• Welcome to droqen's forum-shaped notebook. Please log in.


Started by droqen, January 21, 2023, 04:21:49 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Book 1.

What is the Princess? What would it mean to find it? He wants to find it, finds hints of where it is (to the North, rather than the South) in "the gloss of the lips on the screen", in "measuring the angle of the plume of a distant helicopter crash" (not on the screen?)

Finding, knowing, the Princess would reveal something momentous, but the 'light' of such a discovery would "flicker down to nothing, taking the castle with it; it would be like burning down the place we've always called home, where we played so innocently as children. Destroying all hope of safety, forever."

Whatever the Princess is, the 'other residents of the city' do not want to find her. She is some secret knowledge... If Tim, or perhaps anyone, were to find her, it would
- be bright and illuminating
- become dark
- take 'the castle' with it, also into darkness
- not make dark but burn down "the place we've always called home, where we played so innocently as children" (what does it mean to burn something down?)
- destroy all hope of safety forever


World 1.

Going backwards, backwards...


I remember this part fondly! It was a great conclusion, a great reveal.
Very easy to take this on surface reading-- the Princess is actually a person, and not some concept... You know, the easy reveal is that Tim is the bad guy, that you've been this bad guy all along, stalking/harassing someone who wants to be left alone. Conclusion, done.

But that's not really what's going on here at all, this is noticeably not some good-to-evil bait & switch, although it wears the trappings of it. The gameplay and visuals are misleading, even intentionally so?



Tim is searching for the Princess -- for something -- through science, questionable science. "I am here // I am here. I want to touch you. Look at me!" says the something for which Tim searches. "But he would not see her; he only knew how to look at the outsides of things."

(What is with the empty green books, by the way? They are empty now. It is the red books that show text. Do they only appear under certain conditions? Do some players see only empty green books instead?)

Then comes the book that suggests Tim finally has found the Princess, and that she is the atomic bomb, only it never says she found her. It says "Through these clues he would find the Princess, see her face" and then proceeds to describe the bomb. There is a larger idea here, a larger concept... Tim's pursuit lead him here. Where else would it lead him? For what was he searching?

"She couldn't understand why he chose so flirt so closely with the death of the world."

Now his desire is framed differently, as childish rather than scientific. 'She held him back with great strength' from breaking the glass to get at the candy behind it, at the candy store. She speaks down to him, perhaps he is just a child, she says "Maybe when you're older" as he shrieks and whatnot at what is behind the glass:

- the chocolate bar
- the magnetic monopole
- the It-From-Bit
- the Ethical Calculus
- so many other things, deeper inside

knowledge, technology, secrets.

The green books are back, we are grounded again. The icons of the levels in the game are moments-as-stones, they form a castle. They have been put together into the shape of a castle. Ah, and there is that cloud, off the edge of the castle, where you can stand.


My conclusion for now is that I think I understand Braid a lot better than I once did, and though I don't think it should have been developed or designed differently, it has not changed my mind in the slightest about how games relate to deep meaning. Braid has many puzzles which seem like a smokescreen to what really matters --- a way of keeping people at a distance. It perhaps speaks about this tendency and its consequences, but succumbs to the tendency and its consequences, too.

Of course, I am biased here. I don't like solving puzzles, and the more I do it, the less I like it. Games tend to get harder and harder, for whatever reason; I like the puzzles that serve to show me one crystal-clear concept in a satisfying way, but the puzzles in Braid actually get worse by this metric as they often do in puzzle games. They show me muddier and muddier concept-heaps that are increasingly ugly and convoluted and unnecessary. It is truly unfortunate.

In my opinion, games should get easier and easier as you go along. What else is the point of gaining familiarity, skill, and comfort in them? They should get easier and more satisfying, not harder and less satisfying.

Braid explores some interesting concepts and the gameplay does serve those concepts to a point, to a degree. I won't summarize the concepts here, now, but I might come back to this idea later.

The end.