My Journey Into Journey - The Most Emotional Experience I've Had

Posted by TonyBlue87 (293 posts) -

I just had the single most magical gaming experience of my life, and I knew that I had to drop everything and write about it.

The game Journey just released on PS3, and (having loved everything from ThatGameCompany), I bought it and downloaded it immediately. You play as a figure in a red cloak wandering around an endless desert. You have three controls: move, jump, and sing. It is through these simple abilities that you experience the entire game. As you make your way through the seemingly infinite sand dunes, you come across what appear to be the ruins of an ancient culture, some of which respond and change dramatically when you sing around them. It is through experimentation and curiosity that you make discoveries and progress, and all of it is done without a single word, spoken or written.

What makes Journey truly unique, however, is that you can run into another player in the same location as you at pretty much any given time. If either of you sing, a glow appears around the other player's screen to indicate the direction of the sound. You can then do one of two things: continue on your merry way by yourself, or partner up with the other player and travel through each level together. Once again, there is no instruction whatsoever as to which course of action to take.

I choose the latter.

The other red-caped figure and I first met as we finished freeing flying strips of fabric which formed bridges between several large structures. We made our way to the entrance of the bridge and stopped. It was only a moment, but we both paused at the same time, seemingly unsure as to what was about to happen. As I wondered whether this other mystery player was going to play along or just take off, they sang to me. I sang back to them, and in less than a moment we were flying side by side up and over the fabric as wind rushed past and music swelled to match the tremendous speed at which we were traveling. We both landed at an altar, which we sang at together, causing a small ring of light to appear on the floor as the altar began to glow. Our characters sat down next to each other, and we were both treated to a short animation revealing a type of hieroglyphic presentation of the history of the land. It was at this moment I knew there was something special about this game.

The next level loaded up, and, much to my surprise and excitement, both my character and this other mystery partner entered the environment together. Everything else that followed defies all explanation, as this unworldly, instant cooperation and camaraderie made itself known in the most organic and natural progression I have ever experienced in any medium. In a landscape that stretched on for miles, we stayed right next to each other. As one of us found a symbol we could absorb to increase our jumping ability, we would quickly sing at the other, directing them to it. When we reached the top of a dune, revealing a beautiful vista of light and sand, we both paused for a moment to take it all in, right before surfing down the other side, competing to see who could quickly glide between a series of archways. We both stayed together and stealthily sneaked around several pillars as a giant, flying snake shone an ominous beam of light from its glowing eye, as if searching for escaped prisoners. Every moment was shared together, with no way to communicate other than a series of notes.

Finally, I saw what time it was and knew that I had to stop to go to bed (right after writing this). I felt a pang of sadness as I realized that I had just gone on this amazing adventure with someone I had never met and now had to leave before it was over. The next area loaded after we made our daring escape from the snake giants, and I tried to think of how to tell this other person I was about to leave. They took a few steps forward, but I remained still. I delivered two quick notes, "Hum, Hum" and then rotated around a few times, the best alternative I could come up with in lieu of waving. The other player walked up to me, paused for a moment, and sang "Hum, Hum." I then held down the sing button for a moment, resulting in singing a loud and resonant chord; this was my "thank you." The player reciprocated, and I pressed Pause, causing my character to sit. I then had to force myself to select "Quit Game" as the other character just watched me, motionless, as I vanished from their world; a world we had traveled through together for only an hour. We started an adventure together, but we would have to finish it separately.

We will never know each others' name.

No other game has moved me on such a deeply personal level. It teaches such a poignant lesson about life in shockingly simple way. We all go on journeys with people, and through these adventures we become closer to each other than we ever could have imagined, but ultimately we always end with having to go our separate ways. It's almost as though we never want to achieve whatever the final goal is, because that will mean it's all over. We end up feeling sad and lonely when we reach the end, because getting there was so exhilarating.

This game is truly about the journey, not the destination.

Online
#1 Posted by TonyBlue87 (293 posts) -

I just had the single most magical gaming experience of my life, and I knew that I had to drop everything and write about it.

The game Journey just released on PS3, and (having loved everything from ThatGameCompany), I bought it and downloaded it immediately. You play as a figure in a red cloak wandering around an endless desert. You have three controls: move, jump, and sing. It is through these simple abilities that you experience the entire game. As you make your way through the seemingly infinite sand dunes, you come across what appear to be the ruins of an ancient culture, some of which respond and change dramatically when you sing around them. It is through experimentation and curiosity that you make discoveries and progress, and all of it is done without a single word, spoken or written.

What makes Journey truly unique, however, is that you can run into another player in the same location as you at pretty much any given time. If either of you sing, a glow appears around the other player's screen to indicate the direction of the sound. You can then do one of two things: continue on your merry way by yourself, or partner up with the other player and travel through each level together. Once again, there is no instruction whatsoever as to which course of action to take.

I choose the latter.

