Journey Is A Mirror

Journey Is A Mirror

A Journey with a friend is a Journey enjoyed.

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Dennis Scimeca:
Journey Is A Mirror

A Journey with a friend is a Journey enjoyed.

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Play, for our species as well as others, has always been about learning to relate to others. We learn to compete, we learn to cooperate, we learn to steal and lie and share and love all through play. That is, until play started having a "point." Then play became about winning, or sometimes even just about making the other person lose. Somewhere along the line, the game itself became more important than our playmates.

Maybe it's a natural beast living in us that does this, but I know it's not the only (or the best) side of our nature. Games like Journey give me hope that, as grown-up gamers, maybe haven't completely forgotten how to really play.

Thanks for sharing your journey. It really made for a stirring read.

I really felt nothing whilst playing it with regards to an emotional response (minus the trappings of tedium towards the end of it's 2 hours); it didn't made me think, or feel, and so my only feelings towards it are that it is perhaps a shining example of style over substance.

And I've said this all over the place now[1], but it is such a trite, and subsequently inane, metaphor, it really is; it feels so much like they just picked out of a book of 'common, extended metaphors' and went, "yeah, that'll do,". Ultimately it makes the whole thing an incredibly impersonal, hands-off experience. As if it wasn't a theme that anyone on the team felt passionate about; they just needed a theme to get them going.

There's a difference between demanding co-operation and encouraging it effectively; Journey just sticks it out in front of you and seems to expect enlightenment.

[1] *cough* User review *cough*

"Journey Is A Mirror"

A mirror of it's own uselessness. A game so niche and removed from the public it never, ever deserves to be talked about, ever. Sony greaseballs think a 2 hour long game will make people buy their console. What utter twats.

Whatever great ideas it holds, whatever inventive and inspiring mechanics and stories it boasts, it was all washed away by the decision to limit it to 2% of consumers.

This game barely even exists.

Metalhandkerchief:
"Journey Is A Mirror"

A mirror of it's own uselessness. A game so niche and removed from the public it never, ever deserves to be talked about, ever. Sony greaseballs think a 2 hour long game will make people buy their console. What utter twats.

Whatever great ideas it holds, whatever inventive and inspiring mechanics and stories it boasts, it was all washed away by the decision to limit it to 2% of consumers.

This game is naught.

Whilst I didn't like it, this is a ridiculous response. "Too niche to be talked about," my arse.

Things do not need to be applicable to everyone to be worthy of discussion. (Especially if it means that I get to tell everyone else how wrong they are.)

That's what I wanted Journey to be to me, and it wasn't. I think I just had bad luck, I was without a partner at very important places, and the ones I had didn't click with me. I'll replay it and hope for better partners, I guess.

Metalhandkerchief:
"Journey Is A Mirror"

A mirror of it's own uselessness. A game so niche and removed from the public it never, ever deserves to be talked about, ever. Sony greaseballs think a 2 hour long game will make people buy their console. What utter twats.

Whatever great ideas it holds, whatever inventive and inspiring mechanics and stories it boasts, it was all washed away by the decision to limit it to 2% of consumers.

This game barely even exists.

Yet to that 2%, it's 100% great.

I hate onions, but I don't declare they should be removed from the planet.

Sort of similar to how I feel whenever I'm playing Journey with someone. I hate being separated from them, as I fear they got lost or they got disconnected.

I ended up reaching the end by myself on my last playthrough. It kinda made me sad in a way, I enjoy experiencing the ending with someone by my side.

Wow, this game sounds fantastic! I really want to get it!

Wait, it's a PS3 exclusive. QQ

Easily the best game I have played of this generation, and one of the best games of all time, and I do not say that lightly. Journey is a masterpiece, and one of the only ones that I would consider showcasing the statement that "videogames are art".

I wish more developers would think as much about their game as ThatGameCompany did for Journey.

Dastardly:
I hate onions, but I don't declare they should be removed from the planet.

I guddamn love onions.

