One of my favorite up-and-coming and under-appreciated game reviewers is Satchell “Like a Bag” Drakes. His channel features a variety of engaging, well-produced video games reviews and criticism. His latest feature, called “Anti-Semantics,” focuses on FEZ, one of the most popular indie titles on X360 and PC. Perhaps it’s because of the recent controversy surrounding the cancellation of FEZ II, or the release of Indie Game The Movie: Special Edition that Satchbags chose to focus on Phil Fish’s brain child. Unlike his other videos which are more analytical in nature, this show is more of a discussion, focusing on “concise, select intriguing points” from FEZ.
I particularly enjoyed Satch’s connection between Fez’s aesthetic and the art movement known as retro-futurism, most notable in the juxtaposition of pixel art, colorful moving auroras, and the inspiration drawn from computer circuitry found throughout the world. In fact, the beautiful pixelscapes coupled with the intoxicating soundtrack by Disasterpiece created one of the most memorable and enjoyable video game adventures. Satchbags connects this graphical aesthetic with the peaceful flow of the game, dubbing it graceful, and I couldn’t agree more. Although there are brief periods of dissonance, the game creates a sense of unrivaled tranquility acting as the perfect agent for exploration. Aside from exploration, Fez presents us with the idea (briefly touched on in the video below) that in order to solve the problems we face today, we have to look at our situation from radically new perspectives, especially if they dissent from dominant societal views (demon cubes).
Unfortunately for fans of Polytron’s work, the sequel to Fez has been cancelled. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it’s a temporary suspension. Despite all the flak Phil has taken (and dished out) it really doesn’t seem worth it to throw in the towel, a sentiment Cliffy B. articulated in his open letter to Phil Fish. FEZ is a great piece of art that should be experienced for it’s own merits; the Ad hominem attacks on Fish are blatant attempts at defamation of character rather than taking into consideration his actual work. Satchel weighs in on the topic by asking if our consumption of content should be affected by the actions/ideologies of their creators. I for one despise some of the ideas held by Orson Scott Card, but damn do I love Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow. Check out the discussion by Satchbags himself in the video below:
If you like the style of his videos and seductive voice, be sure to give the other reviews a glance.