‘Ico’ At 20: Quietly Beautiful Adventure

‘Ico’ At 20: Quietly Beautiful Adventure

Film director Guillermo del Toro cited both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus as “masterpieces” and part of his directorial influence. Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead considers, of his top ten video games, “Ico might be the best one”. Ico helps Yorda escape and defends her from shadow-like creatures. The pair makes their way through the castle and arrive at the bridge leading to land.

The world of the game lies inside the monitor, and I wanted the experience to be taken as non-fiction within that world. Or you could say that within the framework we’ve programmed, I wanted players to feel like they could intervene in a variety of ways and help shape the story. That was where we were at with the development in 1998, for the Playstation 1. Originally released back in 2001, Ico was an adventure game about a boy locked away in an abandoned castle. While exploring the fortress, he meets Princess Yorda, a mysterious and powerful girl who is being pursued by monsters that reside within the castle. The game featured a mix of puzzles, platforming and combat against shadowy monsters, that each occur at different points during Ico and Yorda’s escape.

What does Ico game mean

That day in September 2001, everything I knew and expected from a video game went straight out of the window. That day, the history of video games had been silently rewritten. The traditional and extremely conservative world of game systems and proven gameplay schemes was being questioned and unconsciously attacked for the first time, in a very Japanese, understated manner. Ueda commented that he purposely tried to distance Ico from conventional video games due to the negative image video games were receiving at that time, in order to draw more people to the title.

Queen of the Misty Castle

If you love fast paced action games, then this game is not for you, so don’t bother playing and writing a review, because there’s not going to be any weight to it. This is a game for those that take their time, want to explore every nook and cranny of the castle you’re put in to explore, those that like to decipher the story without it being force fed to you. The emotional attachment that goes on after leading a companion around the castle happens naturally, and a sense of loss can happen if you are separated for a bit. I love this game because it takes a risk in telling a simple story, and it succeeds gloriously. In brief, Ico concerns its titular hero, a young boy with horns, and a slightly older woman named Yorda.

  • I played it on its release year and I haven’t found another title that made me feel like ICO still makes me feel.
  • These actions are complicated by the fact that only Ico can carry out these actions; Yorda can jump only short distances and cannot climb over tall barriers.
  • Ico introduced several design and technical elements, including a story told with minimal dialogue, bloom lighting, and key frame animation, that have influenced subsequent games.
  • Ico is quite literally one of the best examples of gameplay and storytelling coming together flawlessly.
  • While the short 4-5 hours ofIco could be defined as essentially one long, elaborate escort mission as Ico leads Yorda to safety, throughout the game its story comes together for something greater.

The Queen plans to use Yorda’s body to extend her own lifespan. Learning this, Ico seeks to escape the castle with Yorda, keeping her safe from the shadow-like creatures that attempt to draw her back. Throughout the game, the player controls Ico as he explores the castle, solves puzzles and assists Yorda across obstacles. Lead designer Fumito Ueda came up with the concept for Ico in 1997, envisioning a “boy meets girl” story where the two main characters would hold hands during their adventure, forming a bond between them without communication. He also cited his work as an animator on Kenji Eno’s Sega Saturn game Enemy Zero, which influenced the animation work, cinematic cutscenes, lighting effects, sound design, and mature appeal. He also cited Sega Mega Drive games, Virtua Fighter, Lemmings, Flashback and the original Prince of Persia games as influences, specifically regarding animation and gameplay style.

How ICO flipped the script

However, Agro is quite a brave horse and still manages to help Wander in his fight against many of the colossi. Some players do get frustrated when Agro does not turn or jump when commanded, but that is how horses can really be, and it shows off that Agro is in fact intelligent and can make choices. In fact, Agro is often not quick to meet the demands of the player pushing buttons. That is because the buttons are suggestions made by Wander, not an extension controlling the horse. The game play consists mostly of puzzle solving, enter a room and work out how to get across to the other side. This could of course get repetitive and boring but it doesn’t.

The Queen accepted that she’d have to lead the ritual without him and his broken sarcophagus. You’re browsing the GameFAQs Message Boards as a guest. Sign Up for free to be able to post messages, change how messages are displayed, and view media in posts. It is the essential source of information and ideas that make sense of a world in constant transformation. The WIRED conversation illuminates how technology is changing every aspect of our lives—from culture to business, science to design. The breakthroughs and innovations that we uncover lead to new ways of thinking, new connections, and new industries.

This is a fansite dedicated to the PlayStation 2 game Ico. It is aimed at people who have already played the game and are interested in finding out more about it, if you have not played the game I recommend you go here instead. You can clearly see there’s a strong vision that drives everything in a single direction, making a strong statement. This is for me the true essence of authorial game design.

Low Poly Character

Rubio says that Ico and Rime share a common ancestor. “The closest visual influence to Ico would be the Italian surrealist artist Giorgio de Chirico, who was a direct visual influence on Ico too, and how it represents emotions through architecture.” If you saw that scene in a recent videogame, would it make you think of an old game called Ico?

What does Ico game mean

I clearly remember the very first time I launched the game. A beautiful shot of the forest, horses escorting a little kid somewhere, not a single line of dialogue, no heroic music themes… Just realistic ambient sounds and an incredibly powerful mood. I already knew I was in front of something different. Why I Love is a series of guest editorials on intended to showcase the ways in which game developers appreciate each other’s work. This column was contributed by Ovosonico founder and creative director Massimo Guarini.


