I’d like to talk about one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played: Journey.
I purchased the Journey Collector’s Edition almost six months ago, but it has been a while since I’ve played any game on any console, so finally sitting down and playing it took a while before happening.
Nonetheless, it has happened and I am, oh, so glad did.
The Collector’s Edition includes Flow, Journey & Flower (all beautiful games!)
The overall gameplay hardly takes a day--it’s exactly like a ridiculously good book that you can’t put down (and don’t want to) because it’s so breathtaking.
You play an anonymous robed figure who seems like he’s on a mission to traverse this massive desert trying to complete his story. As you go along, you see other robed figures. You can play with them if you’re on a network, but mostly you travel alone.
I did not want to blink throughout the game. I wanted to keep my eyes open because I might miss something important, something remarkably beautiful. From a desert to an aquatic world and through a snow storm, Journey takes you on what it promises.
Journey is also an aural masterpiece. The soundtrack of the game takes you on a ride from something calm, whimsical, contemplative to foreboding.
And the magic of the game, as most people including the gamemakers have already pointed out is its parallels to Life itself. At the end of the game, the robed figure is taken on a flight across the sky, passing through the lands he’s already accomplished. As he flied past, he sees other robed figures making their way through the desert telling the audience that Life goes on after we are done with it, and that it is a circle that keeps going long after we are through.
A personal insight to Journey: I would play this as a form of meditation. Whenever I feel like the world might be too much for me, I need only to start this game and remember that I am simply going through this Journey. I can rest at any point before moving on, but the important thing is to marvel at the things that I experience on this Journey, and not to take anything or anyone for granted.
The world and everything in it contains some beauty and magic. We only need to look to see.
If there was anything I wished more of the game, it would be for more. Truth be told, the story of the robed figure communicating with the white robed figures was almost lost on me. I didn’t know what his real mission in-game was--if it even really matters, because of the metaphor the game stands for. If Journey is about Life, it’s a rather short one. Of course, the entire game (or artpiece, really?) is a statement, not a novel that needed to be dragged on and on, beating the audience over the head with symbolisms and morals. But I do believe that it could have been okay if it were prolonged just a touch longer. I wouldn’t have said no.