Braid, Problem Attic and the role of tutorial

3 thoughts on “Braid, Problem Attic and the role of tutorial”

  1. You bring up a really interesting point! I didn’t even notice that Problem Attic lacked a tutorial but I certainly felt similar levels of frustration and difficulty with the game. I think perhaps the lack of a tutorial speaks to the game’s argument. In Braid, there was the initial level that taught you the commands and abilities in a simple and straightforward fashion. If Braid showcases power and resources as Ryerson notes, then it makes sense that the player runs through a tutorial first. They start at an instance of privilege and overwhelming opportunity. Meanwhile the dependency on one’s individual skill sets in spite of adversity really comes to light in Problem Attic. I think in both of these games, the gameplay and narrative really coincide well.

  2. Your post seems to be hinting at the idea that presence or absence of a tutorial itself can be a form of procedural rhetoric, which is interesting. Things like the character’s jumping and speed constantly shifting reminded me of a mobile game called Mr. AahH!!, but whereas Mr. AahH!! always tells the player when and how wind and gravity have changed to allow them to compensate for it in planning a jump, Problem Attic lets players find out by taking (and probably failing) that first jump. Does having a tutorial (which clarifies for the player the goals and abilities of the character) imply an argument about ease of understanding and mastery in general? It’s worth noting that, as far as I can remember, Braid doesn’t include a tutorial that covers pausing time (which is immensely helpful for at least one puzzle) or accelerating the rate at which time moves backwards (which is required for at least one puzzle.)

  3. Why not try some games from the early 1980s? They often have very rudimentary instructions and require some experimentation. Also they aren’t massively pretentious.

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