Aside the breathtakingly beautiful trip, there are some questions left in the game for me:
Why the stars on the sky like symbols?
Why there’s a connection between stars and all the living things?
What is the red living cloth created by the white robes?
Why the red robes combines the life forms from the white robes and the living cloth?
The story comes in it’s own myth, and myths are usually talking about the origins of the world, like riddles. So i just can’t help myself to ask questions like above.
The behavior reminds me of thousands years ago, in old china, there was a poet, named Qu Yuan , with the same feelings and doubts toward this world, and he even wrote an unbelievable poem full of questions toward this universe: it’s the first deep connection between my own culture and the game’s context.
From this viewpoint, i suddenly got the awareness that if i realize this game’s context in a cultural or intuitional way, everything would be more logic for me:
The stars like the characters in the universe, and they composed a beautiful poem above the sky; the grammar shows how the universe works; the living things on the earth, just like the stars, elaborate the mechanic of the universe.
With the showing up of white robes, they even created life-like things through their communication. The communication between robes should be part of nature, but they found it can be the source of their civilization, until the overuse led to the break of communication and the raising of wars.It caused deaths and the ruin of civilization.
The universe still runs, the red life-like things finally became spirits like white robes, which echoed that the evolution from the living things to white robes. In some way, the red robes like the offspring of the white robes.
So the white robes have the responsibility to tell the red robes the history of the world, even with shame and regret, they still have to make this confession.
But what have been done can’t not be corrected, the red robes’ duty and destiny is not to change a thing, but to realize what happened and keep going on by freeing things packed by the past.
At this point, i got a feeling that it’s trying to say the evolution of civilization based on the parental’s self-reflection and the offspring’s understanding of past; how they make it is what the game is all about.
The most interesting thing for me from Journey is that when i try to realize what the story is and what it’s trying to say, the answers are so close to my understanding of the relationships between communication, history and civilization.
Briefly, the game for me, is another version of all the things above in my mind, and it got it’s won life and spirit, just like the red robes.
I use the style of chinese classical to write done the background story for memory:
I’ve played through Journey now at least four times all the way through. And all four times, I had the same partner from the ribbon bridge to the end. This game has played with my emotions in ways I didn’t know were possible. The first time was my favorite, with us both being new and uncertain, learning everything together, it was magical. Last night… was different.
I’ve never been so lonely as I was when my partner left me before the shrine that shows your journey. As I waited for my partner, chirping for him to come and meet me on the stairs, I got that sinking feeling in my stomach and I knew he was gone. I had just shown him the flOw creature and he had never come back to the surface.
As I sat there, chirping for him, knowing he wouldn’t come, I debated quitting myself. I had never done the journey alone, nor had I quit in the middle. In the end, I decided to go forward. As the cutscene played, and it zoomed in on the struggle up the mountain, I started to cry. Instead of two companions, struggling against the wind, it was just one. Me. I slowly walked forward into the snow with a heavy heart.
I made it all the way to where the creatures were by myself. As I was about to traverse the first gap, I saw another figure. Someone else was here! I was so happy, I ran quickly towards him, chirping happily. When I reached him, I ran a quick circle around him and chirped to say hello, but he ignored me and moved forward. I thought that was slightly rude, but it was nice to have some companionship nonetheless. We ran together to the first hiding spot and I paused… he did not. He ran headlong through it and past the next one as well. I chirped frantically, he was going to get killed! His scarf wasn’t that long to begin with, what was he thinking? The creatures scare me to no end, but I took off after him anyway; I wasn’t going to lose someone else.
That’s when the light fell over him. It turned red. And I jumped in the way of the attack. It happened so quickly, I don’t really know what I was thinking, other than I had to save my partner. As I stood up and shook off the snow, I chirped to try and find him, to know he was okay. The creature had knocked me to the gate on the far side so I waited and chirped. Ten minutes passed. I was left alone… abandoned in the snow.
I don’t know what happened to my partner, but I kept chirping and searching the expanse beyond the gate. Hoping beyond hope that someone was there. I sat down in the snow and cried. I had never felt so alone.
Out in the distance, a light appeared, someone was chirping back! But it was a different symbol than my previous partner. I stood up and chirped, cheering them forward, you can do it! You can make it! As he made it through the gate, I was so happy, I started running around him in circles, chirping and jumping, and he did the same! After about five minutes, we started forward into the long bottleneck hallway and into the cold. He stuck close to me the whole time, chirping encouragement and running a circle so his scarf would curl around me. I did the same back.
As he fell to the ground and we froze, I started to cry again. Would he leave me like the others? When I break through the clouds, will he be there?
And there he was. Waiting at the first pillar after the cutscene, chirping for me. I stood up from my chair and cheered, I was so happy! I joined him and we took the air, circling around each other and chirping to make us both go higher. In all my times of playing, I have never done the last flying sequence with another player, we always met at the end. I flew the whole way with him by my side, chirping and spinning around each other. It was the most magical thing I have ever seen.
When we got to the end with the snow, I drew a heart and he did the same. We ran circles around each other again and chirped wildly, not wanting it to end. He stopped after a while and walked a few steps forward, towards the light, and turned and chirped for me to follow. We walked slowly into the light, hand in hand, chirping the whole way.
As the credits rolled, the tears came back down my face. He had restored my hope. He had found me in the dark and cold and brought me to the light. I quickly wrote down his name when it came on screen and sent him a friend request. He accepted. Thank you my playful companion for being my light in the dark. <3
This was a week or so ago, but I decided to try out Journey simply because it looked pretty and people on my dash had liked it. I didn’t honestly intend to finish it, because games that involve a lot of exploration don’t tend to hold my interest.
I met my first companion at the ribbon bridge, and they seemed as new to it as I was. We chirped back and forth, but then pretty much left each other alone, running around different parts of the area. When I finally got something to happen, and the cloth flew into the air to make a part of the bridge, I could see them turn and watch intently. After that, we started to mimic each other more, and stuck relatively close. I couldn’t really tell if they wanted me nearby or if I was bugging them, but after a couple of times when I tried to give them space and they came back to look for me, I decided they must not mind too much.
I began to appreciate them more and more as I went on, and we completed areas together, always going our own ways but then being sure to reunite and check in after every new event. They’d notice if I was having trouble, like getting stuck under ledges or taking a while to get up the seaweed, and they’d float nearby and chirp encouragingly until I figured it out. If I got to a new area before them, I’d wait, and guide them over as soon as I saw them arrive. We started to stick closer when it got dark, and the monsters began moving about. I hadn’t realized yet that these were dangerous, but my partner was more wary, because they began to hide and call me away from the center areas. I followed them at first, but then began to explore elsewhere a bit, like we had done in all the previous places. Bad move, as the red light was on me and I was tossed into the air. My partner ran ahead until I chirped, indicating I was still alive, and they turned and came back for me. We were obviously shaken though, and in our haste to avoid any more monsters we became separated in the shadows. I barreled ahead through the center until I got to the safety of the shrine, but I couldn’t see them anywhere. I sat down to wait, but after about ten minutes, I had to accept that they weren’t coming. Saddened, I turned off the game.
The next day I continued, but while I encountered some other people, none seemed particularly interested in staying near. They would chirp politely when we saw each other, but then hurry on their way. I ran into some trouble when I reached the snow, but that was all right, because I found someone who noticed. They kindly showed me where to take over, and repeatedly bumped into me to help me glow. I was reassured by their presence and their long scarf, and was happy I had found another person who wanted to share the experience. Then I messed it up again — when we encountered the flying monsters, we were running from hiding spot to hiding spot, and I ran out too quickly. My companion chirped after me in distress, but when I didn’t stop, they dutifully followed. The monster saw us, and grabbed them.
I felt awful, because my hastiness had gotten them punished. I ran over to them, chirping my apology, and they chirped incessantly back — scolding me, or so I imagined. But still, we went forward together. I eventually lost track of them on the mountain, and completed the journey with yet another stranger. I decided I likely wouldn’t play again, as I didn’t wish to impede anybody else.
I can’t stop reading other people’s experiences, though… which I think might be a sign it’s time to try again.
I’d like to start off saying that I have now played it through twice. The first time I played I wasn’t really sure what any goals or achievements were, and I didn’t really explore so much as aim to get to the mountain. Of course I was able to appreciate the breathtaking visuals and simplistic yet effective controls of this game, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I felt content to just wander in the directions it clued to me and follow directions accordingly. I was also immediately struck by the beauty and thrill of The Descent level, especially the wide horizontal shot of the setting sun as you surf through the open tunnel bridge, the bright orange and darkest purple color palette accentuating the beauty of the moment.
