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Are Super Meat Boy/Braid 'Great games'

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So over last couple of months I have been playing SMB and Braid a bit. I watched Indie Game: The Movie and that's what got me curious about indie games. So I see both these games were very highly rated, SMB was 4th highest selling XBLA game in 2010 with a very high metacritic score and Braid has been described as one of the best rated games of all time.

 

So what am I missing. I realise both developers are two man teams, both have to build an editor and engine, that's a fair number of lines of code and knowledge of 2D engines, maybe 50-100k lines including both. However I just don't see why these games stand out as being exceptionally good games. Could I create a SMB clone(ish) and sell 2.5M copies?

 

SMB is quite addictive. I am up to the Rapture level and have completed 15/17 sub levels but I am not thinking it's worthy of a game of the year award. I also think ZX Spectrum games are very addictive, playing them on an emulator as I sometimes do. So why do these games get such high ratings?

 

ps: I have no internet just know so posting two posts right now smile.png

Edited by rAm_y_

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I don't know about Super Meat Boy, but I do highly recommend Braid.

 

Braid was the first game I ever played that include time as part of the game element.  I am not talking about including time in your story like Ocarina of Time.  Braid actually recorded your movement and you can rewind it at any time, and use it to help you move forward.  I think that was pretty clever.

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Braid had the difficulty just right and I never had that moment where I thought "this is stupid, I will just look up the answer online" which I had a lot with puzzle games e.g. grim fandango (all puzzles in braid are logical) . I finished Braid with no help and it felt gooood. This is a balance I have never experienced before in a puzzle game. Similar to the feeling you get from Halflife which is due to great pacing.

 

Braid allowed you to skip puzzles without making you feel like you had cheated since you had to return to finish them.

 

Braid was never boring.

 

I wasn't a big fan of the story but I liked the art.

 

It is great for kids and adults.

 

It teaches choice and encourages completeness without the need for pointlessness e.g. I must get every gem on this level nonsense or bioshock's pillaging every corner of every room.

 

Great use of colour.

 

The difficulty curve was perfect.

 

It did all of this without being violent.

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Braid was the first game I ever played that include time as part of the game element.  I am not talking about including time in your story like Ocarina of Time.  Braid actually recorded your movement and you can rewind it at any time, and use it to help you move forward.  I think that was pretty clever.


there was an xbox 360 game that did this, and it was pretty sweet function(but the game itself wasn't much more than a generic fps with the added time control features).

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I love SuperMeat boy but as you said:
 

SMB is quite addictive. I am up to the Rapture level and have completed 15/17 sub levels but I am not thinking it's worthy of a game of the year award. 

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Well, firstly I'm sure both games are well over 100k lines -- probably more like half a million or more, all-told. Not that its a good measure of anything, anyway.

 

The thing that really makes these games stand out is that they both have a unique premise, and both were polished to a glossy finish. You can like or dislike the games, but frankly its fairly difficult to find anything objectively wrong with either one. They don't try to do everything or appeal to everyone -- they set their sights on something concrete and then set to executing that plan to near-flawless levels. They're both interesting, fun, and buttery-smooth.

 

I'm sure there's some aspect of their critical reception that's based less on the games themselves and more of the indie-movement they represented, we all want to root for the underdog, and we can all appreciate an artisan good perhaps more than we really should objectively, but still I can't take anything away from them for that, personally.

 

You probably *can't* make a SMB-clone and expect to do as well. If your execution is equally good you might sell well to people who really want more meatboy, but for other's you'll probably just remind them to go play through meatboy again. But before you get even there, you'd have to execute at that level and also capture the same quality of mechanics and level design, and match their quirky charm -- I get the impression that you underestimate the amount of effort that went into meatboy. Yes, it was just a couple indies, but ones that have, IIRC, over 30 games between them, working long, long hours for something like 18-24 months.

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Another aspect of the discussion here is that its really an apples-and-oranges discussion to compare either of these games to AAA mainstream games. The meatboy guys say explicitly that they don't even want to be that.

 

If you ask the average movie-goer what the best move of last year was, they might name the second Hobbit film, but if you ask a cinephile you're probably going to get a very different answer. And there's no reason they can't both be right, because each of them is really answering a slightly-different question because of the scope of their perspectives. You have things that are mass-produced for mass-appeal, and you have things that are effectively a hand-crafted good that sets out to achieve a very specific appeal. Even when when those two things are similar they exist in different dimensions -- they have entirely different rules about how you measure their 'goodness'.

 

Obligatory car analogy: You can't really compare a Maclaren or Bugatti to even a Porsche or Ferrari -- In broad, functional strokes, yes, but not in fine details. Even though Porsche and Ferrari are at the very upper end of 'mainstream' car companies, a Maclaren or Bugatti just exists on a different plane.

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