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Posts posted by Archduke

  1. 17 minutes ago, Latrine said:


    I agree with what you say in your post but I think people often make the mistake of claiming that the Witness (and also Braid) have a single point. I don't think that's the case for either game. We're talking a lot about the philosophy of the Witness but you can't ignore all the puzzle panels which don't directly tie into that. The Witness isn't just a collection of line puzzles, but it is also a collection of line puzzles. No one theory perfectly explains all aspects of the game. Blow made this argument flippantly when defending Braid by saying no one understood the game but basically he was saying people spent more time analyzing the text and story of Braid and not the puzzles which are a larger proportion of the game design and are interesting in and of themselves. This video does a good analysis of that


    He seemed to be expressing the opposite point in the Adam interview. He seemed to be claiming that the puzzles, which you often must change your perspective to solve, are thematically in line with the philosophical underpinnings.

  2. 9 hours ago, Urthman said:

    But why is this?  We don't demand that every statue and painting in a museum tell an explicit story.  We don't feel cheated that DaVinci never reveals (and probably didn't know) what the Mona Lisa is thinking or smiling about.  Why is this beautiful puzzle box disappointing because it doesn't have a story inside it?  Why is it impossible for some people to even see the puzzle box without assuming the existence of a story?


    I wrote a big post about art, but I'll spare you my ramblings. Suffice to say that The Witness isn't asking an open-ended question like a piece of art would. It's prescribing an answer to us that doesn't have room for anything more than surface-level interpretation. (It allows us to interpret the philosophies behind the answer, but not the answer itself.)


    Now, let's talk about games.


    I'll re-iterate some stuff that most of us probably know. Games help us learn real skills by providing practice. Chess teaches us about social roles and war, shooters teach us caveman-style survival tactics, etc. The narrative of a game (not to be confused with the metaphors that most games use), provides us with an engaging story layer. It's the fluff that, while not integral to the skills being taught, is useful for player enjoyment and retention.


    When I, as a player of games, see extraneous elements in a game, I expect them to be harmonious with the game's narrative. The existence of an empty town, for example, builds an expectation that there is narrative reason for it to be there. The lack of attachment to the core gameplay is what makes me perceive it as fluff, and start to build expectations as to what the full extent of the fluff could be.


    The question may be asked, "Why don't we expect the pieces of Monopoly to have a rich backstory?" The answer being: the pieces in monopoly are metaphor, they aren't narrative fluff. We accept the metaphor as being limited because we're lazy, and we don't want to have to internalize a huge metaphor to play a game. However, we expect more from the fluff.

  3. Awesome thread, it's great to see someone's progress in drawing. I'm going through a similar self-teaching process with writing right now, but the next step will be getting my graphic design skills up to snuff. :)

  4. Man, I wish I had the same experience that you guys had.


    I got the game on launch week expecting a Myst-like (Which was a fair assumption given the information that we had pre-release). The visual treatment, the vague promise of a puzzle island, all of it pointed towards Myst in my head.


    As I progressed, the game itself most definitely pointed towards a story. The statues of people, the philosophical audio logs, and the man-made structures all hinted at something lying underneath.



    Then, the end of the game happens. It basically says, "Hey it's just a game, there never was any story here, but that's fine cause it's a game. Those audio logs that you thought were contributing to a narrative? Those were actually telling you that there was none." This was crushing to me. All of my expectation wasn't just left unfulfilled, I felt like I was being actively mocked for wanting a story to be in the game.


    If the game had set my expectations properly, I would've been fine with playing a simple game about puzzles. Instead, I felt like I was set up by the marketing and the in-game promise of there being more story, then shot down by this sudden theme that only appears in audio logs and the "good ending".


    After my experience, hearing Blow's thoughts about not wanting to waste player's time feels especially tone-deaf.

  5. 11 hours ago, RubixsQube said:


    It's really great, actually. There's more Breath of the Wild discussion, and a little bit of talk about Flinthook and Nier: Automata, but then Jake and Chris take the floor and talk about Full Throttle for a while. I know that this has probably been said before, but I would absolutely love to hear a game by game retrospective from the Thumbs crew on the classic Lucasarts games. They were a fixture of my (and many others!) childhoods, and every time Jake or Chris let themselves talk about those games on a podcast, it's fascinating stuff. I'm sure there are other podcasts that cover this, but it'd be near to hear about the various Lucasarts games from people who have developed modern story-driven adventure experiences. 


    Yes yes yes yes yes, I would really love that. Their conversation while playing Full Throttle on Twitch was great, I would love to hear their thoughts on the rest of the catalogue.