Journey on home console, Ian Bogost on Journey in the Atlantic, Joe Houston on Ian Bogost on Journey on his blog

Ian Bogost writes an exemplary article about video games for The Atlantic under the guise of a review of That Games Company's Journey. It explicitly takes games as seriously as it might painting or film, and it discusses Journey as both a fulfillment and abandonment of the devteam's previous games' promises. Industry veteran Joe Houston points out that one of Bogost's key points is just ridiculous.

  1. Lots of talk about this game around the game blogs — I hope it ends up on PC at some point.

  2. I think Journey (along with their previous two games) was not just supplemented with Sony money in exchange for time-limited exclusivity, but was possibly completely funded by Sony. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony owns the games completely.

    I went over to someone else’s place to play it over the weekend, hence this post. I think it’s very, very good, but I also think that despite avoiding reviews and gameplay videos completely, I nonetheless had absorbed too much hype and there was no way it could live up to the expectations I had unhelpfully built up.

    That said, there is something very smart that it does (spoiled in the Bogost article, though you may not catch it) within its limited vocabulary. I assume there’s no actual threat of failure throughout the whole game, but at two points it takes the one thing you may have been caring about from a gamer-perspective (beyond the simple fact of progress forward) and, if you’re not careful, rips it from you, a surprise bit of danger that really does matter to you in that moment and that you’re pretty much completely unprepared for, gameplay-wise.

    Oh, we have spoiler tags here. More specifically: there is only one sort of collectable to seek out throughout the game, something that makes your scarf longer and, you soon realize, lets you jump additional times before needing to recharge. If you’re the sort of game-player I am, you will likely be seeking out these collectables. The length of your scarf will be a pretty badge of honor, but it’s also just so much nicer to be able to jump higher and more often. You will run across others with longer scarves and you may envy them. But in two places there are dragon machines. And if you’re not careful — and how could you know to be! — they will chomp some of your scarf off each time they catch you.

  3. Hm. I guess that spoiler button doesn’t work. (Entire last paragraph after the colon should have been hidden from view.)

  4. And if you’re not careful — and how could you know to be! — they will chomp some of your scarf off each time they catch you.

    When me and my anonymous buddy first encountered those things we immediately, instinctively tried to hide behind something to avoid being spotted despite not even knowing whether (or how) they could harm us. It was a small thing, but a moment that really struck a chord with me regarding the effectiveness of the multiplayer component. So I guess, YMMV.

  5. nobody said :

    Hm. I guess that spoiler button doesn’t work. (Entire last paragraph after the colon should have been hidden from view.)

    Not sure what happened — you got the span but not the ‘class=”spoiler”‘ which as far as I know, was impossible. Let me test with this phrase.

  6. Yup, working fine. Select the text to be spoilered, hit the button!

  7. When me and my anonymous buddy first encountered those things we immediately, instinctively tried to hide behind something to avoid being spotted despite not even knowing whether (or how) they could harm us.

    We happened to have no buddy the first time they showed up, and we knew they were bad, but we were totally lulled into a sense of security by the game until the red spotlight was shining directly at us, after which it was either too late to do anything or we didn’t manage to maneuver sufficiently out of the way in time.

    But a neat little multi-player moment from a bit later in the game: The second time the dragons showed up, in the snowy mountains, we immediately went for cover underneath one of the small igloo-like things. Our online partner, on the other hand, tried to rely on our earlier faulty strategy of simply running around to shake off the spotlight. In doing so, s/he ran right in front of our igloo as the monster was attacking, and it broke the entire structure down and took our scarf anyway. It was a nice little surprise, since I imagine that would never happen without the other player around.

  8. Alone Together in Journey is a wonderfully written travelogue by Brendan Keogh, focusing on the multiplayer experience.

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