Comments on

This American Link

Original entry posted: Mon Aug 18 17:19:22 2008

Matt @ Mon Aug 18 12:47:37 2008 EST

It took me longer than a couple of hours to finish Braid, but I did finish it. To be honest, I never felt frustrated with the game. The only puzzle that really tripped me up had to do with timing.

There's a great New Yorker article on the nature of insight that I've been wanting to write about. Several of Braid's puzzles consist of finding that "Eureka!" moment, while others fall into trial and error. I wonder if some people have a harder time adapting the way they think to finish the game. You hear a lot about how some people are "right brain dominant" or "left brain dominant."

Corvus @ Mon Aug 18 13:48:14 2008 EST

To be fair, my complaints about Braid have little to do with the difficulty level of the puzzles. They have far more to do with the fact that Braid ignores what I consider to be the strengths of video games as a narrative platform--namely that of granting the audience agency and allowing them to bring their own life experiences to the story they're experiencing.

Quite possibly I wasn't as clear about that as I could have been.

Thomas @ Mon Aug 18 14:27:39 2008 EST

I did completely miss that, so maybe it could have been more prominent.

Is agency the greatest strength of a videogame? I'm not sure that it is for narrative purposes. Whenever I see agency actually taken to heart in a game, in what I guess is the sandbox approach, those games usually fail for me as stories. I either get bored, or I'm uninterested in telling stories to myself through them. I have other, better ways of doing that if I'm in a creative mood.

Indeed, if I'd had more freedom during the game, I suspect it would have been less affecting--the story it tells is not one that I would naturally create on my own, but I enjoy it when it is told to me.

I can't bring my life experience to Braid specifically through agency, but that doesn't mean that it didn't play a part in my enjoyment of the game. It doesn't mean that it doesn't form a part of the lens through which I view its story.

serial @ Tue Aug 19 10:52:39 2008 EST

Just for the record, there's a homebrew app for the DS called "bliptracker". It's some kind of tracker that works using the game of life. It's weird, hypnotic, and very, very experimental.

Thomas @ Tue Aug 19 10:54:37 2008 EST

Thanks, serial, I'll be sure to check that out. Have to find my homebrew card first, though...

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