Anyway. I'm playing it right now, dressed in my white cloak. It's interesting: I've found that people generally sing to you less sporadically with the white cloak, only doing so when there's something noteworthy nearby, or for help (to get scarf back, etc.), and I'll end up taking the lead most of the time. Even so, I never feel like I'm being patronizing to the other player - I've simply got veto power over where we go. They still always get a vote.

They've done this before - their cloak has the mark of a third playthrough. They know what's coming next, where to go, what to do. This is my seventh time playing - I've memorized every single important article of information in the game. I definitely do not need assistance.
But we're still sticking together like glue.

Why stick together?
Why the hell not?

The first time I saw my partner sit down, then disappear into dust on the wind, I nearly freaked till I realized the game mechanic behind it. I love the game for incorporating the mechanics into the game into something that can evoke that sort of emotional response. It makes it more real than so many other games I've played lately. The best kind of catharsis.

My very first journey, I had the same partner throughout the whole game and through every hardship, through every territory and every puzzle, we stuck together. Guiding each other to the upgrades for our scarves and finding all of the secrets, it was such an amazing experience I will never forget. But what I did forget, was the name of my partner and he/she never replied back to me, I didn't even hear or read a word from them but it made me very sad to see them go. Ever since, the partners I have had aren't the same indeed, most just leave or I go too far ahead and they disappear, one even sat down before me and faded away. I don't regret buying this game despite how short it is and I highly recommend those who have yet to try it do so, I'm sure if the development team wasn't under contract. It would be on xbox as well, I truly feel sorry for those who won't be able to experience the same feelings I had.

The last time I played through the game, wearing my white cloak like a baws, I was with the same person since the beginning to the very end.

I've played through the game several times, but it still managed to evoke an emotional response from me, it's amazing.

So as I ended my journey, my partner right next to me, the credits roll and I smile to myself as everything runs to a close.

Then I get a message telling me that it was the best journey that person had ever had.

That was nice.

For me there was still a sense of competition in Journey, but with a mentality of who could get where first. And if I got to the glowing glyph or whatever platform first, I'd wait and guide my partner and vice versa. And you can't tell me that sunken city sand surfing area didn't feel somewhat like a race. But there was always a sense of mutual respect and companionship.

But as you said, what we take out of Journey is more about what we see in it than what it actually tells us.

That analogy of the duo-flying was pretty good.

Casual Shinji:
For me there was still a sense of competition in Journey, but with a mentality of who could get where first. And if I got to the glowing glyph or whatever platform first, I'd wait and guide my partner and vice versa. And you can't tell me that sunken city sand surfing area didn't feel somewhat like a race. But there was always a sense of mutual respect and companionship.

But as you said, what we take out of Journey is more about what we see in it than what it actually tells us.

That analogy of the duo-flying was pretty good.

I always end up racing people at that part, just because that's the way I am :D

But when I get to that area where the camera pans to a sidescrolling view, with the sunset beaming through the city ruins, with that music...

It's just amazingly serene.

Pretty well-timed article for me since I literally just finished my first journey a few hours ago (and actually came here because I was curious about other people's experiences with the game).

Interesting to me especially since I had a very similar experience but came away with a completely different interpretation. The elaborate decorations struck me more as a symbol of office than being particularly evocative of femininity, the mark of an elder or somesuch. With that in mind our interactions felt more like that of a teacher and a student, with the other player patiently waiting for me and subtly guiding me towards safety for quite a while until we reached the snowy area where we were able to support one another as equals (especially after being equally bashed about by that horrible monster and working together to regain our bearings).

Incidentally, random note, I didn't actually realise you could *sing* to one another to charge up your .. cloak, I guess? Though in retrospect it should be self-evident. Taking my cues from my companion we were fairly quiet unless we'd lost one another and had to regroup, or something needed pointing out, like a particularly nice vista or a particularly horrible monster, so we ended up just walking very closely through the snow mostly in stoic silence.

Amazing that you can fly, though.

