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Myst The Witness - first-person puzzler in the vein of Myst

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I think you make a strong point, it isn't a game that is conducive to streaming and/or memeing, like say for instance, Darkest Dungeon.
 

Metro

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J1M

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After completing about 430 puzzles on my own I will be leaving this game behind. It appears that what remains are pixel hunts that require you to be standing in a specific location. Without some sort of map, this (already boring) type of gameplay would become increasingly frustrating.

What I said above is still accurate, but the game seemed to be going out of its way to leave a bitter aftertaste.
 

AN4RCHID

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Jonathan Blow no longer allowed to sit at the cool kids table

https://archive.is/u7zE8

The Witness is fucking stupid
January 26, 2016

this game was reviewed with a download code provided by James Blow over twitter

the witness seems to relish in a kind of narcissism, James Blow aside, which presumes it has figured out videogames. it has figured them out as the arbitrary series of gates and keys that they are. that games are not in fact real places, but merely digital representations. it revels in the the divine epiphany that this is all no different from a theatre set, as if that weren’t a plain observation. it is a deep, shallow intellectual cynicism that frankly only someone so self-absorbed as James Blow, in an industry as self-absorbed as videogames, in a country as self-absorbed as the United States could have produced.

in reducing a world down to a bare network of abstract interactions, by laying the internal functions of the code bare, it seems to offer some kind of statement about the arbitrariness of videogames. or perhaps merely walking games, or 3d rpgs, or myst. the common thread between these genre classifications, myst, and the witness is this idea that videogames are merely a series of clockwork mechanisms with no further meaning, or perhaps even so audaciously saying that any attempts at imbuing meaning into systems is trite. this incredibly masculine intelligentsia perspective unfortunately infects much of the discourse on videogames, and in this respect there is little unique to the witness’s impotent polemic. it is a dot in the sea of men screaming “listen to me, i’m important” in a world that threatens to leave them behind. they band together in comfort and reaffirm each other, and create games like the witness to affect some sense of triumph over their dwindling relevance in the artistic vanguard.

at the heart of this idea that game mechanics, in the sense of an abstract mathematical concept, are all that matters in games is a deeply humanless worldview. it is the bastion of the coldly rational, distant people who think they can understand the world through formulae and quantatative exchange. it is the worldview of tyrants and gatekeepers

perhaps it is clever that the island in the witness more closely resembles a minigolf course than an earnest place. it carries with it all of the deep capitalist ennui and shallow tourism of places and cultures you might expect–perhaps even to imply it thinks its smart for recognizing these things as hollow in meaning, in the way an egyptian or lava themed level in mario is. however, i’m not quite ready to relent that the witness may in fact be so clever to comment on its racism. it is the kind of thing which feels like i’m supposed to applaud it for evoking all these shallow things in a stuffed room together without really saying anything at all. you cannot have subversion without counterpoint, and the witness itself thinks its lack of counterpoint is a statement itself.

it is a wordless game, indulgently so. the kind of wordlessness that bros scream “get your dang words outta my videogames” to protest expository tutorials and things. that is the kind of design accomplishment this amounts to. congratulations. the silence occasionally broken by evocative sound effects and philosophical quotes seems to want to impress me with its atmosphericness, its demand for somber contemplation, perfectly in character with the orientalism of a wealthy white man who does tai chi alone in the park and clearly thinks of himself as a guru to videogames.
the witness is the product of people who indulge lavish tourism in exotic and envied places. james blow smugly documented his vacation in the pacific northwest, obviously being inspired by this place. dense evergreens dot hills and streams which contrast the oxblood and grey industrial detrius, merely one component of a themepark world spread with a gradient of haphazardly applied cultural symbols. clearly this is the product of someone so worldly and insightful.

i would lay off the relations to the people and structures which produced this game if it felt the game were saying particularly much otherwise. but it isn’t. this is a game about its creators, a game which hoists its own ego as a surrogate for another’s. it thinks it can deeply patronize its audience by offering them nothing as some kind of triumphant gesture. its puzzles are stupid and sarcastic, and it knows they are. it revels in throwing puzzles in your face you lack the familiarity with its systems to solve before throwing a series of tutorial puzzles equivalent to patronizing textual exposition. you couldn’t do the puzzle, you stupid idiot. it was right there all along! the witness holds a unique contempt for its audience, unique in its contempt for having no particular basis for that contempt whatsoever. it is because you are stupid, and you need to sit down and listen to these people who are brilliant masters of the videogames megaverse. it is because you are too stupid to recognize the artifice in games, to recognize their underlying functions or to buy into meanings like some kind of pathetic emotions-haver. it is a condescending sentiment itself to charge $40 for this thing which offers you nothing whatsoever. this disdainful trash doesn’t deserve your time. james blow doesn’t deserve your time.

