The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
It's been a few weeks since I first played journey, and my mind is still dwelling in that mysterious world. My emotions have been played with ever since I explored the desert as that creature, and I've constantly been picking apart the story. From the glyph's to the Cloth Creatures that roamed the land, ThatGameCompany crafted a beautiful masterpiece, but the beauty is much deeper than what the graphics present. There's something in plain sight that deserves to be discussed just as much as the rest of this wonderful game. And I'd like to begin the discussion. Be warned there will be **SPOILERS**.
I'm going to put this right out in the open. Without explicitly saying it, ThatGameCompany stated their interpretation of the meaning life with this game. It's in the title, and it's there until the credits roll. The meaning of life is to never truly know the meaning. All that matters is the Journey you make to discover it.
First I'd like to point out that the visuals contribute heavily to my theory. For such a short game, the graphics are overwhelmingly gorgeous, and are a tribute to the phrase "Stop and smell the roses". ThatGameCompany wants you to slow down and take a look at the world, and they triumphantly succeed. Several times as I was playing I stopped, and took in what this world had to offer. I forgot the story, and I forgot my goal. I was utterly lost in this world. I soaked in how the lighting and shading stretched across the world and was stunned into silence at sunset (the above image). This reminds me very much of instances in my life. I'll be driving along the road on the way to work early in the morning, only to find myself staring absentmindedly at a painting strewn across the sky. There's beauty to be found in our world, and ThatGameCompany expresses this in their desert masterpiece.
I've never been so easily attached to another gamer as I was, when I found a fellow traveler in Journey. When traveling alone a sense of loneliness washed over me. I constantly found myself wanting to share this quest with someone else, and that thought sends an ironic chill down my spine. Isn't that what we're looking for in our lives? Someone to share our personal Journey with? Someone to be alongside you when you're forced to face the unknown? When I finally came across a fellow...creature, we both chirped a tune to each other and happily continued our on our way to our goal, supporting each other, and coming back for each other if one of us was left behind. ThatGameCompany has found completely subtle ways to present their meanings to us, and at a second glance I'm stunned that I didn't see it the first time.
Then there's the interaction with the world and the creatures who inhabit it. You find downtrodden "Clothe Creatures" who are floating around aimlessly, almost lifeless. But when you sing to them, they glow and become revitalized, and happily surround you, giving you life in return. It's a small way that, ThatGameCompany presents the concept of different species helping each other. Basically it's their way of saying, "We humans aren't a parasite. We're something much more." We have the potential to give life to the animals, and plants surrounding us, and Journey displays that in a beautiful manner.
The last thing I'd like to point out is the story. Here come the spoilers by the way. From the beginning of the game you have no idea where you are or what your reason for even being there is. You're basically a newborn, and you are about to enter a beautifully mysterious world, much like the lives we live. Then you travel on, learning more about yourself, and your culture, and the history behind it. Much like a child. Then at sunset you discover true beauty. You surf over waves of sand that might as well be water. To me this is much like your first steps into the world as a young adult. You seek adventure and find things you've never seen before. Then darkness falls, and you delve into the underbelly of Journey's world. You find beasts that take the life away from you, by shortening your scarf. You also find aquatic-like life sprouting from the ground, leaving a more haunting sense of beauty than what the surface presented. It's a dark and scary place down there. Just like the challenges of adult hood. Then you surface and enter the cold unrelenting wind. It blows you backward, but you continue on. This is much like the hindrances of old age. Then you reach the brink of death. There is no beauty, just hopelessness...but you're given a second chance to complete your quest. It's almost like surviving a heart attack. The world becomes beautiful again as you surge through the clouds as you overcome your near-death experience and find exuberant life, throbbing fresh above the clouds. Then peacefully, on your own terms, you walk slowly into the light accepting your fate. You never knew for sure what your true purpose in life was, but you're at peace with that. Because you've seen such amazing beauties that you don't need a sentence to describe your true meaning. Much like what I imagine death will be like. A peaceful embrace as you slip into white oblivion. The meaning behind Journey is that there is beauty in life, in triumph, in fear, and in death. You just have to slow down and realize it. The final message from Journey, is that when your life ends, life will begin anew. Whether it's through reincarnation, or it's the beginning of someone else's journey, life will continue on.
The meaning of life is not something that can be said, but something that has to be experienced.
*A final note* I would happily pay $15 dollars every time I play this game. I highly recommend that you pay it once, and experience something completely out of this world. Thanks for reading guys.