The other red-caped figure and I first met as we finished freeing flying strips of fabric which formed bridges between several large structures. We made our way to the entrance of the bridge and stopped. It was only a moment, but we both paused at the same time, seemingly unsure as to what was about to happen. As I wondered whether this other mystery player was going to play along or just take off, they sang to me. I sang back to them, and in less than a moment we were flying side by side up and over the fabric as wind rushed past and music swelled to match the tremendous speed at which we were traveling. We both landed at an altar, which we sang at together, causing a small ring of light to appear on the floor as the altar began to glow. Our characters sat down next to each other, and we were both treated to a short animation revealing a type of hieroglyphic presentation of the history of the land. It was at this moment I knew there was something special about this game.

The next level loaded up, and, much to my surprise and excitement, both my character and this other mystery partner entered the environment together. Everything else that followed defies all explanation, as this unworldly, instant cooperation and camaraderie made itself known in the most organic and natural progression I have ever experienced in any medium. In a landscape that stretched on for miles, we stayed right next to each other. As one of us found a symbol we could absorb to increase our jumping ability, we would quickly sing at the other, directing them to it. When we reached the top of a dune, revealing a beautiful vista of light and sand, we both paused for a moment to take it all in, right before surfing down the other side, competing to see who could quickly glide between a series of archways. We both stayed together and stealthily sneaked around several pillars as a giant, flying snake shone an ominous beam of light from its glowing eye, as if searching for escaped prisoners. Every moment was shared together, with no way to communicate other than a series of notes.

Finally, I saw what time it was and knew that I had to stop to go to bed (right after writing this). I felt a pang of sadness as I realized that I had just gone on this amazing adventure with someone I had never met and now had to leave before it was over. The next area loaded after we made our daring escape from the snake giants, and I tried to think of how to tell this other person I was about to leave. They took a few steps forward, but I remained still. I delivered two quick notes, "Hum, Hum" and then rotated around a few times, the best alternative I could come up with in lieu of waving. The other player walked up to me, paused for a moment, and sang "Hum, Hum." I then held down the sing button for a moment, resulting in singing a loud and resonant chord; this was my "thank you." The player reciprocated, and I pressed Pause, causing my character to sit. I then had to force myself to select "Quit Game" as the other character just watched me, motionless, as I vanished from their world; a world we had traveled through together for only an hour. We started an adventure together, but we would have to finish it separately.

We will never know each others' name.

No other game has moved me on such a deeply personal level. It teaches such a poignant lesson about life in shockingly simple way. We all go on journeys with people, and through these adventures we become closer to each other than we ever could have imagined, but ultimately we always end with having to go our separate ways. It's almost as though we never want to achieve whatever the final goal is, because that will mean it's all over. We end up feeling sad and lonely when we reach the end, because getting there was so exhilarating.

This game is truly about the journey, not the destination.

Online
#2 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

For some reason this really reads like a Holocaust survivor memoir.

#3 Posted by Dogma (945 posts) -

I don't want to spoil anything for you so...read this only if you completed the game.

You will actually get to know this players name after the game has ended. I don't think it takes anything away from the experience. It's the right decision to not see it during the adventure but it's fun to see who you met during your journey.
#4 Posted by TentPole (1858 posts) -

I love this game.

#5 Posted by Addfwyn (1918 posts) -

I agree in so many ways, I've never felt so connected to a total stranger that I had almost no real way to communicate. Never has a co-op experience been more natural and felt more right.

So many times during this game I had a big grin on my face, tears in my eyes, or actual fear. In a game with not a single word of dialogue that is maybe two hours long. I actually felt fear for my companion at points, and we'd always wait for each other to catch up if we got a bit separated.

#6 Posted by SamFo (1528 posts) -

the phrase 'needs to get laid' is thrown around alot nowadays....

#7 Posted by TonyBlue87 (293 posts) -

Made an edit to include a proper conclusion.

Online
#8 Posted by MikkaQ (10280 posts) -

This game seems like a neat adventure, but like Flower I'm left asking where's the gameplay? It looks like I'd rather watch this game than play it, which was exactly my response to Flower too.

#9 Posted by SASnake (324 posts) -

@SamFo: I agree

#10 Posted by Bucketdeth (8005 posts) -

Journey was an amazing experience, I haven't felt that sense of friendship and harmony from a game before, and like you I was sad when it was all over.

#11 Edited by JacDG (2119 posts) -

I completely agree, this is probably going to be one of the games I will remember for the rest of my life, 100% complete magic. Words can't truly express the experience I just had, a game has never done this to me before, I am honestly astonished at how impact-full a journey it was, and I can already say it will be my personal Game Of The Year.

Online
#12 Posted by hxcaleb (83 posts) -

I just finished the game, and I know this game supposedly only takes about 2 hours to complete. For some reason it felt like a half hour tops. Time flies when you're staring at art. There's a trophy for taking a week long break and playing it again so let's see how I feel about it after I play through the second time.

#13 Posted by ChaosDent (234 posts) -

My journey partner and I discovered that we could recharge the other player's jump. So we spent five minutes just seeing how far up a blank wall we could boost each other without using any of the environmental assists. He was the best. We did our best to stay within sight during the fast sliding or flying sections and we helped each other during the trickier jumping sections. It's too bad he had to leave, the next two partners I ran into in the last 20 minutes of the game separated from me without forming any strong connection.

#14 Edited by churrific (477 posts) -

I'll just hop on the bandwagon, and just say WHOA. Capital letters.

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