further reading: Daphny Drucilla Delight David on why james blow is a classist asshole

IF JON BLOW WAS INTERESTED IN HELPING PEOPLE SURVIVE WE WOULDNT HAVE TO JOKE ABOUT HIS PISS

:avatard:
 

taxalot

I'm a spicy fellow.
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Codex 2013 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
This is Jonathan Blow. When people will start seriously commenting about the ending, he will shrug ironically, stares blankly and mysteriously into empty space for a couple of awkward minutes, then say "I am very... depressed... because no one understands the ending to this game" and either start work on some even more pretentious bullshit, rince and repeat until he does a Phil Fish and quits altogether after throwing a tantrum.

Judging by his Denuvo claims, the latter might not be so far away. Hipsterism and nerdism do not seem to blend well for some reason, and always cause self destructive behavior. Blow's gonna blow.
 

DosBuster

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his "denuvo claims" are quite reasonable though.

he says that he may consider denuvo for his next game but if he were to use it it'd only be for the first few weeks/months of release after which he'd take it off.

denuvo is fine though it has no performance impact and is very good at what it aims to achieve.
 

LESS T_T

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Codex 2014
Apparently it's selling well: https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Blow

J. Blow said:
It's hard to talk about numbers without breaking NDAs, but The Witness is on track to sell more in a week than Braid sold in its first year, and Braid was a hit indie game! (I'll let you know if this officially happens!) Which is not to be too money-oriented, it's just great that we'll be able to make the next game at a comparable budget level (maybe bigger, we'll see!)



 

AN4RCHID

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:lol: guys... that's not the ending. It's an easter egg / joke area. You can't even get there if you've played past the first 5 minutes of the game.

when the bomb theory started going around being posted everywhere I thought it was incredibly shit and stupid. Turns out that was actually true.
Oh god, this is still going around. The 'bomb theory' was not true. There are four storybooks in the same area that all relate to the main themes of the game. One of them is about a scientist who worked on the A bomb, the other three are about completely different things. There's no other mention of the bomb anywhere in the game. From this, certain enlightened game critics deduced that the entire point of the game was a metaphor for the invention of the atomic bomb. The theory was latched onto by people who were desperate to find some literal Message in Braid. I can understand why Blow got butthurt when game critics started citing that as the reason that Braid was A Work of Art, instead of the good game design, art, music, and things that actually made it an enjoyable game.
 

AN4RCHID

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Not to blow jonathan too much here, but I really don't see him as a hipster. He always seems to have the attitude that good gameplay is the most important thing. Whatever you think of Braid and The Witness, they're technically impressive games with a good dollars/hours ratio. He just happened to release Braid at just the right time to become the poster child for insecure game journos who wanted to "prove Ebert wrong".
 

AN4RCHID

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First week of sales post mortem - http://the-witness.net/news/2016/02/fun-sales-fakts/

Fun Sales Fakts
Jonathan Blow February 2, 2016 Announcements

The Witness has now been on sale for a week, so it seems like a good time to post a financial summary. Often, independent developers find these kinds of numbers useful in making their own plans, and the general public can find them interesting too.

There is a wrinkle, which is that I can’t be too precise about the sales results on specific platforms, because often when we sign a deal with a particular store, we agree not to reveal their sales numbers. I am actually not sure at this time which stores we are allowed to be specific about and which we aren’t, and I would have to dig up and sort through a number of contracts to be sure about it; but that is not a good use of time right now, since I am spending most of my day supporting the users who have technical problems (shipping games on PCs these days is really not fun). The situation can be thorny in subtle ways, too, because if I post information about all stores but one, then I am implicitly revealing the sales figures for that last store, which is not allowed.

Finally, I want to make clear that we did not make this game in order to make money. We were trying to build a beautiful / interesting / intricate thing, first and foremost. The money just helps us stay in business in order to build new things. It is very easy on the Internet to read a financial posting like this cynically, so I urge folks out there not to do that.

Okay, so here’s what I can say:

Across all platforms, The Witness has totalled over $5 million USD gross revenue in the first week, and it has sold substantially more than 100,000 units.

This is a good chunk more revenue in one week than Braid made in its entire first year, from August 2008-September 2009. (Braid initially launched on XBLA in August 2008, and it came to Steam in April 2009). Braid was considered a hit independent game at the time.

