If the past year has seen the critical gaming community boom, there seem to be two games that best represent that explosion: Braid and BioShock. A great deal has been written about the two titles and their themes have been explored. Likewise, both were very well-reviewed and have sold extremely well. They’re both interesting from a critical perspective and extremely enjoyable. Their richness makes them appealing for gamers interested in critical discourse, but their popularity and thematic accessibility make those discourses accessible to nearly everyone. Neither title was the first to offer thematic depths, but they seem to have come along at the right moment.
It’s interesting, then, that a great deal of the critical community has reacted somewhat negatively to Braid’s themes. There have been several negative readings of the title. While it’s not surprising to find some dissenters when presented with a title as highly praised as Braid, I think the so-called dissenters deserve better than an outright dismissal. I adore Braid, and I consider it a masterpiece, but I find myself in nearly complete agreement with many of its harshest criticisms.