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Videogame: Fez
Cover art by Brian Lee O'Malley
Fez is a 2012 Xbox LIVE Arcade puzzle platformer by indie game designer Phil Fish, 5 years in development. The game has players control Gomez, a small white... thing who lives happily in his peaceful, floating 2D village until he is summoned by the town's Old Aventurer. The Old Adventurer gives him a magical fez before revealing a shocking truth: the world is actually 3-Dimensional! The fez allows Gomez to perceive the 3D world and shift dimensions, but he can still only move across 2D planes. Using this newfound ability, he sets off to collect all the pieces of a giant magical cube that has been scattered all over the land, causing the fabric of reality to tear apart.

Fez went multiplatform on May 1st, 2013, with the release of a PC version of the game. Fish said that Mac and Linux versions would eventually follow, but the release date was still to be decided. The game later came out on PS3, PS 4, and PlayStation Vita on March 25th, 2014. There was also to be a sequel to the game, simply titled Fez II. However, in late July, after being insulted by Marcus Beer AKA Annoyed Gamer, Phil Fish exploded into a very angry tirade on Twitter, and then outright quit the entire video game industry and cancelled Fez II.

This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Collecting all of the cubes, anti-cubes, artifacts, and heart-shaped polygons.
  • 2½D: The game blends 2D with 3D to create spatial puzzles.
  • 3-D Movie: Beat the game twice to unlock a stereoscopic vision mode.
  • Alien Geometries: Fez is all about this. Although it's a 2D character getting used to 3D geometries. It gives a rough idea of what it would be like having a a 4D entity phasing around 3 dimensions.
    • Bonus points for Dot's design; since Dot is a tesseractnote , the game contains a 2D character navigating a 3D environment with a 4D companion.
  • Awesome Music: invoked Pretty much the entire soundtrack, in all its retro, melodic beauty.
  • Block Puzzle
  • Bottomless Pit
  • Cartoon Bomb: These can be picked up and used to blow up cracked walls.
  • Crate Expectations: There are crates meant to be picked up and thrown. On buttons for an example.
  • Cue O Clock: Dot jokes that it's Cube O'Clock when you find a large four-handed clock.
  • Dark World
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: After falling/dying, Gomez will simply be transported right back to the last stable platform he was on.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: You can jump through the platforms from below. You can also drop down from them.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: A large cube is broken into numerous smaller cubes and a lot of those cubes are broken into even smaller cube bits.
  • The Ditz: Dot is hilariously useless and airheaded.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: "Well, well, well, what do we have here? ...Get it? It's a well."
  • Evolutionary Levels: The village classroom contains a depiction of evolution from single-pixel organisms to people. The equivalent of proto-humans had narrow, vertical heads, and their ruins (behind the four-cube door) seem to indicate that they were only aware of two dimensions. All the people seen and depicted outside of Village have heads of square proportions. It is implied that the people of Village, with their flat, horizontal heads, are mutants who lost awareness of the third dimension when they devolved.
  • Excuse Plot: Something bad happened. Now go find cubes. Or something.
    • There is a big block of unreadable alien text at the start of the game before the "something bad" happens. If you translate it, it doesn't reveal much more than "if something goes wrong, fix it."
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials
  • Exposition Fairy: The ever-rotating rainbow-colored tesseract.
  • Fictionary: Extensively used throughout the game, both for letters and numbers. Decoding both is key to solving several of the higher-end puzzles.
  • Flat "What.": Dot has this reaction to the 64-cube door.
  • Floating Platforms
  • Funny Background Event: In one area you can observe a quick brown fox jumping over a lazy dog. Recognizing what this is is vital for decoding the game's alphabetic fictionary.
  • Gainax Ending: Ending can't be different than the premise allows it to have.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Sadly enough, lots of players have been having their saves corrupted by patches whenever close to the completion of the game. The only option is to create an entirely new game, which then is invulnerable to the patch.
  • Ghibli Hills
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Invoked by name.
  • Guide Dang It: Unless you're a rocket scientist working at NASA, your chances of finding everything in this game without a walkthrough are slim to none.
    • The heart cubes take the absolute cake.
      • To elaborate, one of the puzzles has a dozen obtuse hints scattered throughout the game as text, one of the puzzles requires translation from binary to ASCII, and one was so tough to even figure out that it was just brute-forced. A few theories as to how it was supposed to be solved have surfaced, but whatever it actually is, Fish isn't talking.
    • And the creator has confirmed that not all of the puzzles have been solved. Some new behaviors were discovered after decompiling the PC version, there are a few puzzle hints that are not attached to any known puzzle, and nobody has any idea what the "crop circles" mean.
  • Heroic Mime: Gomez.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Old Aventurer's dialogue implies that he has been on a quest similar to the one Gomez undertaking during the game in his youth.
