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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2012-05-08 03:36:34
Journey is another poem of a game by 'thatgamecompany' (the makers of Flower. If you're not of an artistic bent (i.e. a trogodolyte who only plays games with bullets in it), you'll likely find it pretentious. If you're more open to an experiential sliver of illumination, Journey will rank among the best ten dollars you ever spent on a videogame.
Ostensibly, it is a simple journey through a desert landscape toward a mountain summit lit by a massive signal beacon. Subtextually, it is a ruminative allegory about life and relationships - namely the difficulties inherent in sustaining relationships as we journey through life, each of us with our disparate goals and perspectives.
I'll write up a full review in the somewhat near future, but I just want to share a snippet of my Journey here. One of the trophies (achievements to non-PlayStation 3 owners) is to sit down with another player and meditate for twenty seconds. The rub is that there is no voice chat, nor can you select the player with which to interact. You are paired up with anonymous partners plucked from the online ether.
So I spent quite a lot of time trying to communicate this simple desire (to sit together) to numerous passerbys. I would let out a chirp, and sit next to online players in the hopes that they would understand my intent. Many would chirp back, then move purposefully toward the next stage or start searching for treasures. Others would wait expectantly, hoping I knew the way to the next stage or the location of treasures. (Even establishing which player is leading can be a fascinating exercise; following each other is a frequent occurrence, much like "I thought you knew what was going on" real life shenanigans.)
Each one of us is our own universe of thoughts and perspectives, fumbling to grasp at understanding other such personages, trekking our way through a finite temporal existence. I'm impressed that a simple downloadable game managed to encapsulate that universal experience so elegantly.