romanticism, the video game


In Romanticism, Romantic Irony is paradoxically counterbalanced by an opposite tendency, which Larmore calls ‘Authenticity’, “a very different and essentially non-reflective way of being an individual, unabsorbed by a sense of belonging” (83). The habit of brooding, the sullen, introspective sensibility of some Romantic thinkers, was answered with a fiery impulsiveness in others, a rejection of the rational and structured self-possession of the Age of Reason. When the Romantics weren’t cloudy, they were stormy, acting out their passions, asserting their individuality, defending their homelands, and taking up the standards of their ideals, no matter the cost. This alternate mode of Romantic behavior is reflected in Shadow of the Colossus‘s other mode of gameplay, which I call the encounter. This is the combat, a ritual slaying of each Colossus in turn, which Wander undertakes to appease the demigod Dormin. In these battles, Wander isn’t just being practical, acting in patient pursuit of his calculated agenda. As the player gets lost in the excitement of the battle and each successive rush of triumph, so Wander loses himself in the emotional rush of catharsis. He releases himself to his passions, acting out his love for Mono and his resentment at her death.

more from Jesse Miksic at Berfrois here.