Whether you prefer PC, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, or even Sega consoles, it’s tough to look back at the PS2 and be unimpressed by its extensive library of excellent games.  My foray with this fantastic piece of gaming hardware only began in full about a year ago.  Since then, I’ve played a dozen or so PS2 titles that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.  Few were as sublime as Ico.

Most modern games have a heavy focus on storytelling and struggle, while attempting to not overdo it in the exposition and dialogue departments.  Ico, on the other hand, excels past the mesosphere of the expected limitations of video game storytelling and into a place few games ever ascend.  

I’ve always firmly believed any great story is supported by an equally great soundtrack. Ico is more hard evidence in support of my belief.  This week, I’d like to draw your attention to "You Were There,"  a four-and-a-half minute piece which ironically has more dialogue than the entirety of Ico.  To make matters even more peculiar, much of Ico's dialogue is in a dialect created specifically for Ico and subtitled with strange symbols.  While this helps to give Ico's narrative a deeper meaning, it provided an even greater challenge for composer Michiru Oshima.

I won’t spoil anything, but the final ten to fifteen minutes of Ico are a sobering demonstration of what our young entertainment medium can achieve.  I firmly believe "You Were There" played a major role in the beauty of those final moments.  You may not be able to grasp the exact words Yorda mutters, but "You Were There" more than adequately communicates the emotions running between protagonist Ico and his young love Yorda.

To this day, Ico — and its successor Shadow of the Colossus — stand testament as to why video games should be considered an art form.  Both games' minimalist storytelling styles are supported by amazing songs such as "You Were There," but don’t fail to tell highly emotional and well-written tales.

Now if only The Last Guardian would finally release and join the ranks of such storied games.

As always, dear readers: sit back, relax, and enjoy.


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