Every time I play it just feels like a dream, there are times I've gotten scared from the giant machines, turning it into a nightmare and when I see their spotlights I freak out and run away in sheer terror. I don't want to lose my scarf, but mostly, the monster would destroy me and send me flying, I feel no physical pain but it looks so horrible, so sad and I cringe every time. That happened to my first partner, we were walking through the dark cave and the spotlight managed to reach only him, I escaped in time and I watched him get attacked and fly through the air, I ran up to him as fast as possible. I truly felt bad for him and I couldn't help him in that situation, but he managed to survive and we finished the game together in the end. I just wish I could remember his name!

Also, captcha: hobby-horse

...what?

Woodsey:
I really felt nothing whilst playing it with regards to an emotional response (minus the trappings of tedium towards the end of it's 2 hours); it didn't made me think, or feel, and so my only feelings towards it are that it is perhaps a shining example of style over substance.

I would argue that the style actually is the substance.

Certain visuals along with music can put you in a state of emotion that no dialoge or clear narrative ever could. Some of the best music videos can attest to that. Just as a picture can seemingly tell its own story with no words at all.

To be honest I loved the co-op in this game, the fact I had no idea who the person was peaked my curiosity and I asked myself questions. Like, "is this person gonna help me find this or that? Are they gonna disappear and leave me all alone?" Things like that. I've never had a person leave me by myself in the situations with the monsters either, they either followed me or I followed them and I truly felt at least a little teamwork, with a complete stranger. Plus since there is no mic support or even a name till the end, I won't end up hating the person along the way if they're an obnoxious jerk too.

OK, guys seriously, just bring it over to other platforms (PC, Mac and maybe even X360- if they behave good)
You had a lot of fun while laughing at non-PS3 gamers
But really enough is enough :(
Now it's the right time- PS3 owners who wanted to buy Journey already did it
Those who don't own PS3, won't buy platform just for one game, currently it is hot topic and later will be too late
So it is now or never.

captcha: no way
is it a sign?

I appreciate all the positive comments!

I deliberately chose not to read too much about the mechanics in Journey specifically because I didn't want anything to get in the way of the emotional experience. I've since learned that singing long notes might not actually charge your partner's cloak, even though I've played the game again and it sure as hell seems that way.

I've also been told you don't warm anyone up by singing to them. I think, perhaps, that I and my partner were lying on our sing buttons during the cold parts of the game when we were huddled together, and so it *seemed* like the singing was warming us, but in my second playthrough I think I figured out that it's actually proximity to each other, not singing, which warms you. I'm not entirely sure.

I also still have no idea what scarf length signifies. I'm told it's connected to flying. I have no idea. The utter lack of tutorial or manual means the best I can do is report what I think I'm seeing, and unless I'm willing to step outside the boundaries of the experience and research how it works, I'll never know for sure.

The interesting thing for me is, I don't really *care* how the mechanics work. I like Killingworth's analysis because I think he nails the *emotional power* of the cooperative mechanics in Journey, but the specifics of what each button does, or how close you have to be to your fellow traveler, all seem completely irrelevant to me and what I got out of the game.

I think that's a strength, actually.

I found Journey to be a fascinating and rather magical experience which seamlessly blends game-play and story elements together into a single narrative. It is another excellent example that I can point at during a "games as art" debate, because it is one of those rare games that has the ability to touch the player on an emotional level.

It's interesting how differently Journey can affect different people or even the same person on different play-throughs. The first time I played Journey, I went in blind. I'd played previous games by the same developer, Flower and Flow, and I'd read a few basic descriptions of the game. But I avoided learning too much, because I wanted to experience the game for myself without preconceptions. Partially because of this, my first play was a little chaotic. I spent more time than necessary on certain parts as I struggled to learn the game mechanics and pickup on things intuitively. I also missed various things along the way - my scarf was quite small by the end of the game and I didn't have many trophies at the end of my first journey. I encountered a lot of people on that first play, but I didn't form any strong bonds. It was a learning experience and fun, but I felt like there was still a lot I could have done better.

I started out on my second journey almost immediately. This time I was more focused. I knew how to move, jump, and sing. I went into my second play wanting to collect all the symbols and gain trophies. In one of the early levels, I met another player and we journeyed through the rest of the game together, helping each other through the rough spots and pointing out collectables. It was a great experience and the most enjoyable of my journeys. I've played the game a few more times since, but I wasn't quite able to recapture that sense of mutual purpose and companionship a second time.