Then we get to The Tunnel level and I have a fright. I was travelling with a companion then, and was able to go a long ways into the tunnels already. But then the metal serpents appeared, and caught us, and then ate my scarf. It was terrifying, and my wander-mate left. At that point I was a bit too unnerved to continue for the day. When I’d picked it up again, I was sure that I knew how to avoid that happening again. And I did,a and I moved on. I met up with another, who stuck with me through The Temple until the end of the game, and it was so satisfying to walk into the blinding light at the top of the mountain as the orchestra faded. The journey through “heaven” was also quite beautiful, and I remember thinking that I should be enjoying the aesthetics of this level as well as nearing the end. The music especially was what made me love the ending. It just got louder and more dramatic as I made my way to the topmost edge so that I could be reborn. Going up those waterfalls was wonderful.
It wasn’t until my second playthrough that I realized the mechanics of the “reborn” aspect of this game.
I know that you becoming a shooting star during the credits and get to watch yourself travel back to the beginning to start your journey anew. I didn’t know that the wanderers you saw in the credits were actual players. I also never realized during the first play through that if you look up at the sky sometimes, you see a shooting star coming from the mountain, travelling back to the beginning of their journey, signaling someone somewhere in the world has finished the game and has been “reborn”. This particular aspect of the game really sets in me an appreciation for thatgamecompany’s ingenious way of creating a world about togetherness and community without actually forcing anybody to actually do anything with anybody.
My second time at The Bridge I was joined by a white cloaked player, the first that I’d seen in-game. I knew I had to hunt for the glowing symbols in order to get a white cloak for myself, but seeing another player with it was inspiring. All I could think of was that this player could see, based on the patterns on my cloak, that I was only on my second play through, and that they had decided to take my time to go through the process of getting me achievements and all the symbols and glyphs. Keep in mind that none of this was communicated. I never asked for that level of dedication and help, and yet as a veteran player, this white robed wanderer immediately jumped to help me. Through our time together, I was constantly filled with gratitude and joy as we travelled, a veteran and a newbie, mentor and student. Like a literal “hero’s journey” archetype. The wanderer led me all through the The Desert, knowing exactly where to go for the glyphs and symbols, as well as leading me to the hidden desert flower for the achievement. Thus it was especially saddening when my PS3 suddenly brought me, unwarned, back to the main PS3 menu. All I could think was that I had suddenly turned to sand, and that white robed wanderer was now alone, without no warning or goodbye. It was troubling, and I had rushed to log back in and get back to that point, but I did not find that player again.
For the most part, my path remained solitary after that as I found my way around the glyphs and symbols again (since when I had been logged out it had not saved anything). Having lost that white robed companion in such a tragic way, I felt even more alone as I travelled, mourning the loss of such good company. In a way, it reminded me again of the “hero’s journey” archetype, and how the student must lose and then surpass the mentor in some form or fashion. I certainly felt like I’d lost my mentor, my veteran companion, and that now I must journey alone to become a veteran myself. It all felt very poetic and meaningful.
My journey did not differ much in the form of how I felt about certain levels or events. I still really loved The Descent, and replayed it several times in a row before I was satisfied enough to move on. I also was determined to get every single glyph and symbol this time around so I could get those achievements. But the end of The Tunnel was definitely a tad different. Instead of carefully dodging and avoiding the last two metal serpents before reaching the altar, I ended up barreling through their path. It was terrifying, since I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to attack me and my scarf. But I was going pretty fast down the slope, and when I reached the end they had almost had me. But they were forced to dodge upward, which lit up the altar in a different, much more dramatic way. And in truth it felt much more satisfying to have been chased and then gotten away unscathed and see the temple come to life to protect me than to have mingled on the side, avoiding them entirely.
When I finally got to the The Mountain, it was daunting, since last time I had a companion with me. Now I was alone. The trek seemed even more perilous and isolating, and when I finally “died”, weary and worn and “old” (compared to when you start the journey and are “young” and full of energy and curiosity) I almost felt at peace. I had travelled so far, and had lived a small life that had made many friends and escaped many perils. When I fell in the snow, I began to understand what the game was saying. Friends (the other players) come and go, just like the white robed player, and I feel that even though this game has a universal story, it mostly relates to me in the way that it is a story of growing up and coming to terms with things you can’t control in life. All you can do is move on. And when I finally went to “heaven”, I was able to fully appreciate what I’d went through to get there.
I keep going back to the “hero’s journey” archetype, but this second play through really reigned in that comparison for me. I found a mentor that was selfless and patient enough to walk me through getting all the achievements. Eventually we were torn apart through something neither of us could control, and I had to continue the journey on my own, to grow up and gain the rest of the symbols and glyphs through my own time and skill so that I myself could one day be the “mentor” for some other new player. And all these feelings, of purpose and strife and owning up to become my own person, came to me in the way of a video game.
So I’ve now done everything there is to do in the game, having received all the achievements except for one: to play again in a week. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do, and then I’ll have the maximum pattern on my cloak, and I will have emerged a fully fledged “adult” white robed wanderer. And I will find a “young” first time player and I will travel with them, and maybe they will encounter the same realization and feelings that my “mentor” had given me. This game is such a treasure, and has helped me to experience something I never thought I’d be able to recognize in myself.
So if you have the chance, please play this game. It isn’t about the destination, or the beauty of it all, or even the steps you take to get there. It’s how you feel after its done, and while you play. It’s about what it can possibly mean to you. And in that it is a work of art.
I just got through one of the most amazing plays I think ill ever go through. It was the first time I’ve ever met a player with a white gown on instead of red. They showed me exactly where all of the glowing symbols were and it honestly felt as though this human being and I had this connection through this game. Its so hard to even explain. all I can say is, Thank You.
This was my fifth journey, and the second time out as a white robed guide. I was excited because I had not played in a week to get the “Return” trophy. I went trough the second area without meeting another player. When I reached the large desert area I found a player! Judging by the pattern on their robe it seemed like this was their second play through. I began to show him/her where the glyphs were. We made it to the third glyph, and she began to sit down. I thought he/she was doing it for the achievement so I sat together with him. Well over twenty seconds had past. I did not want to abandon him though, so I waited. I figured I would take this time do some small thing and then get back to the game. When I got back she was standing and waiting by my side, I smiled. I figured I would show her where the Flower was next. After taking some wrong turns we were halfway there. I began to fly, and then a cloth creature swooped me up. I figured it would take me a short distance then drop me of, so I continued to call to the player to let them know where I was. However, the cloth creature did not let me go. I panicked frantically and pressed every button trying to get of the thing. I continued to call them and they called back for a while. The cloth creature took me throughout the entire desert before it let me go. I continued to call to try and find them. In the back of my mind however I knew the game had already disconnected them from my session. I went to the flower to reflect for a moment. I saw a white glow at the border of the screen, calling out hoping it was the lost player. The cloaked being slid down to the flower. It was not the same player.
We meditated around the flower. This player more experienced than the last. However, I guided him just the same. I was glad again. Me, being the guide, showing him every secret along the way. We survived through the “Trials” and made it to the final area. We made it though the first part easily, as I knew a path to avoid most of the leviathans and made it to the final stand, the storm. I figured that like many of my Journeys we would stay close. However, he did not seem to attached. I stayed close to him, but he stayed ahead. The wind blew harder, but I would never stray to far from him. I wanted to stay close foe body warmth but I did not think he noticed. I eventually caught up to him and we started glowing and restored some body heat, from this we got a boost in our speed. Unfortunately, he took off forward, and did not look back. I tried calling for him, even though the snow weakened my call. He just kept going. I felt betrayed. We continued to the final flight. I decided to check out the detail in the stage noticing all the different paths. I made my way around to the final part of the area, hoping that he would have waited for me. I saw a shadow in the distance, it was him walking through the two peaks. I had not been that close to crying since my first play through. I went through the final two peaks sad, and alone.
I’ve only played through once so far. Here is my story.
I met my partner at the ribbon bridge, and we stuck together through the whole thing. Our partnership was cool, because…well, the first way we found each other, I saw him in the distance and started chiming…and after a few seconds, he started chiming too, and we came up on each other. I could tell this was his first time, too. Because when we first met, he followed me around, and I ended up accidentally trying to go beyond the map and got lost, and he still followed me. And I figured some things out before him and taught him what to do. We communicated mostly through small chirps and frequently gave loud chimes whether we actually needed replenishing or not. We just liked helping each other.
There was one point where there was a glyph on a high ledge, and we figured out we can charge each other in midair to keep jumping up… So I got up to the ledge and got it, but he missed and fell all the way back down He was chiming at me for help, and instead of moving on, I went all the way back down to him and helped him climb up again and get it. He was my friend, and I wouldn’t want to abandon him, the same way I would want him to help me if he figured out something first.
Whenever one of us got too far ahead, we’d wait for them, and when we got to a glyph that had a right and a left side for us to chime into life, we would wordlessly spit up and each take a side and chime together.
Later, we got to the rock snakes… I was actually knocked down the moment we woke the first one up. I got hit and flew a long way and just lay there unmoving on the ground… My partner scrambled up to me and just started chiming frantically to try to wake me up. It was so sad… I could just imagine him wondering if I was dead or if he could revive me with his chimes. But we found out it was okay; I was just unconscious for a few seconds. So I got back up, but my scarf length was shorter than his. I felt a little embarrassed and a little dumb, but that was okay.
