Collection of 'Braid' and 'The Witness' interviews, articles, etc.


Summary: This page collects reference materials and resources that are helpful for understanding aspects of Jonathan Blow’s games. It’s certainly an incomplete list – email me if you find something that I should include! Spoiler warning: both games have major, easily-spoilable elements that are freely discussed in most of the commentary below. If you have yet to play the games, steer clear!

The Society of True Seekers.

Fan Commentary on The Witness

  • Electron Dance’s The Unbearable Now: An Interpretation of The Witness is an extremely well-produced, half-hour video that breaks down the game’s relationship to paradox, truth-seeking, meaning, and meaninglessness. This is essential and entertaining (although extremely spoiler-rich) viewing for anyone who’s completed the game.

  • Naturally, I think my own commentary in the “Examining The Witness” series contains a lot of unique wisdom, although unfortunately those gems are dispersed by the freeform, lets-play pace of my videos. Hop around and check out the highlights!

  • This reddit post has a good overview of the “VR story” – the witness as an island created as part of a failed experiment to hack consciousness, a purgatory to be repeated over and over until the player reaches an enlightemnent-like realization. Like most players, I don’t love the VR story, but it plays an interesting part as one of several layers in the game’s multiple parallel stories, each of which seems to exist at its own level of “fictionality” – from the real-world story of Thekla managing development, to the sci-fi “VR story” about researching consciousness, to the internal logic of civilization arising on the island.

Interviews & Talks from Developers

  • An in-depth interview between Jonathan Blow and Brian Moriarty (Creator of the adventure game Trinity and the speaker in “The Secret of Psalm 46”) is one of the most intelligent conversations out there about the game. This is a talk dense with valuable info that fans of the game should definitely watch.

  • This is a slickly-produced documentary about the history of the development of The Witness, including the origin of the game’s concept.

  • If you enjoyed my casual, semi-structured, roaming playthrough of the game in “Examining The Witness”, this Giant Bomb interview is similar, but Jonathan Blow himself is the one playing!! The interviewer is also a big fan of the game and asks in-depth questions.

  • This youtube playlist collects an exhaustive list of all Jonathan Blow’s interviews & talks – even I haven’t seen them all! Topics include The Witness, Braid, and more general game-design principles.

  • Moriarty also gave an entertaining presentation about The Witness, talking about his experience with the game’s development and other such things. If you enjoyed his presentation The Secret of Psalm 46, you might also be interested in another presentation he gave about videogames, “An Apology for Roger Ebert”.

  • Luis Antonio, one of the artists who worked on the game (and the developer of his own indie game, 12 Minutes), has gloriously documented his thinking and progress across numerous blog posts full of beautiful shots and a GDC talk.

  • The official development blog of Witness has some interesting posts.

Music, Art, Primary Sources:

The above spotify playlist, compiled by yours truly, collects:

  • All the music from Braid’s official soundtrack, including two official remixes that were created as part of the release of the soundtrack CD.

  • Additional songs by that I used in the creation of “Braid: More Now Than Ever”

  • A few pieces of music associated with The Witness (trailers, etc)

  • An assortment of songs (mostly from other games) that I feel have Braid-adjacent themes.

The full english subtitles for ‘The Witness’ can be found here. This helpful list has pictures of every audio log’s location along with a key sentence or two, which can be used in combination with the full subtitles to find any particular log’s transcript.

In the future, I’ll try to compile a list of books and other long-form source materials referenced by or relevant to Braid and The Witness: