Game Review – Fez and “Mature” Gaming

Just played Fez. Well, got the demo, tried it, BOUGHT THE SHIT OUT OF IT and then played it.

Oh look, a bunny! TANGENT!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “mature games”. I think a lot of the time, we forget that mature has two meanings. Mature as in: fully developed adult, and mature as in: having violent or graphic content that is not suitable for children. Gamers can sometimes subconsciously confuse the two, and begin to conflate gritty violence and sex with maturity. Now, that’s not to say a game that includes these factors can not also be mature, Silent Hill 2 is a perfect example, Metal Gear Solid is another. But for a demographic that loves to mock directors like Micheal Bay for his masturbatory use of explosions, violence and hyper sexuality- they seem to rabidly defend gaming’s right to be just as vapid. When I log into steam or XBOX Live to browse new games, all the games seem to blur together in one long log of sameyness:

  • Military Man Shoots Brown People
  • Hulked Out Muscle Man Fights Monsters
  • Badass Shoots People ‘Cuz Vengeance also Boobs
  • The Zombie Apocolypse Scenario We All Want to Happen for some reason
  • …and a JRPG and underage tittays.

I’ve played these games, I’ve played ALL these games. I’m bored with these games. As I get older these “gritty, realistic” games appeal to me less and less. There are a variety of reasons, but the biggest one is that so many of them are immature power fantasies.  Now everyone has guilty pleasures. There are movies and games I know are brainless and yet I enjoy them. Just because something isn’t mature doesn’t automatically mean it has no merit or isn’t a great game. But so many games rely heavily on gritty realism and shock-jock antics in order to grab attention in a over saturated market. However, not a one of these games is an immature power fantasy for me. Not a one, is a over-the-top power fantasy for a girl.

And so, feeling bored and cock blocked from the boys club that is popular gaming, I often turn to indie games.

Yes, I remembered what I was talking about.


I previously reviewed Benjamin Rivers indie game HOME, and I praised it for it’s unbridled radness. Fez is to platform gaming what HOME is to indie horror. You play Gomez and adorable 8 bit sprite to navigate a brilliant 3 dimensional world in order to collect cubes. The game itself is aware of it’s roots, I giggled when I noticed the constellations in the sky looked like Tetris pieces. You don’t shoot anyone, there are no monsters. It’s you against the world- just like real life. It’s the kind of game you can come home from a long day at work and play to relax. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about screaming at 14 year old boys who are teabagging my corpse  that really doesn’t help me unwind.

The gamers who first picked up a light gun to shoot  at ducks in Duck Hunt or race through Sonic are older now, and a lot of us have kids we’re hoping to introduce to gaming as well. This is a game you can play around your kids.

“No baby girl, look away when the half naked woman gets shot in the face. And that one… and that one…and that one.”

I highly recommend Fez as a game for anyone bored of shooting people.