loneliness speaks to gamers in 2020.

Fumito Ueda's moody video game about a young hero wandering a landscape empty of everything except for 16 towering giants originally came out in 2005 — but its loneliness speaks to today's gamers.

came out,most players would have sat alone, hunched in front of bulky television sets, their eyes filled with the flickering artificial light of its beautiful naturalistic world. In the middle of the noughties, that was me, marvelling at the game on a Friday night when my more outgoing school friends were sitting in a park drinking beer. I, like millions of others, was probably more isolated than I knew, a condition likely exacerbated by this mostly solo hobby. Loneliness, of the kind which has become common in the digital age, wasn't really discussed in the West at the time — but in Japan, there was a term for hermit-like teenagers and twenty-somethings who had swapped the real world for the internet and video games: They were called

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, roughly translating as"one who shuts himself away and becomes socially withdrawn."Various factors contributed to the rise of the hikikomori. The 1990s, known as the"lost decade" (later revised to encompass the 2000s — referred to collectively as the"lost score"), were a period of economic stagnation, falling wages, and dwindling job opportunities in Japan. At the same time, rapidly advancing consumer technology such as Sony's PlayStation consoles and home computers offered an escape and respite from such realities. Parallels exist elsewhere in the world — including the U..S, a nation experiencing its own

, which coronavirus has arguably intensified. People are spending more time indoors, limiting their social contact, and funneling their cultural experiences through home entertainment technology.Shadow of the Colossusappears in tune with these processes, an ode to feeling both out of place and out of time, and a metaphor for what it means to be unmoored.

It's this aspect of the game that Robin Hunicke, professor of game design at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and producer for the wistful, Ueda-indebted 2012 adventure, encourages her students to consider, even though many of them would have been too young to play the game when it was first released. Compared to popular Gen Z multiplayer titles such as

RobloxandFortnite, Ueda's game notably lacks a social dynamic, at least with other players."There are themes not just of connection but a loneliness which stems from not belonging — the feeling of not being part of society," she says."There's a sense of being cast away from the tribe and the sense of a tribe moving in a different direction from you."

Now, at a moment when distance has cropped up between all of us ... these games are even more poignant — virtual expressions of a loneliness which grips so many lives in the modern world.For players detached from the actual world,Shadow of the Colossus

presents the perfect avatar — a small, literally overwhelmed character attempting to grapple with looming, seemingly insurmountable forces they cannot fully understand.Ueda's epic could almost be interpreted as a nerdish fantasy in its romanticization of loneliness, appearing to gesture towards the grace and virtue of solitary pursuits. But this doesn't tell the whole story; there is a bigger tragedy at the heart of the game. Despite its desolate environment,

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Shadow of the Colossus Read more: NPR »

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Triple A Artistic game. You can't get better than ShadowOfTheColossus. Sony has preserved this game to be played by every generation since the PS2. Because that is what humanity needs more of - video games invoking loneliness and hopelessness. Such a beautiful game Such a great game It is still an amazing game.

This is the content I crave Hell yeahh NPR My son loved that game when he was little. Needs a PC port. a game that transcends generations easily I liked the horsey. Oh it's just a video game, phew! Thought the picture was the new 2020 real life surprise Played it as a teen when it first came out and then again when I turned 30... it’s absolute poetry that stays with you. Lingering in your mind in the best and most tragic of ways.

Easily one of the best video games I’ve ever played im surprised npr isn't calling it sexist for a made up reason It was an amazing experience. This game is a timeless masterpiece My second favorite game.

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