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ERIC Number: EJ991145
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0270-4676
Unraveling "Braid": Puzzle Games and Storytelling in the Imperative Mood
Arnott, Luke
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, v32 n6 p433-440 Dec 2012
"Unraveling Braid" analyzes how unconventional, non-linear narrative fiction can help explain the ways in which video games signify. Specifically, this essay looks at the links between the semiotic features of Jonathan Blow's 2008 puzzle-platform video game Braid and similar elements in Georges Perec's 1978 novel "Life A User's Manual," as well as in other puzzle-themed literary precursors. Blow's game design concepts "dynamical meaning" and "game play rhetoric" are explained in relation to a number of Braid levels; along side this analysis is a parallel examination of the relationship between puzzle-makers and puzzle-solvers in "Life A User's Manual," revealed from a close reading of textual and organizational elements of Perec's novel. Ultimately, Braid and "Life A User's Manual" are shown to draw upon the same signifying processes, which are understood by their authors to operate within an implicitly communicative model. "Unraveling Braid" develops this model by positing a theory of storytelling in the imperative mood, in which the representation and arrangement of objects in the visual/organizational space of the text or game world becomes a fundamental rhetorical technique and meaning-maker. This technique signal show the reader/player is meant to progress through the work and interpret it as narrative, telling the reader/player what to do (but not necessarily how to do it). An understanding of "imperative" storytelling, this essay concludes, allows for a discussion of games and other media that denies neither the importance of player interactivity nor that of authorial design. (Contains 7 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A