500 puzzles in Jonathan Blow's The Witness

#1 Posted by AssInAss (2754 posts) -
#2 Posted by mlarrabee (3064 posts) -

Jonathan Blows the Witness: A look at corruption in the judicial system.

8/7 Central on NBC.

#3 Posted by Morningstar (2242 posts) -

500? Good grief, I'll pass then. I'm sure thisis good news for puzzle lovers though =)

#4 Posted by Superfriend (1587 posts) -

I made it about 20 minutes in, then I couldn´t stand the background noise anymore. If they can come up with an even less appropriate place to interview Jonathan Blow, they should definitely do it.

I´m thinking about: Bagdad street market, a freaking warzone or maybe just a dubstep live show. Really: Kill the background noise. Get some directional microphones. It´s not that hard.

Other than that, the guy seems really interesting and should The Witness ever come out it will probably be pretty amazing.

#5 Edited by TruthTellah (9491 posts) -

Ultimately, I think this comes down to what is considered a "puzzle". A lot of puzzles could simply be basic interaction using some level of problem-solving. Don't let the number scare you or get yours hope too high until we see the final game.

#6 Posted by ShaggE (6727 posts) -

Well, that's about 500 more than I have. You win this time, The Witness.

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#7 Posted by Doctorchimp (4056 posts) -

Man, okay McShea is doing a pretty good job. I'm at around 17 minutes in. But I just want to see Blow talk to Tom Bissel. Especially when he brought up the quality of game story telling.

#8 Posted by AssInAss (2754 posts) -

Oh man, I totally agree with him on how "totally absurd" Red Dead Redemption's ending is after all the people you've killed throughout to give this ludonarrative dissonance.

Go to 46:08.

"Imagine a movie that's trying to be a serious drama. A serious drama where the main character shoots 860 guys. And then goes to his family at the end and you try to have this touching moment where he's caring for his family. It simply doesn't work because you've changed the value of human life. Like, part of that shooting 860 guys was burning down a village of poor peasants so that you could get in with the Mexican army. Throwing molotov cocktails into their house. Those are families just like your family that they're trying to have their poignant moment with. That poignant moment just does not work in that kind of game."

#9 Posted by familyphotoshoot (654 posts) -

@AssInAss: It's also what breaks the Uncharted games for me. Drake is this super charming happy go lucky guy who's also a thief and mass murderer.

#10 Posted by hollitz (1636 posts) -

After the abysmally poor, completely unaware writing in Braid, I can't bring myself to care about anything associated with this guy.

#11 Posted by AssInAss (2754 posts) -

[1:08:21] The Witness confirmed to be "a lot better than Braid", even according to playtesters :P

I don't know why he can't create a trailer for it. We have trailers for Dear Esther, Proteus, Antichamber, just moodpiece trailers with some various environments. Just show some different puzzles, how the world is, keep the intrigue.

#12 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

@hollitz said:

After the abysmally poor, completely unaware writing in Braid, I can't bring myself to care about anything associated with this guy.

I completely agree with that. Nice to see that other people saw the writing in Braid for what it was. Blow has an ego and a following, but I haven't seen anything from that guy that shows any real talent.

#13 Posted by Hailinel (25205 posts) -

So what's the puzzle to indie pretension ratio?

#14 Posted by project343 (2838 posts) -

@mlarrabee said:

Jonathan Blows the Witness

Crazy what an apostrophe can do to something. Sneaky little fuckers.

@hollitz said:

After the abysmally poor, completely unaware writing in Braid, I can't bring myself to care about anything associated with this guy.

Two things:

  1. Most people seem to really like Braid's writing? I rather enjoyed it. It's very rare that games try to tackle nonlinear narrative. What about it makes it 'unaware'? That just seems like a completely hollow descriptor.
  2. He didn't write Braid. He designed the puzzles and programmed the game. The dude what did the game's art did the writing.
#15 Edited by I_smell (3925 posts) -

Hold up while I fill a significant portion of the screen with the blurred-out back half of my own fat head...

Alright now we can do the interview.

#16 Posted by Demoskinos (15188 posts) -

I can't wait until he "Blows" his lid over someone not "getting" the game. Dude is hella pretentious.

#17 Posted by Animasta (14731 posts) -

it's funny, I can't stand Braid but I am super excited for the witness.

and he may be pretentious but at least he isn't an asshole about it like phish.

#18 Posted by Benny (1955 posts) -

@I_smell said:

Hold up while I fill a significant portion of the screen with the back half of my own fat blurred-out head... Alright now we can do the interview.

