“Papo & Yo,” a new, Latino themed video game scheduled for publishing by Sony sometime this year, is something different altogether from the gang-bangers and cartel games featuring Latinos. As far as we can tell, there are no stereotypes.
“Papo & Yo” is set in a favela, a shanty-town in Brazil, and is a puzzle game that tells the story of young Quico, his pet robot and his monster father who loves eating frogs. To play the game, you move houses and objects for clues to a cure for your frog eating father who turns even more monstrous after consuming said frogs.
Designed to educate rich kids about life in the favelas, and, perhaps as a way to explain bi-polarism and alcoholism to children, “Papo” was created by Vander Cabellero of Minority Games. Cabellero references the magical realism in the literary works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his experiences with his own, bi-polar- alcoholic father. “Too many modern games use morality from the ’50s and ’60s — good and bad — but life is not like that,” Cabellero says in a game development video diary.
Magical realism is a term invented by white literary critics as a way to explain some aspects of Latin American literature credited to Marquez and others. We find the term odd; after all, would you describe Shakespeare as a magical realist author? No. So why start with Latinos? Besides, the PS3 has tons of surreal games similar to “Papo” in scale and content so, in essence, the only new to this story is the Latino presence and characterization. That’s not a bad thing: we need a Latino presence in gaming.
Trailer for the PS3 game is above. Looks like fun.