The lights are on
My experience with thatgamecompany's Journey was
nothing short of remarkable. It was like I entered into an imaginative work of
art. Instead of playing a game in the traditional way I was captivated by its
beauty and soon found myself attached to a game without a clear cut story and
experiencing a profound emotional feeling between the intimacies of the
cooperative gameplay. Journey can be more closely related to experiencing an
exquisite painting and analyzing the intricacies that were involved in its creation.
Some of the greatest works of art are created by keeping the palette simple and
by experimenting with the full range of shades one or two colours can produce.
Indulging in the simplicity of Journey is where the true enjoyment comes from.
The gameplay is simple enough that almost anyone could experience it; however
the expressive artistic style could only truly be understood by a slightly
older audience (or a child prodigy in visual arts). From gliding across strands
of cloth in an empty desert to gently floating through a series of ruins and
calling for your ambiguous partner the game gradually changes in atmosphere
allowing the player time to digest the beauty of his/her surroundings. Nothing
is sporadic or sudden (save for maybe one surprise if you're unfortunate enough
to be caught standing in a certain spotlight) and the flow of colour
transitions will have you wondering how it actually happened.
The boundary between creating a game and creating a work of art seem to be dissolved
in Journey, encompassing both as one. It paves a new way that (in my opinion)
all game developers should strive to achieve. That is, no more attempting to
copy a genre or adding specific styles and features that people are familiar
with and are known to be popular; it is the unique and profound experiences
that appeal to gamers. A game like Journey fully embraces its creativity with
confidence, and does not attempt to appeal to a specific audience of gamers but
rather strives to create itself in a world of competition. In a painting, the
goal is to express yourself in whatever way you feel at that time. Journey
expresses itself in a way unfamiliar to most.
Everybody knows that games need to be unique and extraordinary to be
accomplished in the industry, however I feel that many are going about it the
wrong way. By confining the development of a game to specific genres and
incorporating unoriginal ideas and trying to warp them in a unique way causes
some serious problems. This oftentimes causes the game to fall short of what it
intended, and I think it would be better off removing all boundaries and
working from the ground up to create a work of art that can be remembered in
the years to come. Journey has done just that.
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