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Links 1 through 10 of 23 by Tom Armitage tagged braid

"This ghastly indie-art-game prose: it’s writing that tries to communicate ideas in the same way that game mechanics communicate ideas. Such writing offers allusions and suggestions, hints for the player to assemble, but it shies away from specifics or a through-line plot. Characters often go unnamed, or are named something thuddingly symbolic, or are Everyman. Theme is presented heavy-handedly (you wouldn’t want players to miss it!) and via the most cliché images. Expect frequent references to light and dark, cold and loneliness, broken hearts and shattered dreams. Memories may get a look in. Also death. It’s like reading a collage of the manuscripts sent to a high school poetry contest right after one of the students got in a fatal crash." Emily is right, and it's something I hate about certain games: just how *self-consciously* "indie" they are.

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"As I tried to unravel Braid’s interstitial text I realized that solving the puzzles and understanding the text required very similar approaches. Their concealed machinations and thematic ambiguities are teased out using the same mental processes, and are part of the same overarching search for meaning. In a way, I was “reading” everything in the game. It’s not the unification of narrative and gameplay that we’ve come to expect, but it’s a refreshing and effective one." Dan Bruno has an interesting perspective on Braid; not sure I agree with it entirely, but the feelings he describes are certainly familiar.

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David Hellman releases hi-res assets of all the Braid artwork. It is beautiful, and am thinking about how best to use some of it on my desktop.

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"Perhaps the problem is that we so deeply rely on reference points like film, which require stories progressing over time, when we could be referring to things like sculpture or painting, which require no timescale and people find just as moving." Some good thoughts from Jonathan Blow; I think his point about games' unique ability to challenge is an important one.

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Soulja Boy reviews Braid. Oh dear. (Although: much as I want to mock it, he is correct that time-rewind mechanics are, usually, a lot of fun in and of themselves. But still.)

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"This week’s 1UP FM is a fascinating round table/interview with Jonathan Blow, David Hellman, Rod Humble, and Sean Elliott and Nick Suttner from 1UP... If you’re at all interested in Braid, experimental game design, or the ethics of games you should go listen now." In the meantime, Ben Zeigler has provided some excellent annotation for us all.

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"Hired as visual artist in the summer of 2006, my challenge was not only to clearly present Braid's mechanics and behaviors, but to help tell a story that was anything but literal: part anecdote, part artifice, part philosophy. This article explains the process of developing visuals for a nearly-complete game with a highly idiosyncratic identity, the challenges encountered, and some of the nuts-and-bolts of our methods and tools." David Hellman on his work on the art of Braid.

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"The negative side of this, as your experience illustrates, is that Braid just lacks any immediate sense of fun. It does not set out to entertain you, and with the exception of some pretty aesthetic moments it makes you earn the pleasure you take from it. (Portal, which makes for a good point of comparison, wants the player to like it and desires to be understood in a way that Braid does not.)" I think Pliskin is spot on, here

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I need to think on this more; there's a lot of meat in it, and some interesting commentary, but suggesting that "the entire bachelor’s degree in English is all about bullshitting things" I find somewhat insulting. I'm frustrated because it feels like Blow is pushing for people to find the "correct" interpretation, rather than any valid criticism they can back up. Still, there's also some excellent stuff in here, but it's the first thing he's said that's rubbed me the wrong way a little (and I'm not just talking about the 'bullshit' comment).

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