  • Homage: Several of them, including Super Mario Bros. and Cave Story.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: For some reason, treasure chests can be found out in the open.
  • Invisible Block: These are present in the ghost area and are revealed by lightning and water droplets hitting them.
    • Some invisible blocks appear in zones where the sky is clear, and the player has to consult treasure maps to find them.
  • Jump Physics
  • Kill Screen: An intentional one happens at the beginning of the game when the giant cube breaks apart, complete with a fake OS reboot, no less. This also happens if you reach the ending without collecting all the cubes.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Just about everyone but Dot talks a bit… off, grammatically.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: A single-use key fits all the locks.
  • Interface Screw
  • Item Get: The main character does a victory pose when acquiring a cube or other item.
  • Lightning Reveal: Lightning reveals some things in some levels. For an example, platforms and ghosts.
  • Lock and Key Puzzle
  • Meaningful Name: Gomez, his predecessor Geezer, the titular Fez, and the cities Zu and Nu Zu, all have a Z in their names, in reference to the z-axis of the third dimension.
  • Metroidvania
  • Mind Screw: The game plays numerous tricks on the player, such as pretending to crash.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Most, if not all, of the anti-cubes and heart cubes are this, with the solutions ranging from Fridge Brilliance and Only Smart People May Pass to That One Puzzle. In fact, some of the ways you are supposed to figure out certain puzzles are solved are so complicated, that no one has figured out how to properly solve them.
  • Multiple Endings: The ending depends on whether you go to the final point with half or more of the cubes or all of them.
  • New Game+: Finishing the game grants this, which comes with all speech and non-puzzle signs in English and a first-person ability (that allows the player to see the world from Gomez's eyes).
  • Nice Hat: The cube grants Gomez a Fez at the start of the adventure. In addition, one character tells him, "Nice hat." And yes, it's cool.
  • No Antagonist
  • No Fourth Wall
  • No Plot? No Problem!
  • Ominous Owl: Inhabitants are not fond of owls. Just before the end of the game, Gomez finds something that indicates that no, they're definitely not what they seem.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: While there are no enemies in the game, Gomez cannot withstand long falls.
  • 100% Completion: Getting all 32 cubes and all 32 anti-cubes is necessary for the Good Ending.
  • Painting the Medium: Tuning forks cause the player's controller to vibrate if Gomez stands near them, providing a clue towards that room's secret. If you don't have that particular ability, there's even a backup method also relevant to what it does.
  • Perspective Magic: Major aspect of the game. The magic part comes from the platforms staying the same size all the time, no matter how they're rotated.
    • Further explored after you unlock the first-person viewpoint, which allows you to see previously hidden imagery.
  • Rank Inflation: 209.4% is the maximum percentage. More if you abuse some glitches.
  • Retraux: An unrotated screen looks like something that would have been possible to create in the SNES era.
  • Rule of Perception: If you can't see it from your current perspective, it doesn't exist right now. You can kill yourself just by rotating the camera.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Shout-Out: There are numerous references to other games, such as Tetris pieces and the guide character busting out a "Hey! Listen!"
    • Upon starting New Game+, players who receive the fez a second time are treated to sunglasses descending onto Gomez's face in a manner identical to the "Deal With It" meme.
    • The library from Myst makes an appearance. A well in one area looks suspiciously like a warp pipe, which leads to an area with a Game Boy color palette and style. A poster in Gomez's house appears to be the title screen from The Legend of Zelda with the text removed. As well, the weird owls and various characters' wariness of them, along with a room with walls covered in red curtains could be a Shout-Out to Twin Peaks.
      • Special metion also goes to the Foundry area, which is rendered in Virtual Boy super red.
  • Sugar Bowl
  • Surreal Humor
  • Suspiciously Cracked Wall: If the wall is cracked and there's a bomb in an area, chances are you're gonna use the bomb on cracked wall.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The female creatures are distinguishable by long hair and/or by bows in their hair... even if not all of them actually have hair.
  • Title Drop: Extra points are awarded to the developers for literally dropping the Fez from the sky
  • Waiting Puzzle: You thought Braid's was bad?
    • To elaborate: we're talking about the infamous clock puzzle. At the top of a certain room there's a cubic clock with four hands, and when they reach the top, an anti-cube (one for each hand) appears; the fastest hand cycles once every minute, the others cycle respectively: every hour, every day and... every week! If you're playing on Xbox 360, that means either waiting, or restarting the game after changing the time and date while offline. Sounds tedious yet? At least in the PC version, if you alt-tab and change the system clock, the in-game clock hands will react immediately when you resume the game...
  • Warp Zone
  • When All Else Fails, Go Right: Or left. Or up. Or down.
  • Wrap Around: Some areas loop when going too much up or down.

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alternative title(s): Fez
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