I will preface this post with the disclaimer that I only half understand what's going on here but it sure is neat. Fontemon is a Pokemon parody. Okay, got it. You can play it in your browser or download it. Cool, understood. It is inside a font. Wait, what? Yes, the game exists as a font file. The best way to understand is probably to come on in and try it out.
Fontemon is a goofy Pokemon parody set in Minnesota with some mysterious font magic under the hood making it work. You can play it over here. It feels like a little scene powered by a hand crank that you're spinnning. Typing text into the box makes the story advance, regardless of what you type, until you get to a point where you choose a letter to pick one of your Fontemon's attacks in a battle.
As a tip, don't distract yourself by attempting to type actual words. Just slap your keys around and pay attention to the game's dialogue. It's cheeky fun!
"Everything is decided ahead of time and placed in the font," developer Michael Mulet explains. "Nothing is calculated during the game. In computer science terms, it's a finite state machine, not a turing machine. In a lot of ways it's like a choose your own adventure novel or fmv video game."
As for what it means that the game is inside the font, "I created it using the magic of ligatures, the thing that merges 'a and e' into æ," Mulet says. "But instead of replacing letters, I made it replace frames (frames as in fps) of the game into each other, to create animations and branching storylines." Mulet says that Fontemon is made up of 4696 individual frames, 43 choices, and 1085 words of text.
If you really want to play around with Fontemon's possibilities, you can download it here. It's an actual font file that you can use to play the game in just about anything: a text document, an image editor, wherever you use fonts. Mulet says it takes about 20 minutes to play or an hour if you uncover some secrets.