Let me start with a story.
Back in college, I enjoyed watching a friend play a video game by the name of Shadow of the Colossus, which was released in Japan as Wander and the Colossus. It is an action-adventure game developed by SCE Japan Studio and Team Ico, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2. The story is about a boy named Wander, whose lover has suffered from a serious disease and is at her last gasp.
Legend has it that Wander's tribe has a method of restoring the life of people—one has to sneak into a forbidden land, kill 12 massive beings, known simply as colossi. Wander gently rests her girl on an abandoned altar, and turns into the boundless wilderness amidst the quiet, ethereal background music.
The silence of desolation permeates the vast green prairie. In the warm sunlight, wander sees magnificent ruins from among the grasses, which are billowing in the wind.
He must find those colossi and fight them. They are massive. Some look like skyscrapers that are erecting from the ground, leaving a whirl of dust sprinkling from the sky; others are lurking in the deep sea, walking idly among the wreckage of those old civilizations. There are no soldiers in this game, which is all about big bosses fighting one another.
I seemed to see more of myself in the boundless wilderness as if those fights were not in the game but in my own heart.
However, nothing that had happened in the game touched me more than the end of the story. Wander fights his way through countless brutal battles. He wins in the end, and comes back to the altar. Badly injured and terribly exhausted, he drags himself with all his might towards his young lover, who is still in a coma.
The ancient curse once again fills the hall of the altar. Wander suddenly falls to his knees in front of the altar. Horns start to grow on his head. His face freezes. His skin is turning dark. It turns out that all the damages caused by the colossi during the fights have been accumulating in Wander's body, and they are becoming stronger forces of darkness, which gradually devour Wander's soul.
And now, he is about to become the host of darkness, and his fleshy body will be deformed into the incarnation of all the Colossi.
In order to prevent greater tragedy, Wander promptly chooses to kill himself, by which he releases the boundless darkness, fear and longing.
Cutting his throat with his own sword, the young man collapses into the arms of his awoken girl, without being able to catch the last glimpse of her.
Wander wins all the battles, but loses the most important one, the battle of the soul.
I could not forget the game plot, which is like a giant metaphor that reveals the living plight of every one of us. It seems to me that everybody is Wander. We cannot avoid being hurt or suffering from hardships.
However, in fighting injuries and darkness, just like Wander, many people forget about protecting themselves from being clouded or polluted by the darkness. They defeat colossi at the expense of their own soul.