ICO, the unforgettable classic of PS2

The Subtractor of Emotions

Quito USDA dreamed of being an artist in her childhood. A young observer, intimate, who analyzed, that he did not look, that he did not hear, but listened. A child committed to everything he felt and hyperactive brain. Of a restless nature, with passion for everything that life moves and owner of a powerful spirit. He threw more the concerns of him in the company of animals, contemplating the instincts, reactions and movements of him, than surrounding himself with people and the words of him. He felt realization by getting communicating with who does not understand what comes out of his mouth, and yet he does he know what he speaks. With beings, which like him, they are able to see what is born in the deepest of the souls, to notice what is intended to truly express. The words are one of the great gifts with whom the man was blessed, but they can also hide or adulterate what a human being really feels. In his mind, USDA began to lay the foundations of what he later called Subtractive Design.

The child was getting big, and he began to be interested in different worlds. And more specifically by a universe, how not, in motion, and also expansive: video games. After being marked by works like lemmings or another world, for his life and how they moved, USDA untied his gigantic genius and had the courage to choose the games as a means to express himself as an artist, to get out of his soul all art That his interior moored. He rarely could hold art inside a true artist when he gives with the right means. And when video games arrived in USDA, they started all the art that he carried inside him.

Quito USDA became greater definitely, was hired by Sony and intended to do the work of him. A game called ICO. A different game, almost antonym in its concept and development to all other video games, called to cross the heart and shake the soul of everyone who had the courage to play it. A heartbreaking scream of video game as a legitimate form of art. A game that eliminates tools and superfluous ornaments to the excessive, committed to the reality of your time, which escapes any mold, which was not done to be sold but to be lighting was allowed. And what at birth got, was to become the space where the creator of him leaves the pieces that he started himself to create it, where he tries to transcend, where he uses the most suitable way to expel from his being what he Feels.

After all, ICO is neither more nor less than a legitimate work of art. With the good and also with the bad… not rarely the art is also ephemeral and boring. It does not matter to reiterate in these paragraphs the word game and the word art, despite the extremely difficult thing that the nature of the video game makes it catalog as art. ICO is a video game and would also be immensely complicated to deny that it is art.

As so many other magnifications, ICO had a long and tumultuous development. Four years, and during his development he had to opt for a larger canvas for plasters. He could not be sculpted in the first PlayStation. The 32 bits were few pages for such complex verses. But USDA, who as well as the characters of him needs arduous mission and faithful companion, next to Kenji died he went forward what was about to cancel, or be postponed to be more accurate. In the end, art, when artist and adequate via merge, is always usually finished by manifesting. PS2 We received in 2001 ICO without commercial pretensions in mind. I would not sell too much, but it came where the most who sell the most.


ICO is a child with horns that is taken to a prison for children with horns. Rows of miserable sarcophagi enclose, according to the town of him, young cursed inside. When the little one is abandoned there, only, tied, not knowing, an earthquake drops the depressing cell from him to the ground. Thus, Mother Earth releases a child who had never been captive, neither tortured, nor cursed. When leaving contemplates, among so much cruelty, hostility, cold and as badly spoiled, an ethereal, abstract, luminous, attractive shape, with eyes that suffer and ask for shouting help: Yoda, daughter of prison-castle witch, condemned Princess who must collaborate with the mysterious child of pure heart to escape together from his mother, from the devastating jail.

From a third-party perspective and without any icon, marker or screen symbol we take the ICO control. Puzzles, fighting and platforms are successful in the development of the title. All the game runs on the lugubrious castle, with a fantasy filter and a tale, fable, perfect ambient atmosphere for allegory, of unparalleled framework so that it is counted and enjoyed as magical and unforgettable perianal. Cooperating with the princess is essential to resolve riddles, not let the shadows take it to the dark world of it… Essential: Only lose Yoda or deadly fall can stop the advance of ICO. Here the passion of USDA is explained by communication between different beings, by the gestures, the movement, by the physical language, which rises on the impositions of the dialect, which transcends between the mouth and its noise: Yoda does not speak the same language What ICO To stop being captive, in addition to being needed, you must overcome the barrier that means not understanding what comes out of your lips. They learn to deduce movements, gestures, to perceive what the other perceives, without speaking, understanding and feeling the same. That child who analyzed, and hyperactive brain had led to the player’s hands what he himself had felt when surrounding his life of living pets, beings with incorruptible souls.

