Category Archives: Appearances

Events where you can play Braid or see a talk about the game and its philosophy.

Braid playthrough with director’s commentary

At GameCity in Nottingham, UK in September 2010, I played through select portions of Braid and gave commentary. I had been under the impression the session was officially recorded, and I’ve been waiting for an official video to hit the internet, but at this point I am not sure this was done. Fortunately someone in the audience had a handheld camera, and has posted the footage to YouTube. This is by far the most I’ve said about Braid in one place…

See the video here.

A new, short speech about game design.

The speech is called “Games as Instruments for Observing Our Universe”, given by Jonathan Blow at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont in February 2010.

The talk is short — about 20 minutes — followed by about an hour Q&A (in a separate file). Slides in ppt format are included.

Here’s a bundle containing those files.

The next day, we did a conversational interview at the Firehouse Gallery in Burlington. This started with a short introduction about Braid and my next game, followed by some questions by Chris Thompson, and then questions from the audience. Here’s the audio for that session. (You can right-click and pick Save As… if this opens in your browser in an obnoxious way.)

A video interview with NextGen Player.

At the 2008 Montreal International Games Summit, NextGen Player interviewed Jonathan Blow about independent game development, games as art, and about how Braid was made. Here’s the video, which goes into some topics that haven’t been covered in previous interviews:

Sorry about the incorrect aspect ratio, but I spent 45 minutes trying to figure out how to fix it, with no success. The web is kind of sad sometimes.

Here’s the link to the article at NextGen Player.

A new lecture about story and game design.

This lecture was given by Jonathan Blow (introduction by Jason Della Rocca) on November 19th, 2008 at the Montreal International Game Summit.

Here it is as a zip file (about 33 megabytes) containing the slides and an mp3.

This lecture focuses on the story-centric paradigm that we use to design a large number of games, and why I think it is problematic. Both pre-authored and dynamic story are discussed. It’s a heavily-revised version of this lecture given a few months ago in Brighton; This new version is probably better.

A lecture about how our games are inherently conflicted.

Note: A better version of this lecture was given a few months later in Montreal, and the recording has much higher audio quality. You can find it here.

Jonathan Blow gave the closing keynote speech at Games:EDU South on July 29, 2008 in Brighton, England. This one-hour lecture is about three ways in which current mainstream games are inherently conflicted, and how this holds them back from affecting people as strongly as the forms of linear media they are striving to emulate. Art games are used to build a perspective from which to see this problem and maybe attack it a little bit.

You can download the lecture as a .zip file containing the PowerPoint slides, along with an mp3 of the audio:

(Games:EDU Keynote, 35MB).

Unfortunately the recording came out at a low quality; the questions from the audience at the end are difficult or impossible to hear, but hopefully the answers are detailed enough to provide clues as to the questions.

Another lecture, this time from Denmark.

I gave this lecture as the keynote at the Nordic Game Jam in Copenhagen. You can download it as a .zip file containing the PowerPoint slides, along with an mp3 of the audio.

(Nordic Game Jam lecture, 35MB).

It’s about how to develop high-quality games as an indie or a student; but unlike the prototyping lecture I gave before, this one revolves around the different categories of development tasks, and the ways in which people get stuck creating games that fall far short of their real potential.

Continue reading Another lecture, this time from Denmark.

A lecture I just gave at Game Focus Germany.

The title is “Programming is Easy; Production is Harder; Design is Hardest.” I gave this lecture on January 24, 2008 at the Game Focus Germany conference. Casey Muratori and Electronic Arts are the absent guest-stars of this lecture. I’m still not sure exactly what this lecture was about, but people seemed to like it all right.

Here is the link to the lecture, which is a .zip file containing PowerPoint slides and an mp3 audio track. The full zip is about 30 megabytes.

This lecture was not a keynote, so its subject matter is smaller in scale than the past couple of lectures I’ve posted.

I like hanging out in Germany. I would definitely come back next year!

Audio and Slides for Jonathan Blow’s lecture at MIGS 2007, “Design Reboot”.

I gave a lecture on November 27th at the Montreal International Games Summit; this lecture was highly critical of current game design practice. It’s about what I think is wrong with the intentions designers have when they set out to create a game, and points out that, as games are played by more people, this will become increasingly societally damaging. It also holds some suggestions about how to create games that are deeper and more meaningful, rather than being throw-away entertainment.

Here’s a zip file containing an audio recording of the lecture, as well as a PowerPoint file containing the slides:

“Design Reboot”, Jonathan Blow, Montreal International Game Summit 2007

Unfortunately there’s nothing embedded in the audio telling you when to flip slides. Hopefully I will make a video version soon, which will be easier for people to deal with (and they won’t need to worry about having slide presentation software installed).

A number of news sites have written stories about it and people have started commenting on what they feel is the validity or the invalidity of the arguments. However, I don’t think this really works, because the news sites are only reporting about 2% of the lecture; the rest of the lecture is very important in terms of providing context and setting examples. So if you are interested in this kind of subject, I recommend you get the full lecture.

Two Video Lectures about Game Design now available.

Free Play lecture

The first lecture was the keynote at the FreePlay conference, a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne. The lecture is about how to minimize risk and maximize quality as an indie developer, while creating art instead of products; also, it goes pretty deeply into my views about what we could/should be doing as game designers. Sumea, an Australian game developer portal, has posted the video on this page (here is the direct download link; it’s about 92MB).

Indie Game Summit talk (at the GDC)

The second lecture was given in March 2007 at the Indie Games Summit (at the GDC). This talk is more about prototyping; it shares some material with the FreePlay talk, but has a bit more in terms of game demos, and a heavier emphasis on details about Braid (though the version of the game it shows is much earlier). Here is a download link to that one (.mov format). I would provide a Google Video link but WordPress is being lousy and stripping out necessary things from the tags (why would it do such a thing?)

If anyone wants the PowerPoint slides to either of these lectures, leave me a note and I will become motivated to put them up.