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Bounty From the North

A couple of great things came out of Montreal recently.

The first is a talk by Jonathan Blow, developer of the upcoming XBox Live title Braid, at the Montreal International Games Summit. The talk covers his concerns about the state of game design, its methods and conceits, and different possibilities for maturing the discipline in general. In making his argument he uses the common ‘design bias’ that most people (Ian Bogost being the worst offender) fall into when trying to suggest solutions to this problem, but overall I have to say that I agree with almost everything he says.

Next is the game Passage which was created by Jason Rohrer for the Montreal-based art-game collective Kokoromi’s Gamma 256 show. After playing the game for only a few minutes I knew that it would stick firmly in my heart next to Knytt as a game that invokes enormous emotions considering its scope.

You can download the audio recording of Jonathan Blow’s talk from his blog here and download Jason Rohrer’s game here.


  1. Charley wrote:

    I played Passage and you’re right: the game says more than most AAA titles. I always say the mark of a good movie is if it leaves you thinking about it long after the viewing, and if you want to see it again to get more out of it. Well, I was thinking about how I really may never play Portal again. It was a great game and did some interesting things with the narrative, but let’s face it: rarely does the narrative of any game have me wanting to go back and play it again… although I will admit I did “think” about Portal for some time after I put down the controller. With Passage, I absolutely wanted to play it again after finishing and there’s certainly lots to consider. Pretty good for something so “basic.”

    Friday, December 7, 2007 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
  2. Charles wrote:

    What I really love about it is that it talks about pretty serious subjects using a very video game-y language, such as tombstones to symbolize death and treasure chests to symbolize the various rewards we spend our lives chasing (or not). These examples strike me as things that you and I find extremely powerful, but I wonder how it would effect someone who didn’t grow up with those symbols?

    Friday, December 7, 2007 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

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