Is it pretentious to subtitle a piece on gaming by one’s most recent save point? What better way to let everyone know exactly how far I’ve come? This one has the added benefit of a double meaning—a crane can be a large machine used to move heavy objects (like the subtitular crane in question), or a long-necked bird that symbolizes youth.
Ico is a game about young boy thrust into a situation slightly beyond his ken, being controlled by a player very much beyond theirs. I started playing The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection on PS3 recently, partially because I never had the pleasure of experiencing either in their original PS2 format (I didn’t have a Playstation of any kind until I shrewdly added a PS3 to my wedding register three years ago), and partially because some fellow gamesters suggested we play through Ico together and share our thoughts along the way. You can find links to their initial pieces at the end of this one.
I’ve always been partial to child avatars. Children are great ambassadors to unknown worlds, and what is a player if not a newborn in a brave new one? Ico is a boy born with horns, which means he is set to be sacrificed for the good of his people, although we control him for a decent bit of playtime before he reveals that particular detail during a brief dialogue exchange. That’s the thing about Ico—it completely dispenses with the traditional tutorial level and throws the player straight to the wolves. (Scary shadow creatures, to be more precise.)