Dank Video Game Review: The Witness

In 2008 game developer Jonathan Blow gave the world an incredible platform jumper with Braid. It was innovative because it allowed players to twist time to fit their needs. For instance, you could rewind time a few moments if you had fallen into a spiked pit. Audiences have waited seven years for Blow’s sophomore game to drop, so on January 26th we all got to take part in a first-person puzzle experience called The Witness.

As some of you may know I was recently given a bill of health that involves no alcohol, so of course I responded by replacing one vice with another; I now smoke copious amounts of weed. Cerebral movies like Inception and Donnie Darko suddenly make sense, chocolate-covered Lay’s potato chips sound tasty, and I think I now understand the appeal of DOOOOOOOM.

(Yussss, Bongripper sounds like >>>>>>>>>>>.)

In The Witness, an unnamed player starts out in a dark tunnel with one option: head forwards toward a bright opening that’s blocked by a simple puzzle. Slide a white dot to the right, from its starting point to its ending point and voila! The door opens and upon walking forward you are greeted with a slightly more difficult puzzle, this one with a 90 degree bend in it. Behind this second door is a walkway that leads up toward the outside world; sun shining bright, green grass waving in the wind and many colorful tiles strategically placed all over this beautiful, colorful island. The player is left to explore wherever he desires, though most paths do contain openings that are blocked with small puzzles that require a solution in order to access.


(A sample puzzle. Trace a line that separates white from black.)

The graphics in this game, unrealistic though they may be, are utterly beautiful. The style of art resembles a cell-shaded game like Antichamber or Borderlands, and I feel like this choice allows author Jonathan Blow a bit of allowance on how the island can look, exaggerating highs and lows without the requirements of photo-realism. The colors are vibrant and artificial, sharing characteristic of neon incandescent lamps. This is a perfect time to spark up the bong and take a giant rip…


*Cough cough* Ah, so this is what KJM and Blackbeard like to rave about… I can dig it. Wow, The Witness REALLY shines on my plasma television! This game doesn’t seem to have a plot spelled out for the player; it’s more like a story told by audio clips, similar to Dear Esther and SOMA. I might not know much right now, but I’m sure more will unfold as I solve more puzzles. Some of these puzzles are extremely straight-forward; some are completely alien to me, with unique symbols and rules. Any time I feel stumped by a puzzle, I am free to roam around and discover more information but can always return to the tougher puzzles after taking a break. Since I’m not entirely sure where to go next, perhaps I will look to the sky for guidance. I’ll go ahead and follow the direction where the beam of light in the sky points…


…enter this windmill…


…head down these stairs…


…make a right, past some drop lights and wooden supports…


…enter a room at the end of the tunnel with a small theater (?) inside…


…all these panels pointing to something up in the sky…


Oh… my… OMG. I’m currently INSIDE just one small portion of an incredibly larger map! If you look at the sample puzzle below, this room is literally a small square with a white or black dot inside of it (depending on which direction those panels face). Well this is quite interesting. But it fills my head with questions: am I even playing a video game, or am I being coerced into movement by another player interfering with my surroundings? Are all the smaller pieces of this video game also divided into microcosmic pieces and players? Am I… The Witness?

sample_puzzle (copy)

(This is when I went ape-shit.)

I drop the controller, fall to my knees, and start to weep uncontrollably. These aren’t tears of sadness, but a pure celebration of accomplishment! What I had found was not the end of the game per se, but a special ending for those who aren’t quite satisfied with life’s simpler explanations… the single most truthful story surrounded by deception. I had to e-mail the developer right away.

 I solved it! I got to the puzzle-within-a-puzzle, hidden deep within a windmill. It changes everything, for up until this point I never ACTUALLY knew that I existed! Thank you, Jonathan Blow.

Love, JJM

Within 20 minutes, I received the following response

Thank you for reaching out to me. Yes I designed hundreds puzzles throughout the entire game; but I included one special Easter egg for those curious enough, those eager souls willing to unravel the threads of the fabric of reality, to find. You are the only person to have found it thus far! And for that curiosity, that eagerness… that perseverance, I will award you with a special message of absolute truth: God doesn’t real.

Sincerely, JB

I haven’t loved a puzzle game this much since The Adventures of Lolo from 1989. The puzzles in this game run the entire gamut of difficulty, but the answers can always be found. If you stumble upon a puzzle with new symbols on it, you can be sure there is a tutorial puzzle somewhere close that explains how those symbols behave. Often the player is rewarded for thinking outside the box; for instance a pattern might line up with the outside of a nearby tree, but viewed from a different angle. The Witness is a masterpiece, and obviously can be a life changer. This game gets a perfect score: It’s fun as hell and can really give the player something to ponder… if you’ve got an active mind and want to simultaneously tease and reward it. 420/420 bongs or something. FFO: Talos Principle, Myst, Pipe Dream.

