Welcome back to the second part of our interview with Jonathan Blow, creator of the indie smash Braid and the upcoming The Witness.
In this episode, we begin the discussion of what it means to spend our time playing games. Paramount to this: our discussion of "achievements" and how they feed into creating structures that presuppose challenging design.
In a cinematic action game, the player needs to keep moving forward because the intent of the game is to both tell a story and excite the player. Viewed as a question of design alone, difficulty that forces several replays of any section is undesirable because it gates progress and converts the game into a movie that is merely very inconvenient to watch.
There is a certain muddiness here between "narrative" components and "systems". Would I have loved Agro as much if he were a lizard? A featherless chicken? A square with four squares sticking out of it? Perhaps I would not have. At the same time the graphical (i.e. narrative) depiction of Agro as a horse serves to contextualize the system he presents and make the game's rules intelligible.
The idea of a game world typically appears in the context of immersive games like Far Cry 2 or Grand Theft Auto IV. Games of this type use attractive graphics to imitate reality, making the idea of a virtual world a natural one.
This show is a new voice in the gaming journalism world. Our interviews are long-form, personal, and in-depth. You should check it out, as I don't think there's much like it on the web right now.
Our first interview is with Kellee Santiago of thatgamecompany, creators of the iconic Flow, Flower, and (the upcoming) Journey. In it, we discuss their company, their philosophies, and their first game, Cloud. If you like what you see, stay tuned: upcoming interviews will include Jonathan Blow and David Jaffe.
I am so super-excited to launch this show, as it's been a real labor of love.
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