Individual achievements and a return to games
By Ben on 07 Jul 2012
Reading The Atlantic’s article, The Most Dangerous Gamer led me to download the demo of Braid and then purchase it that same day via Steam. It’s an amazing game that’s also an analysis of games as a form of entertainment and consumption by way of its mechanics of gameplay and narrative about invention, purpose, love and loss.
After getting stuck on puzzles in a couple levels I put the game down for almost a week. Upon returning I was able to wrap my mind around how to solve the remaining ones and I finished the game last night. It’s short, but unlike so many other games very little is unnecessarily repeated, almost each puzzle is unique.
At the forefront, the story is about love and loss between the main character and another, what leads to the loss and what follows, though there are references to greater relationships made and nods to destructive industries. There are some great writeups of the story and interviews with the creator, Johnathan Blow. The AV Club’s interview is a deep dive into the development and popular responses to the game.
I told Dan he should get the game and he realized he had it as part of a packaged indie game purchase called The Humble Bundle which contains the game Limbo. I played the demo last night as well and will probably purchase it. I used to play games a lot, it’s both fun and now strange to be briefly coming back to it with such independent, thought-provoking games.
Some time ago I had heard of Jason Rohrer, but hadn’t played any of his games. The 5-minute game Passage, about the constraints of time and activity was easily played on my iPod Touch for 99 cents. Unlike Braid, Roher provides his own thorough explanation of the game.
Another thing about Rohrer, his family is living as simply and sustainably as possible. What’s interesting to me is what appears to be the ability for individuals to have vastly rewarding solo careers developing software. I’ve just recently discovered the works of Jason Roher, Jonathan Blow, and Marco Arment and each is individually (to varying degrees) creating successful and valuable work with software. It’s inspiring.