Throughout the journey, I always ran over to be with him if he got hit. Sometimes we both got hit, and we lay together.
At one point, we were walking along, and he started chiming a lot and trying to go a different way… So I stopped and followed him, and it turned out he found a glyph that I didn’t see. We ran quickly across the snake patrol area to get to it, and I chirped in gratitude.
In the snow area, my partner seemed more rushed than I was. He kept pressing ahead of me. I noticed that the cold was slowly sapping our scarves of power, so we tried chiming to recharge each other, but it wasn’t working too well, and it got weaker the colder we got… So I figured out that we warm each other up if we touch each other and stay close as we walk… I’m not sure he ever figured it out. I was always chasing after him, clinging to him, and he was always walking too far ahead. I tried to chime at him, but my voice was so weak. I just had to try to catch up.
We eventually got to the point that the snakes ate ALL our scarves except a little flap… And eventually it got so cold up the mountain that our scarves disappeared… Our chimes got so quiet we could hardly hear each other… And we got slower and slower, and I actually slipped and fell down once… And at the top, it was just all white and snow, and we couldn’t walk any further…and we collapsed next to each other, him first, and me right after.
And we froze to death.
And then it showed just me, and the guardian revived me, and I shot up into the sky all golden, and I went to this wonderland sky like place with all kinds of fun diversions! I thought my partner was gone… But after a little while, I saw him in the distance flying around, too! I chimed at him, and we flew around and got lost from each other again, but that was okay, because I knew he was okay… I knew he was happy here, and if we parted, it was okay. We had still made it here together. Happy.
I got to the snowy ledge at the end, knew the portal must be the end… And I wondered if my partner got here, too, so I turned around and couldn’t see him anywhere in the distance…I thought he might have gotten lost or gone in without me. I was about to go on ahead, but then I heard a faint chiming in the distance…! I knew he was back behind me, still having fun flying around, so I waited for him, and eventually this shadow appeared on the ground, and he came floating down on top of me from his fun.
We turned and walked through the portal together, hand in hand.
Going in to Journey I knew it was about exploration and had a form of minimalist co-op. I play exploration games by going off the obvious path. So when I enter the second area of Journey, I see the obvious places I’m supposed to go to. And I run off looking for other less obvious things before I move on.
Soon the game has added a companion to the game. Since I know I can’t talk to them, I continue doing what I’m doing. A little light shows up on my screen. I assume it’s telling me where the puzzles are to solve (I didn’t learn it was the player till after finishing). So I intentionally keep it behind me. You don’t find hidden stuff by going where the game tells you after all. Eventually I realize they are solving the level for me. That player is like a parasite eating the enjoyment I expected to get later solving the level. So I rush to hit at least one of the triggers before they do.
This patterns continues until I turn off my router in the swimmy level. It was such a relief to not be racing a built in enemy. I could finally see stuff at my own pace and see everything myself. My timing could not have been worse, I was left trudging through the last areas with almost nothing to do. It was terrible.
I recognize that it all happened because I didn’t play the game “right”. But Journey isn’t exactly a game that tells you how to do anything. Journey is probably great but I don’t play games in the way to experience it.
"Wow I hadn’t seen this. THANK YOU for sending. This leaves me quite speechless..
I can’t believe someone wrote this. Who wrote this??? You can never know how you’ve touched me…”
He really cares how it’s affected us, he is a wonderful human being! :D
Oh my goodness, this is fantastic. I am so overjoyed. Austin Wintory seems like such a gracious, generous, humble person: I’ve seen many of his comments on Youtube in response to fan feedback for Journey and I was touched by how grateful he was to have such an overwhelmingly positive response.
The beautiful Apotheosis write-up was submitted by theclassictasteofsin, if you would like to tweet Mr. Wintory back and reveal the author.
Although a simple game, Journey is one of, if not the most, beautiful games I have played. The feeling of being alone in a place where sand goes as far as the eye can see. And then… suddenly, I saw someone in the distance. I approached them and greeted them, then we went on together. It’s amazing how, with just a simple music sound, you can communicate so well with that other person. No voice, no text, yet you create a bond with that someone and somehow you know exactly what they’re saying.
After the “easy” part, when we encountered those mechanical beings, when there was something threatening us for the first time, all I wanted was to keep my companion safe. And when we reached the temple, where everything was yellow and glowed so much, it was easy to lose sight of your partner. It was funny because we’d both keep calling each other non stop.
When we were nearing our goal, with the snowstorm. My companion got attacked by one of those giant mechanic things and was thrown away, and I got desperate and couldn’t see where they fell. I was relieved to see they were okay.
And then… Bellow the mountaintop. The snowstorm getting worse, we couldn’t even see what was ahead anymore. When we both collapsed and the screen turned white, all I could think was “oh god.” That moment when we “revived”, that music, everything was so beautiful, so full of… life. And by the time we reached the mountain top, I was crying like a baby. As we both disappeared in the distance, I was literally crying buckets.
And to top it off, that masterpiece of a music in the ending credits.
Never have I had such an online experience with a stranger, and it couldn’t have worked better. Journey is more than a game. It’s an experience, and a piece of art.
I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to http://fuckyeahjourneythegame.tumblr.com/ — a blog for Journey fanart that I recently discovered. Since some of you have expressed interest in seeing Journey fanwork blogs, I thought you may appreciate it.
Never in my life, have I listened to such a song as Apotheosis.
The first time I listened to it, while reaching the top of the mountain. I had felt such a rush emotions. My chest felt heavy and my vision was haunted with the scenery.
This combination was such a shock to my senses.. That whenever I listen to it now, I can’t help but cry. Not the sobbing, or sniffling kind of cry. But more of the silent kind, where I forget I need to breathe and tears just flow out.
I could not describe the emotion I feel when I listen to this song. It’s not happiness or sadness. Not rage or forgiveness. Not envy or compassion. But if I could try to describe this to you, I feel like it would be emotion of knowing I am meant for something. That I have a purpose and a direction in which to go.
It’s like the feeling of knowing you are truly alive.
That I have a beating heart and a soul. That I am human. And because I am, I can accomplish great things. That I can create and destroy. I can build bonds or choose to walk in a different direction. That… I am able to love and be loved… that I am able to give life to another.
I’ve never had this happen to me because of a song. Memories of my Journeys with strangers who I’ve come to love flash over and over through my mind mixed in with important events of my life here on this earth, an at the end, all I can see is the light on top of the mountain, knowing my own real journey is not over.
But all I know, is that when it is all over, whenever that will be, reguarless of my trials or however high the mountain..
Journey: un juego trascendental. (A translation by a fellow traveler.)
Hola! :) I follow this blog and a came across a submission in spanish. I speak both languages and it tugged at my heart strings when I realized you couldn’t read it. I have made a translation for you so that you and others may enjoy reading what others have to say. Sorry if some things seems iffy. Translations can be tricky. xD
Journey, the new game by ThatGameCompany that recently launched exclusively to the PSN has been one of my most wanted games for me in the past year. Ever since I saw the teaser over a year ago that featured a small mysterious robed figure that lonely wondered around picturesque deserts, climbing towards a mountain that could be looked at in the far distant horizon.. I told myself that this game would be something interesting and worthy of trying out. Because of that, I couldn’t stop counting the days until it would come out on the market.
When we wait for something and feed the expectation for a long time, it’s common that we find ourselves disappointed when we finally have the object of that expectation in our hands. The time and wait can be a negative mix when desire is the reason. That’s why, many times something unexpected can satisfy and please us more than something we have been waiting for a very long time. And this was the only medium that I wanted to have the game in and try it out for the very first time.
Journey is a game that can be finished in 2 or 3 hours and is the only characteristic the game has that could disappoint you, but the reality is far from that. On the contrary, the game surprised me much more than I thought it would and surpassed my expectations. Journey offered me one of the most incredible video game experiences of my life.
My experience as a games is not as extensive as most other people and my criteria for evaluating them is, perhaps, not in the great knowledge of them, and as an individual I don’t think I have enough experience to know when a games is unique or special at the moment when I have it in front of me. Journey is simply a game that has detached itself over the sea of games that can be found on the market.
The experience that this game presents is in it’s first instance an incredibly visual adventure as well as a “solo journey” for meditation and self enlightenment across the diverse desert sceneries that our character must travel through to reach it’s final objective: to get to the mountain that stands out from the horizon. Each stage impacts the vision and when you keep going further you will be marveled with the creative sceneries designed with a simple, yet very vibrant color palette. It’s all accompanied by incredibly moving music that will keep you at the edge of your emotions. Music, that by itself is a masterpiece.
During the journey you will discover the history of the place you are in. The history is not explained verbally and much less through text. The game does not distract you with the limitations of language. The story is presented in the form of murals and hieroglyphics in movement that emulate the way ancient civilizations retold their stories. It is because regardless of which language you speak, this is a story that can be understood by any player. It’s universal and spoken in thousands of stories in different forms. It’s a story of a magical civilization and it’s lamentable self destruction.
