LOST IN THE FOG: Introduction

Hello and welcome. My name is Evan Tognotti, and I love Persona 4.

It’s not just that I love Persona 4, though. I’ve spent an uncomfortable amount of time rolling around in its nooks and crannies, for no discernable reason other than my own curiosity. I’ve played it, watched other people play it, and written a screenplay set in its universe (it’s over 130 pages long, and no, I’m not joking). Am I done with Persona 4? Short answer: no. Good things make you happy; great things make you a mess of a person, and never, ever stop.

I think it’s a video game worthy of dissection. This isn’t just some odd, tangential obsession. Persona 4 is a game with a lot to say, and damn near all of it is worth saying. The single, burning question that’s left for me is… how?

How am I supposed to talk about Persona 4, a game that runs over 80 hours in length, with perhaps the most thematically dense text in the history of the medium? Is there any conceivable way?

Good news. This might be obvious, seeing as you’re reading this right now, but I figured out a way. A way that gives Persona 4 as much attention as it demands. From now until the foreseeable future, I’m going to be writing three essays a week — one for each playable day in the game.

If you’ve ever played Persona 4, you know what this entails. It follows a rigid structure, where your protagonist wakes up each day, goes to school, hangs out with friends, and then goes to sleep. Rinse. Repeat. My hope is that studying this game one tiny piece at a time will help to reveal its nuances. And you, dear reader, are invited to embark upon this adventure with me!

A few notes for clarity:

  • I’ll technically be playing the re-release, Persona 4: Golden, and I’m going to treat its new content as part of the game’s full package. For sake of simplicity, I will still be referring to the title as Persona 4.
  • I’m not going to use a guide to complete every Social Link, or anything like that, since I’m familiar enough with the game to hit all the huge missable beats. I’m going to be describing my unique experience with the game, and the order in which I choose to tackle things.
  • I don’t necessarily intend these essays as a primer or an introduction to Persona 4. I will be spoiling the game left and right. I will refer to concepts and characters that won’t make sense to the uninitiated. It might be fun to replay the game along with me, though!
  • My self-imposed goal is to keep every essay above 800 words — some will just scrape by, and others will be much, much longer. Whatever the contents of the day demand.

It’s extremely likely that, by the end of this year-long (or longer) experiment, I will be absolutely exhausted. I will undoubtedly struggle to keep my perspective fresh, and I can’t say that every single essay will be better than the last. But I will try my damndest. I hope you’re willing to take the plunge with me, and stick around for as long as I’m able to keep your attention. The only thing I know for sure, is that when the credits roll, I still won’t be able to get over Persona 4.

Now, if you excuse me, I have to go think about Persona 4 a lot.

For work.

Lost In The Fog will be continued by Evan on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for the next year. Sit back and enjoy the land, the narrative, the twists and the tribulations of Persona 4.

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