Digital Delivery: Journey
This week, on Digital Delivery, I’m writing my farewell letter to the column and to Stealthy Box. Yes, sadly, this will be the last time you’ll see my name under the Digital Delivery header. Will it continue on without me? Probably not, but that’s okay! There’s so many good and wonderful things to read here, so you won’t miss me too much.
But, I don’t want to go out with a whimpering thud. I want to go out with a BANG! Or at least the downloadable equivalent of a bang! So I figured I would talk about one of PSN’s most successful titles ever: Journey.
Okay, I get it. You’ve heard of Journey. You’ve probably played and beaten it a half a billion times by now since the game came out in 2012, but I want to talk about it because it quickly became PSN’s most successful game ever and with very good reason. Journey offered an experience unlike what you would find in nearly any online game, and due to the nature of it, perhaps offered the most serene online multiplayer experience you’ll ever find.
For those unfamiliar, Journey is a game that puts you in the role of a robed figure in the middle of a vast desert. Your objective is simple: travel to the mountain shown in the distance. Of course, the game is in the journey (“He said it! He said the name!”) and the journey is beautiful and unique. Beyond the title screen and the credits, the game also removes any words – printed or spoken – from the entire gameplay experience.
But how does the multiplayer element come in? Well, instead of mowing down your opponents or competing in various types of sport, you may occasionally bump into another player in your world who can help you along your way to the mountain. There’s no hindering, there’s no competition, it’s just the friendly help of a stranger who can guide you from stage to stage or just give you the helping hand you need to advance to the next part.
The entire game can be beaten in two to three hours, but it isn’t about the length of the game that makes it what it is. Journey is an experience, something that tons of other players have already had the chance to witness, and it’s a game unlike any other. It became something you couldn’t find in any other game, even narrative-driven titles you may find on PC. The beauty of it comes in its simple but elegant graphics, the wordless storytelling, and the shared adventure you can have with a total stranger.
Fact is, some players have been emotionally moved after completing this game. Some players have found themselves so touched and so affected by the experience, they’ve been in tears. That’s pretty powerful for a game without a single spoken word. See, the game isn’t just about taking a little cloaked guy on a journey to a mountain. No, it’s also about taking a journey yourself, and taking a chance on an immersive game experience you just won’t find many other places.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m being a little ludicrous, I’m being a bit over the top, or maybe I should just deal with it – it’s just a game, right? Against all better commentary from Roger Ebert, Journey is one of those games that shows just how art-like video gaming can be. It *is* art. It’s an interactive artistic experience that can affect you just as much as a poem, a book, a painting, or a film can. It’s not something you can take away from the game, either, just because Roger Ebert said so.
So, by now, I hope you’ve been motivated to play Journey if you haven’t given it a try yet. It’s a beautiful game which is the wrapper to an amazing experience. As my last request at the helm of this column, I ask that you play it. Fair enough? Alright.
Well, that’s all for me. I appreciate all of your comments, your patronage, and just simply being fans of PlayStation and Stealthy Box. I’ll be around, from time to time, I’m sure. But if you want to keep in touch, I’m on Twitter at @GKickShalthis and always up for a good conversation or two.
Until next time. Farewell…