GamerNode: Papo & Yo Hands-On Preview

Pretend is a comfortable setting for video games. The light-hearted silliness endemic to interactive media (see the "Halo Hump," friendly fire) muddles efforts by game designers to add "realism," cramming more pixels into alien facial textures and apocalypse scenario explosions.

When a designer, then, sloughs unrealistic pretenses in favor of celebrating the medium's ability to breathe "play" -- like in LittleBigPlanet and, dare I say, Katamari Damacy -- my inner gaming child rejoices. And when said designer accedes to its "adult" audience, layering the imaginative with an introspective nod at the game's mechanical basis, my intellectual snob approves. But if such a designer were to boldly claim that the emotional context of the game pulls directly from a real (count it) personal experience, one with far-reaching and tragic familiarity, all my inner selves freeze in expectant awe.

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