(image via The WitnessSmoke Weed Inc, Punjabi GraphicsRebloggy)

Written by:

Published on: February 9, 2016

Filled Under: Reviews, Video Games

Views: 1087

Tags: , ,

  • Salvador Dalí Lama
  • Mayk Benynton

    “I was recently given a bill of health that involves no alcohol, so of
    course I responded by replacing one vice with another; I now smoke
    copious amounts of weed.”
    Who gave you this idea? more beer?

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
  • You ever review a video game… On WEED???

  • Scrimm

    I need a bong


      Ours is rarely used. But its extremely pricey


  • Sir Tapir The Based

    This article endorses dangerous habits. Cannabis leads to meth and heroin and soon you’ll be selling your ass on the streets. WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

  • EsusMoose

    I want to buy this now, been meaning to play something that isn’t a shooter or action game

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    I don’t know if anybody ever heard this song, but it sounds trippy as fuck.


  • Dagon
    • EsusMoose

      The person on the right just looks like they opened their mind to the cosmos, who needs sanity when you got space!

    • Salvador Dalí Lama

      In the before picture, she looks a bit like Jake Bannon with long hair. http://www.revolvermag.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/JacobBannon-e1354659916438.jpg

      • Nice neck tat bro.

        • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

          Its a target for a properly placed trachea punch

          • Gotta watch out, dude. He trains all kinds of martial arts. It shows.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD


            I didnt know that looking like a holocaust survivor was a martial art

          • Ew.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            Poor ectomorphs

            (Sry tyree)

          • At least I have endurance.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            I dont even know how to run

          • It’s easy, until it hurts.

          • Dubs

            Do you run faster when you’re angrier? I tend to blaze through my routine if I’m annoyed about something.

          • Usually if I’m in a good mood I run faster. When I’m mopy and pissed off my motivation is not really the best. It mostly comes down to how rested I am and how well I ate.

          • Dubs


          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            I cant lift without having eaten at least one big meal. But mood generally doesnt come into play

          • I have a diet routine I follow everyday. If I get off of it or change it up it really effects my exercise ability.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            Its that way for anyone training.

            Wayne follows his numbers way more closely but my calorie and protein intake is absurd. Without it, im useless under the bar

          • Dubs

            I just have to wait an hour (and not eat fast food) before I can run. Not eating a home-cooked meal makes my stomach do weird things.

          • It’s amazing how much nutrition and calorie intake plays a role in your ability to exercise. As someone who focuses strictly on endurance sports/exercise I have to eat more carbs than protein it seems to keep going.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            Wayne would probably flame me, but im keeping around 100-120g protein per day

          • Waynecro

            If eat close to a workout, I tend to feel shitty. At about noon, I eat good fats (cottage cheese or eggs), which usually provide me with enough energy for my 4:30 workout.

          • You know walking? Just do that, but move faster.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            Youre crazy

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Tattoos look best on pasty/flabby skin. If you have plenty of the latter, stock up on the former.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD


          • No shit. Stupid beyond belief.

        • COAL GROHL


          • No idea who that is, but wow.


      Lol, that bitch been on hard drugs since before 2000.

      • more beer

        The faces of meth.

        • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

          Looks like two after pictures

          • more beer


  • CyberneticOrganism

    So it’s Myst?

    • Seems to be heavily inspired by Myst. I hope it’s less infuriating though.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        I don’t do well with these games. I get about 20 minutes in, have no fucking clue where to go or what to do, then turn the game off and forget about it forever.

        • Likewise. I always chalk it up to a short attention span and also being stupid.

        • Dubs

          I only played Myst as a kid and ragequit very quickly.


      guess I’m not the only one who thought that

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      I hate Myst. It’s so hard.

    • …without the story.

  • Perdition Temple added to Hell Headbash 3. Two of Gene’s bands playing now (The other being Angelcorpse).

  • Videos can fuck off, but it’s a new Deströyer 666 song.


    • CyberneticOrganism



    This reminds me of MYST



    • more beer

      I can’t upvote that statement enough!

    • Man, if I did that I’d be a fat fuck for sure.


        I doubt it

        Im not even a fat fuck, and ive been smoking weed er day for as long as i can remember (which, coincidentally, isnt long)

      • RJA

        Funny thing is, when I smoked weed erday, I was 170lbs.
        Now I’m 220.
        Of course I have gotten older and lazier, so maybe there is no correlation at all.

        • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

          In fact, there have been studies showing that people who regularly smoke weed are less likely to be obese


          • Haha.

          • Dubs

            I don’t know any fat stoners, come to think of it.

          • Lacertilian

            I’m working on it. Slow but sure.

      • the money i used to spend on alcohol goes towards snacks now.

