(Jeff requested that I post these.  Major spoiler alert below, I will put lots of asterisks around it so you know what to skip if you ever want to play the game 🙂  )

Text from Braid:

2. TIME AND FORGIVENESS

2.1: Time is off on a search to rescue the Princess.  She has been
snatched by a horrible and evil monster.

This happened because Tim made a mistake.

2.2: Not just one.  He made many mistakes during the time they
spent together, all those years ago.  Memories of their
relationship have become muddled, replaced wholesale, but
one remains clear: the Princess turning sharply away, her
braid lashing at him with contempt.

2.3:  He knows she tried to be forgiving, but who can just shrug
away a guilty lie, a stab in the back?  Such a mistake will
change a relationship irreversibly, even if we have learned
from the mistake and would never repeat it.  The Princess’s
eyes grew narrower.  She became more distant.

2.4:  Our world, with its rules of causality, has trained us to be
miserly with forgiveness.  By forgiving too readily, we can be
badly hurt.  But if we’ve learned from a mistake and become
better for it, shouldn’t we be rewarded for the learning, rather
than punished for the mistake?

2.5: What if our world worked differently?  Suppose we could tell
her: “I didn’t mean what I just said,” and she would say: “It’s
okay, I understand,” and she would not turn away, and life
would really proceed as though we had never said that thing?
We would remove the damage but still be wiser for the
experience.

2.6: Tim and the Princess lounge in the castle garden, laughing
together, giving names to the colorful birds.  Their mistakes
are hidden from each other, tucked away between the folds of
time, safe.

3. TIME AND MYSTERY

3.1: All those years ago, TIm had left the Princess behind.  He had
kissed her on the neck, picking up his travel bag, and walked out
the door.  He regrets this, to a degree.  Now he’s journeying to
find her again, to show he knows how sad it was, but also to tell
her how it was good.

3.2: For a long time, he thought they had been cultivating the
perfect relationship.  He had been fiercely protective, reversing
all his mistakes so they would not touch her.  Likewise, keeping
a tight rein on her own mistakes, she always pleased him.

3.3:  But to be fully couched within the comfort of a friend is a mode
of existence with severe implications.  To please you perfectly,
she must understand you perfectly.  Thus you cannot defy her
expectations or escape her reach.  Her benevolence has
circumscribed you, and your life’s achievements will not reach
beyond the map she has drawn.

3.4: Tim needed to be non-manipulable.  He needed a hope of
transcendence.  He needed, sometimes, to be immune to the
Princess’s caring touch.

3.5: Off in the distance, Tim saw a castle where the flags flutter
even when the wind has expired, and the bread in the kitchen is
always warm.  A little bit of magic.

4. TIME AND PLACE

4.1:  Visiting his parents’ home for a holiday meal, Tim felt as
though he had regressed to those long-ago years when he
lived under their roof, oppressed by their insistence on
upholding strange values which, to him, were meaningless.
Back then, bickering would erupt over drops of gravy spilt
onto the tablecloth.

4.2: Escaping, Tim walked in the cool air toward the university
he’s attended after moving out of his parents’ home.  As he
distanced himself from the troubling house, he felt the
embarrassment of childhood fading into the past.  But now
he stepped into all the insecurities he’d felt at the university,
all the panic of walking a social tightrope.

4.3: Tim only felt relieved after the whole visit was over, sitting
back home in the present, steeped in contrast: he saw how
he’d improved so much from those old days.
This improvement, day by day, takes him ever-closer to
finding the Princess.  If she exists – she must! – she will
transform him, and everyone.

4.4: He felt on his trip that every place stirs up an emotion, and
every emotion invokes a memory: a time and a location.  So
couldn’t he find the Princess now, tonight, just by
wandering from place to place and noticing how he feels?  A
trail of feelings, of awe and inspiration, should lead him to
that castle: in the future: her arms enclosing him, her scent
fills him with excitement, creates a moment so strong he can
remember it in the past.

4.5: Immediately Tim walked out his door, the next morning,
toward whatever the new day held.  He felt something like
optimism.

5. TIME AND DECISION

5.1: She never understood the impulses that drove him, never
quite felt the intensity that, over time, chiseled lines into his
face.  She was never quite close enough to him – but he held
her as though she were, whispered into her ear words that
only a soul mate should receive.

5.2: Over the remnants of dinner, they both knew the time had
come.  He would have said: “I have to go find the Princess,”
but he didn’t need to.  Giving a final kiss, hoisting a travel
bag to his shoulder, he walked out the door.

Through all the nights that followed, she still loved him as
though he had stayed, to comfort her and protect her,

Princess be damned.

6. HESITANCE

6.1: Perhaps in a perfect world, the ring would be a symbol of
happiness.  It’s a sign of ceaseless devotion: even if he will
never find the Princess, he will always be trying.  He still will
wear the ring.

6.2: But the ring makes its presence known.  It shines out to
others like a beacon of warning.  It makes people slow to
approach.  Suspicion, distrust.  Interactions are torpedoed
before Tim can open his mouth.