We can also compare sales by units instead of revenue; this is a little more of an apples-to-oranges comparison because The Witness has a higher price than Braid did (Braid launched at $14.99 [$16.50 when inflation-adjusted to 2015 dollars], and The Witness launched at $39.99). By number of units, the first week of each individual platform handily beats Braid’s first week of sales. (Witness on PC by itself beat Braid’s first week by a decent margin, and Witness on PSN by itself beat Braid’s first week by a decent margin, counting only by number of units). This is great because as price goes up, naturally the number of units sold goes down. So the fact that we beat Braid by units, more than doubly, is a really nice success.

The Witness launched on two platforms, PSN and Windows PC. Neither of these platforms dominates our sales; PC is very strong for us, and PSN is very strong for us.

There are some publicly-available guesstimates for specific platforms on sites such as SteamSpy, but the numbers that SteamSpy is reporting for The Witness are a bit too low (though this is kind of to be expected, I guess, from the way that site works).

So, the game is doing great. That doesn’t mean we have broken even on our development cost yet! Because our development budget was so high, $5 million in revenue is not enough to recover it yet (because we split that revenue with the storefronts, we have to subtract VAT in Europe, etc). However, it is looking like, as time goes on, we should break even and make a comfortable safety margin on top of that, which will allow us to make more nice games in the future — unless some kind of world economic disaster happens.

As I mentioned, right now we are dealing mostly with PC graphics driver problems, and we are also working on adding some features to the game about configurable controls and rendering options, for PC and PS4.

After this, in the near future, we will start investigating the bringing the game to other platforms. Under serious consideration are: iOS, Android, Xbox One, OS X. We will provide more-concrete information about these as it becomes available!

tl;dr - over $5 million in revenue (budget was supposedly around $6 million), "substantially" over 100,000 units sold, more units sold on both Steam and Playstation than the total number of Braid first week sales.
 

Jezal_k23

Guest
Anyone still playing this? I got completely stuck at those tetris piece puzzles in the marsh for a long time. I was having trouble understanding what exactly the rules were for how the pieces should be positioned inside the area you create. I actually raged a bit at the game and went all "this shit makes no sense, FUCK".

That was until some random moment where everything just clicked for me and suddenly I understood how to solve them. Feels great. I'm actually really enjoying this game. Sure, I guess some could argue it's kinda boring (that's to say I agree that it's not for everyone), but I'm actually having a lot of fun with this.

I just really enjoy that feeling of figuring out how shit works, and you constantly have to learn new rules in this game. So if anything I find it pretty stupid to say "lol this dumb game is 40 hours of line puzzles", and I've been hearing this a lot from people.
 

Alienman

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Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Codex Year of the Donut Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
So Jonathan Blow is having an AMA on reddit. Here is the link: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/45fu74/i_am_jonathan_blow_game_development_person_ask_me/

First this question:

How do you think single-player experiences will evolve from here? What will define the most interesting single-player games of the next few years? Will introspective, non-action-focused games ever transcend "walking simulators" and "puzzle games?

He got this answer from Blow:

I do not have the ability to predict the future. It doesn't matter anyway because time is not a linear thing that flows from past to future. Everything that could possibly happen already exists, you just don't see it right now. So there is not too much of a reason to get antsy about it.

I think we can safety say that he belongs to the hipster crowd now :)

Actually I'm not even sure that is a hipster thing to say. More of a emo-nihilistic thing?

"Nothing matters dude, because I'm dead and alive at this moment right now!"
 

Leechmonger

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Jesus christ. I actually looked it up in the AMA to make sure you weren't making shit up.

I hope he doesn't "get antsy" about all the timelines in which his game gets pirated a million times. Like this one.
 

Machocruz

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Question bugs me. Very narrow thinking on the part of the asker. Assumes objective and collective interest, like "What will be the most delicious pizza topping next year, Vito?" and that one mode of design thought will lead there, instead of what usually happens: that there will be a variety of interesting games resulting from very different approaches (or not. Decline and all). Strikes me as the kind of person who separates games into Those That Matter and Petty Trifles, purely based on their own interests or what the media tells them or what is being most lauded in their echo chamber of choice. Not really different from your average popamoler or dudebro who thinks the biggest AAA releases are what video games are/are supposed to be.
 

DosBuster

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While Jon may be a hipster, he's also a fucking genius. He's currently working on a programming language tailored for game development to finally take down C++ as the norm. (It's called Jai FYI)
 

orcinator

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While Jon may be a hipster, he's also a fucking genius. He's currently working on a programming language tailored for game development to finally take down C++ as the norm. (It's called Jai FYI)

C Plus Equality but for games?
 

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