Transformation and Papo & Yo.
So I wrote about a very personal game in a somewhat personal way. For the most part, I tend not to talk about my own history of familial abuse. I am not shy about it by any means, it's not a big secret at all really. I have mentioned it on the podcast a few times in the past and I discuss it a little in the article without going into a whole lot of depth. I tend to avoid it for a couple of reasons.
First, I actually don't think it applies for the most part. It's not something I need to get off my chest, so I unless it is somehow applicable (and in this case it is), then it never comes up. Also, especially if it does not apply to the subject at hand, I doubt most people are all that interested in my personal history.
Second, my experience with child abuse no longer defines me. Or rather, I made a conscious long ago to be the arbiter of how my experiences growing up affect my well-being today. Dealing with a history of abuse is a process and each person's experience is different, but often times that process starts with a personal confrontation - an recognition and acceptance of one's experience.
I say in the article that Papo & Yo is about transformation, but equally - or even necessarily - it is also about confrontation. Quico's monster is every present and always returns to him, at times by coercion and at other times by cue. His connection to Quico is constant and physical. Even when he is not present, you are constantly aware he is around a corner. Time and again Quico must confront the monster out of necessity. This act is a powerful one and the familiarity with his destructive tendencies pushes and prods Quico to his own personal confrontation.
I want to stress here something I perhaps do not make clear enough in the article. Papo & Yo is not a perfect game by any means and I do genuinely agree with those who believe the game could be harder without sacrificing its themes. However, this game is about something, explicitly and completely. If you give it time to work its magic, it can be a transformative experience.