Author Topic: The Witness  (Read 2736 times)

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Offline Henning

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The Witness
« on: February 01, 2016, 01:51:36 PM »
Play it. Obviously.
Johnathan Blow, creator of Braid, is my game design hero.
Here is the trailer, should you need more convincing (though I would recommend not spoiling any locations for yourself):



I'm 8 hours in and loving it. Feels a bit like Myst. An exploration puzzler set on an island.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. --Voltaire
That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. -- Hitchens.

Offline teethering

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2016, 04:34:22 PM »
This game is really clever.  I played a bit last night and my favourite part is how it communicates ideas without explaining them.  So the puzzles become this two layer thing, first you have to figure out what the rules are and then use the rules to solve the problem, and it's the first part that I appreciate the most, since it never actually explains anything, you just have to pay attention to the clues in the environment.

Some drawbacks so far are a) moving around the island, even running, feels sluggish if you're used to FPSes and b) some puzzles are cumulative with multiple stages where if you fail a stage it resets the previous one forcing you to backtrack for no reason.  These are suuuuuuper-minor quibbles though.

Also, I want to play this game in VR.

Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2016, 05:02:46 PM »
Wish listed.

No spoilers without spoiler tags please.
I'm just the victim of my cognitive privilege

Offline Henning

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 08:34:55 PM »
This game is really clever.  I played a bit last night and my favourite part is how it communicates ideas without explaining them.  So the puzzles become this two layer thing, first you have to figure out what the rules are and then use the rules to solve the problem, and it's the first part that I appreciate the most, since it never actually explains anything, you just have to pay attention to the clues in the environment.

Yes indeed.
The game forces you to use scientific method to figure out the rules. You are constantly creating hypotheses and trying to disprove them. Only when you understand something can you move on to the next test. I was listening to a Jon Blow interview in which he was asked what feeling he was trying to deliver with the game. "Epiphany", he answered. I imagine what I feel when I unlock the next door is the merest sliver of the exhilaration a scientist (or a toddler) must feel when discovering something new, but I am addicted anyway.
The game makes you feel smart. It was designed that way, to provide a constant stream of joy in exploration.
That and the numerous skeptical quotes hidden around the island lead me to believe that Jon Blow is not only a brilliant game designer, but also one of us.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. --Voltaire
That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. -- Hitchens.

Offline brilligtove

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2016, 07:29:34 AM »
I'm just getting ready to start my five year old daughter on video games - Minecraft will be the first one, I think. What age level is this one? Would it be something we could do together? I'm not a gamer at all because I get addicted way too easily and can lose weeks at a time. If it's something I can do with my kid - and that I only do with my kid - then I can see if I can keep it together. :)
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline teethering

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2016, 12:54:14 PM »
It seems to me that kids of any age can play it so long as they can use the mouse to point and click.

I know nothing about children though...

Offline Henning

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2016, 08:21:36 PM »
I'm just getting ready to start my five year old daughter on video games - Minecraft will be the first one, I think. What age level is this one? Would it be something we could do together? I'm not a gamer at all because I get addicted way too easily and can lose weeks at a time. If it's something I can do with my kid - and that I only do with my kid - then I can see if I can keep it together. :)

It would be really interesting to see how far your kid can get. It starts out easily, wordlessly, you're just dropped on this island, you don't need to know anything but what the game tells you through exploration. But it DOES get hard...

I'm 24 hours in. I'm at the "ah fuck you Jon Blow, seriously??" stage.

ETA: and in case you're worried about it, there's certainly no violence or shocking imagery or anything you need to worry about a 5 year old seeing. But damn, 5 is young. I would have loved this game at, I'll say 10-12, but not before.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 08:26:39 PM by Henning »
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. --Voltaire
That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. -- Hitchens.

Offline Movius

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2016, 10:13:27 AM »
(click to show/hide)

Online Tassie Dave

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2016, 11:46:32 PM »
It looks fun, but not available for any gaming system I own yet.  :(
(An Xbox One, IMac or iPad version would be nice)

It certainly looks like the kind of game I could play with the children in my life.

Offline Boßel

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2017, 01:05:37 AM »
Rise from the grave, thread.

I haven't been playing long, but I'm at the tree puzzles (my third set of puzzles after getting out of the first enclosed space). That's where I started to get sick. :(

I hope it's worth it. I'm going to have to spread this out over a longer period of time, to get used to the motion.

Offline Henning

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2017, 10:58:03 PM »
Rise from the grave, thread.

I haven't been playing long, but I'm at the tree puzzles (my third set of puzzles after getting out of the first enclosed space). That's where I started to get sick. :(

I hope it's worth it. I'm going to have to spread this out over a longer period of time, to get used to the motion.


The... motion??
Of what, tracing your pointer along a path? The camera?
Sick? Motion-sick? I really have no idea what you could be referring to.
Post a video behind a spoiler tag?

(click to show/hide)
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. --Voltaire
That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. -- Hitchens.

Offline Boßel

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2017, 02:30:06 AM »
Rise from the grave, thread.

I haven't been playing long, but I'm at the tree puzzles (my third set of puzzles after getting out of the first enclosed space). That's where I started to get sick. :(

I hope it's worth it. I'm going to have to spread this out over a longer period of time, to get used to the motion.


The... motion??
Of what, tracing your pointer along a path? The camera?
Sick? Motion-sick? I really have no idea what you could be referring to.
Post a video behind a spoiler tag?

(click to show/hide)

First person perspective

Offline Boßel

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2017, 05:58:54 PM »
If anyone's interested, the Adam Ruins Everything podcast had Jonathan Blow on to discuss the game.

http://www.maximumfun.org/adam-ruins-everything/indie-video-game-designer-jonathan-blow-unpacks-witness

Online wastrel

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2017, 03:09:05 PM »
Posted this in its own thread, but The Witness is included in the Humble Freedom Bundle: https://www.humblebundle.com/freedom

Offline Igor SMC

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Re: The Witness
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2017, 11:28:24 AM »
I highly recommend it. It is a game that do something that very few games do: it trust that you are an intelligent person, and does not hold you hand. The game never uses verbal or written communication to explain to you what the goals and the rules are, you must figure it by yourself. Like a scientist, you must infer what are the meaning of things, forming your hypothesis and testing them. I challenged myself to finish the game without any help, and after 56 hours, I did it. It is a very rewarding experience and I recommend it to everyone.

But what I would like to discuss is not the game itself. It is one of the topics that was presented in a very subtle way, and made me think for a while... There is an Audio Log with a citation of Douglas Hofstadter, which discuss the perception of what is "more real", and how that changes drastically depending on who is 'experiencing' reality:
The Witness : Citation - Douglas Hofstadter

Then, in another moment in the game, I've found a lecture of Richard Feynman in which he describes the 'levels' of fundamental laws of nature. Feynman brilliantly points out that our experiences are often very far from the scientific perspective of things. The concept of heat is related to how fast the atoms are jiggling, but when you are hugging someone you love and feel the warmth of his/her body, this concept seems very distant.

The Witness: Richard Feynman

So, could this be the reason of why so few people are into science? Very often the scientific truths are "many levels" away from our perceived reality... Could it be that a lack of interest on abstract ideas in favor of more practical and tangible aspects of reality is a part of the evolutionary process of our intelligence? Could it be that the aversion to deep abstract thinking on the majority of the human species is due to the fact that our brains are still strongly attached to our animal origins, which only cares about the 'here and now'? What do you guys think?

The Witness: Discussion on Atheism
"Knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable"

 

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