Another week, another blank page staring as blankly back at me. Well, it’s not blank anymore, I suppose. Well, I don’t have to suppose; it’s not. There are words on it. It’s factually not blank. Most of it is blank, though as I type, less and less so. In fact, the more I ramble on the blankness of this page, the less blank it becomes. Life is full of surprises.
And games! Commenting on the blankness of this page breaks a sort of writer’s fourth wall just as the game FEZ breaks its fourth wall in its series of increasingly difficult and literally out-of-that-world puzzles. Now, this article isn’t about FEZ, nor is it about this page, but now both are an integral part it, it being what I haven’t decided to write about yet. This is fun.
Programming is hard work, and it puts you in a weird space. I literally would’ve made as much progress in the last hour had I instead of researching “Ajax in Java Spring MVC” chosen to smash my face into my keyboard repeatedly. It didn’t work before, and it doesn’t work now. And it won’t work tomorrow. Maybe the next day.
This is my life, ladies and gentlespoons, click-clacking away on the keyboard hoping eventually this thing I’m trying to do will work. It doesn’t matter which thing, because all things are the same. And then it’s onto the next thing. This time, however, the next thing is about FEZ, because I’m a liar, and this article is about FEZ.
FEZ is a 2D/3D puzzle-platformer about collecting cubes after one rips the fabric of spacetime, introducing a third dimension to a previously 2D world. You never actually see the world in 3D but instead rotate its 2D world to gain new perspectives and open previously inaccessible pathways. It breaks the fourth wall repeatedly and adamantly throughout the game, especially in its second half. Beating the game isn’t hard; you only need half of the cubes. The other half, however, require intense puzzle solving and the ability to think outside of the box that’s outside the box. There’s binary, ciphers, QR codes, vibration cues, and so much more that I would’ve never solved without the help of the internets. Both of them.
FEZ is a real homage to the games of the 80s and, as I said in my passion article last week, could’ve come straight out of Ready Player One. Because it’s the 2010s, nobody but the game’s pioneers and those few who like to figure it out themselves actually do. Everyone else just looks up solutions in the form of a YouTube video or online guide. But if this game had been released in the 80s, it would’ve held onto some of its secrets for years. I’m not going to spoil any of them here, not only because I don’t know them all, but because many require a pen and paper and can turn your desk into a workstation. There would’ve been forums as dedicated to FEZ as gunters are to Halliday’s Easter Egg Hunt in Ready Player One. It’s a game that shows what a game is capable of in terms of puzzle design, and despite all the bad press around its developer, it remains a game to be played, and will one day be a classic.
FEZ isn’t a game I’ve talked much about with the spoons, and it’s not one I’ve poured hours into, but it’s one I’ll remember and, were it in VR, the closest I could get to being a real-life gunter. For this, I am thankful.
And now less of this page is blank.