Chris Suellentrop’s review of Papo & Yo wonders why the memoir-as-game is a virtually untouched genre.
Papo & Yo is a magical-realist fable about the relationship between its creative director and writer, Vander Caballero, and his alcoholic father. No, the game isn’t an autobiography or a documentary, or even nonfiction. But its power is amplified by its relationship to actual events from its creator’s childhood — and by the player’s knowledge of that relationship. It feels like a landmark.
“To my mother, brothers and sister, with whom I survived the monster in my father,” reads Mr. Caballero’s dedication at the start of the game. A bit on the nose, you might say. But when an artist is working in a medium that has almost no history of memoir — or even of “Pan’s Labyrinth”-style allegory — he can be forgiven for wanting to make sure the project is understood.