Minimap: The Witness

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In what will hopefully become a semi-regular fixture of short, impomptu podcasts, M and Jackson sit down to have a chat about The Witness. There aren’t any spoilers for solutions here, and instead we get into our feelings on the cultural context of the game and its creator. Let us know if you enjoy the episode, and we’ll bring you some more when circumstances align!

You can get our podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher, or you can download it directly by clicking here.

Games Discussed
Braid, Not Myst, The Witness

Music Used
Blown Away by Kevin McLeod

One comment

  1. Hullo – was interested to read Jackson’s piece in Zam on The Witness just now. I don’t have autism, so it was interesting to see your take on it. (Actually I got here out of curiosity, by googling The Witness and Autism) However I somewhat disagree personally, as far as your conclusion that the game offers nothing other than its own rules and set. It’s subjective, but I think as you get close to a 100% run, some interesting psychological stuff happens that I haven’t seen in games before. I’d describe it as like ‘subliminal messages that aren’t there’, if that makes any sense. The significance of the Meta puzzles, as you describe them, is that they start talking to you at an unconscious level and flag up things that are more to do with the player’s own internal thought processes, tying in particularly with the game’s reference to Zen. Personally I was astonished that I was solving the hardest stuff actually in my head whilst walking to the shops, rather than sat in front of my PC. I believe that’s an intended tangent that the puzzles take.

    I’m reminded of William Gibson’s novel about subverted viral marketing, Pattern Recognition. The characters are fascinated by barely comprehensible videos they have collated from the internet, but they are unable to discern their purpose because it’s unclear where the art is being produced. In this podcast you discuss the dissonant stuff that happens with the hardcore puzzles that come up descending into the mountain. There is an unnerving vibe at that point in the game and you’re right that the player is asked to consider walking away from the controls. But, I found that things change up a lot when nearly everything else in the game has been clocked, and there’s a real generosity of spirit in terms of allowing the player’s thoughts to stray from the game itself to consider how things connect to one’s own ideology and ethical point of view.

    Another point of comparison might be movies by Lars Von Trier, which some people take seriously but I just think the endings are all hilarious. The director is never going to give a straight answer about what you’re supposed to think, but key positions such as taking everything seriously, being mortally offended, or snorting with laughter are heavily signposted.
    Certainly, still damned if I know what the guy that made The Witness actually intended to communicate, but it’s fun to guess. Cheers for writing an interesting article.

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