Papo & Yo – A Video Game About Addiction, Friendship and Forgiveness
Being sick can have it’s advantages. Such as, extra free time to do nothing but veg out in front of the XBOX or surf the web in search of anything remotely interesting (it’s tougher than you think). It was while doing the latter that I came upon one the coolest conceptual video games I’ve never heard of, PAPO & YO. As the first game being developed by Montreal-based indie developer Minority, Papo and Yo is a fantasy adventure game whose depth of story and art style brings to mind Playstation’s ICO.
For starters, the game stars a Brazilian boy named Quico whose two best friends happen to be a toy/robot named Lula and a pink, rhino-like creature named Monster with a dangerous addiction to frogs. You see, whenever Monster sees a frog he’s compelled to scarf it down which results in “a violent, frog-induced rage where no one, including Quico, is safe.” Thus, the game is about Quico trying desperately to find a cure for his friend.
If all that sounds like some Wonderland-eque take on A&E’s Intervention TV series, that’s probably because its not far from the truth. Studio Creative Director, Vander Caballero, based the main premise on personal experience with his own father’s struggle with drugs and alcohol.
Like many, he used alcohol and drugs to cope with a challenging life, and I was caught in the middle of it. The emotional core of this game is ultimately a fable about my relationship with my father… I remember how the unpleasant world of adults loomed around me and made me feel vulnerable. But I did not feel like that when I was playing as Mario: I felt powerful and in control of a fantastic world. I loved defeating bosses that were larger than life to me, and today I thank you Miyamoto; now is my time to give back.