Here’s an interesting review of indie darling Fez, that, really, isn’t a review in the sense most gamers are used to. Golding isn’t, in fact, reviewing the game; indeed, he’s analyzing what it means to be a “smart” game…an extension of the debate on what “dumb” games are. Here’s just a taste.
“Smart” is only a useful description for a videogame if you are also trying to set up a hierarchy of quality. If Braid is smart, Call of Duty is dumb. If ballet is smart, videogames are dumb, and then we can return to the kinds of categoric and elitist understandings of art and entertainment—and class—that dominated taste for several centuries.
It is a relief, then, that Fez’s quality is not smartness. It is, despite the magic box-like hieroglyphic code puzzles that frame the game, mainly interested in tactile responses, spatial exploration, and aesthetics. It is a very beautiful game.
Golding, Daniel. “Review: Fez, and the backwards glance” (Crikey.com: May 16, 2012) <http://blogs.crikey.com.au/game-on/2012/05/16/review-fez-and-the-backwards-glance/>.