In fact, the most important, the reason of our characters existence, the reason why this voyage which is placed in this story, is not revealed until the end of the very of the journey. And finishing it is an event worthy of experiencing. The final events of the game are packed with emotion and extreme happiness. You are invaded by a sensation of accomplishment and loss by its ending and it leaves you with fan of emotions that very few games can accomplish, and Journey, without needing complex frames or a dialog, without using any other narrative element that is used in common historic films or other video games, is able to move and fill the player with emotion.
But that strikes me as one of the most incredible elements of this game is something I’ve left until the end to comment on. It’s about the true nature of this “solo journey” and it’s the fact that it doesn’t have to be done alone. On the contrary, during the game, you are able to encounter other travelers which just like you, have no idea why this journey is like this or how to get across the desert until you reach your destination. The fantastic thing about this is that there is no voice chat or any type of verbal communication with predetermined words in it. Which nowadays is obligatory in whichever game has multiplayer functionality.
The only element of communication is the emission of a few simple notes that can be used to call the attention of your companion and trying to make them understand somehow that both of you are on this journey together. Effectively, here is where actions speak louder than words and where confidence and the will to take both of you to the end of your travel. If this is accomplished, the fact of knowing that you have overcome all obstacles and knowing that you are not alone at the end becomes the most pleasant reward.
At the end of the game after the credits, a list of the PSN names of the people you encountered on your journey appears. I personally have finished the game twice. In my first encounter I finished it in three separate sessions meeting a total of 5 different people. But in my second journey, I finished it all with the same person beginning to end. The level of mutual collaboration was very satisfactory and gratifying. And the satisfaction reached it’s peak when minutes after the game was done, a PSN message appeared in my inbox from the same user I had just played with. A short conversation followed, we thanked each other in a very friendly way and carried respect towards a game shared and played well.
I tell you this personal anecdote since I have to say that in the majority of games that involve multiplayer that currently exist, very rare is the need to communicate outside what has been shared during the game. In those, voice or text chat exists, and communication is open and free with all the reason of finishing a game on good terms, in which you can share with the same person the hours of superior gameplay, compared to two hours on Journey. Actually, in those two hours of gameplay, a bond was created that however brief or firm it was, could exist in real life, that in that moment, was a demonstration of real admiration and respect to celebrate in a way of glory recently accomplished.
The experience of Journey transcends far from the game itself. It’s something that becomes a part of you. It’s a game with a small message but filled of great force. Journey, as the game indicates, is about a small journey, a short but immensely gratifying one if you can appreciate it properly, and above all, share. It’s a journey much like life itself, one that your start alone with no real apparent direction. Without a clue on how to travel and much less on where you need to go to reach the end. Where your actions are what counts towards others, and defines whether you’ll finish your journey alone or with the will to finish it with another. It all depends on you.
"Happiness is not a place you need to reach, but a form in which to travel."
Thank you so much to theclassictasteofsinwho surprised us with a lovely translation of the recent Spanish submission! I truly appreciate the time taken to translate this story so it can be shared with the rest of us.
Today I was having a rather terrible day and I decided to purchase this in hopes I would feel better. And oh my god, I really do.
The first person I met (I called him/her Ns because their symbol looked like a lot of Ns to me), wasn’t very keen on waiting for me to finish exploring. I tried keeping up, but I kept seeing things I wanted to explore and eventually, Ns left me across the bridge on the second level.
As I was entering the third, a new buddy popped up as I was loading and when everything loaded, we chirped to each other and I called them Lines because their symbol consisted of a bunch of lines. We were both completely new; I had a longer scarf by a little bit and we ran around exploring as much as we could. Chirping very loudly if we got separated and worked to make sure we stuck together.
This game really got me in the underground level where we first saw the flying snake monster. We were cautious at first, wondering what it was, and then we determined it’s hostile so we did our best to avoid it. Then I got caught in its search light and I got hit, being thrown like into a wall and I really thought I’d died because I had no clue what had happened. When I realized I was fine, just missing a bit of my scarf, I started chirping like mad for Lines. I didn’t want to lose them! We found each other very soon and when we met up again, we chirped a lot to refill our scarfs and I really felt like a human connection because Lines had been looking for me and when we found each other again, it just felt amazing.
I remember Lines having trouble jumping from jellyfish-scarf to jellyfish-scarf and I’d wait until they could get up to me, giving them little chirps for luck. And then whenever I’d fallen behind, Lines would always chirp for me to get my bearings straight and wait until I caught up.
The saddest thing though. When we got to the snow level and after we’d figured out to hide behind the pillars to keep us from the wind and to huddle together, my internet went out! And I saw Lines fade away. I didn’t reconnect with Lines again after that, and I really felt depressed. I mean, even though I didn’t know this person at all, I felt very sad I couldn’t find Lines again.
I did meet another person who I called Boxes because their symbol looked like a lot of boxes. They ran from me at first even though I wanted to share scarfs and chirps because their scarf looked empty. Eventually Boxes got the hint I wanted to help and we finished the game together.
But who was really memorable to me was Lines.
I love this game with all my heart. It is amazing and I can’t wait to play more and read more of your stories.
El nuevo juego de ThatGameCompany: Journey. Lanzado recientemente y en exclusiva para el PSN, ha sido uno de los juegos más esperados por mí en el último año. Desde que pude ver el teaser hace más de un año, en el cual se mostraba una figura misteriosa que atravesaba solitariamente unos paisajes desérticos muy pintorescos, siempre encaminado hacia una montaña que se ve en el horizonte, me dije a mi mismo, que este juego sería algo interesante y digno de probar. Por eso no pude dejar de contar los días hasta que saliera al mercado.
Cuando esperamos algo y alimentamos por mucho tiempo una expectación, es común encontrarnos decepcionados cuando por fin podemos tener en nuestramos manos el objeto de esa expectación. El tiempo y la espera pueden ser una mezcla negativa cuando de deseo se trata. Por eso muchas veces algo inesperado, nos puede satisfacer y agradar mucho más que algo por lo que se ha estado esperando por mucho tiempo. Y este era el único miedo que yo tenía al adquirir el juego de Journey y probarlo por primera vez.
Journey. Es un juego que puede ser culminado en unas 2 o 3 horas y destaca que este es la única característica que podría decepcionar, pero la realidad es que esta lejos de eso. Por el contrario, el juego me sorprendió mucho más allá de lo esperado y sobrepaso mis expectativas. Journey me ofrecido unas de las más increíbles experiencias de juego que he tenido en mi vida.
Mi experiencia como videojugador no es tan extensa como el de muchas otras personas, y mi criterio para evaluarlos puede que no esté fundamentado en un gran conocimiento de los mismos, sin embargo, como individuo creo tener lo mínimo de experiencia y criterio como para reconocer cuando un juego es único y especial al momento de tenerlo enfrente. Journey simplemente es un juego que se ha destacado por encima del mar de videojuegos que actualmente se pueden encontrar en el mercado.
La experiencia que este juego te presenta es en primera instancia un increíble viaje visual, es también un “viaje solitario”, para la meditación y el encuentro personal, a través de diversos escenarios desérticos que nuestro personaje debe cruzar para alcanzar su objetivo final: llegar a una impetuosa montaña que sobresale en el horizonte. Cada escenario impacta a la vista, y conforme avanzas siempre quedaras maravillado con estos creativos escenarios diseñados con una paleta de colores muy simple, pero muy vibrante. Todo acompañado de una música increíblemente conmovedora, que te mantendrá al filo de las emociones. Una música, que por sí sola es una obra maestra.
Durante el viaje iras descubriendo la historia del lugar en el que te encuentras. Esta historia no es contada verbalmente, y mucho menos textualmente. El juego no te distrae con los dramatismos y limitaciones propios de la lengua. Esta historia te es presentada en forma de murales y jeroglíficos en movimiento, emulando la forma como las civilizaciones antiguas relataban sus historias. Es por eso que sin importar el idioma que hables, esta simple historia puede ser entendida por cualquier jugador. Es una historia universal, ya contada en miles de cuentos y de distintas formas. Es la historia de una mágica civilización y su lamentable autodestrucción.
Sin embargo, lo más importante, la razón de la existencia de nuestro personaje, la razón del porque del viaje y donde encaja en esta historia, no te es revelada sino hasta el final del mismo. Y finalizarlo es una experiencia digna de probar. Los eventos finales del juego están cargados de emotividad y jubilo, te invade una sensación de logro y de perdida por su culminación y te deja con un abanico de emociones que pocos juegos logran evocar, y Journey, sin necesitar de tramas complejas, sin un solo dialogo, ni utilizar ninguno de los elemento narrativos comunes en las historias fílmicas u otros videojuegos, logra conmover y emocionar al jugador.
