It does not need mentioning that I did not make this game. It has completely existed my thinking like no other game I first played (or was exposed to) in adulthood has. This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while (probably since 2014), but even writing this post fills me with awe of how magnificent the game is.
The only reasons this is the first time it has been mentioned on this blog is that shining awe that chases away the spiders of my creativity, but also that what I get from it isn’t the stuff to hang a game upon, or even a blog post. Stuff like the dynamic maps – which are totally not the key of the game – completely conquer my thinking but they can’t dominate a good game.
At this point if you haven’t played Photopia do. Follow the link at the top of the post and find the game. Not because the rest of this blog contains spoilers, but that you’ve been deprived of its magnificence for too long already.
It might have wormed itself into me more than most people, but that makes me happy because it is so unambiguously a masterpiece. I’ve mentioned the dynamic mapping, it is probably most praised for its story and the way it presents its plot, but it is also seminal in its menu and so much more. I’m not an IF guy. My games aren’t IF. I don’t know IF, but as a human being, one can still feel greatness.
If I were to compare it to another game it would be Mario 64. They’re both revolutionary. You might question my judgement: But Mario 64 hardly has a story! The story revolutions in Photopia are the most in your face innovations as opposed to behind the scenes things that require a second play through to discover, or stuff that has been adopted and improved on like the dialogue, but the story – which I found rather too confusing to connect to, not helped by not paying attention to names – is really just one part of the package.
I was planning for this to be a review, but it clearly isn’t. Maybe I’ll do that in the future (hint: it gets all the stars).
[If you’ve just played it, and are thinking this is a load of guff: come back in a week. It took me a while before I learnt to love Photopia. But love it you shall. I’ll be watching.]