Saturday, August 09, 2008


This whole Braid pricing thing is ridiculous, but interesting.

For me, arguments about price versus longevity are moot - as in fact are discussions about how fun, pretty or concise the game is, all of which fall into the trap of comparing it directly with other games on XBLA.

The thing is that Braid is more akin to the experience of going to see an exhibition in an art gallery with the expectation is that it will change the way you think or see things - a proposition which people are quite accustomed to paying more than £10.20* for without griping at the price of entry

Furthermore, the art gallery transaction typically has no 'free demo' - patrons simply trust that the artist they are going to see will be worth the price of entry. And having happily trusted that Braid would be worth the price of entry, I bought it immediately without needing to see a demo. And being entirely satisfied with my transaction, I have a great deal of sympathy for Jonathan Blow's position that if only the 'art games people' buy Braid, he will make back his investment at 1200 points, and can only hope that he does okay out of it and then some.

Incidently, I think that 'art game' is an inaccurate and potentially misleading description of Braid - unlike the work of people like Jason Rohrer or Rod Humble, it's very much more game than art, by which I guess I mean that it follows more conventional rules of gaming, which people who already play videogames would understand. But the *experience* of playing the game does similar things to my brain as good art I've seen, hence the comparison.

I'm probably under half way through, and I've already come across several puzzles which I found completely delightful, and which have since sent my brain spinning around the possibilities which they suggest. 

So far my only criticism is that there's only one save slot. So I can't have my wife share the experience of playing through it properly until I'm done. ** Edit: but  I completely missed the fact that I can just create a fresh profile and have an independant save game for that too. Shows what I know huh?

* yep - we pay 134% more for the game in the UK - nearly the highest Microsoft points markup worldwide.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Nice thoughts about Braid... I especially like the point about "artistic games" vs. "gallery games". I enjoy Jason Rohrer's stuff (at least Passage and Gravitation) as an experience, but I am always a little removed from them, wondering what each detail means. Braid lets me forget the symbolism of the mechanics every once in a while and get lost in a puzzle for the puzzles' sake. Either way, the fact that designers are making statements through mechanics is a huge step forward for the medium.