[[image:090327_fez.jpg:Oh, Fez. Marry me?:center:0]]
Fez, I have a confession to make. I’ve been watching you from afar for over a year, peeking over the top of whatever I’m reading to catch an innocuous glance as you pass by. Just an innocent look, really. But I started to feel something. And then, just as quickly as you entered my life, you disappeared. I thought these feelings would go away. I thought the emptiness of the long, long months since I last saw you would temper my emotions. It didn’t. And it got hard, some nights. I’m a little ashamed to admit it — I mean, I don’t know exactly how to say this — but sometimes I had to watch videos of you on the internet. I just had to see you again. And now you’re back in my life. This time, I caught only the briefest glimpse. Barely a minute. You’re playing with me, aren’t you? Toying with my heart? Well, it doesn’t matter. You had me from the very start.
Fez, I think I love you.
But can you blame me? There’s a lot to love. In fact, it’s hard to
imagine anyone of discriminating taste not falling for the diminutive
platformer. Every time I watch footage of the game, I can’t help but
feel that Fez is going to do for 2D what Super Mario Galaxy did for 3D.
Mario’s planet-hopping adventure changed the face of platforming by
completely altering how we conceptualize and interact with
three-dimensional space. With the exception of Portal, nothing else has
really made physics so much fun; and while you may not be pondering the
finer points of how gravity works while you’re running along
upside-down on a grassy oblong planetoid, you probably know that it’s
Fez embodies the same spirit that helped Mario Galaxy break the level design mold.
It takes concepts we’re familiar with — 2D platforming, adorable
pixel art — and presents them in an entirely new way. It’s time to
get over our horizontal tendencies; we’re taking things vertical. Not
only does Fez feature 2D gameplay in a 3D environment, the world can be
smoothly shifted mid-motion, revealing all sorts of exciting new avenues of advancement. Turn
the camera 90 degrees, and those wide blocks are suddenly precariously
skinny — but that’s okay, because now you can reach a door. Think
that tiny ledge is an obvious dead end? Turn the camera 90 degrees and
check again. Intelligent Systems took a small step in this direction
with Super Paper Mario by allowing the wispy plumber to switch between
2D and 3D points of view. But Fez looks to be the corresponding giant
leap for gamerkind, and it’s poised to do what only the very best can:
change the entire way we think about games.
The release is scheduled for a painfully vague “2009,” but an image on
Polytron’s website hints at an XBLA release, so that’s at least one
potential platform on the table. Until then, I think I’ll just keep
listening to the minimalistic electronica, get lost in the tones, and wait for something wonderful to happy.