Braid has filled my head with so many ideas, so many opinions, so many emotions that wrestling them all into a coherent critique is like trying to strangle a swan made of jelly.
And then also:
Braid is beautiful, entertaining and inspiring. It stretches both intellect and emotion, and these elements dovetail beautifully rather than chafing against each other. Still wondering if games can be art? Here’s your answer.
Chris Dahlen at Save The Robot wrote a highly positive preview of Braid. (The article starts out as a discussion of Jonathan Blow’s recent lecture, but soon moves on to discussing Braid.) Dahlen’s Onion AV Club review of Braid is scheduled to appear next week; it’l be interesting to see what it says.
UK print magazine Edge has published the first review of Braid, giving the game a score of 9/10. Normally I would not be happy about a 9, but Edge has a reputation for being very tough with scores. (Braid was the only game with a score of 9 or above in this issue [#192]; in previous issues, they gave BioShock and Metal Gear Solid 4 each 8/10. Headline coming soon: Edge says Braid is better than MGS4; PS3 fan riot imminent.) I can’t link the review because it’s in print, but here’s the last sentence:
Braid remains a beautiful and brilliantly demanding game that barely contains its dense population of ideas, taking its place alongside Geometry Wars and Pac-Man Championship Edition as one of the finest original titles available on Live Arcade.
The Edge reviewer didn’t like the story much; but Chris Dahlen did. So there.
Also, I am making an About Braid page to answer peoples questions, provide some background to the game and links to reviews. It is not nicely-formatted yet, and will eventually have more information, but anyone who wants a sneak peek at it can look here.
Last month’s issue of Xbox World 360 magazine has a great preview of Braid. It’s 4 pages long, and you can tell they put a lot of effort into it. Indies are lucky to get even meager press attention for their games, so I’d like to thank these guys for running such a huge and good-looking feature. It’s risky for a magazine to do something like this; readers are not exactly clamoring to know about Braid; they probably want to know about Fallout 3 or Oblivion 2 or something.
I am a little embarrassed by the “play up the personality of the designer and talk about how cool he is” angle; I would rather people just write about the game itself.
Braid and its visuals also came up, quite favorably, in the discussion column they print on the last page of the magazine.
The editors gave me permission to reproduce the preview here for anyone who’s interested… so here it is. (Click on the small images for hopefully-readable bigger ones.)
Let it be known that, at the time of writing, I envy every single person who reads this preview. Why? Because Iâ€™ve just started up … Braid for the first time, and Iâ€™ll never get to do it again. Iâ€™ll be able to play it again, sure, but it wonâ€™t ever be the same as it was just now. I canâ€™t, unlike the gameâ€™s protagonist, rewind time and have the same experience again.
The 1Up Show guys interviewed Jonathan Blow and David Hellman about Braid. Sadly, the interview doesn’t lay too much context about the game for people not familiar with it. But we still get into some interesting topics. The 1UP guys genuinely like Braid and are looking forward to its release; we were glad to do the interview with them.
He raises the concern that Braid might not find a large audience because it is so different. I think there is a danger of this, but at the same time, Braid’s being different is what makes it worth playing in the first place. Commander Hate had a strong positive reaction to the game; if there are enough people like that, and they tell their friends, then Braid will succeed.
Braid isn’t about trying to appeal to the maximum number of people — it’s about appealing to exactly the right people.
We’ll see how that works out. Then again, my favorite Xbox Live Arcade game of last year was Space Giraffe, which sold quite poorly. So, there is that.
It’s been a while since I posted an update about Braid, mainly because we are just working hard to tighten up all the slack, and whereas it’s all good work that needs to be done, there isn’t much news-like happening at the current time.
People have asked for gameplay videos.Â I’ve been wanting to do them for a while, but one of my concerns is that it’s a relatively subtle game — the things that are interesting about it are mainly things that go on in your mind while you play, as opposed to Big! Explosions!on the screen.Â I think that for much of the gameplay, a video wouldn’t even make that much sense — many viewers wouldn’t understand what was happening without having played the game.Â (Plus I would have to spoiler a significant number of puzzles).
However!Â I have concocted a plan wherein we produce augmented gameplay videos…
There has been some speculation, but we can now confirm that Braid will be released on Xbox Live Arcade.Â Our release date is in early 2008 (this will allow us to miss the insane rush of huge cames coming this Christmas, and release at a mellower time).
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).
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.