When Braid hit Xbox LIVE Arcade this past August, the entire industry took notice. Cheapassgamers questioned its $15 dollar price point. Armchair philosophers debated its ambiguous ending. Heck, even Soulja Boy got in on the action. But whatever you may think about the game or its outspoken creator Jonathan Blow, you can’t deny that Braid struck a chord with people — not that the resultant conversations have been worth having.
As the closing keynote speaker of the 2008 Montreal Games Summit, Blow discussed how to make games that touch people, and the folks over at Gamasutra have written an in-depth summary of the speech (If you’ve ever referred to videogames as a medium, this link is for you). Blow began his talk by questioning the potential for videogames to deliver a profound experience via traditional storytelling forms. He then goes on to identify three central conflicts that developers must reconcile: story meaning vs. dynamic meaning, challenge vs. progression, and interactivity vs. pre-baked delivery.
For those who’d like to go deeper into this particular rabbit hole, here’s a link to the original audio and slides.