Category Archives: Other Games

A game to watch for: Miegakure

Miegakure, by Marc ten Bosch, is a puzzle game where you travel through four-dimensional space (and manipulate objects in that space). I was privileged to play an early version in 2009; just this week I got to play the most recent version, and it is coming along tremendously. It is my Game of the Year, though it is unlikely to be released this year. I find it easy to think of Miegakure as one of the great puzzle games of all time.

If I can be said to have an agenda in game design, it has something to do with mind-expansion.  Because of that, I very much appreciate it when other designers make games with that kind of intention.  Games that are truly mind-expanding are very rare and very difficult to make, but this is one of them.

Keep an eye out for this game, and when it comes out, play it.  Since it will be a while before release, so there’s no demo available.

Here’s an introduction to the game.

Here’s an interview Marc did with Gamasutra with further details.

To keep up with news on the game, you can subscribe to Marc’s blog.

This was cross-posted from the development blog for The Witness.

Everyday Genius: SquareLogic

This game is very good. You should play it now. There’s a free demo you can get from the publisher’s site or from Steam.

You might have an impulse to skip this game because of the name, or because it looks like number puzzles. It is number puzzles, and the game does a very refreshing job of exploring that design space. You’ll be surprised many times before you are done playing. It is a joyful game to play.

The idea of thoroughly exploring a design space has come up in conversation a lot lately. Last week, Chris Hecker gave a rant on this topic, titled “Please Finish Your Game”. The ability to explore a space like this is a very, very valuable skill for a game designer to have. From the look of the games being produced currently, it seems that not many designers know how to do it. The best way to learn it is by example, and this game is a very good example.

I learned a lot of interesting things from SquareLogic.

Announcing Indie Fund

Today we are announcing a fund that provides very good terms for talented indie developers working on high-quality games.  Our terms are much friendlier than what publishers offer.  Our goal is to help indies become stronger while retaining their independence.

The past couple of years have been good for independent game developers.  Through download services like Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, WiiWare, and Steam, independent developers have found a very large audience.  Some of us have been lucky enough to develop hit indie games that were very financially successful.

Braid was one of those games.  The success of Braid has allowed me to undertake more-ambitious projects like The Witness.  At the same time, I felt that I wanted to do something with the profits that would help other indies with their own games.  More recently, while talking to publishers about The Witness, I felt that the business climate around publishing and funding these smaller games had not caught up with reality: it’s a model where the standard terms are tuned for budgets in the tens of millions of dollars.  Because publishers want to stick to this model even for low-budget games, it was very hard for indie developers to get a fair deal.

It turns out that other successful indies felt the same way, so we have pooled our resources and launched this fund.  We will be announcing further details soon.  At the GDC, Ron Carmel will be giving a talk about the problems that exist in the current publishing model for indie-budget games.

We’ve had the timing of this announcement planned for a while, but it seems like some kind of strange synchronicity that we’re revealing our existence just as all this trouble is happening at Infinity Ward.  When you’re a mainstream developer, and you’ve made one of the most successful and profitable games of all time, and then just a few months later your publisher and parent company is willing to so bald-facedly mutilate your company, well, what conclusions can be drawn from that?  If publishers of that size are so megalomaniacal as to be incapable of seeing the importance of a developer’s talent — instead believing that the game’s success is somehow due primarily to their brilliant marketing strategy or their CEO’s charming personality — then how will this ever change?

If Infinity Ward can’t be treated with respect, then who can?

Independent developers can.  That’s one answer, at least.  Indie Fund is here to help make that independent existence a reality for as many talented developers as we can.

Here’s a link to the main Indie Fund site, with an email you can use to contact us.

(Cross-posted from The Witness Development Blog.)


If you liked Braid, you may enjoy Terry Cavanaugh’s game VVVVVV. It’s also a platformer that is built around one core interaction, iterating on that piece of gameplay and exploring variations. In VVVVVV you will die a lot, but the penalty for death is extremely low, so it’s no big deal.

There’s a free demo (in downloadable and web-based versions). Here’s the link again.

Game Recommendation: Osmos

Those who follow this blog know that I don’t recommend games very often. So you know that when I do, I really mean it.