Pero lo que a mi parecer es unos de los elementos más increíbles de este juego, es algo que he dejado de último para comentar. Se trata de la verdadera naturaleza de este “viaje solitario”, y es que el viaje no tiene porque ser solitario, sino todo lo contrario. Debido a que durante el recorrido te podrás encontrar con otros viajero, quienes al igual que tu, no tienen idea del porque de este viaje, ni saben cómo atravesar ese vasto desierto para llegar a destino. Lo fantástico de estos encuentros es que no hay nombres, ni etiquetas, tampoco hay comunicación verbal alguna. No hay chat de voz, ni de texto, mucho menos un sistema de comandos de comunicación con palabras predeterminadas como se han implementado en otros juegos, y que hoy en día son un elemento casi que obligatorio en todo aquel videojuego que goce de funcionalidades multiplayer online.
El único elemento de comunicación es la emisión a voluntad de unos simples tonos, que a modo de faro auditivo te sirven para llamar la atención de tu compañero y hacerle entender, de una manera u otra, que ambos están juntos en ese viaje. Sin embargo, aquí es donde efectivamente las acciones hablan más que las palabras, y en donde la confianza, colaboración y voluntad de compartir la aventura es lo que determinara si esa unión los llevara juntos hasta el final del recorrido. Si esto ha de lograrse, el hecho de haber superado todos los obstáculos y no estar solo al alcanzar el final del camino, se convierte en la más gratas de las recompensa.
Al finalizar el juego, después de los créditos, se te presenta en pantalla una lista con los nombres de usuario de PSN de aquellos jugadores con quienes te encontraste en tu viaje. Yo personalmente, ya he finalizado el juego 2 veces. En mi primera ocasión, lo finalice en tres sesiones de juego diferentes, en las que compartí con alrededor de 5 jugadores distintos en total. Pero en mi segunda ocasión compartir el viaje entero con el mismo jugador. Realizamos el viaje sin parar desde el inicio, y el nivel de colaboración mutua fue impecable, algo que fue muy satisfactorio y gratificante. Y la satisfacción y gratificación alcanzada fue tal que a los pocos minutos de finalizar el juego, me llega a mi cuenta de PSN un mensaje del mismo usuario con quien acababa de compartir en el juego. Y en una corta conversación, de solo unos pocos mensajes intercambiados, nos agradecimos mutuamente de manera muy amistosa y cargada de respeto el buen juego compartido.
Comento esta anécdota personal, ya que debo señalar que en la gran mayoría de los distintos juegos colaborativos o de multiplayer que existen actualmente, muy rara vez se da la necesidad de establecer una comunicación entre los jugadores fuera de la que ya fue compartida durante el juego; en esos otros juegos existen chat de voz o de texto, donde la comunicación es libre y abierta, todo con la finalidad de disfrutar de un buen juego en línea; en donde puedes llegar a compartir con una misma persona una cantidad de horas de juego muy superiores en comparación a las que se puedes compartir con una persona durante una sesión de juego de dos horas en Journey. Y sin embargo, en solo ese par horas de juego se creó un lazo, que por muy breve o efímero que este pueda ser en la vida real, en el momento fue una demostración de verdadero respeto y admiración, para celebrar de alguna manera el logro recién obtenido.
La experiencia de Journey trasciende más allá del juego, es una experiencia que se vuelve parte de ti. Es un juego con un mensaje muy sutil, pero de una gran fuerza. Journey, como su nombre lo indica, es sobre un pequeño viaje, uno muy corto, difícil, pero inmensamente gratificante si lo aprovechas bien y si por sobretodo lo compartes. Es un viaje como la vida misma, en la que empiezas solo, con una única dirección aparente, sin ninguna pista de cómo recorrer el camino y menos aun de como es el final. Donde lo que cuenta son tus acciones hacia los demás, ya que estas determinaran si el viaje lo culminaras completamente solo, o si más bien has de lograr compartirlo con alguien más. Todo depende de ti.
“La felicidad no es un destino al que llegar, sino una forma de viajar”.
Never did my girlfriend realize that her companion was another human player. In one situation the stranger repeatedly ran up a particularly large dune and surfed down its slope. My girlfriend watched in confusion: “Why is it doing that? Well whatever.”. Moments later both of them were surfing down the dune together, crisscrossing each others courses. Their scarves becoming entwined in each other, their clothes lighting up in bright colors when they touched each other.
I had invited my girlfriend to play Journey on my PS3. Consciously I had not told her anything about the game in advance. Especially not about its unusual multiplayer component. Thanks to my girlfriend not being a gamer she had not been spoiled by any previews or trailers. Actually there had been only one game in recent years that she had really played (Heavy Rain).
And so unsurprisingly she had some difficulties handling the camera, handling the basic movement mechanics and sometimes even recognizing the path that the game was laying out for her. I had forced myself not to help her and near the beginning of the game she struggled for ten minutes and managed to reach the level exit only by leaving behind the game play area, pushing against the wind barrier, walking over a narrow ledge in the building geometry and letting herself fall down in front of the exit portal, a solution which I’m sure had not been intended by the level designers.
So I was glad that after 20 minutes she finally found a companion. Another entity in this beautiful but forsaken world. They greeted each other meeting in the center of the play area, curiously running around each other and exchanging probing chimes. The two continued to venture on and it was the beginning of a fascinating companionship that developed between the two.
The companion guided my girlfriend through the journey and even though obviously much more skilled and acquainted with the game, it would display an incredible amount of patience. When my girlfriend would fall down from a platform once more, it would not abandon her, but follow her up and motivate her with some chimes to try once more. It guided her through the light areas and it guided her through the dark and dangerous territories, where surreal flying creatures would try to to tear them apart.
In full honesty, I took over the controls in the last half hour. For once because I had not played the game myself to this area, but even more importantly because I had grown so affectionate of our companion that I did not want to risk losing it by stumbling in the wrong moment. The closer we got to the mountain, the harder the travel became, to the point where every time our companion would sit down for a moment, we feared that it would not stand up again. When we were almost freezing to death, my girlfriend would urge me to get closer to my companion and warm it up by touching it. Our previously majestic and playful long scarves, had been reduced to mere colorless stubs, reflecting our inner desperate state.
When our journey ended after about 90 minutes it was in an immensely cathartic moment, in a way that no game has ever made me feel before. It is hard to explain how the game evokes emotions. How masterfully it plays with the feeling of connectedness. Is it the abstract characters that allow to relay so much into them? Is it the fact that they can mainly only communicate through action? Is it discovering the hidden wall images showing two companions on a predestined travel? Is it because of how lonely the world feels, you’re happy to share the burden of your dangerous travel with somebody?
While the credits were rolling, I finally told my girlfriend that our companion had been a human player all along. Every time you fell, it was a player that came to save you. Every time you chimed, it was a player that responded, replicating the pattern that you just had signaled. Every time you danced around each other, it had been another player that had moved in unison with you. It might seem crazy, but it was a truly magical moment that actually caused us to tear up. The game had played with our feelings too perfectly.
As a game developer myself I feel inclined to analyze how the game did this exactly. But as a player, I don’t care. All I need to know is that this game made us care and that it touched us and offered a more personal experience than anything that I have played in over 20 years. It makes me proud to be in game development and it reassures me of the power of this medium, and that some of us have bet their career on. For me it makes this game a pinnacle of video game history.
Hello all! It’s the owner of this blog here. I played through Journey for the second time last night, and thought I’d share my experience.
I spent the entire duration of my second journey with a single companion, who had a beautiful symbol reminiscent of a blooming flower. We encountered each other in the first level, and quickly formed a bond.
Spending time exploring together, solving puzzles, and finding hidden symbols, my partner and I experienced a range of colourful interactions. We’d chirp at each other happily when reaching the end of a level or solving a new puzzle. If I noticed my friend’s scarf power was low, I’d walk to him and recharge it for him, and he’d do the same for me, chirping twice to say ‘thank you’. Sometimes, we would just stand together in silence to admire the beauty of the golden sunset’s rays illuminating the sparkling sand, sharing a peaceful and contemplative moment.
In the underwater level, I spied a glyph symbol under the water and dived down to investigate, chirping at my companion to follow me. Trusting and loyal, my friend came down to investigate what I had found, and chirped happily in thanks when their scarf lengthened thanks to the glyph I had alerted him to.
At one stage, we saw a symbol on a ledge that was just a little too high for us to reach alone. To my absolute delight, we both jumped into the air and recharged each others’ scarves mid-flight, giving each other enough energy to reach the glyph together. I was overjoyed that we could employ such teamwork to reach our goal, and our connection was strengthened through this.
As we made our way up the mountain and the snowstorm intensified, I swore to myself that we’d reach the summit together. I had absolutely no intention of abandoning my partner, and I could tell they felt the same about me. When the leviathan monster targeted me in its searching light and tore my scarf, my companion rushed back to me to ensure my safety, chirping rapidly in alarm and worry.
