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Games Entertainment

Braid, Games As Art, and Interpretation 37

Zonk points out an opinion piece at Gamers With Jobs about Braid, an independent platformer that received high praise when it was released a few months ago. It's often held up as an example of "games as art," and in this article, Julian Murdoch comments on the act of interpreting such art. He takes Braid's creator, Johnathan Blow, to task for the effect his comments have on the game and its players: "My frustration with Braid is multiplied because it would seem to have been designed with me specifically in mind. I am a student of the obscure. I am pathologically drawn to books, movies, games, and passages of scripture that are dense, difficult, and which hide (and thus reveal) meaning behind layers of art and artifice. Games lend themselves to this layering more than any other medium. The casual player of Oblivion, System Shock 2, Fallout 3 or Bioshock can have an extraordinarily story-light experience if they simply 'play' the games. One layer deeper, a close reading of the environments informs deeper levels of story. Deeper still, evidence in the form of written texts and audio tracks provides footnotes, side-plots and appendices to a central story. ... by the end of my Braid experience, I felt like Blow had specifically constructed something that would generate emails and forum posts begging him to please tell us 'what it all means.'" There is some interesting discussion in the comments, including a response from Blow himself.
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Braid, Games As Art, and Interpretation

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  • Artsy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @07:54AM (#26463955)

    I haven't played, but everything I've heard about Braid, including Blow's post linked here, leads me to believe it's one of those 'create a bunch of mostly-random things that don't mean anything and force people to try to make it mean something' art pieces.

    I really hate those because they sacrifice a potentially good story for some pseudo-intellectual crap. If people want to make up stories from random stuff, they don't need your help.

    He consistently says 'It doesn't mean any 1 thing, it's whatever you want it to mean', etc. That's such bullshit that I don't even know where to start with it. That's a cop-out, pure and simple.

  • Re:Artsy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Thursday January 15, 2009 @10:31AM (#26465205) Homepage Journal

    Well, Braid is a platformer, a very good one. We rarely expect platformers to have stories, let alone good ones. I can honestly say that the game's story works on multiple levels, from the girl to the bomb, but if you try to read into things really hard, things will not make sense.

    Though I just skimmed Blow's post and he seems to throw out the girl story, so who knows anymore. I have a hard time actually buying into what most claim to be the deepest meaning of the game. Don't want to spoil things.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.