So if you haven’t played Osmos (by Hemisphere Games), do yourself a favor and go try it out. There’s a free demo; the game is available on Steam as well as the developer’s own site.

Osmos Trailer on Vimeo.

Relatively speaking, a lot of independent game designers are trying to be experimental these days, and the problem I see with most of these games is that they don’t understand their own ideas — after playing, one feels that there was a lot of potential in the ideas that went unexplored, that the game never saw in the first place.

Osmos isn’t like that. It starts with an idea that several games have done before: you’re a cell and you eat guys that are smaller than you in order to get bigger. To this it adds the idea that makes the game stand out: This game is going to generally adhere to the nature and feel of physics in space; for example, momentum is conserved, so you need to eject your own mass in order to move. The game then explores the consequences of these ideas and ventures through a rich territory of additions that are all naturally suggested by the game’s premise.

The result, by the time you’ve finished, is not merely a satisfying game. It rings with that faint and distant sound of truth: because the game is based around laws of physics, it immerses you in these and you learn something about them. Perhaps not anything you didn’t already know in an abstract intellectual way, if you took physics classes in school; but here, you get a feel for them, so they become more real, more tangible. This game can change your perspective.

Name That Game competition answers, and Why You Might Wish to Play All These Games

To celebrate the release of the Braid theme for the Xbox 360, we had a Name That Game competition wherein people look at small pieces of screenshots and try to identify the games they came from.

20 people have submitted the correct answers, and so the competition is now closed. (Actually, I mailed out 25 codes, because a few of the entries looked suspiciously like they were submitted by people trying to get more than one copy. But I can’t be sure about that, and the problem wasn’t big, so I just sent out extras.) If you haven’t received a reply, you didn’t win; sorry about the lack of personal replies, but there were too many submissions to respond to each.

Here are the answers. I chose these because they are all games worthy of your time and attention:

Continue reading Name That Game competition answers, and Why You Might Wish to Play All These Games

Giveaway: Free Copies of Braid (Xbox 360)

To celebrate the release of the Braid theme, I wanted to give away a bunch of copies of the theme for free. But Microsoft says I can’t do that. However, I am able to give out free copies of the game itself, and I have about 20 spares.

Let’s have a Name That Game competition. Posted below are pieces of screenshots from 10 games. Correctly identify each game!

The first 20 people who mail with all the correct answers will each win a code for a free copy of Braid on the Xbox 360. The competition ends as soon as all the free copies are gone, or at 11:59pm GMT on March 23, 2009 — whichever comes first. (My bet is that at least one person gets them all within a day… we’ll see!)

If the competition ends without all the free copies having been given away, they will go to the people who got the most right answers. So even if you can’t figure them all out, send in what you’ve got — you still might win.

I reserve the right to deny people who look like they are spamming the answers to win multiple copies, or something.

The clues are after the fold. Update: The contest is now over. See this posting for the answers.
Continue reading Giveaway: Free Copies of Braid (Xbox 360)

Passage is now available on the iPhone.

Jason Rohrer’s art game Passage, a work that has inspired many developers since its original release a year ago, is now available on the iPhone for the low low price of 99 cents.

Passage is a game that I recommend everyone play, especially if you are interested in game design. And if you’ve already played it, here’s your chance to have a portable version, and to support the art game community, all for a meager sum.

The PC version of Passage is still free; you can get it at Jason’s web site.

Braid XBLA release date has been announced; it’s soon.

Finally the veil of secrecy is lifted. Braid is being released on Xbox Live Arcade on August 6th, 2008 (a mere 9 days from now!)

This is part of Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade promotion, wherein they publish good games on XBLA all in one big bundle. Here’s the full list of games:

  • Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, July 30
  • Braid, August 6
  • Bionic Commando: Rearmed, August 13
  • Galaga Legions, August 20
  • Castle Crashers, August 27

Here is Microsoft’s official Summer of Arcade site where you can find more information, including contests that some folks may be interested in. Disclaimer: We apologize for the way Microsoft chose to present our game’s logo with the big word “Braid” covering the interesting part of the picture, along with popping-out animals on it to make it look XXXTREME like the other games. This is not much like the art we submitted to them; our tastes don’t run that way.