Braid playthrough with director’s commentary

At GameCity in Nottingham, UK in September 2010, I played through select portions of Braid and gave commentary. I had been under the impression the session was officially recorded, and I’ve been waiting for an official video to hit the internet, but at this point I am not sure this was done. Fortunately someone in the audience had a handheld camera, and has posted the footage to YouTube. This is by far the most I’ve said about Braid in one place…

See the video here.

Thanks to blog commenter justin for pointing this out!


  1. HAHA i watched that whole video and when you Jonathan asked the audience for questions at the end the first thing that popped into my mind was “PLEASE SOMEONE ASK ABOUT THE CLOUD”

    Thank god that guy did.

    I know this may not be the best method for it but there has been one question i have been DYING to ask you (i know as well that you didn’t want people to ask about the stars but i feel this isn’t about them specifically) and that is…

    After the princess blows up in the alternate ending, was the main reason you allowed the players access to the top of the map where the princess runs along to truly feel like they got past the window that was metaphorically written in the epilogue about Tim spying on the Princess through the window at the end?. Because personally when i got up there after spending HOURS getting those stars and knowing that once i left i could never return. i didn’t want to leave, i spent about an hour up there with the mind set “I am standing where the princess was” It amazes me that a game can have the effect on me that a movie star can and all the princess really is is an animation.

    Sorry i know its long, i’m just an avid fan :)

  2. Gawsh, 1:26:33. Time to setup camp.

  3. thank you so much for posting this! as braid is maybe the most thoughtful game i have ever played (in terms of story – it’s like the “eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” or “donnie darko” of the gaming world. as you guys were also discussing on a recent GT bonus round), i am looking very much forward to hearing what you have to say about it. keep pushing the boundaries of meaningful and possibly strange stories in games, man… with all the GTAs and whatnot it is desperately needed :)

  4. I am so glad you are fine with this vid :)
    I originally posted it up for my friends who were unable to get to the talk, was not expecting it to hit any other radars.
    Was about to try and find your email or something to fire off a messege just to make sure you were fine with it after seeing it suddenly jump in views.
    I am very sorry the quality of recording is not incredible.

    Once again, thankyou very much for the fascinating talk :)

  5. you are welcome Jonathan! btw, you looked very handsome in the Gametrailer interview with, Hecker and Persson…

    i also found something cool about Spyparty with Hecker, it’s looking great!:

  6. This is kind of off topic, but is anyone else worried about gamification ? The Escapist’s Extra Credits didn’t seem worried about the ethical implications of the concept at all. I’m uncertain if the concept of gamification is completely bad or good, but it worries me people in the industry are already jumping on the bandwagon.

  7. Gamification seems delusional to me, quite frankly. I’m pretty sure that most people I know would find achievements, levelling up and the like being inserted into their work to be very condescending and foolish. And how would you represent any job which involves nuanced work or creativity with numerical metrics? I like the Extra Credits guys, but it’s just a dumb idea.

  8. Gamification occurs naturally. We have “money” instead of “points”; management “hierarchies” instead of “levels” or “classes”. Raph Koster has plenty to say on the subject.

    Real life is a more complex game than anything ever written by a human. Think of the complexities of the free market versus virtual ones. It’s remarkable.

  9. So very true at 29:36, simplicity in Braid causes for me to learn it as a fundamental, so I could work subconsciously on it. The simple layout of the level and the crispsness of the foreground vs. background that permits my brain to store symbolic representation of the level more efficiently. I totally did that with the last two worlds. For a whole hour I was trying at three different puzzle pieces, so I quit and went to bed. Then the next day I finsihed all the final puzzels in less than ten minutes, I felt so accomplished it was easily the most satisfying part of it for me. I hope your planning on including that same simplicity of a fundamental tutorial of puzzles or game play mechanics in The Witness.

  10. yeah! this guy has something to say about that too:

  11. Thanks Jonathan

    Really appreciate the insight on the puzzle and level design and was glad you didn’t go into the thematic side of the game.

    It also clarified why the key would only work in one door (but not the other) due to time moving in correspondence with Tim on the x axis. At first, I thought it was just the developer being a pain in the neck, but now I see it’s completely consistent with the rules of that world.

    Turns out I had been sleepwalking through that part. ;)

    All the best

  12. Any idea if the video from the CSUA talk is floating around yet?

  13. Justin, thanks a lot, but you have to be taking the piss now. Handsome?!

  14. I asked them to let me know when they post the CSUA video. No idea when that will be!

  15. Jonathan thank you for this game; thank you for everything

  16. This was great to watch. I kind of wish you had gone into the story given in the books, or at least how you connected those pieces of story with the gameplay, but I understand why you didn’t. I still think it’s clever though, especially World 5’s story.

    Thank you as well for your comments on the titleless level in world 5. I had that moment too, and it made me just stare at the screen for a while wondering exactly what I was willing to do to myself and possibly others to collect a puzzle piece. It is one of my favourite parts of the game.

    About everything having a purpose in Braid: the minimalism in details is how I figured out the second puzzle in Phase. There’s a pink flower marking the critical point. I suspect you left it in as a subtle clue, for which I am grateful.

    I hadn’t really thought about the way that there tended to be exactly one entire puzzle on screen at one time, but I’m glad you implemented that so thoroughly. It helped me keep from being overwhelmed by many of the larger, two-part levels.

  17. That damn stage with the 3 doors and 2 keys…

  18. Jon do you find your 1600p monitor too big for playing games with?

  19. Nope, it’s good. It’s more than 1600p; it’s something like 4560×2600.

  20. what? does such thing exist? i have seen your key board though… that is one weird ass keyboard. buttons are in a hole kind of thing….

    who would use that kind of keyboard?

  21. sorry, forgot what i was here to do…
    is just this interview from gameInformer about the new Dear Esther:

    if you are exited about the Witness you should be exited for this game

  22. Hey, hey, Jonathan! Like all of the already-fans of *The Witness*, I find every one of your blog posts extremely interesting. COME ON 2012!!!

    The other reason I am commenting is because I have a request that I would be absolutely overjoyed if you were to accept. I have my own gaming blog, Gamesoup, and I was wondering if you would be so kind as to participate in an e-mail interview with me for the blog? If you have any questions or absolutely ANYTHING you would like to ask me, then please go ahead.

    I await your response with bated, minty breath!

    Gary xx

  23. Actually I was wrong… the monitor is indeed 2560×1600.

    Sure, I can do an email interview. Drop me a line at

  24. OH MAH GAWD!!! Thank you :D! I will e-mail you as soon as possible!

    Everyone, a toast to Jonathan and his team. Here’s to y’all!


  25. Who do I have to mob to see the programming aesthetics lecture? Let’s not forget about this thing, it sounds very important.

  26. the bonus round is complete:

    its an excellent episode, all of the guys were very informative!

  27. Why no questions about the Stars? Is it like Harrison Ford being sick of answering questions about Indiana Jones?

  28. I just got through Braid tonight and had a blast doing so. If I could find any criticism within the game, and it’s very minor, it would be that the learning curve initially was very steep and early on the solutions to several of the puzzles were very difficult to figure out, and sometimes seemed flat out impossible. However in most cases they didn’t turn out to be nearly as difficult as they seemed, rather there was a game mechanic in play that I hadn’t accounted for and therefore I couldn’t come up with a solution. As a result I got pretty frustrated early on even though as a whole they were probably the easiest sections in Braid. With that said, my enjoyment greatly increased as I got deeper in and developed a solid understanding of how to think about the game, or in other words began to think outside of the box. I’m telling you, solving the last 3-4 worlds was an absolute blast. I never thought a 2d puzzle game would provide so much of a challenge. Overall I’d say it ranks right up there with any game on the XBL Arcade, and at 800 points it’s much cheaper than other highly touted Arcade games. One of the best deals out there, without a doubt.

    Sorry for blogging on your blog, but I was doing a little googling about the game and stumbled upon the blog of it’s creator, so I felt obliged to post.

    P.S. Any plans on making Braid 2? I’m already foaming at the mouth for more puzzles.

  29. i get what IBYCFOTA is saying. he likes the game so much he wants Braid 2, but i just can’t help to feel sad and angered when someone mentions Braid 2 or the possibility of making one or that if Jonathan fails with The Witness he will have no other choice but to make Braid 2.

    They are just so used to it. gamers after playing a game just wait for a sequel b/c its obligatory. that is what they are used to they don’t know anything else thats the way they have been raised, Ergo we just keep getting the same shit all day errday!

    that being said, there are some interesting games being made but that is the minority and it is a very small number. and some of those games probably wont be released and if they are they will sell horribly making the studio or individual person not have enough money to keep doing what he loves.

    recently i was talking to a friend about pirating and he said: “I never pirate games from studios b/c those people might lose their job and not make a sequel. i only always pirate indie games. b/c those games are worth like 1$. i just got Super Meat Boy for me and my friends!”

  30. Jonathan O'Brien


    I understand exactly where you are coming from. It is the indie studios that provide a large percentage of this industry’s masterpieces and are, therefore, the studios who’s games people should be *most* diligent about paying for.

  31. Dear Jonathan Blow

    I’m writing to say how much of an inspiration you are to me. Your attitude to game design I see as kind of a benchmark to my own. I have seen almost every interview and talk you’ve been in to my knowledge. Not as a stalker but as a fan and as a student. I am currently taking A2 art and I’m doing a project titled ‘The art of Indie Games and Indie Games as art’. You and David Hellman are among the artists I am studying and I am a budding game developer/ artist myself.
    Although slightly irrelevant to this blog, can I ask you what it is about Braid that you personally find most interesting?

    What have you learnt from having created Braid?

    And what will you do/ have you done differently in the development of ‘The Witness’?

    Finally, I must ask if Braid was a take on the story of Romeo and Juliette. It’s just a suspicion I had after I noticed the balcony scene in the ‘final’ level and the ‘Star cross’d lovers’ perhaps.
    Nevertheless, I thank both you and David for all your work and all it has done for me and I thank you for your time.

    Louis Protano

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