This Is Phil Fish is a 20-minute video essay by Ian Danskin which focuses on the public’s perception of fame and uses Phil Fish, primarily, as an example to illustrate its point.
Fish rose to celebrity in 2012 following the release of Indie Game: The Movie, which featured Fish as a primary focus. In the documentary, Fish is shown dealing with the stress of releasing his first (and possibly last) game, Fez. As one of the most anticipated indie games of that time, Fish was under a lot of pressure to deliver an unforgettable experience. Some would say he cracked.
Phil Fish, as the video points out, is someone we all know of, but someone we don’t know on a personal level. We either hate him or know someone who hates him. Most people who fall into the former category probably don’t know much about the guy beyond the headlines. He’s infamous for his attitude, lashing out in very public settings online on numerous occasions. The media loves him because anytime they highlight his latest antics, it really brings in the crowds. They boo and jeer together at someone who they’ve never met, and probably never will.
This Is Phil Fish examines how society molds expectation around the famous, and how that can work to benefit (or in Fish’s case, destroy) their public persona.
“I suspect it’s either going to be really contentious, or go largely unnoticed,” said Ian Danskin on his personal blog about the potential success of This Is Phil Fish. “Unnoticed, because, hey, it’s YouTube. Contentious because I don’t come down on the side of ‘Phil is an asshole,’ largely because whether or not Phil is an asshole is irrelevant to the point I’m making (and similarly irrelevant to my life), but talking about Phil and saying anything other than “Phil is an asshole” tends to make you a lot of enemies.”