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Braid: “Saving” the Princess

Posted in Game Analysis with tags , , on November 26, 2011 by pixeltheater

It used to be that when you were playing a game, you could be fairly certain that your avatar’s quest was a noble one. You were the “good guy” out to vanguish the “bad guys,” which of course you did and then everyone high-fived and watched the credits roll.

In the modern era of gaming, however, developers are increasingly moving away from such simplistic plots. Protagonists can be flawed or misguided (and if you’re playing a choice-driven game like Fable or Mass Effect, they can be baby seal-clubbingly evil, too). Narratives are becoming more complex, so naturally protagonists are following suit.

Braid is an independent downloadable game first released on XBox Live Arcade in 2008. In many ways, it’s an homage to the 2D platformers of the 8- and 16-bit eras, in particular the first Super Mario Brothers for the NES, the game that created the platformer as we know it.

Oh, I see what you did there.

But once you reach Braid’s final level, you realize it’s also a modern deconstruction of video game tropes.

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