- Passage and Gravitation creator Jason Rohrer is, unquestionably, a great game designer and a great game theorist--though there are as many things I agree with him on as their are things I disagree with.

Here is a small taste of a big interview I recently had with the game designer, writer, and thrifty nature conservist (if he weren't so down to earth, he might be considered an eccentric). The rest of the interview can be found over at The Happy Medium, and be sure to check out his many projects at his personal site.

You mentioned you hadn't played Shadow of the Colossus. Have you had a chance to yet?

I haven't had time to play it more than a few hours, but my initial reaction, at least to the beginning, was, "Wow, that was a really long and uninteresting cut scene."
I think part of that was like uh, last generation graphics are no longer interesting to watch in and of themselves like they were when it was released. it shows the guy riding a horse through some trees, past a river, some rocks, and whatever. It was not something that was impressive to me, not deep and profound like it was supposed to be. But besides that, why is it so long? Why is he riding the horse across the long bridge and not me?

From what I've heard about Shadow of the Colossus, people respect it as a work of art because it has this ethical dilemma of some kind. Like you're killing these giants to bring this girl back to life. I went through one giant encounter and it was one of the most brutal things I've ever done in a video game--seeking it out, climbing up, climbing up, stabbing this thing in the head multiple times until if fell down. I felt strange about that, but so far I don't see how this game puts an ethical dilemma in front of me. You either kill these things or you don't do anything.

I think the reason people consider Shadow of the Colossus art is because, like you write about, it delivers its message through gameplay. Like you said, you feel like you're doing something brutal when you kill the giants, unlike other games where the violence seems senseless.

Well yeah, but that's the thing though, when you look at how the game is marketed, the box says "you get to go up against 16 huge giants," exclamation mark! You know? the way it's presented to you, there is nothing about it to indicate that this is even a weird thing to do to beat the game.

[Fumito Ueda] as an artist, is he trying to make a statement about video game violence or is he just making a game with really cool boss battles? I feel like I'm a little bit disappointed by it and I don't know what people are reading into it. I feel like he didn't really do it on purpose.