The game could grow on me a little with time, but I guarantee I won’t ever want to change my rating to a 10. It’s crazy how many people think it’s a 10/10 game – believe me, it’s far from perfect. You could say that our very youth and inexperience was a big factor in our not having to compromise. The planners, designers, and even myself were almost all inexperienced. If there had been more experienced members on the development team, the game might not have turned out this way. A remastered version for the PS3 was released, improves the graphics and framerates a lot, the difference is extremely noticeable and also fixes some problems in the game .

This even extends to Yorda’s dialogue, which isn’t translated and kept intentionally vague so as not to obstruct the holding hands aspect of being with her. Despite never quite understanding what she’s telling you, the connection is still there thanks to the effortless details used in other aspects of the game. Ico is quite literally one of the best examples of gameplay and storytelling coming together flawlessly. Booting up Ico in 2022 is at once surreal and familiar. Allegorical genre fiction about protecting an NPC companion are now diamonds in Sony’s crown jewels.

What does Ico game mean

Completing each level makes your curiosity hungry to know whats awaiting at the next stage. Wild and vibrant imagination was dedicated to this game and in pausing to take notice at the surrounding each level holds proves that. It’s full of bugs, and because of that simple movements turn to frustrating replays of the same area that you have to play again. It’s an inspiring piece of art, but not a great game. If you’ve played show of the colossus first, dont expect the same here because it is not. Graphics are amazing for its time ill give it that, you’ll be looking around and seeing the environments and what you’re about to do next.

Sometimes, participants are required to hold or stake the purchased gaming token or NFTs for some time before they can trade it on the market. IGOs are usually organized hire ico developer through launchpad platforms. Typically, investing through launchpads requires participants to lock the platform’s native token for a certain period of time.

Latest Articles

It’s easy to lose track of Yorda in the chaos of fighting, and enemies will constantly knock you down. Combat is also simple, a little kid waving around a stick by mashing the X button over and over again. Yorda is no help, to the point where one wonders if she even could meaningfully hurt any of the shadows. All this, as one says, smacks of gender, but it also makes Yorda into something other than a tool. She has needs that the player must risk themselves to fulfill. Fighting enemies doesn’t serve the player’s power, rather it is an awkward means of protecting Yorda.

I’m sure it probably caused the staff a lot of problems. One of my themes for the ICO development was to try to include AI, but see if I couldn’t put my own spin on it. Many games back then had AI characters in-game taking direction and orders from the player outside the game. I originally started work on this website shortly after I first played Ico at the end of 2002. I decided not to put it online until the content was complete, however it never reached that complete state because I kept changing the content.

These crypto presales have exploded this week – The Tech Report

These crypto presales have exploded this week.

Posted: Tue, 08 Nov 2022 04:41:08 GMT [source]

Save points in the game are represented by stone benches that Ico and Yorda rest on as the player saves the game. Sadly, the game does have some mechanics that are succumbing to age. Besides the aforementioned combat, some of the controls can feel a little clunky, with Ico’s jumps in particular often feeling inaccurate. The camera, while not terrible, could have used some more polish, as it’s usually fixed at a certain angle in any given scenario, and whatever camera view the player can change is overly sensitive. And Yorda’s AI, while mostly reliable, has some frustrating moments. You will probably find it hard to imagine anyone could climb a ladder slower than she does, and she’ll often change her direction midway up a ladder for no reason.

Ico and Yorda

Some sort of skill will be needed to complete the game. The only thing that I kind find wrong with the game is it’s too short. I wanted to play more of it but it’s to epigrammatic, their needs to be more to the game, maybe some mini-games after completing the game will help. Overall it’s a pretty solid game, one of the best of it’s kind in my opinion.


Whether you think this is a dream or a miracle is up to you. Perhaps the god of Light felt mercy for the kids and granted them their wishes ? As for Yorda, she never really considered the Queen her mother because she looked so different. To keep the girl from escaping, she kept her in a cage. Time passed, and as more and more horned babies were being sacrificed in the main chamber, the Queen got closer to her objective. But the last coffin had a malfunction and fell over, freeing the last horned kid, a certain Ico.

In a lot of ways, Ico remains one of gaming’s finest artistic achievements. It effectively creates a modern day fairy tale with complete and utter sincerity, and manages to tell a compelling narrative by doing very little. It succeeds with subtlety in a way that few games could hope to achieve . It’s an enjoyable experience, but time has exposed a number of mechanics for their lack of polish. Yes, the puzzles are great, and the sense of exploration gives it depth, but you may find that controlling Ico himself is far from ideal. Admittedly, the combat is one of the game’s weaker elements.

“Ico is definitely an inspiration,” said Brothers director Josef Fares, but says that in his opinion, “even more” of an influence were 16-bit role-playing games from the Super Nintendo, like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana. “That’s actually why Brothers is a top-down game,” he says; the bird’s-eye-view camera is meant to mimic the angles used in those early classics. “I’ll always be influenced by that game, probably in ways that I don’t even understand, because it’s definitely one of the pinnacle moments in my gaming career.” Fumito Ueda spent the first three months of ICO’s creation in front of a small fifteen-inch monitor, working alone for many hours each day. He wanted to transfer his vision into something which could be used to pitch his ideas and gain the right resources to make it into a product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *