Indie game designer earns raves for ‘Braid’

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Indie game designer Jonathan Blow spent three years and $180,000 making a masterpiece called Braid:

[O]ne of the highest-rated Xbox games of all time — the one sitting there at No. 8, just below “Call of Duty 4” and just above “Guitar Hero II” on the Metacritic charts — is a little downloadable thing decorated in watercolor artwork and steeped in old-school gameplay and basically created by one guy with a punk rock attitude and, if I had to guess, a brain approaching the size of the sun.

Game designer Jonathan Blow — a man with a reputation for speaking his mind whether other people like it or not — spent three years and more than $180,000 of his own money crafting “Braid.” Available for download through Xbox Live Arcade, “Braid” artfully blends old-school 2-D platforming with brain-tweaking puzzle gaming to create a sublime package that plays with the rules of time, plays with expectations, and just generally plays with your mind in a way that has left critics drooling all over themselves with praise.

They’re calling “Braid” “one of the most ingenious puzzle-based games ever devised,” and “a shining example of the intersection between art and technology,” and “the kind of game that will likely change the face of downloadable entertainment.”
“Braid” is not only earning mountains of praise, it’s also selling well, this despite being priced at $15 (unusually spendy for an XBLA game). According to, “Braid” has been purchased more than 100,600 times — gangbusters for an indie Arcade game. And while Blow’s contract with Microsoft prohibits him from discussing specifics, he says that between the XBLA sales and the forthcoming PC sales (launching within the next few months), he will have made his money back and more. Most importantly, he will have made enough money to support his next project.

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