Week 3: Puzzles, narrative and aesthetic experience

Tuesday 24th January


Arts 103

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.


As always, we welcome a wide range of perspectives and opinions.

See you there!

Richard, Vicki and Becky


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