The future is scary. I’ve learned a lot over the 18 years of my life and most of that is completely useless. Next year I will be going into uncharted territory with college. The tension that arose from college decisions and plans led me to return to what I always found comfort in. I’ve always found solace in video games, but that doesn’t mean every one is able to resonate with me. Fez gave me visions of the future though, a hindered (as life commonly is) view of what is to come. Fez encouraged me to look at life from new angles, a personal statement that not many games allow. The simple characters, world and art style allow for a cohesive flowing of an individual into the space of the game and conveys a sense of belonging that enables inward thought. Fez affected me in the best possible way.
Fez has a strange feeling of foreboding and nostalgic terror associated with it. The beginning of the game, as happy and bright as it seems, is equally strange as it is welcoming. The protagonist, Gomez, is told that he is to go on an adventure just like others before him. Gomez and the player unquestioningly agree and are granted a fez that grants the power to access a third dimension. In the process of acquiring this power Gomez also destroys the source of this fez, the Hexahedron (it is a floating gold cube). The game then reboots, the equivalent of breaking the fourth wall within the medium of a game, and puts you back into the world of Fez, except this time with the power to rotate the world that Gomez lives in.
As simple as Fez’s life and world seem visually, the ordeal that the character just experienced is similar to the experience that any other person experiences in the realization of their calling in life. The moment that we realize the potential of what is possible with our lives, everything comes crashing down and the world seems to be on the brink of disaster. Gomez is no different than anybody else. He is told that he has a new power and has to save the world, just as many other people are told that they have a gift and it is their duty to uphold that gift. However, Gomez’s journey is not an easy one and after traveling and collecting what seems to be everything necessary to succeed, there is even more to discover and learn. The original goal becomes only a half-way point towards restoring Gomez’s world to order. His journey looked like it was at an end but instead stretched farther into the distance, a feeling that I could connect with.
Going to college is a new beginning for me. It will be the first time that I will be formally studying a topic that I actually care about. Going into a game development program may end up being a terrible decision, but it is a decision that I am making and it is one that I see myself potentially doing something with. I don’t expect to be the next great designer or programmer or producer. I hope I can make an impact of some kind on the world but there is still so long until I reach that point. Fez came out on PC a little more than two weeks ago, around the time that I was thinking a lot about where my life choices were taking me. Gomez’s emergence into a questionable future hit me hard.
There was something scary that I couldn’t put a finger on. The deserted and raining city world made me question the existence of any helping hand in the game. Who was I really saving from this supposed cataclysm if nobody was there? The graveyard made me want to turn off my computer. I was terrified of what might rise up out of the ground, even though that area was more filled with life than any other area up to that point. Even if that life was deceased, it was still more present than other areas. Gomez’s journey eerily reflected my own, though mine is filled with less raining graveyards and empty cities. The world of Fez was similar to my own; seemingly empty but guided by an unseen force. The emptiness gave me hope for something more, a hope that others had come before me and were guiding me, even if I could not see it. I know others have walked the path I have, stumbling into the future of their lives. Fez helped me to see that and reassured me that even in a world that seems so empty there may still be something waiting for me at the end. Just like for Gomez, there are others that have passed through this struggle too and they left behind their knowledge, even if it is in the form of strange symbols that seem to have no meaning. I don’t know where my future is headed exactly, it wouldn’t be normal if everything was laid out clearly in front of me. Just as Gomez had a hat placed upon his head, I have set a task upon myself and I know that I will reach that one day. Gomez and I’s journey is not one that is physical or religious as much as it is mental. All I hope is that when the fez is placed on my head the world doesn’t come crashing down.