The biting wind howled as we ventured up the mountain together. Overwhelming and unrelenting, the blizzard was so fierce that we could no longer see or hear each others’ singing. As we walked together, fighting against the hostile wind, my fingers hammered the square button in a desperate attempt to reassure my partner. As the wind settled and our steps slowed, I realised that the gentle lowering and raising of my partner’s head was actually their efforts to hold down the square button and chirp as loudly as possible. This overwhelmed me; tears came to my eyes as I felt my companion’s care for me. Watching their lifeless body collapse into the snow, I let out a sob before my own frozen form followed suit.
"I swear we’ll finish this together," I whispered to myself.
Of course, I knew what joyous rebirth was to follow, and I cheered in happiness as I was resurrected in the final level and saw my partner happily chirping at me. We soared and dived together, circling and leaping…and then I lost sight of my companion. No big deal, I thought to myself. I’ll wait for them at the summit, and we’ll walk into the light together.
But as I stood upon the edge of the mountain’s summit, looking out and chirping for my companion, I neither saw nor heard any sight of them. A sinking feeling began to settle in my stomach. What if they left? What if they’ve already finished? What if I can’t find them? I waited and waited, chirping earnestly. I even flew back down the cliff face to try and find them. No luck. They were nowhere to be seen.
After ten minutes of waiting at the summit, I came to accept the fact that my companion wasn’t coming. They were gone, and I had failed them. I had failed in my goal to finish with my partner, and abandoned them. Despondent and lonely, I drew a heart in the snow, silently dedicated to my companion, in the hope that if they came after me they would see it and recognise my continued affection for them. “I’m sorry”, I said out loud, as I moved towards the light. “I’m so sorry. I failed you. Please forgive me.”
Tears were rolling down my face as I walked on, alone. My companion should have been with me. We should have walked into the light together.
Afterwards, I noted my companion’s PSN username and sent them a message. “Thank you for sharing that incredible journey with me. I’m so, so sorry we didn’t reach the end together. I waited for you, but couldn’t find you. I hope you reached the summit safely, dear friend.”
Though we didn’t walk into the light side by side, I’ll never forget the experience we shared during our journey, and all the moments of cooperation, happiness, and affection felt between us.
After I saw the “making of” trailer on Journey Facebook page and Austin Wintory’s commentary on it as a composer - without any doubt I ran to the bank to top up my credit card and went back to buy this glorious game. I knew that it’s going to be amazing with Austin Wintory’s sountrack as know in Flow and amazing indie game developer company - “Thatgamecompany”. I’ve played their two previous games Flow and Flower so I knew that this journey is going to be awesome.
My first journey started, I was amazed by the graphics and the realistic sand. So I made my way to the gates so I could start the first level.
The first companion I met on the bridge after 20 minutes of the game was not interested in me and he was running around really fast without exploring much. I was excited that i finally found someone so, without any doubt I started following him, but he vanished after a while and I lost track of him on the surfing level… I found another companion wearing white cape. I was so excited to see someone again, I chirped at him and he did that too. I knew that he was very experienced because he had this mark of wisdom, a white cape and a long scarf, he started to lead me through dangerous underground with the monsters, letting me know when to start running and where to stop and wait until all monsters pass through. I tell you that was exciting! So cool to cooperate like on a dangerous mission! We made our way through all levels and I even found a creature from Flow! Thanks to my companion! We were very communicative by chirping on each other all the time and waiting for each other at certain points so we don’t get lost :3
I even was scared in the mountains with monsters, where you need to hide in small booths, but this guy did not make me die, thanks to his chirps! :D we made our way through everything and… a collapse.
I was nearly crying after I saw us falling on the snow, breathless… But I was given another chance! I was praised by the gods and flew through the sky! The motion started but I can’t see him! Where’s my friend? we made the whole way to lose track of each other? I was chirping the whole time and made my way to the separate hill, covered with snow. I was standing there for 2 minutes and chirping all the time and finally he appeared! he landed on the hill as well! I knew it was him he had the same emblem! I was so happy i was chirping away :DD we made our way to the crack but i lost him again, thank god he was waiting for me on the top.
We were chirping at each other, drawing different things on the snow and finally, we were ready to go. Ready for ascention and ready to be reborn… We headed through a crack without stopping chriping at each other until we couldn’t hear each other at all… We made it and I thank this guy.
There were 2 names which appeared after the ending titles, and one of them was definitely him. I added him as a friend, and appears to be he is from Egypt and I am from UK! That is so cool, this game connects people from around the world! I thanked him for his patience and cooperativity. We are good game buds with him since then and play a lot of games.
Now I am white as well. I passed this game more than 5 times and I help the inexperienced travellers who need help. I’m very excited and I thank Thatgamecompany and Austin Wintory for the unbelievable experience. I’m sure I’ll be on my journey for a long time.
I had just gotten my white robes. It would be my first time playing as a guide, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.
I started my Journey and almost immediately was joined by a red cloaked traveler. They had one of the prettiest symbols I’d seen, it looked like a flower. They didn’t sing much and I was a bit disappointed, but I lead them through the first level. I just chirped at them idly and they followed me faithfully even when I got lost. It was when we found the flower in the desert that they really started responding to my singing.
We surfed through the sands without a hitch and got every single symbol. I was feeling pretty good about myself. Both our scarves were long but I was proud about how my extra few feet made me seem more knowledgeable. It wasn’t until the caves that I realized I was wrong.
The leviathans patrolled through the halls and we got passed the first one fine, but then I took a wrong turn. I made a stupid mistake and lead her right into one’s path. There didn’t seem like there was anything I could do, there was no way we could hide quickly enough. Because of me she was going to lose her scarf.
In a split second decision I flew ahead right into the light. It was my fault we were both in danger and I wasn’t going to let her get hurt because of my stupidity. It tore off my scarf and sent me flying. Without hesitation she ran after me, singing more out of worry than she had the entire time. I don’t think she realized that I deserved to take that blow, she was only worried about me.
Sufficiently humbled we passed through the rest of the game without incident, she floating through with her long flowing scarf and me with my short one.
I never felt so close to another traveler. I happily showed her everything I could and she chirped back gratefully every time. When we reached the summit we were hardly ever separated, singing and huddling together to ward off the cold. I was proud of her long scarf, more than I had been of my own and I happily protected it for the rest of the Journey. I was overjoyed when she got through the Journey with the longest scarf possible. She taught me to care for those I took under my wing, and it’s not something I’m going to forget.
I don’t know if it fits with the experiences collected in this blog, but… back in November, my friend and I went to our country’s biggest comic convention as two journeyers. People liked the costumes well enough with their iconic design but didn’t care where they were from, leaving us with just a collection of silly guesses (I see where ‘wizards’ came from, but ‘queens’? ‘Elves’? ‘Teletubbies’? ‘Those guys from Kingdom Hearts’? Heh. My favourite is still ‘the things from that game that’s unclear what it’s about’, guy might’ve been on the right track). We, for our part, felt that we were wearing something special, even though we still didn’t know what. There was expectation and a certain basic joy in wearing those robes. We hung close to the magic of the first trailer and of the few screenshots we’d seen before adopting a strict no-spoiler policy.
This past weekend, another major convention took place in my city. It looked like the perfect chance to celebrate the game, so I ironed out my cape & scarf and went out alone into the unknown, with no planned meetings at the convention itself.
But I met persons. I met so many persons.
I met strangers who had given up hope of the game ever coming out and boy were they pleasantly surprised.
I met a “Wait I think I know what…” “’s a game for the PSN, it’s called…” “The thing running through the beautiful desert!” “The very same!”.
I met children who thought me out of a fable and their mothers who maybe got a new perspective on the possibilities of videogames.
I met many “So I take it the game’s good?” “More than that, my good sir. More than that”.
I met fellow journeyers without their robes and we exchanged knowing looks. They couldn’t see my smile, hidden under the red fabric, but I could see theirs and it was moving. I chirped and sprung into a small jump as we parted ways.
I met several who indulged my “Ask me about Loom”-inspired pin, or didn’t get the joke at all (a small group even approached me in English) but were curious all the same. Explaining Journey without spoiling it is a fascinating task, as you’re all aware. We ended up talking interaction in videogames, digital distribution and small developers, non-verbal communication. Cool people.
I met many strangers that day and we felt close, red and golden threads sewn throughout the otherwise lonely (for me) corridors of the convention. It was a good day.
Journey was the most intense, amazing gaming experience I have ever had. I want to cry everytime I finish the game, it's just so beautiful and touching and I always find a connection with my little companion. This day I met a companion, she helped me find everything and we went through the entire journey together. from start to finish. I waiting anxiously at the end with the credits so that I might get their name and add them :) and she happily added me.
