ICO Slideshow 2009


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ICO Slideshow 2009

  1. 1. ICO Game Analysis ICO analyzed from a reward perspective Mikael Andersson Introduction to Game Design, Luleå Tekniska Universitet, Spring 2009
  2. 2. ICO in general <ul><li>ICO is a single player third person view action/adventure game for the Playstation 2. </li></ul><ul><li>It was released in late 2001 (early 2002 in Europe) and was Team ICO's first game. </li></ul>
  3. 3. ICO in general <ul><li>The development team consisted of about 20 people, led by artist and visionary Fumito Ueda. </li></ul><ul><li>The game is unique in that the designers aimed for a minimalistic design where unnecessary elements were removed, putting focus on the elements essential and central to the game. </li></ul><ul><li>It does not feature a HUD, has a minimal amount of storytelling with no sub-story and has little variation in environments. </li></ul>
  4. 4. ICO in general <ul><li>There are three characters featured in total, all of them playing a crucial role in the story. </li></ul><ul><li>The playable character is a boy with horns named Ico, who leads and protects a girl named Yorda throughout the game. </li></ul><ul><li>Ico and Yorda holding hands. </li></ul>
  5. 5. ICO in general <ul><li>ICO relies heavily on emotional experiences, atmosphere and storytelling, despite using fewer elements than other games for achieving this. </li></ul><ul><li>Typical example of an ICO environment. </li></ul>
  6. 6. ICO in general <ul><li>The challenges consist of fighting dark shadow monsters and solving puzzles in the environments. There is only one type of monster although monsters come in a few variations. </li></ul><ul><li>Ico leading Yorda away from enemies. </li></ul>
  7. 7. ICO in general <ul><li>Artistic considerations played an important role in how the game turned out, the final box art here used as an example. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Nostalgia of the Infinite”, by painter Giorgio de Chirico, early 20 th century. </li></ul><ul><li>ICO European box art. </li></ul>
  8. 8. ICO and rewards <ul><li>Thinking about ICO as a minimalistic game I soon began to wonder how the reward system works. My theory is that all games need rewards to keep players happy and interested and I wondered what makes ICO appeal to its target group. How does a game with fewer elements than others still keep its audience? </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards by the definition I use may be anything that the player wants from the game, anything that gives gratification or sparks further interest. </li></ul>
  9. 9. ICO and rewards <ul><li>Adrenaline </li></ul><ul><li>Artistic </li></ul><ul><li>Atmosphere </li></ul><ul><li>Brain Teasing </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional Response </li></ul><ul><li>Low Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Novelty </li></ul><ul><li>Short </li></ul><ul><li>Social Incentives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I think the rewards in ICO can be divided into different categories based on their different sources. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These are the categories I chose when writing my report, in alphabetical order: </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. ICO and rewards - categories <ul><li>Adrenaline </li></ul><ul><li>A player may get a kick of adrenaline by fighting and defeating enemies although ICO is not a typical action oriented game. </li></ul><ul><li>Artistic </li></ul><ul><li>A player might enjoy simply looking at the artwork of the game. </li></ul><ul><li>Atmosphere </li></ul><ul><li>Many players mention atmosphere as an important element in ICO. </li></ul>
  11. 11. ICO and rewards – categories <ul><li>Brain Teasing </li></ul><ul><li>A player may enjoy the intellectual challenge that come from the puzzles in the game. </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional Response </li></ul><ul><li>Many players seem to feel a personal connection to Ico and get feelings of friendship and sympathy towards Yorda despite her being a NPC character. </li></ul>
  12. 12. ICO and rewards – categories <ul><li>Low Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>The game has a low level of challenge, meaning that even casual or unskilled players have a good chance of finishing the game. This category among others may be viewed as a negative by some players. </li></ul><ul><li>Novelty </li></ul><ul><li>ICO was a unique game at the time of its release and players might want to play it just because it is different. </li></ul>
  13. 13. ICO and rewards – categories <ul><li>Short </li></ul><ul><li>The game is a rather short one with about 10 hours play time or less. Players who would have been bored by an extended game might instead feel they want more when finished. </li></ul><ul><li>Social Incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Wanting to be part of a group of “artistic people”, experienced gamers or adventure/RPG gamers, or to be able to discuss the game and know what others are talking about may be an incentive to play. </li></ul>
  14. 14. ICO and rewards <ul><li>What kinds of rewards do these categories give? </li></ul><ul><li>Secondary rewards </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards that come from playing the game and not the game itself – categories Social Incentives and Novelty . </li></ul><ul><li>General rewards </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards from being in the game or getting further – seeing more of environments etc. Categories Artistic, Atmosphere and Emotional Response. </li></ul>
  15. 15. ICO and rewards <ul><li>Challenge based rewards </li></ul><ul><li>Gratification from beating a puzzle or defeating an enemy – Brain Teasing and Adrenaline . </li></ul><ul><li>Presents </li></ul><ul><li>Not very prominent in the game and not in any of the categories, but getting something new like a new part of the experience or a new weapon may count in this category. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Conclusions <ul><li>I was surprised to see that despite the minimalistic type of design ICO is a game with many possibilities for rewards. I believe this might be in part because rewards were considered essential to the game design and thus could not be removed. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Thank you for reading! <ul><li>I would like to take this moment to thank all teachers and all the people in my group for a great and interesting course, with many new insights and ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>All screenshots come from GiantBomb.com and are used according to the “Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported” license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) </li></ul>