"Hi, I'm Phil Fish and I'm here to talk about Japanese games." Referencing the controversy over his recent remarks, the Fez designer's opening line during the Indie Soapbox got big laughs.
But, his remarks at the GDC 2012 session actually dealt with comic books, a medium that originated in America, and the conceptual connection between how comics and video games work.
In individual panels, comics take snapshots of distinct moments of time, Fish said, letting you see across all of time at once. Film strings multiple still images together very rapidly adding another dimension to the viewing, he added, but you're subjected to a linear experience.
But, if you extrude a comics page into a cloud of images and introduce interactivity, you expand the dimensions of the experience. Even more, interacting with a game changes how you look at time and can fire up a sort of fractal thinking in the people who play them. While you look at one cube/image/panel in a game, you're already thinking about another. Stand on one platform and you immediately start to plan about reaching the next one. Your perceptions change.
Fez is all about pivoting a gameworld on an axis, a hook that instantly communicates a different way of looking at the world on a screen. Fish's talk gave let listeners glimpse how the creator of a game that's all about changing perspective. It's more fascinating that he tied his thoughts back to an older, analogue medium.