6.3: In time he learns to deal with others carefully.  He matches
their hesitant pace, tracing a soft path through their
defenses.  But this exhausts him, and it only works to a
limited degree.  It doesn’t get him what he needs.

6.4: Tim begins to hide the ring in his pocket.  But he can hardly
bear it – too long tucked away, that part of him might
suffocate.

1. <no name>

1.1 At a cafe on a bright plaza, most customers sit back, feeling the
warmth of the sun, enjoying their cold drinks.  But not Tim –
he barely notices the sun, doesn’t really taste his coffee.  For
him this corner affords a good view of the city, and in the
teeterings of the passers-by, in the arc of a shop-girl’s hand as
she displays tea to an interested gentleman, Tim hopes to see
clues.

1.2 That night as the cinema, fictitious adventurers lunge
implausibly across the screen.  The audience here is missed.
Some are patrons of the cafe, now sitting excitedly in the plush
chairs, eager for another new flavor, for distraction from the
boredom of their easy lives.  Other seats hold fishermen and
farm-workers, hoping to forget their toils and rest their hands.

1.3  Tim is here too, but he is scrutinizing the gloss on the lips on
the screen, measuring the angle of the plume of a distance
helicopter crash.  He thinks he discerns a message; when the
cinema closes and most of the audience strolls down the plaza
to the South, Tim goes North.

1.4 People like Tim seem to live oppositely from the other residents
of the city.  Tide and riptide, flowing against each other.

1.5 Tim wants, like nothing else, to find the Princess, to know her
at last.  For Tim this would be momentous, sparking an intense
light that embraces the world, a light that reveals the secrets
long kept from us, that illuminates – or materializes! – a final
palace where we can exist in peace.

1.6: But how would this be perceived by the other residents of the
city, in the world that flows contrariwise?  The light would be
intense and warm at the beginning, but then flicker down to
nothing, taking the castle with it; it would be like burning down
the place we’ve always called home, where we placed so
innocently as children.  Destroying all hope of safety, forever.

Epilogue

Room 1:

The boy called for the girls to follow him, and he took her hand.  He
would protect her; they would make their way through this
oppressive castle, fighting off the creatures made of smoke and
doubt, escaping to a life of freedom.

The boy wanted to protect the girl.  He held her hand, or put his arm
around her shoulders in a walking embrace, to help her feel
supported and close to him amid the impersonal throngs of
Manhattan.  They turned and made their way through the Canal St.
subway station, and he picked a path through the jostling crowd.

Room 1 Hidden Message:

His arm weighed upon her shoulders, felt constrictive around her
neck.  “You’re burdening me with your ridiculous need,” she said.
Or, she said: “You’re going the wrong way and you’re pulling me
with you.”  In another time, another place, she said: “Stop yanking
on my arm; you’re hurting me!”

Room 2:

He worked his ruler and his compass.  He inferred.  He deduced.  He
scrutinized the fall of an apple, the twisting of metal orbs hanging
from a thread.  He was searching for the Princess, and he would not
stop until he found her, for he was hungry.  He cut rats into pieces to
examine their brains, implanted tungsten posts into the skulls of
water-starved monkeys.

Room 2 Hidden Message:

Ghostly, she stood in front of him and looked into his eyes. “I am
here,” she said.  “I am here.  I want to touch you.”  She pleaded: “Look
at me!”  But he would not see her; he only knew how to look at the
outsides of things.

Room 3:

He scrutinized the fall of an apple, the twisting of metal orbs hanging
from a thread.  Through these clues he would find the Princess, see her
face.  After an especially fervent night of tinkering, he kneeled behind a
bunker in the desert; he held a pieces of welder’s glass up to his eyes and
waited.

On that moment hung eternity.  Time stood still.  Space contracted to a
pinpoint.  It was as though the earth had opened and the skies split.  One felt
as though he has been privileged to witness the Birth of the World…1

Someone near him said: “It worked.”

Someone else said: “Now we are all sons of bitches.”

Room 3 Hidden Message:

She stood tall and majestic.  She radiated fury.  She shouted: “Who has
disturbed me?”  But then, anger expelled, she felt the sadness beneath;
she let her breath fall softly, like a sigh, like ashes floating gently on the wind.
She couldn’t understand why he chose to flirt so closely with the death of
the world.

Room 4:

The candy store.  Everything he wanted was on the opposite side of that pane of glass.
The store was decorated in bright colors, and the scents wafting out drove him crazy.
He tried to rush for the door, or just get closer to the glass, but he couldn’t.  She held
him back with great strength.  Why would she hold him back?  How might he break
free of her grasp?  He considered violence.

