Tuesday 24th January
Following our general introductions to videogames and VR, this week we focus on a common feature in both: the puzzle. Specifically, we’ll be playing Jonathan Blow’s 2008 indie cross-over hit Braid and discussing how puzzles function within narratives.
What makes a “good” puzzle? Do narratives inform our approaches to puzzle-solving? How do puzzles develop stories? Can puzzles communicate meaning? Meaning about what?
To begin approaching questions like these, we first recommend watching the short video from Mark Brown’s web-series Game Maker’s Toolkit linked below. This will be especially useful at introducing you to Braid if you haven’t had the opportunity to play it before.
We also ask you read (or watch) Veli-Matti Karhulahti’s article on the “fiction puzzle”, his term for a type of puzzle that can evoke aesthetic experience by operating within a game’s narrative structures.
- Mark Brown, “How Jonathan Blow Designs a Puzzle”. YouTube, 9 Mar 2016. Web, accessed 18 Jan 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zK8ItePe3Y
- Veli-Matti Karhulahti, “Fiction Puzzle: Storiable Challenge in Pragmatist Videogame Aesthetics”. Philosophy & Technology 27.2 (June 2014), 201-220. Web, accessed 18 Jan 2017: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13347-013-0117-8
- Or, because we’re all about mixed media at Play Pause, you can alternatively watch this 20min video of Karhulahti presenting the paper here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5La1v1Ac9GU
As always, we welcome a wide range of perspectives and opinions.
See you there!
Richard, Vicki and Becky