braid

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Bill Loguidice's picture

Braid - The Cohabitation of Art and Videogames

"Art" is a word frequently thrown around in the videogame world, usually in the question, "Are videogames art?". While art truly is in the eye of the beholder and it's ultimately fruitless to try and argue if videogames and art can be one in the same, from my perspective there have been precious few times when something in the videogame world struck me as beautiful and made me feel emotions normally reserved for my experiences with other forms of entertainment. It's with that idea in mind then that I come to Braid from Number None Inc., for Microsoft's Xbox 360, via Xbox Live Arcade. To me, this time manipulation puzzle platformer is art in its truest sense, from the painterly, animated graphics style to the almost transcendental instrumental music to the rather flowery and richly constructed prose. Braid is also a game of seemingly purposeful contrasts, embracing often overly tread videogame constructs like jumping on enemy heads to dispatch them (Super Mario Bros.), finding and using keys (Shamus) and puzzle pieces (Impossible Mission), and reversing time in order to meet or re-do certain goals (Blinx), all wrapped up in an achingly beautiful aesthetic that makes everything else about it quite all right thank you very much. If I weren't terrifically busy and feeling a bit guilty about best use of my own time, I'd buy the 1200 point game immediately, but I will have to make do with a taste of the free demo for the time being, a demo of a game I'll want to expose my wife to at the first opportunity so I have someone else, firsthand, to share the experience with (and an experience it is). There are already countless reviews of Braid (whose title, for those wondering, is also fitting), but here's a brief one to get you started that hints just a bit more at what the game actually offers...

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