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CSUSB Toastmasters: Can Video Games Be Art?

On Wednesday, Aug. 31st and I finished my 9th speech for CSUSB Toastmasters, and my speech was entitled, “Can Video Games Be Art?” I spoke about two games I recently finished called “Ico” and “Shadow of the Colossus.”

I blogged about these two games a couple weeks when I completed them. I decided to focus my speech on these two games because in my opinion, they could be looked at as art.

I started the speech by introducing the two games, and going into the history of Team Ico (Japanese video game developer of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus) and Lead Game Designer Fumito Ueda.

I explained that Team Ico’s games are minimal which forces the players to use their imagination and the art style along with the music also helps tell the story.

I decided to use a PowerPoint with videos that I found on YouTube that I feel captured the essence of these two games (I had to edit the video’s due to time restraints).


The first game I talked about was “Ico”, which is about a young boy named Ico who was taken to a castle to be sacrificed because he has horns growing out of his head. He broke out of jail and came across a young girl named Yorda who was locked in a cage.

Ico eventually freed Yorda and they realized that they couldn’t understand each other because they speak different languages and come from different cultures. They also realized that they needed each other in order to escape from the castle because Ico is agile and Yorda could open doors that only she could open.

I also said Ico has some undertones that Team Ico wanted players to receive. From my experience, I said, “People fear what they don’t understand,” which means Ico was going to be sacrificed because he was different.

Check out the Ico video from YouTube:

Shadow of the Colossus

The second game I talked about was “Shadow of the Colossus,” which focuses on a young man named Wander who enters a forbidden land with his horse, sacred sword, bow and arrow and the hope of saving his girlfriend Mono.

Wander came across a mysterious entity called Dormin who tells him if he slays all 16 Colossi, there could be a chance that he could bring his girlfriend back to life.

Dormin also warns Wander that if he slays all 16 Colossi, there could be a huge price to pay. Wander was not concerned about what could happen to him because he was willing to do anything to bring his love back to life.

Check out the Shadow of the Colossus video from YouTube:

I concluded the speech by saying, “Can video games be art? yes… yes they could. Video games with a beautiful atmosphere with dramatic actions from the protagonist with supporting characters along with emotional music is what makes video games art.”

During this speech, I felt I could have performed better for several reasons. For instance, I used a PowerPoint Presentation with videos from the two games mentioned above. In my opinion, the audio wasn’t as loud as I wanted it to be, which would have had more of an impact on the audience.

Another thing that I still need to work on is projecting my voice more. I stumbled over my words a little bit and was nervous, more than normal because I’ve learned how to control my nerves during the last few speeches.

My evaluator liked how I was able to pull real life situations from both of these games, and connect it to reality.

She also gave me constructive criticism by telling me the videos I had were good, but were too long and would have been better If I was talking more about the games being art rather than letting the videos doing the talking for me.

I did that intentionally because of the art style in both of these games along with the gameplay and the emotional music came together so well and told the story with minimal dialog. These games have such a unique presentation style and I wanted to show that to the audience, but I wasn’t able to execute as planned.

Overall, I had an ok speech and know that I've performed better in past speeches. For my 10th speech, I’m going to speak about my personality type (INFJ) and why I have an emotional and personal connection with the inFAMOUS video game franchise and Cole MacGrath.

* During my last blog I said that I sent in my application for Startup Grind, and I got an e-mail response on Wednesday, Aug. 31st saying that I am among the finalist to be given consideration. I had a Skype interview today, Sept. 2nd and it went great!!!

* She expressed that she was inspired by my story and what I’m doing. She also said I was amongst the last 10 calls and congratulated me on making it through because there were thousands of companies who applied and they are only accepting a few hundred.

* When I told her about my story of being a two-time cancer survivor, she congratulated me once again. I also told her that I’m an inspirational speaker and my core audience are teenagers and young adults from ages 15 to 25 years old.

* I also expressed that I connect my realities and experiences to the digital world of the inFAMOUS video game franchise and superhero Cole MacGrath.

* She also said she couldn’t make any promises, but she was going to put in a good word for me to the committee, and told me to be on the lookout for an e-mail today or tomorrow to see if I’ve been accepted.

* She ended our conversation by saying what I have to offer is powerful, inspiring and different.

Citation and Disclaimer…

I do not own any content from the images displayed from The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection.

No Copyright Intended. All image content is copyright to their respective owners. All content is property of Sony Computer Entertainment America and SCE Japan Studio.

Best Game Ever Made - Shadow of the Colossus. Perf. Arbitor365. Best Game Ever - Shadow of the Colossus. YouTube, 23 Jan. 2013. Web. 1 Sept. 2016.

Explore Inktober Fan, Colossus Ico The, and More. Digital image. Explore Inktober Fan, Colossus Ico The, and More. Pinterest, n.d. Web. 2 Sept. 2016.

Ico Tribute: You Were There. Perf. Composed by Michiru Oshima, Lyrics by Lynne Hobday, and Vocals by Steven Geraghty. ICO Tribute: You Were There. AttilaJP, 13 July 2015. Web. 28 July 2016.

Ico: Lost, Waiving a Stick, and Dragging Your Girlfriend Around Town by the Hand Is No Way to Go Through Life, Son. Digital image. Gaming Graveyard. N.p., 18 Mar. 2012. Web. 2 Sept. 2016.

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