If there’s one thing that’s distracted me me from writing far more often than it should, it’s video games. In addition to reading and watching countless hours of TV shows, gaming is right up there and probably the biggest culprit. And I can finally say I’ve done something about it – this PC is now gameclean(tm) and only used for writing. (a big step, believe me)
But then there’s the PS4 – my media machine, and well I simply had to make one exception lately for Star Wars Battlefront because my inner Star Wars fanboy couldn’t. But also this game called Journey. I normally wouldn’t write about a game here but Journey was something else, and I guess from a writer’s point of view, really struck me as a piece of art, or to sound cheesy, an unforgettable experience.
Aptly named, Journey is simply that, a Journey. You learn basically nothing about your character other than it’s seemingly female and dressed in long robes with a trailing scarf that gradually grows in length. You travel across some of the most amazingly beautiful environments, heading towards a gigantic mountain with a beam of light shooting out of it.
Along the way there’s very basic jumping puzzles and these activatable mural things, but none of them really make any sense except that the murals seem to illustrate your path so far.
But the thing is – you’re just travelling. If you play it while online you can bump into other players who are heading the same way and in many ways it reminded me of the VR game central to the plot in my recently read Three Body Problem – you cant communicate with them other than a flashing icon over your head which pulses, and you find yourself naturally drawn to follow with this other person.
It’s one of the most bizarre and beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. On multiple occasions I had the feeling that I was on a journey, but I didnt know to where or to why and for some reason, removing all of the details created such a simple, pure experience that I simply had to write about it.
Every now and then you’ll encounter a book or a movie or even a piece of art that captures your imagination, and you begin to think and wonder at the person(s) responsible for creating it, and what lead them there. Journey is such an experience. I wouldn’t even call it a game, it’s more than that – it’s an experience.