Games are a complicated medium with various subcultures and tons of academic thinking on matters like mechanics and design. Footnotes is an exploration game that combines study and play, introducing players to nuggets of games academia and knowledge while wandering through colourful spaces.
Created by Patrick LeMieux and Stephanie Boluk, Footnotes feels like a playable lecture. The game scatters excerpts from the creators’ book Metagaming around procedurally generated forests and deserts for players to collect and read. In some instances, you might learn nifty factoids about speedrunning or Smash Bros. In the next, you’re getting a refresher on Eric Zimmerman’s “Manifesto for a Ludic Century” or learning about Jacques Derrida’s concept of free play.
Engaging with the various notes and snippets is a reminder of all the things people have learned and theorised about games, as well as a chance to consider them for yourself. As you walk around whatever landscape the game summons, you’re bound to learn new facts. There are hundreds of footnotes to find and no in-game time limit in which to do it. If you’re looking for an excuse to enjoy some nice colours and maybe learn a little, Footnotes is the perfect experience.