Braid is an incredibly noteworthy gaming experience. The first thing that you are greeted to when you start the game for the first time is the beautiful water-color title screen- A city bathed in warm-yellow light. This magnificent art style persists throughout the game, but it is not what I will be focusing on within this post. What I would rather focus upon is the blending of rules and narrative the game employs.
In the game, you travel to six different worlds, each one with its own time-related gimmick. The game never explicitly tells you the rules for each world, or even the game really, beyond some basic controls- leaving the player to suss out the mechanics themselves. However, each mechanic is intrinsically tied to Tim’s(the player-character’s) story. Before each world, you enter a region known as “The Clouds,” within which you read books that relay Tim’s story to you. Within each story, the mechanic is presented as a concept- the weight of a ring, feeling as though you’re going in a different path from everyone else, the wish to erase your mistakes. By utilizing this blending of mechanics, Braid is able to create a beautiful and poignant narrative which subverts all of you expectations out of a genre, by having you, the player, be the villain, the monster. (And yes, I realize there is a second ‘true’ ending, but it requires you to absolutely violate the mechanics the game has taught you, and is overall a much less satisfying ending in every way- in fact, there is much to be said about an ending requiring the player to defy the rules set by the game, but I am trying to keep this post short).
Overall, Braid provided a wonderful experience. It blended narrative, rules, and your preconceived notions about how a story should progress to create a beautiful and poignant narrative about time, obsession, and mistakes.
On a less analytical note, my experience playing with my partner, Amanda, was a great experience. Watching her play was fun, and she was very quick to learn (small analysis, this attests to the games strengths). Watching her play let me see the game through a new perspective.