The graphics of the game are dazzling. And everything in ICO is different. Instead of capture of movements he opted for the classic system Photo to Photo for the animations of the characters. Here is the passion of USDA for the movement of what is alive. The result of opting for a capture after another capture is evocative, devastating, full of meaning, a spectacle in a pure state, and lives up to the obsession of that child who contemplated, who did not look, who was fascinated by observing how life moves To beings and their instincts. The effects of high dynamic-ranking light and a masterful fog join the visual virtues of ICO. Only one rate of frames low and some textures blur the outstanding visual section. The general design is unique, its drunk artistic work, and its locations and scenarios are recreated with luxury details. All with that magic filter, fantasy, with that ICO filter.

The totality of the sound section is also different. Even musical courts seem to be dispensable during the game, although it only seems. Because although up to the final part of the game, only the great melodies are accompanied by the combats, as the outcome approaches the music charges a huge force that stuns like a hammer. So much of ICO goes without songs, but not without noise. The sound effects are spectacular, but the most important thing is that they are effective. The ability to put in the game to who hears them is subtle but incontestable. The high level of immersion that ICO provides is due to the masterful and disturbing sound effects.

Puzzles, fighting and platforms make up the playable base of the title. The ties that unite the two protagonists are unbreakable in each corner, in each sigh. To overcome stays, resolve riddles and advance is essential cooperation between Yoda and the child. ICO can run, jump, drag objects, activate levers, scalar… but only the princess can open the interior doors of the castle. In the fights, ICO must, first with a stick and then with a sword, prevent the shadows from taking the companion to the world of nonnatives. The level of anguish and dependence is total during the phases of action, and despite having only one weapon and a very limited number of movements, the combats of it reach higher levels of intensity. The Subtractive Design of ICO simplifies and suppresses everything that is absolutely essential to play and feel it, playing with the elements that made USDA enjoy interacting with pets. The platform phases can only be resolved by ICO, but he never manages to escape the sensation of absolute dependence with Yoda. Falling from too high involves the death of the child. And Yoda would be lost without ICO. All this gets ICO.

Because it is more suffering from Yoda than ICO. The determination and courage of him make him powerful in a universe of shadows, but Yoda is light in a world of absolute darkness. Yoda would be lost without ICO, but ICO without Yoda, possibly, would not be more than another child with cursed horns. In Yoda resides the will of ICO. In ICO is the innocence of Yoda. Taking the princess by the hand is a unique, fascinating and unfold experience (Kolyma honored so sublime sensation in mgs2: Sons of Liberty). If necessary, ICO and Yoda come to love themselves, to merge. With physical contact, more than ever, the Subtractive Design is patent: when Yoda touches you, there is nothing that matters, or I can with ICO.

Quito USDA manages to melt art and video game in ICO. And in the achievement of such a feat he also resides the punishment of him. ICO is a different game, a story that alone with a control in hand can be counted, that only playing can feel. ICO is a long fable, but with just 6 or 7 hours, it is a short game. ICO is a succession of unique and unforgettable moments, but their rhythm is very personal, and it can be imprecise. Even if it is only at very specific times, the intensity is not the same throughout the title.

Above all rises the resonance of controlling ICO and feeling Yoda. The master of the puzzles. The intensity generated by the fighting by the level of panic to lose who loves the boy. All development moves, but his last stretch excites. The exterior of the castle and the duel with the queen-witch (and not so evil, because it is also no less good who struggles to save himself in ICO) are unrepeatable. However, its end is simply magical. ICO is able to show that an outstanding game can be made without having to overload it from nothing more than feelings and ways to live them. That you can feel a fairy tale when playing it. That works of art can be done in the form of a video game. That is light, in the end, is always the way. A cursed child, lost, weak and alone, Yoda returns strong, brave and capable of overcoming any wall. ICO and ICO, child and game, manage to transfer warrantable barriers for almost all. Thanks to the light, the courage, the genius and love, manage to come deeper than almost nobody and transcend as it has not done almost none.

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