It's like you're really there man! Didn't you see 24 when they purposefully had frosted glass obscure certain shots inside CTU to make it feel like you were another nosey employee?!

Its like that, but contributes absolutely nothing to this interview.

#19 Edited by Abendlaender (2889 posts) -

That's probably 480 more than I can solve. I'm still stocked even though I have NO IDEA what The Witness actually is or how it plays

#20 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

He Blows all right.

#21 Posted by Synaptic (310 posts) -

Definitely looking forward to this. That's a good amount of puzzles, sounds great to me.

#22 Edited by I_smell (3925 posts) -
@Benny said:

@I_smell said:

Hold up while I fill a significant portion of the screen with the back half of my own fat blurred-out head... Alright now we can do the interview.

It's like you're really there man! Didn't you see 24 when they purposefully had frosted glass obscure certain shots inside CTU to make it feel like you were another nosey employee?!

Its like that, but contributes absolutely nothing to this interview.

It's like I'm a nosey employee! At Gamespot.
It's like I'm Tom McShae's Mutley-style sidekick peering over his shoulder, but mostly hunched behind him like a coward.
 
Oh and on this topic, Jonathon Blow is great. I actually can't wait to watch this interview.
#23 Posted by hollitz (1636 posts) -

@project343 said:

@mlarrabee said:

Jonathan Blows the Witness

Crazy what an apostrophe can do to something. Sneaky little fuckers.

@hollitz said:

After the abysmally poor, completely unaware writing in Braid, I can't bring myself to care about anything associated with this guy.

Two things:

  1. Most people seem to really like Braid's writing? I rather enjoyed it. It's very rare that games try to tackle nonlinear narrative. What about it makes it 'unaware'? That just seems like a completely hollow descriptor.
  2. He didn't write Braid. He designed the puzzles and programmed the game. The dude what did the game's art did the writing.

1) My bad if he didn't do the writing. He's the only person I ever hear mentioned in regards to Braid so I assumed he wrote it.

2) All of these are perfect examples of how horrible the writing is.http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Braid

It's writing by someone who thinks they are good at writing. "Unaware" in that it's completely amateur hour. The narrative voice is underdeveloped, the language is obtuse for the sake of being obtuse, it's sometimes ridiculously Saccharin, sometimes it's just unintelligible: "Tim needed to be non-manipulable. He needed a hope of transcendence. He needed, sometimes, to be immune to the Princess's caring touch."

This is the kind of stuff you read in an intro to creative writing course.

#24 Posted by project343 (2838 posts) -

@hollitz: But you have to at least appreciate the atypical structure, the abstraction, and the fact that all these seemingly irrelevant narratives directly reflect the gameplay mechanics (execution aside). At the very least, it's something that aspires to be more than conventional, throw-away drivel that pollutes this industry. It, for me, was something that added to the experience of play rather than detracting from it (as video game narrative tends to do for me).

#25 Edited by I_smell (3925 posts) -

It's funny that this thread is about there being 500 puzzles, cos that's like the least interesting part of this interview.
 
I listen to Jonathon Blow a lot, and it's kind of the same old "why are games so dumb" campaign, but even still- even if you didn't like Braid, this is stuff that's all really worth listening to and needs to be said every once in a while. It'd be a shame to skip to only that quote, like the thread starter said.

#26 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4702 posts) -

@I_smell said:

It's funny that this thread is about there being 500 puzzles, cos that's like the least interesting part of this interview. I listen to Jonathon Blow a lot, and it's kind of the same old "why are games so dumb" campaign, but even still- even if you didn't like Braid, this is stuff that's all really worth listening to and needs to be said every once in a while. It'd be a shame to skip to only that quote, like the thread starter said.

I agree. It was a great interview. Jonathon Blow is always interesting to listen to. He comes at games from a different angle from most people. I wish his perspective were more common.

#27 Edited by dr_mantas (2092 posts) -

I have undying respect for Jonathan Blow, because of various opinions he's shared and talks he's given. I hope The Witness turns out great.

EDIT: Listened to more of this... It sounds like he played some recent game and thought they were terrible, even for the things critics appraised. So he probably didn't like the story in Walking Dead and gameplay in XCOM.

#28 Posted by 49th (2853 posts) -

That is too many puzzles.

#29 Edited by StarvingGamer (8560 posts) -

Braid was an occasionally clever platformer saddled with a creative writing 101 level of storytelling. The art was good though, or rather, the only part that Blow was not responsible for. The success of that game and subsequent idolization of Blow has everything to do with timing and nothing to do with his actual merits as a developer.