I’ve never fell in-love with a nameless person… Playing journey midway through the game going through numbers of nameless people I met a white cloaked person, their patience was admirable, trying to help me in every way. I was just doing one level to get a glyph I forgot.. but meeting them made me stay. We would swirl and dance together chiming at each other in joy, going threw the harsh blizzard he/she took a hit for me, from a large solid beast stripping his/her’s scarf, feeling so bad I nudge him/her gently and he/she Chimed softly in awe, we continued as I fell off a ledge and hit the lower ground he/she jumped down also lending me their company, continuing the Journey we come to the breath taking winds..soon taking our last walks together, seeing him/her fall in such despair broke my heart…my stomach sinking wanting to help them..I turn into a gold beam cutting wind behind me, as I come into a colorful world. Meeting my companion, I couldn’t be happier, chiming gently at them we continued dashing through waters and playing around swirling around each other we finally reach are destination, our extended scarves disappear and we walk are last steps together, before we finished he/she wrote a heart in the snow.. I’ll never forget my heart stopping; knowing that the snow could hold drawings I tried desperately writing my name..the disappointment of no add, once the game was over..I tried seeing their name but 10 names showed up, I felt my heart sink.. I wish I paid more attention to their symbol, cause I’ll never find the one I loved again.. It’s a weird love, a love you can’t explain. I might be crazy, but so what? The one who draws hearts in the snow~ thank you.
It came the day of release (for us non Playstation Plus gamers anyway) I only get access to my PS3 at weekends as I’m at University during the week, I also spend weekends with my girlfriend but as she was working for the morning today I decided to set aside 2/3 hours to play this game.
I started the download the night before, (my internet is terribly slow) Installed and went to bed.
After getting back from dropping her off at work I sat downstairs and had cereal in preparation for my 2/3 hour non interrupted first run.
Game ready, Door closed, Curtains Drawn.
I started without knowing much of what to expect, I knew that multiplayer was a feature of this game but I didnt know just how important it was going to be.
I was instantly mesmerised by the beauty of the scenery and the traveller who I have become. I got used to the controllers quite quickly but after a whine found myself it being much easier looking around without tilting my controller.
I wasn’t in a rush and wanted to take in everything from the beautiful colour of each grain of sand to the incredible view of the sky.
I saw the mountain with the light aiming upwards and knew there was no stopping me from reach that goal.
The first time I found the glowing hieroglyphs I ran towards it as fast as I could, the excitement building with every jump I made on the rocks to get to it. And was so incredibly happy when my scarf started glowing as well, I wanted more.
Exploring was so much fun and finding more glowing hieroglyths made it more and more exciting.
I eventually discovered gliding through the air and my love for the game was growing more and more. I wanted to jump higher, I wanted to glide further I wanted to discover everything and explore everywhere.
I got through the second gate and that’s when I met my first companion ever.
I instantly noticed the difference of his cloak, I didn’t know what it meant at the time but I knew it meant something. I was then surprised by the different calling sound and symbol! I loved it, I didn’t know what to expect next, everything new thing I found was just making the game twice as better every time.
My companion was amazing, they lead me to all the glowing hieroglyphs in the area and thus helped me become better and better. I loved my scarf getting bigger and bigger and the fact that when simply bumping into your companion revives the glow in your scarf, made it so much better.
My companion was incredibly patient and every time they showed me something knew i responded in two calls ‘Thank you’ and they responded with one that i took as ‘you’re welcome’.
Within minutes I thought I lost them, I didnt know what happened when someone didn’t want to accompany you anymore, would they just leave? go on ahead? or simply disappear. I thought I was alone, I didn’t know I would feel this sad about it when suddenly I heard and saw a call. I was instantly relieved and ran as fast as I could towards them.
We called out to each other a lot, him/her telling me where they were and me telling them that I was right behind them. If I wanted to quickly explore somewhere I would call 3 or 4 times as to say ‘Ill be right back’ and again when i was returning to them like ‘now coming’
we travelled together for 2 or 3 levels and then all of a sudden when I was gliding along the sand down a magnificent hill I saw I was alone. ‘you have been signed out of PSN’ my heart sunk. I felt even more upset than I did before, I didn’t even know this person yet I felt incredibly bad and couldn’t help think what they were thinking. I didn’t want them to think I just abandoned them, that our journey together however short meant nothing, the least I wanted was to just say sorry. I wanted to say please come back.
I stopped in my tracks half way down the hill trying to reconnect to PSN. I restarted my router and anxiously waited with all these thoughts going through my mind.
I knew I would never forget that symbol and cloak.
I was back.
I was in hope that my companion had carried on and was waiting for me somewhere, this was what motivated me to carry on, not to finish my journey but to find my companion.
I don’t think it was too long before I found another traveller, My emotions rose just as they dropped again when I realised that wasn’t the same symbol I saw before.
I found this person almost as fast as I lost them, I called a few times and didn’t get much in return and after getting the feeling that they really didn’t want me to tag along I slowed down and stopped for a while.
My hopes of find my companion was dropping I convinced myself that I wouldn’t ever find them again, he/she was a perfect companion and I can’t thank them enough for helping me in my journey.
I carried on, alone but in hope that I would find my first companion or someone just as kind.
I can’t remember exactly how long it was but I eventually found who i thought was my original companion.
At this time im still not sure if this was my first companion or someone completely new. They shared the same cloak but the symbol was either the same or slightly different. I was convinced that it was the same person but wasn’t sure after the slight change in calls.
This companion called a lot more, 3-5 times in a row. I didn’t know if it was my original companion being excited that we were reunited or if it was just a another traveller excited to find a new companion,
At this point it didn’t matter, I knew i found my companion.
We were in a blue dark area with lots of ribbons and high blocks. My companion (new or first) lead me to glowing hieroglyphs just like before, i would follow, they would discover and call many times to get me to follow them and grab the prize.
My scarf was getting longer and I was getting much more happier. Every jump they made instantly was followed by a call. Whenever I was falling slightly behind they would wait patiently and call once more when i got to them as to say ‘Awesome, lets go!’
I was in debt to my companion. They made this Journey a Journey to remember.
We then got to the area with all the scary monsters, I was frightened by the sudden monster crashing from the ground. I stayed close to my companion as they lead the way to safety, despite the darkness and eery music I knew I was in good hands.
We managed not getting caught but had a couple of close calls and finally made it to the end.
I felt the biggest sense of accomplishment ever time we got to the end got to have a well deserved rest sitting down.
It was coming to the end. The sand was now snow. We kept our calling to each other up all this time. The wind was getting fierce and all this was all to be expected after the short cut scene of me looking at our final stretch.
We saw the high rocks and knew exactly what to do every time a gust of wind was coming, my controller would vibrate and I would get behind a rock as fast as possible. a couple of times we fell back, he/she go caught and i instantly rushed to their side afterwards. calling as if to say ‘are you alright?!’ and them replying ‘yeah :)’
The same thing happened with a monster.. we tried not to get caught but did and with a sudden flash of red was smashed back to the start of that area. I thought we were dead, then we suddenly rose from the snow. I noticed our scarfs were half gone, I was heart broken, all that work and now we’re weaker, but the strong heart and willingness to go on from my companion motivated me to carry on as if out scarfs were 1000s of meters long.
We were more careful this time, we saw the ending of this section in our sites! But then a monster flew over head. I managed to quickly hide under a rock bashing my call button as if to say ‘here! here! run! run!’ but he/she got caught, I moved my view right round to where he/she was thrown to and dashed towards them calling to them with every step ‘are you okay?! are you okay?!’ They got up.. and now there scarf was much, much shorter. I knew there was no room for error this time. I didn’t know if the next time would be the last. So we both called and dashed for the ending with hesitation and made it!
We were on our way..as the paths were getting narrower and the winds getting more frequent I knew it wasn’t too long to the end, a part of me wish it wouldn’t end, a part of me wish there was a whole new world to explore with my companion and that we would never part but I knew that this was how it is meant to be.
We got round a corner and now it was a large open space of nothingness but with the mountain in our sights. The view was getting more blurry, our steps slower, it was getting colder, the music had gone.
It was just our footsteps and the snow when all of a sudden we fell.
I didn’t know what to think.
Was this really the end.
Close to tears I sat on the edge of my bed staring at the blank screen begging for something to happen, these few seconds lasted for minutes.
Then the guardians!
My heart flew. I almost jumped up with excitement but were they going to help me?
All of a sudden I was flying through the air! everything was clear! everything was brighter! We were going to make it!
where is my companion?
Didn’t he make it?
Did he simply vanish?
My speed slowed down when suddenly from my right side there was my companion!
I called repeatedly in excitement as if to say ‘you’re here! I’m so happy!’
and he/she responded with the same.
We had the goal in our hands.
Every jump, every dash and every glide was amazing, our hard work had paid off and we were going to reach our goal!
We then got to the last stretch of walk way. My companion waited for me and with a call ‘lets do this’
I followed. It was amazing.
I couldn’t believe how this whole experience effected me. Within every second of that time spent together i imagined myself in the game.
And with the final walk It was as if were now life long friends, arms around each other exchanging small talk, I called a few times and so did he, it was like we were saying our goodbyes and thank your. He stopped for a second as if he didn’t want it to end. nor did i. i stopped for a second, called, nudged him and we carried on towards the light as we faded into it. Our Calls fading as well.
My final words ‘Thank you.’
