An Inability to Empathize: Fumbling to Grok ‘Papo & Yo’

I was really excited to play Papo & Yo a few weeks back. I knew it was going to be one of those games that I could write a lot about. Turns out not to be the case. In reality I found myself fumbling to try and find anything to say about it.

I could have done an analogy reading, going over every element for what it is trying to say, but for the most part that would be retreading old ground. Ground that lead designer Vander Caballero covered in interviews himself. I’m actually surprised in my lack of anything to say about the title given how many boxes on my personal checklist it fills.

  • Auteur?
  • Indie?
  • Magical realism?
  • Thematic meaning?
  • Allegorical structure?
  • Unique visual environments?
  • Mostly wordless storytelling?

Really the only thing I could think to write about the game is how much I failed to connect with it. So, that’s what I did for my PopMatters pieces. I try to figure out why I couldn’t connect with it, despite understanding and respecting what it was going.

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