Journey: Revisited

by ted2112, HSM team writer

It has been just over six months since thatgamecompany released the PSN game, Journey. In these six months, the game was the fastest selling game on the PSN store ever, and has scored one of the highest game rankings metrics ever given to a game, and been the recipient of many awards, accolades and a massive home-grown fan base that participates in everything from fan-fiction to cosplay to art projects. Journey has blurred the line between art and gaming, and in the process captured our imaginations in a way we haven’t quite seen before.

I eagerly anticipated playing Journey since I first heard of the game in the spring of 2011.  Thatgamecompany is great about using social media to keep their fans involved in what they are doing, so when I got the tweet that the game was ready, two days before the official launch day, I jumped at the chance to download it. That was March 17th 2012, and have played it many times since.

One of the remarkable things I find about Journey all these months later, is it’s re-play value. Even though you have finished the game before, you will have an entirely new experience playing it again. Journey is like a chess set. The pieces may be the same, but every game is different. This is entirely due to the companion factor. Journey matches you up with an unidentified player, who is at the same point in the game as yourself, and what you do with that is completely up to you. This unique slant on the multiplayer game, make for some of the best gaming experiences I have ever seen, and I feel is what brings players back again and again.

In preparation for this article, when playing, and having  paid very close attention to all those players I have met in the game. I have found that Journey attracts players from every PSN region, and no two players are alike. Some want to have a quick hello and be on there way, some want to be left alone entirely, but many more want to  team up and face the challenges and beauty of the game together. Many players have a set route, and like to lead, yet some prefer a slower pace and open to seeing a new perspective. During several playthroughs, I have seen things I have missed many times over (have you ever been “drawn” a heart by your companion at the end, for example?), by following another player. I have in turn shown later companions these glitches and less traveled routes. All of these factors make Journey a perpetual game in a way.

I am a huge roller coaster fan, and love to travel to experience roller coasters. My favorite coaster is Millennium Force in Cedar Point Ohio. I have ridden this coaster many, many times, and the experience doesn’t seem to diminish for me. Each ride is its own unique and wonderful experience. Journey seems to have captured this effect as well. By focusing on an emotional experience rather than a tethered and linear playthrough – which is the case in most games – Journey has distinguished itself.

I find it remarkable that the game is still going so strong, and wonder how long it will continue like this. Numerous fan sites have popped up where players share their experiences, and even post their normal playing times in the hopes of meeting other similar minded players. A small yet dedicated Journey sub-culture has organically grown, and due to the anonymous nature of the game, is more about an equally shared experience that a Home-based club, guild, or fam building community also has.

All of this is a new thing in gaming, and maybe that’s why it is so exciting. The bar has been set, and it will be interesting to see where thatgamecompany goes next, or how other companies, who have noticed, apply this unique twist and incorporate into their future games, or whether this was a one shot deal, never to be repeated.

Six months after all the hype and attention of the game’s debut, Journey is still going strong. This is normal if you’re playing a MMO, but in a downloadable title for fifteen dollars, it’s remarkable.  Most games by this time have been relegated to the bargain bin, and without any add-on features to the game, it’s a testament to its success that there is still major attention being focusing on it by with thatgamecompany’s release of the Journey collector’s edition and a book called The Art of Journey.

Journey has taken on a life of its own, and that life is still being sculpted, not by the establishment, but rather by the players that love the game. In a time of dwindling game sales and same old, same old, first person shooters, and formulaic, rehashed story tropes, Journey has been a breath of fresh air, and that fresh air half a year later is still blowing.

September 28th, 2012 by | 6 comments
ted2112 is a writer and a Bass player that has been both inspired and takes to heart Kurt Vonnegut words...."we are here on planet Earth to fart around, and don't let anyone tell you different."

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6 Responses to “Journey: Revisited”

  1. Dr_Do-Little says:

    It’s a shame I did’nt played Journey yet. So many games, so little time…Thanks for reminding me how much this game seems different from any other ones. Great read.

  2. scamp_73 says:

    I Love Journey. I agree with what you said about playing it many times. I think this is because you don’t “beat” Journey. It’s not a game like that. The ending of the game is also the beginning! Great article

  3. LostRainbow says:

    Great read. I purchased Journey after hearing how good the game is and how people enjoy it and I can’t wait to load it on my PS3 and try it out. When Home had the Journey space, I found the music so relaxing and I am sure that it was just a small taste of the game. I can’t wait to play the real thing!! It sounds cool that it’s a new experience every time. Thanks for sharing!

  4. FEMAELSTROM says:

    Great write Ted. I love Journey! There is no part of that game that I don’t like. The scenery, the lavish music, and that sense of well sorta a sadness. It’s beautiful all around. Funny side story as to the popularity. The other day I went into the public space and found a group of about 20 people ‘floating’ as so many do off to the left of the entrance valley. I went to see what they were doing and they were all quiet as statues until I called out a ‘howdy’. The responses trickled in slowly in broken english. There were visitors from Japan who came to the Journey space in the U.S. region because they all loved the game, but have no Home public space in Japan. I guess that the impact is that big. This is really a brilliant game. Again great write and idea of looking back at a great game.

  5. Lightningcc says:

    I have played Journey enough times to earn the white robe but still prefer to wear my red robe. I found out that the more play troughs of the game you do the more elaborate your robe gets with its design. It seems with the white robe and the evolving robe designs that the game was designed for many play troughs. Loved this article :)

  6. Infinity_2112 says:

    Some days ago, while hearing the final soundtrack at Youtube I posted the following:

    It could be said a lot of things about Journey and everyone may say a different one. Mine is simple:
    JOURNEY IS NOT A GAME.

    I don’t know where the divine inspiration to create JOURNEY come from and perhaps I’m dreaming, but I think really that JOURNEY would be the first stone to built a new world.

    Very differents thoughts may be used to make a JOURNEY. It’s a matter of freedom, so I’m free to think in LOVE and FRIENDSHIP.
    By the way, the final soundtrack makes me cry too. It’s beauty is as amazing and astonishing as the deep feelings when hearing it.

    I want to especially thank the JOURNEY TEAM for such beautiful gift. Also, thanks to all my companions along the Journeys. (Especially to Ted_2112)

    Your article is one more thing to love about.

    From Spain, greetings and love to everyone.

    Dawa_Jr.

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