My inaugural Things I Like post was about an ancient Akkadian piece of philosophical / satirical literature, so for this follow-up post I’ve decided to skip ahead several thousand years and talk about an indie computer game, Braid.
Braid is a two-dimensional platform game. On the surface, it looks much the same as any other platform game: you jump from here to there, avoiding creatures and collecting items, in this case puzzle pieces. But there’s one key difference between this and other games: the flow of time works differently on each level. Right at the start you find that you have the ability to rewind time, and as the game progresses you discover objects and creatures that interact with time differently, items which slow the passage of time around them, even worlds where your direction of movement determines the direction of time.
And the notion of time’s malleability is not confined to game mechanics. The game’s protagonist, Tim, is trying to atone for some unfortunate mistake involving a princess and a monster. His reflections accompany the player’s progress throughout the game, forming an intriguing, multi-layered narrative exploring the experience of life within time.
Braid is only a short game — you’ll probably finish it in less then 10 hours — but it has more depth than a lot of games many times its length. Its creator, Jonathan Blow, has some fascinating ideas about games and what they can be. His next game will be The Witness, which is due for release some time in 2016. If Braid is anything to go by, it will be well worth checking out.