        • I bake a lot of cookies now that I barely drink. It’s my nighttime regiment now.

          • one of my friends theorized that alcohol intake satiates one’s need for sugar. might be onto something!

          • I’ve often thought the same. I don’t have much of an appetite for sweets unless I’m not drinking.

          • Dubs

            Whoah, my desire for chocolate went way up when my boozing went way down.

          • Kanye’s Booty Finger Sundae

            Wouldn’t be far off the mark. I’ve always heard that long term alcs tend to have really bad hypoglycemia, though it’s never messed with mine. Then again, I’ve always ate well, even through the worst of my drinking.

          • LVL 11 BLACKBEARD

            One of the big problems with alcoholics is poor diet

          • nah Jack In the Box and White Castles are gud for health

          • Kanye’s Booty Finger Sundae

            Yup! Part of what causes DT’s, which trust me, is fucking hell on earth.

          • COAL GROHL

            I can’t get salty crunchy shit into my mouth fast enough when I’m drinking

          • Waynecro

            I didn’t even like sweets until I quit drinking. Sadly, by that point, I was a diabetic. But that just makes sweets even more enticing. You know, because they’re extra forbidden.


    has anyone here had to quit weed?

    • I have not smoked in over a year probably. I was supposed to get high last weekened but it never happened. Whatever.

      • RJA

        I mentioned this recently, but I smoked a couple months ago after a 5 year hiatus. I was rekt.

        • COAL GROHL

          I’ve been a multiple times a day smoker for the better part of the past two decades, but it’s going to be real soon that I have to just stop. Hoping for some advice on coping. I am most certainly addicted physically and mentally.

          • RJA

            Now that I think about it, it was actually about a 7yr hiatus. I was having kids and it just felt like the right thing to do at the time. I do remember my sleeping patterns being completely fucked with.
            I don’t know that I have any great advice unfortunately. I had moved around that time and so didn’t have any regular sources, so that helped.

            Edit: I just re-read my comment and I guess my advice is to move?! I started reading books every night instead of smoking, I do remember that.

          • COAL GROHL

            Same here, being a dad. It’s readily available to me, and I don’t have a lot of discipline or impulse control either when it comes to these vices that I enjoy.

      • COAL GROHL

        I am hoping that when I have to kick it, I can have that same attitude about not doing it

    • more beer

      It is a big part of the culture where I live.

      • COAL GROHL

        my brother moved there a few years ago for work, but he’s not into the weed anymore. He tells me he’ll mail me candy but I’ve yet to see that mailmanbro delivery

        • more beer

          The candies are no joke here. I have taken edibles that have had me feeling like I was tripping. Keep in mind the post office is looking for anything with weed coming out of Colorado. Th last I saw it was 7000 packages this year.

    • Kanye’s Booty Finger Sundae

      No, but I went about 6 1/2 years without it. Didn’t have any problems with it and definitely didn’t have to quit for work. I just stopped thinking about it after a while, up until I hung out with my best friend. Lol, I still have a few pics from that night.


  • so was anybody else enthralled by Braid?

    • ME GORAK B.C.™



      last time I played a video game was either NFL Blitz or Goldeneye on N64



    • Kanye’s Booty Finger Sundae

      Game where you can change time to suit your needs: Isn’t that Prince Of Persia in a nutshell?

      • Dubs

        I forgot that I was going to make this joke when the article went live. Dangit.

        • Kanye’s Booty Finger Sundae

          I think it was the new Myrath video on top of that that made me think of that. :-p

  • Spear

    Didn’t really care for this one. Not enough freedom to explore in a game that’s supposed to be about exploration. Sorry, McÑulty.

  • Waynecro

    This is an awesome article, McNults. I’m not a drug stoner, but this game looks pretty interesting. Probably a little more engaging than all the escape-the-room games I have on my phone.

    • Kanye’s Booty Finger Sundae

      A drug stoner?!? Are you 80 years old? :-p

      • Waynecro

        Internally, yes. Yes, I am.

        • Kanye’s Booty Finger Sundae

          Is that you, JJD? Is this me? ^^^^^

  • Kanye’s Booty Finger Sundae

    Speaking of KJM, I actually went to Failure For Blogs last night to see if he was there, since that’s where people here often go once they either get banned or stop coming here. You know those movies or shows where someone goes to Hell to find their friend/family member/etc (Supernatural comes to mind)? Sorta like that. Gadzooks, it’s as bad as ever, and half the articles I saw were ripped off from here with a few word changes. Sadly, no KJM. 🙁
    Anywho, getting my bowl o’ da shtanky ready and got my eats up and ready!

  • Lacertilian

    Glad you heeded our advice and now can revel whilst Hailing Satan and Worshipping Doom.
    Fave track =