As the year has gone on, I have done more and more things outside of the website. This page will be regularly updated with things that I have written, said or appeared in.
First up is a review I wrote for Shadow of the Colossus.
Feature: Games and Ghouls
Ghost stories are regularly told around this spooky time of the year, and so Forge Games have decided we’ll tell our own – with the natural gamesy twist. Several contributors have written for us scary moments, experiences, or games that still haunt them to this day. Be warned, adventurers, this article is not for the ill-willed for the faint hearted: only the brave survive.
There’s absolutely nothing to worry about, of course! We’re kidding. You can trust us. Promise.
Shadow of the Colossus
An indelible memory for me is the first time I played Shadow of the Colossus. I had the house to myself for the weekend and my friend had given me a copy of the game to play. Five minutes after turning the console on, I had to take a break.
Some games try to scare you. They use traditional techniques like jump cuts to artificially create fear in the player. Shadow of the Colossus doesn’t try to scare you, it tries to isolate you. In the first few moments of playing I was painfully aware that the only living creatures I had seen was a bird of prey, a horse and a man. The world was dark enough to feel monochrome and the sounds were sinisterly magnificent. The pipes, the faint choral music and the strings combined to leave me shivering – even though my room was warm.
The game also makes you feel small. The contrast in size between Wander, the playable protagonist, and the Colossi, the monsters that Wander must conquer, is stark. That, combined with a certain repetition (upon beating each Colossi, you are returned to the centre of the world to do the same thing again), left me pondering my greatest fears.
Shadow of the Colossus is a truly great horror that stays with you. Blood, guts and screaming in video games are too ostentatious for my tastes. A game which forces the player to consider being alone and the dark consequences of human desire ultimately creates a true experience of horror.
Originally posted here.