Xbox's 'Braid' A Surprise Hit, For Surprising Reasons

via, Tom Chick writes:

"NPR's "All Things Considered" did a short piece on Braid, the mind-bending time-twisting platformer available on Xbox Live. After Robert Siegel tries to get his mouth around various trademarked videogaming phrases like "Xbox Live" and "Halo Combat Evolved", there's a three-and-a-half minute segment based on speaking to developer Jonathan Blow. Because I'll bet you dollars to donuts correspondent Heather Chaplin didn't actually play Braid.

"Braid feels like a game that a grown up can play," she chirps, "that a grown up perhaps ought to play. Braid pulsates with feelings of loss, loneliness, and longing. Which means that Jonathan Blow has violated one of the cardinal rules of game-making: that games have to be fun. Fun with a capital F and an exclamation point."

Leaving aside that "fun" is a useless concept in any meaningful discussion, this is accidentally a good point. Braid doesn't work according the traditional rules, which mandate doling out rewards to players to encourage them to keep playing. Blow expresses it much better when he tells Chaplin his idea of a reward system: "You simply feel the satisfaction of having done something that seemed difficult at first. And having expanded your understanding."

But Chaplin gets in the last word with yet another inadvertent and oblivious dig at videogaming..."

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