Braid: Opinions are like black holes, everybody gets one once they reach World 6.

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“In time he learns to deal with others carefully. He matches their hesitant pace, tracing a soft path through their defenses. But this exhausts him, and it only works to a limited degree. It doesn’t get him what he needs.” -world 6 text.

Hesitance, the theme of world 6.

I hesitated to read up on Braid while I waited patiently for a PC port. I got the game, and played through it, it was awesome. Solving puzzles is great fun for me, so is bouncing around and enjoying the Action side of games. Plus there are all the somewhat esoteric text blocks that sprinkle each level’s intro, I came up with my own theory about the deeper story, and it was highly subjective, having to do with an ex-girlfriend, a substance abuse problem, and a life-long fascination with quantum physics.

So once I was done it was with great trepidation that I went off to read others views on this game, including those of its creator J.Blow. It was disappointing. Many people, including Blow, have disparate views on the game from mine, and none of them rang true to me.

This isn’t because I have a correct opinion on what the message behind Braid is, but it’s because Braid itself is such a great game. The game has so much to offer, in so few words/gameplay mechanics, that everyone CAN come up with their own interpretation. And that’s the beauty of Braid, and the potential of games.

In literary theory (the little of it that I know) there is a view that once the author puts down their pen they relinquish any authority over the meaning of the words they have written. Books have so many words, so many allusions and so much contextual information that only very few people who read them feel like they can accurately interpret them. Braid is more like a poem in that anyone reading it who wishes to posit an opinion can do so if they put a bit of work in, and many have.

I only played the game once, and maybe will enjoy other people’s opinions once I know the game a bit better, but maybe not. I avoided FAQs when playing it, but since I solving the game I went to see if there were other ways to solve some rooms, and there are, and I happened upon some info about stars, none of which I found, which leads me to believe I’ll be back as Tim sometime soon…

Meanwhile I’m still chipping away at Henry Hatsworth, a platformer with none of the subtlety or depth of braid, but with an addictive gameplay mechanic, and a hell of a challenging difficulty curve. I just need to beat that damn nurse/old man… and for that I will happily check FAQs.

PS. I see that I’m getting a fair amount of pageviews lately and I’d really appreciate it if you folks left some feedback, positive or negative. 🙂

Take care!

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