The Tragedy of Betraya: How the design of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus elicits emotion

Cole, Tom. 2015. 'The Tragedy of Betraya: How the design of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus elicits emotion'. In: Proceedings of DiGRA 2015: Diversity of play: Games – Cultures - Identities.. Luneberg, Germany. [Conference or Workshop Item]


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Abstract or Description

Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are two games of high critical acclaim that are well known for their emotional affect – particularly because some of those emotions are unusual amongst digital games. Analysis of emotion in video games often focuses on narrative and representative elements, and emotions regularly experienced by gamers such as frustration, victory, joy of discovery etc. This paper uses close textual analysis with support from cognitive theories of emotion to analyse the ludic and mechanical, in addition to representative and narrative, qualities of these games. By doing so it is shown how guilt, grief and loneliness have more chance of being elicited from the player, with emphasis on the use of ambiguity and violation of player expectations. It is hoped that this approach will encourage further work of this type in an area so that both theoretical work and future development might benefit.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



August 2015Published

Event Location:

Luneberg, Germany

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Date Deposited:

23 Mar 2016 08:23

Last Modified:

28 Jan 2021 10:21


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