EDIT: That said, I am still tangentially interested in The Witness if he has managed to grow from occasionally clever to consistently clever. I'll ignore the ham-fisted attempts at poignancy if I have to.

@Hailinel said:

So what's the puzzle to indie pretension ratio?

Well, given that there are 500 puzzles... approximately 500:infinity

#30 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3509 posts) -

Everything that comes out of Blow's mouth is dead obvious to anyone who's spent a handful of minutes thinking about games, but I guess he's not wrong and at least he's trying to do something about it. Here's to hoping the 500 puzzles are fun and not completely ruined by his "writing". Yes, at least he isn't an ass like Phish. Still, it's a bummer to me that these are the guys who rose to the top of the indie pile.

#31 Posted by HaltIamReptar (2029 posts) -

@hollitz said:

After the abysmally poor, completely unaware writing in Braid, I can't bring myself to care about anything associated with this guy.

http://www.avclub.com/articles/game-designer-jonathan-blow-what-we-all-missed-abo,8626/

he's a little bit more aware than you give him credit for

#32 Posted by PokeIkzai (384 posts) -

@AssInAss said:

Oh man, I totally agree with him on how "totally absurd" Red Dead Redemption's ending is after all the people you've killed throughout to give this ludonarrative dissonance.

Go to 46:08.

"Imagine a movie that's trying to be a serious drama. A serious drama where the main character shoots 860 guys. And then goes to his family at the end and you try to have this touching moment where he's caring for his family. It simply doesn't work because you've changed the value of human life. Like, part of that shooting 860 guys was burning down a village of poor peasants so that you could get in with the Mexican army. Throwing molotov cocktails into their house. Those are families just like your family that they're trying to have their poignant moment with. That poignant moment just does not work in that kind of game."

I don't really agree but I think its that separation of story and gameplay that just comes naturally in my mind. I also think RDR's ending did work as intended in many, many peoples minds.

#33 Posted by Village_Guy (2667 posts) -

Man this guys blows.

On a more serious note, I'm interested in the Witness, but I have no idea really what the game is about...

Online
#34 Posted by Svenzon (735 posts) -

500 sounds way too damn much. If they're all of Braid's quality, I guess it would be okay, but there's no way that will happen.

Part of me hopes The Witness will be a pure puzzle game with no narrative for people (or Blow himself, for that matter) to go crazy and act all pretentious about. Getting people talking is fine, but that shit was just annoying.

#35 Posted by bushpusherr (853 posts) -

For anyone who actually listened to the interview and didn't just react to the quote, he states that there is a very wide range of puzzles in terms of difficulty. He even says that a number of them could probably be completed in 15 seconds or less, but those will guide you into learning certain concepts and what not. He also said that there will be much more difficult ones. It's not like you are going to have 500 puzzles that are all head scratchers.

#36 Posted by Bollard (5870 posts) -

@hollitz said:

@project343 said:

@mlarrabee said:

Jonathan Blows the Witness

Crazy what an apostrophe can do to something. Sneaky little fuckers.

@hollitz said:

After the abysmally poor, completely unaware writing in Braid, I can't bring myself to care about anything associated with this guy.

Two things:

  1. Most people seem to really like Braid's writing? I rather enjoyed it. It's very rare that games try to tackle nonlinear narrative. What about it makes it 'unaware'? That just seems like a completely hollow descriptor.
  2. He didn't write Braid. He designed the puzzles and programmed the game. The dude what did the game's art did the writing.

1) My bad if he didn't do the writing. He's the only person I ever hear mentioned in regards to Braid so I assumed he wrote it.

2) All of these are perfect examples of how horrible the writing is.http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Braid

It's writing by someone who thinks they are good at writing. "Unaware" in that it's completely amateur hour. The narrative voice is underdeveloped, the language is obtuse for the sake of being obtuse, it's sometimes ridiculously Saccharin, sometimes it's just unintelligible: "Tim needed to be non-manipulable. He needed a hope of transcendence. He needed, sometimes, to be immune to the Princess's caring touch."

This is the kind of stuff you read in an intro to creative writing course.

I'm not going to defend his writing at all, because I am most definitely not a good writer, but I will say that I liked it.

I think the important thing though is that the game is good. Like, really good. So I don't really care if his writing is bad.

I for one am pumped for this. Going from Braid, to Fez, to Antichamber has made me realise how much I love this really "out-there" type of puzzle game. And I can't wait to return to a new game from the guy who introduced me to it.

(Also you should read the link HaltlamReptar sent you, from "AVC: The game has been discussed extensively on the web, and I'm curious if you think people "get" it." onwards.)

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