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The Witness Debuts To Few Witnesses

While Spyparty and Monaco were rocking PAX as hard as their mighty indie thews could manage, Jonathan Blow wanted to do something a little subtler. In a corner of the Spyparty/Monaco booth, with no fanfare or sign-age whatsoever, the Braid-creator set up the Witness and let people come and play. Why unveil his work in such a way? As opposed to the general melee of a show, he "wanted to do something that is subtle, and a surprise — if you notice it, and decide to investigate, you find something unexpected". Also, let people play as long as they want. Among them was Kotaku's Stephen Totilo who wrote up some impressions and took some cam-footage...

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So, yes, Alec's ruminations seem to be on the right lines. It's well worth reading Stephen's impressions, but it really does look like something derived from that Myst lineage. Even the games which, on the surface, appear to be unconnected to the (beautiful) world they're placed with. I do think this is a fascinating thing to take on. Convincing gamers that something derived from Mario can be artful is one thing - the entire gamer discourse has been based around elevating Mario to some kind of Godhead over the last couple of decades. Convincing gamers that something derived from Myst can be artful - when enormous chunks of the entire gamer discourse has been based around denigrating Myst - is a much more challenging proposition. Also, for my money, a more interesting one. Platform terrain is well explored. This exploratory one... less so, at least with the sort of serious intent Blow brings to bear.

I also find myself thinking about Jim's long hypothetical ramble about Exploration games from back in 2008.

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