Nowadays, the amount of artistry and minimalism injected into video games is at an all-time high. If we were to look back to two short decades ago, we would notice that the peak of video games’ artistic creativity lay with the smiley faces plastered on every cloud in the Super Mario Bros. franchise. Luckily, since then we’ve played games like Journey and Limbo. With their lack of dialogue, simple control schemes, and emphasis on atmosphere, they are the Lex Luthor to Call of Duty’s Superman. Or vice-versa; whatever floats your boat.
Those games, however, were not the first to put more effort on mood than gameplay. Team Ico was known for that very thing, years earlier. First with Ico in 2001 and then Shadow of the Colossus four years later, they proved that less can indeed be much more. Their subtle yet highly emotional take on storytelling truly laid the groundwork for gaming as we know it today – or at the very least, indie gaming as we know it.