Tuesday 21 February, 2017
What I noticed immediately about The Last Guardian was how much I loved Tricoís design. Itís a mixture between a beast and a dog, with glowing eyes that seem somewhat cold and unrelatable, but with an adorable snout that I instantly recognized as similar to my own dogís. The game begins by calling Trico a man-eating beast, but itís obviously injured. I like how The Last Guardian was able to play with empathy in that way. We didnít need to see Trico hurt to empathize with it, and we also didnít need to be told it was man-eating to see it was dangerous. You want to help it immediately, even if it may mean itíll eat you later on, and I chalk that up mostly to the friendly but slightly foreign design.
When searching for barrels, I made sure to never throw one at Trico directly. I felt like I might accidentally hit it if I did. So, I gently placed the barrels in front of it, despite being hit back every time. When I finally succeeded in getting Trico back on itís feet, it felt like an accomplishment. I always found it fascinating how great it can feel doing a good deed in a game, especially when you care about the quest. Despite being made of code and polygons, I was invested in my new dog companion. Similarly, I was terrified of accidentally hitting Trico with a barrel, because I was scared of hurting him. This personal investment and feeling of accountability has always been specific more to games than any other medium.
Ironically, my devotion to Trico also stemmed from my ideas of safety. While I cared for the little boyís well-being, his narrator voice sounded like an older man, so I assumed he grows up. Trico, however, has no foreshadowing that itíll be okay. I was worried the game might take it away, and although I didnít feel like I could prevent such an end, it made me want to protect the big dog even more.