GCG Feature: 'Rock in His Pocket: Reading Shadow of the Colossus'

In a fascinating design critique on sister educational site, Azurelore Korrigan has been deconstructing Shadow Of The Colossus, asking

In a fascinating design critique on sister educational site, Azurelore Korrigan has been deconstructing Shadow Of The Colossus, asking how "ivory tower idealist" Fumito Ueda executed on a profound title which is nevertheless "a nuisance to actually play".

In the analysis, which follows similar critiques for Viva Pinata and for Dead Rising, as well as an earlier look at Animal Crossing, Corrigan starts by suggesting, perhaps controversially:

"Paired with a more down-to-earth design team to translate his ideas (someone with a Valve mentality, perhaps) Ueda could change the world of games. But so far, he's been the master of the golden arrow. His ideas are so poignant yet so tediously executed that they create a certain cognitive dissonance in the player, inspiring not so much awe as transcendence, a deep need to puzzle over what went wrong and how to better it."

Korrigan also explains how, to her, the open and evocative nature of the game works well:

"Although there's little purpose to most locations and no explicit reason to explore them, the node-centric design of the game emphasizes downtime or exploration. But the moment we as a player grow bored, the dominant landmarks remind us of the pending quest and tether our attention back to the game. The downtime helps to pace the action in a way that heightens the drama and immediacy of the battles, which are so overwhelming they require a recovery period."

You can now read the full Shadow Of The Colossus analysis, including much more on the goals, bright moments and pitfalls of the Sony-created PlayStation 2 title, at

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