My friend and I were talking about this over dinner, we came to the conclusion that the main reason this game is the jam is the story. There are layers, and subtext that is conveyed in a combination of voice acting, random graffiti in the environment, the environment itself, and gameplay... I could try to explain it, but I think others have done better. But I can say something about its length and content. Its a tight, precise amount of story fit exactly into the length of the game. The game has this weird perfection about it. Its a short game but so incredibly deep. We decided that most games stretch games out to make the game longer but instead of filling it with 12 hours worth of story, they fill it with pointless "puzzles" and gopher missions. Shit that doesn't usually push a story forward, just time bloat. Some bastard says but X is 11 hours game time, we only have 9 and a half, fatten it up! And some poor sob has to put in extra game time to please his boss's boss's check sheet. But this game is lean and efficient like a cheetah or a shark. It feels like a vision executed exactly as intended. Whether or not that's true, its what it feels like that matters. And it feels great.
We discussed this for about 10 minutes, and came to this while my wife ignored and chided us about how much she hated it. She had to listen to GLADoS without playing... so I cant blame her for picking up some passive aggressive sentiment.