Post 190: My revelation about video games.

Posted by Gloqwi Friday, September 26, 2008

If you ever meet me in forums, you would know my anger against video games NOT being video games(movies, etc.) and firmly believing that any way that a company releases an original video game brand into another medium just helps the brand grow and not the culture. Now, I'm going to talk about Braid, or rather, tell you something I learned from Braid. Braid was a game I really wanted to get but really couldn't cough up the money to buy it on(saving for bigger games, no offense Jonathan Blow), I only had about $70, and I was only planning to buy 1 game this year, so I felt like I kinda was missing out on everything every reviewer that played it praised the game for. I ignored all the reviews saying it was breakthrough and saying it was the best game ever(not really ignored, just didn't believe, or give in), I just thought it was a very original idea that could be used in very cool ways. Now, I recently thought about buying the game next time I get a 360, so I pretty much spoiled the ending of the game to myself(both endings), and thought they were pretty deep for an arcade game(and has lead me to believe that not all XBLA games are XBLA games). I then looked further into the game for an explanation to the somewhat vague ending and found a very interesting view of what Braid is about. You should at least have played the whole trial version to understand some of this and you must have at least seen the alternative ending to understand ALL of it. Written by GiantBomb user MaSuTa, here's his explanation of the "storyline of Braid".

There will be spoilers here, but I trust you gathered that from, you know, the fact that I'm talking about what I think Braid is about. I'm also not going to touch upon the more overarching themes of the game, such as Regret. No, I'm going to specifically be talking about Tim.

Tim is just a man. He was a smart man, a clever man, a man who stood in contrary to the ways of society: A scientist. Tim was a scientist, who was looking for the princess, who would make everything better, who would validate everything he's done. The princess symbolizes the meaning of life.

He was on his way to save the princess, fighting over obstacle after obstacle. They had gotten more intense, and more challenging. But slowly, Tim began to realize everything was backwards. Something was very wrong about what he was doing. Everything seemed like it was... backwards. Like the last levels of the game. As things got their most tense, he reached the goal of his work, of everything he had done until now: The princess.

In a flash of light, he had realized what he was doing. Setting foot on the platform, staring right at the princess. Nothing had ever felt more wrong than looking the result of his work face to face, the culmination.

So he ran. He tried to forget everything, but his mind went through the deeds he had done, the things he had accomplished in the name of saving... that. With horror, patterns clarified: Were he and the princess working together, or were the princesses attempts to help actions with darker intentions? At the time, she looked like she was helping, like they were helping each other. Reliving it caused Tim to see what had been happening: he had been set up. He was told "this is what you're looking for, here is your princess", and in one flash, he realized how wrong, how very very wrong he was.,

One flash.

The epilogue is where the largest, most telling characteristic of Tim's one mistake was, and it gives detail into how he copes with it. Throughout the game, the green books had been telling stories of this glorious princess, who would change everything and fix everything, who had the power to do all these things, even though she had turned his back on him. Arriving at the epilogue, the first thing that is apparent is that the green books say nothing. The red books, however, tell the whole story, the real story of what had taken place with Tim. Describing events worthy of despair and worry, of development and construction. One of the last red books that can be read details Tim raising darkened glass to his eyes, and then a blinding flash, and the moment time stood still. What were the things that Tim heard after that flash, that moment?

"It worked."
"Now we are all sons of bitches."

That second line is a quote from one J. Robert Oppenheimer, after the detonation of the first atomic bomb.

Tim was a part of the team that developed the atomic bomb.

The guilt of what he had done, what he had made, achieving this goal he had set for himself, had turned his entire life upside down. No, not upside down... backwards. Everything he knew was wrong, thanks to the detonation of this... thing, this man made apocalyptic device. It was traumatizing. Most people deal with trauma poorly. Tim sank into deep, deep denial over what he had done, over what seeking the princess had really created, that in order to keep his will to live, he had to lie to himself. He had to lie about what the princess was, about what he had done. And that is when the green books begin to make sense, when he has lost all other means of coping aside from madness. But his madness is self sustaining, it's protecting him. It keeps him alive. So he finds the cornerstone of what he must do. He will build this world for his mind to live in, of puzzles, castles, princesses, and the ability to undo every mistake you've ever made.

Go look at the pictures constructed again: They are of an empty man. The eyes hold a void, a decided un-life inside this very real, very capable body. They also detail the other ways that Tim had coped with this crushing regret; Women. Wine. Family. Travelling. Wandering. He did not do these because he wanted do: He did them because they were all he could think of to bring himself peace, or at least something he could fool himself into thinking was peace. And he observes these things he did from a distance, as if they are pictures in an art gallery. They bring him great comfort, but seeing them all, reminds him of why they are there; it builds the ladder for him to go and relive what he had done, why those images were there. And by the time he is out of this explination, this loop that keeps his mind in check, if he steps out the door, he is confronted with the same thing he fled from at the start of the game. At any point, in getting lost inside these worlds of his own creation, his attempts to escape responsibility, he can just step outside and face the calamity, the image of his regret.

A great, everlasting fire.

And that's what I think Braid is about.

If you read the whole thing(I did), you should be like "Woah! That's freakin' deep!"(if you aren't, you might not have any interest in the game). There is a whole backstory I know I would have never been able to have noticed just playing the game basically. And for those people that played the trial version, like me, that are confused when they mentioned red books, I think that they are extra books in the game that show the real story that Tim does not (want to) see. When I read this, it explained almost every confusing aspect of that game, answering questions like,"Why is there a burning city in the back?", and "Why is there an incomplete ladder at the top of the building?" I still don't understand the constellation though.

What this also made me realize is that I still believe video games should just stay as video games, but that you could innovate greatly with great and original concepts, story, and gameplay. Jonathan Blow did exactly that, he made a video game that is a true example of art, compiled with great music, art, story, gameplay, and so much more inside a great game. Sure it took a simple concept, platforming. But if you succeed to transform and build from it well, you could revolutionize a genre and even more. A whole culture. This game shows that video games are more then just shooting people and playing games. I know that many people do not like putting the terms "video games" and "an experience" in the same sentence, or even paragraph, because there are those people out there that are not hardcore and might not care that much about a game's storyline or it's design, but if you make a game like this, many gamers will be astonished.

Well, I don't know if you noticed, but I really wanted this to be the last post of Gloqwi. It might be, it might not be. But if it is, I really wanted to finish the site well with a pretty quality article with many of my opinions expressed in it. I would like to let go of this blog from my administration, but I really would like to keep it in my memories. I doubt many people went on this site, but this was my first experience into blogging, and I wanted to remember it. So I would just like to say goodbye to this blog. Thank you for anyone that actually visited this. I'm going to try to focus on a more consistent blog now, with VGNO. I'm thinking about changing it a little bit though. But I will say no more. Goodbye!

1 Responses to Post 190: My revelation about video games.

  1. mo Says:
  2. Oh my god, this article is so intimidating, I don't know if I have the will power to read something like this on the internet. That's what books are for! I will try. Wish me Luck.


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