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Braid: Closure Achievement - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
August 11th, 2008
03:27 pm

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Braid: Closure Achievement
So, I mentioned "Braid" here already. I finished it on Saturday, with no hints, tips, walkthroughs, or cheats. Woo.

As of Friday, I had got 51 puzzle pieces, which slotted into 5 puzzles of 12 pieces each. Saturday morning, I was going to play "just a little farther", with the expectation that I'd get stuck and then frustrated, and get up and do something else. Instead, by noon, I had got to the epilogue and pretty well explored it. In talking with a coworker today, I guess I hadn't completely found every nook and/or cranny.

This is the best game I've played since Portal, and there are some easy comparisons that aren't all that interesting - both games involve some strange dimensional manipulation; Portal folds space, Braid manipulates time. More interesting to me, as a developer, is that each of them were playable well before they shipped and incubated for a long time. Each were made by a small team, and would be a really hard sell for a traditional publisher.

Braid (and, to a lesser extent, Portal) represents what games should be - giving the player an experience they haven't had before, giving them tools they haven't had a chance to use, and giving them new things to think about. Various people (notably, but not exclusively, politicians) have claimed that games are not art. I have a hard time coming up with a workable definition of "art", but Braid explores emotions and the human condition as well as any poem I can think of, it encourages discussion and interpretation as much as any piece of literature I've read. It seems to be making money, but if Jonathan Blow doesn't break even, he's still succeeded at delivering something close to his original intention.

I trust that if you've got an XBox 360, you've at least downloaded the demo. If you don't have an XBox 360, come over to my place - I'll clear the crap off the couch and make you play it.

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From:piehead
Date:August 11th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
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...if only I wasn't across the entire country. Guess I'll wait for the PC version, dang it.
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From:tsmaster
Date:August 11th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
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Hopefully the PC version will be out soon - I hear "sometime in 2008", which would be nice. Could be - from my understanding of the development of the game, it was written in portable C++, which means that the XBLA version must be linking against Direct X, so making a PC version ends up being a simple (?) matter of making sure it runs on a reasonable population of graphics cards and processors.

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From:rechercher
Date:August 11th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
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I ditto this comment.
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From:tsmaster
Date:August 11th, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
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The two of you should converge on some unsuspecting gamer's home and demand to see the game.
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From:brandifer
Date:August 12th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
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WAH!! Drew and Alida recently played Portal together and had an absolute blast. I hate that it's so hard to find clean, non-lethal games like this.

We refuse to shell out for a 360 as we have a perfectly functional XBox and PS2, so we wait for the PC version of Braid also. (Well, that's more my line than Drew's. He's is pretty close to the same thing, except that he'd be a lot more flexible toward it if they'd put out more games we'd actually like to play.)

Thanks for the heads up on this game anyway, we'll be looking for it. :)
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From:sushigrade
Date:August 12th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
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I love this game. IT IS GOING TO BREAK MY BRAIN.

I *just* finished World 2, I have all but two pieces in World 3... and a handful in each of the others.

I caught myself trying to rewind time in the XBL store the other day. I am totally blaming you for this.
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From:tsmaster
Date:August 12th, 2008 05:07 am (UTC)
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I've had TiVo moments where I want to rewind live radio.

I found the puzzles to be challenging, some of them tough, but I finished them all without help, and I can get frustrated with tough puzzles.

You know what will make you feel better? Tell five friends about the game. :)
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