How Journey Restored My Faith In Gamers

by Kyle Hilliard on Apr 08, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Over the last few weeks I have found myself slightly embarrassed to be a video game fan, due more or less entirely to the controversy surrounding Mass Effect 3. First, entitled fans began demanding that the ending of Mass Effect 3 be changed. If Roger Ebert had found out about that, (he didn’t, did he?) he would have had a field day at the expense of our favorite medium of storytelling. I can just imagine his blog explaining why demanding the ending be changed for what is considered to be one of gaming’s most interesting narratives, proves that video games are just a consumer product and not a creative means to tell a story. And I would be compelled to agree with him.

Second, was the poll run by Consumerist, where Electronic Arts won the honor of being considered the worst company in America. The gamers mentioned above rallied to deliver a message to the Internet saying that they think a company that makes video games is worse than a debatably corrupt bank.  A company that make those super fun things we’re all obsessed with, is worse than a bank that has the legal right to remove you from your home. Great job guys. You really showed them. We gamers clearly have our priorities in order.

I was feeling disheartened, but then I started playing Journey.

I played through the game in one beautiful sitting, but the thing that restored my faith in gamers, was during the second playthrough that I began immediately after finishing my first.

The following contains Journey spoilers, so tread lightly.

I was re-exploring the tower area that leads into the snowy mountain with another player. I was trying to grab a few of the Trophies I missed on the first run through, one of which was to meditate with another player for 20 seconds. I sat on the ground, they stood next to me for a moment, and then they sat down next to me while we quietly waited for the Trophy to pop. I think they may have known what I was trying to do, and I was appreciative of their silent help.

We continued moving up the tower, activating the magical sand that allows you to swim through the air. We made it all the way to the top, when my mysterious partner started sending out their alert to grab my attention. He waited until I walked up to him, and he jumped into the floating sand. I decided to join him. We dropped for what felt like two or three minutes when they started to head towards a seemingly random section of the tower. I followed, and contained inside was one of the creatures from thatgamecompany’s previous title, Flow. I got the sense that this stranger just wanted show me something cool, which is exactly what they did. There was no benefit for them. There is a Trophy for uncovering the, “mysterious creature,” as it is coined in the game, but they didn’t need me there to get it. And if they knew exactly where it was, I would guess that they already had the Trophy.

The whole experience, in an odd way, restored my faith in fans of video games. I’m still embarrassed by the gamers out there fighting the wrong fight against the psychosomatic tyranny of Electronic Arts and Bioware and their awesome game, but my experience in Journey reminded me that the Mass Effect 3 ending fighters make up a small percentage of the gaming culture, and that the majority of gamers are just awesome people who want to show me cool hidden stuff in games like Journey.