Room 4 Hidden Message:

They had been here before on their daily walks.  She didn’t mind his screams and his
shrieks, or the way he yanked painfully on her braid to make her stop.  He was too
little to know better.
She picked him up and hugged him: “No, babe,” she said.  He was shaking.  She
followed his gaze toward the treats sitting on pillows behind the glass: the chocolate
bar and the magnetic monopole, the It-From-Bit and the Ethical Calculus; and so
many other things, deeper inside.  “Maybe when you’re older, baby,” she whispered,
setting him back on his feet and leading him him, “Maybe when you’re older.”

Every day thereafter, as before, she always walked him on a route
that passed in front of the candy store.

Room 5:

(1) He cannot say he has understood all of
this.  Possibly he’s more confused now
than ever.  But all these moments he’s
contemplated – something has occurred.
The moments feel substantial in his mind,
like stones.  Kneeling, reaching down
toward the closest one, running his hand
across it, he finds it smooth, and slightly
cold.

(2) He tests the stone’s weight; he finds he
can lift it, and the others too.  He can fit
them together to create a foundation, an
embankment, a castle.

(3) To build a castle of appropriate size, he
will need a great many stones.  But what
he’s got, now, feels like an acceptable
start.

Rules in each world (in relation to time)

World 2: Player learns that he can press shift to rewind time (and up.down keys to modulate the flow of this time reversal).  This remains a constant in all the worlds

World 3: There are certain objects (marked with green sparkles and flashing) that are impervious to time reversals.  Players must use these elements in combination with reversing time to get all the puzzle pieces.

World 4:  Moving left causes time to move in reverse.  Moving right causes time to move forward. (Except for the green sparkle objects that are impervious to time manipulations).

World 5: If player reverses time, they create a duplicate shadow world that re-plays their previous actions.  Purple flashing objects can be manipulated by shadow-Tim

World 6: Player has a ring, when placed on the ground it slows down the time of everything around it (except for green flashing things)

World 1: Time moves in reverse by default in this world.  When Tim “reverses” time, he is making everything move forward

Special visual/auditory notes from each world

World 2, Door 4 (last door): at end of the world there is a flag and a castle, when players walk past the flag a little dinosaur walks out of the castle and says:

“I’m sorry, but the Princess

is in another castle.”

World 3, Door 8 (last door): at end of the world there is a flag, when players walk past the flag a little dinosaur comes out or a door and says:

“Wow…that was very strange.

Oh, huh, the Princess…

…Princess who?

She must be in another castle.”

World 4: The music moves in relation to the player’s time manipulations.  When the player stands still, the music doesn’t play.  When the player moves left (reversing time) the music runs backwards.  When the player moves right (time moves forwards) the music plays normally.

Door X (last door): flag at end of world, dinosaur comes out.  to get dialogue to show, player has to keep moving to the right (so time moves forward), dinosaur says:

“Hello there!

I’m sorry, but the Pr…

Hey, where are you going?”

World 5: Music  becomes a bit more ambiguous, sounds ok when run forwards or backwards

Door X (last door), flag and wrecked castle at end of world.  In wrecked castle is a stained glass image of the Princess

The dinosaur says:

“Hi, ummm… I’m lost.

How are you?”

World 6:  Some of the music is still ambiguous (also – some of the initial levels in each world look the same, is this relevant?)

Flag, dinosaur says:

“It took you so long to get here!

But at long last I can tell you that…

The Princess must be in another castle.

I’ve never met her…

Are you sure she exists?”

World 1:

Players have to start at the last door, instead of the first.  Visually, each world’s icon is a flower that progressively closes.  Because this is done backwards, when the players see the doors side-by-side it appears as though the flower is opening up.

The music in these levels moves backwards by default.

***********SPOILER ALERT***** This is the last level in the game and reveals a major plot twist.  Please play the game instead of reading this, it’s completely worth it.  ********** ****************************************

The last (“first”) door in this level is when Tim actually sees the Princess.  She appears to need rescuing.  She is being held by a knight who is lowering them down a vine.  He says “I’ve got you!” and “Oof!” when they reach the bottom.  The Princess jumps up and exclaims “Help!”  The knight makes menacing noises, jumps around, and yells “Come down here!”.  The Princess yells “Help” again and now Tim can run along beneath her, saving her from all the traps before her and from the wall of fire behind them both.  At the end of the level the Princess falls asleep in her bed and all the player can do is watch her sleep through her window.  Then the player has nothing to do but reverse time through the whole level, where it’s revealed that the Princess is actually running from Tim and trying to trap him.  We now see the “end” of the level played in the correct order.  The Princess yells “Help!” and the knight jumps and waves yelling “Come down here!”.  She yells “Help!” again and runs to the night, he says “Oof” as he catches her and then begins rappelling them both up the vine.  The knight says “I’ve got you!” as Tim is left helpless at the bottom of the level, watching them both get away from him.  There is nothing he can do now but enter out the door he entered the level from, moving on to the epilogue.

******* END SPOILER ALERT ****************************************************************************

At the end of the Epilogue, there is a castle built from square bricks, each of which bears the icon of one of the levels.  I found this visually reminiscent of the periodic table, not sure yet if that’s relevant.

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