Impressed by this game, I've encouraged other people to try out Journey, gamers and non-gamers alike. I've found that not everyone has the same response to Journey's co-op. For example, my mother is a pretty stereotypical casual gamer. She enjoys simple single player games, like Plants vs Zombies, Zuma, and Puzzle Quest. She doesn't usually play multiplayer games, but she enjoyed Flower, so I recommended Journey to her. In her words, it wasn't "as pretty as Flower" but she did enjoy the jumping and singing.

Then another player ran by. Suddenly, it wasn't just her alone in the world. There was another person there ... running around, doing stuff, watching her. She didn't like it. I tried to explain that it was a co-op game and the other person couldn't do anything except help her. It didn't matter - having another person in her game world ruined the experience. She felt too much pressure - pressure to follow, pressure to respond to the singing, pressure to focus on progressing to the next objective. It just wasn't working for her and sucked all the fun out of the game. She didn't feel like she could fumble around figuring out the puzzles, because the other person would be judging her, laughing at her struggles or impatient to move on. Eventually, she put down the control and walked away, unable to continue until the multiplayer was turned off.

Looking back, I realize that I didn't really enjoy the multiplayer very much until I felt secure in my own abilities. But even so, I felt like it really added something to the game that I would have missed out on if I just played solo. I was disappointed that I couldn't share that experience, but I guess everyone has to make their own journey.

Dennis Scimeca:
I appreciate all the positive comments!

I deliberately chose not to read too much about the mechanics in Journey specifically because I didn't want anything to get in the way of the emotional experience. I've since learned that singing long notes might not actually charge your partner's cloak, even though I've played the game again and it sure as hell seems that way.

I've also been told you don't warm anyone up by singing to them. I think, perhaps, that I and my partner were lying on our sing buttons during the cold parts of the game when we were huddled together, and so it *seemed* like the singing was warming us, but in my second playthrough I think I figured out that it's actually proximity to each other, not singing, which warms you. I'm not entirely sure.

I also still have no idea what scarf length signifies. I'm told it's connected to flying. I have no idea. The utter lack of tutorial or manual means the best I can do is report what I think I'm seeing, and unless I'm willing to step outside the boundaries of the experience and research how it works, I'll never know for sure.

The interesting thing for me is, I don't really *care* how the mechanics work. I like Killingworth's analysis because I think he nails the *emotional power* of the cooperative mechanics in Journey, but the specifics of what each button does, or how close you have to be to your fellow traveler, all seem completely irrelevant to me and what I got out of the game.

I think that's a strength, actually.

The singing to each other does actually help in the mountain level. If you do nothing for too long, your scarf will freeze, lose it's power and gradually disappear (not that it matters since you lose it, but I always do my best to keep my friend's scarf as maximum).

The scarf lenght just signifires the number of sigils you found along the way that lengthens your scarf. The longer it is, the longer you can fly

To all those who say they should bring the game over to other platforms since they don't want to buy a ps3 for one game. It's not the developer's fault, they were under contract with sony to make 3 games for their platform, now that they did, I'm sure we can see more from them on other consoles in the future, I hope. Why not buy a ps3 anyway? It's a great console, I have tons and tons of games for it and I love it much more than the xbox which I've gone through two of them and the 3rd one right now is still working. But still the console has disappointed me more than ps3. Sorry, I shouldn't change the subject to that. Still, don't get mad at the development team, I'm sure they would enjoy porting to other consoles, it means more money for them, so blame sony instead.

I really hope this she was a big burly man he was playing with, just for the irony because one thing I like is that it could be anybody. Also seriously this is one of the best games I have ever played. No game this generation besides maybe Mass Effect have been able to emotionally move me and apparently so many people. The unique incorporation of co-op is so amazing im surprised it wasn't done before. Hopefully thatgamecompany can make more games like this in the future to come since once the servers go down this game will never be the same.

 

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