I can’t wait to play more and do exactly what my companion/s did for me, follow, accompany, lead and protect fellow companion and travellers.
Thank you thatgamecompany.
I sat through the entire credit sequence in awe of what just happened and what I experienced then I saw those words ‘Companions met along the way’
I saw 4 names. And 2 Symbols that I will never forget.
They were quite similar so I had to draw the conclusion that they were two different companions. But that didn’t mean anything. They both lead my Journey and both made it the most memorable Journey I could ever wish or hope to ask for.
I noted both names and sent them a message saying thank you.
I got a reply from one saying thanks as well.
Not sure wether I’ll reply back. Could we be real life friends?
Or would that ruin the magic of Journey.
Its nice thinking even without ever knowing each other
that we shared that Journey full of heartaches, scary paths, obstacles and the final walk to remember.
Thank you if you read this all. I hope one day our paths meet and we can Journey together
I was so excited when I was awoken today to be told that my boyfriend had bought Journey for us to enjoy. He had shown me some videos yesterday about it and even then I wanted to cry at the sheer beauty of the game. And so, I played it for the first time today.
My first level was spectacular. The sand glittered in the sunlight and I was just taken into a different realm—a place I definitely needed to be. I learned my way around rather quickly since there really isn’t a lot to the controls.
And I got my tiny scarf. It beamed and I was able to fly—for only a bit. I already knew that I had a chance to play with other real people online and so I started to look for them, frequently “calling” out for them.
But no one was there. My heart kind of sunk as I finished my first level alone—not knowing at the time that the very first level you always do alone. I entered the wordless story telling and was moved.
Then, I went into my second level. Grabbing another power up, my scarf beamed once again. And then I heard a distant call that was not of my own. My heart jumped with excitement, seeing a silhouetted character looking just like me. Trotting over, I called to him and he called back. Though, at first, I thought he was just calling to the cloth pieces in order to fly. But after helping each other with this level, our true journey began.
It was exhilarating! Helping each other by charging our scarves with our call. I also love the fact that we both had very different symbols. I won’t forget his.
We flew through sand to try to get to our one destination together.
Once we had to trot through the blizzard, I began to panic as we started to freeze—our scarves’ life draining away. We stayed together and called and called and called to keep our scarves alive so we could fly. Then suddenly, those monsters appeared and locked their sight on us. Thinking that this little piece of ruin would save us, I stopped. I was horribly mistaken and the monster attacked us, eating away our scarves.
My heart sunk.
I felt like it was my fault and I called to him, trying to say that I was sorry. Hoping that he understood, we continued our journey. And then the mountain grew larger—though we were loosing strength. I desperately try to call to him and my heart almost stopped at how weak our calls to each other were.
And we collapsed.
I was almost in tears. I thought we had lost and couldn’t finish our journey. Then out of no where, I became this beam of light, flying through the blizzard and the monsters. But I didn’t see my companion anywhere and so I really thought he had died and I was really upset. The scenery changed abruptly into this blue sky, other cloth creatures flying around and it was just so Zen-like it was gorgeous.
Then, I saw my companion. He was alive! And he was going to finish the journey with me!! I was so relieved! We flew through sparkling waters and glittering symbols—climbing and awakening cloth— always calling out to each other. And then we made it to the top. Silhouetted by the light, we finished our path.
We finished our Journey. Together.
This game brought me to tears and every time I think of the experience that I have had, I am brought to tears once again. So I shall say thank you thatgamecompany for making just a marvelous game. I cannot explain to you in words how much I just enjoyed this.
I also want to thank my companion on such a wonderful journey.
I started Journey today, with high hopes and in anticipatory fashion. I didn’t know what to expect! I never knew I’d come out with the kind of feelings I did.
I started the same way any journeyman starts. I took the first few steps, and grasped the controls. I did, however, try to head away from the mountain and into the desert. The wind blew me back on track, and I knew that I had to complete the journey not just explore it haphazardly.
It was in the ribbon bridge that I met my first traveler. We were very different, I noticed. The other’s movements and speech patterns were focused, intent on getting to the next part of the game. He also wore a slightly different cloak than mine. I figured it had to be someone who had finished the game once. I explored and found some of the ancient glyphs that extended my scarf (much to the apparent dismay of my companion’s patience). I did try to appease the other traveler with chirps and calls and making my motions seemed rushed, so that we could in fact, move forward.
In the next section though, I saw the figure sit down, and wondered how to do that as well. As I fumbled for the controls, I saw the shape begin to dissolve. I was horrified. I didn’t know that was how players left the game. I moved toward the other, making motions that felt like I was grasping for the figure’s sandy dissolving form.
I was alone again.
I did okay for a while, and I thought to myself, that we weren’t getting along i the first place, so no great loss there. I met my second traveler in the giant sand waterfall. and I was excited to have found another. I danced around the other figure, chirping along the way. The traveler mimicked my movements and we headed off in the right direction. We were both dressed the same, which meant they must have been playing their first time too. We chirped happily and called to each other constantly when the space grew too far. but this traveler always wanted me close. If I went a few steps too far, they would call and run to my side. I figured they wanted a hand to hold.
It was when we ran into the flying snakes that we truly bonded though. I saw the light head towards us, and called for them to move towards me, and away from the light. But they foolishly continued forwards, and I watched in horror as the monster tore away their scarf. I couldn’t even find them. I thought I was alone again. But a call told me they were still there, and I called back.
When I was caught, I tried to outrun the serpent, but to no avail. They ran to my side, calling in quick succession. “Are you alright?!” they seemed to say. And in the shock of feeling, I didn’t move. I realized this delay, and lifted myself off the ground. We continued on.
In the snow capped mountains, when the wind howled and pushed us back, I held on to my companion trying to push them forward. Even as we staggered towards the summit, I assured them I was there. The weak calls became smaller and smaller. Until I could no longer tell them anything. And we collapsed. I thought this was to be the tragic end.
But lo! We were awakened! I called out in joy and received chirps in turn. We flew around the mountain skies keeping each other aloft. Until we finally walked through the light, close. Touching. Hand in hand.
I really felt the beauty of this game on the second play through. And it started in the middle of the game. Upon reaching the stage that is underground with the scarf eating beasts, I happened to spot a white robed figure in the beginning of the chapter, perched on top of the columned structure. I paused, and flew up to him/her. With them as my guide they helped me find the glyphs and symbols I would have passed.
The white robed figure was very helpful; chirping and leading, as I followed like a chick. I panicked at the end of the stage, when they began to sing rapidly and down they went, sliding confidently down the middle as the beasts honed on him/her. I surely thought they would have been snatched up as the spotlights turned red.
We made it though! The wall of light shielded us. It was an intense few seconds for me.
The final chapter is undoubtedly more poignant with a companion. We often walked side by side singing even when we became so soft and weak sounding. One of the beasts caught us, grabbing us in its teeth, and gone was a piece of our scarves. I ran to their side chirping, but was reassured and off we went again huddling against the strong winds that at one point knocked me off the building. My companion came for me, and we continued again, to reach the final leg. Our robes became more frozen, as we moved achingly slow, singing, and then we collapsed.
The next part brought elation as I was revived soaring toward the end. The music as alive as we were. I admit I got a little teary eyed, as we walked side by side, silhouettes, the only figures in the world. Beautiful.
Each chapter of the game brought many emotions from me. Starting with wonder and curiosity then awe and joy as I was sliding through sand jumping and singing. Then uncertainty when the sky and mountain were gone from my view. And that end; so alive after the frozen landscape.
Thank you other traveler for your help. It was a beautiful journey of music, colors, and emotions.
I have done many Journeys now, with at least 25+ under my belt. I am completely white in all of them now, and I try very hard to join a game with a new player or a person on their second run. I help every single one of my companions find all the glowing symbols so their scarf grows long and beautiful as well as all the glyphs and the Flower and Flow items.
I try to be a guide and offer the best experience I can to them. I don’t do any of the puzzles as I let them figure it out unless they’re having a lot of trouble. This sense of companionship and bonds that are created through this game bring an untainted happiness to me that has never happened before. I love this game and I have loved all my companions in a way..
There was one companion of mine however, that I love the most. And I don’t even know who he/or she is.
We started at the bridges and made our way up to the mountain..
At the end of our Journey, when the leviathan, as I like to call them, is patrolling within all the snow, a careless mistake of mine led to the demise of of my companions scarf.. I thought I knew better. I thought we were going to make it unscathed, together.
A huge gust of wind blew us both away back and right into the light of the beast.
The spotlight focused on him. My heart sank. I knew what was about to happen. I pushed myself against the oncoming wind and tried to fly into the light so it would focus on me instead and take my scarf away.. But I was too late.
His scarf was forcefully ripped from him and I ran to his body that was tossed far away into the snow.. I chimed repeatedly, saying in my head, “I’m so sorry, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I’m so sorry.. Please forgive me.”
I had never experienced that level of sadness on a video game before, nor the bravery that came over me when I tried to take the blow for him now that I reflect on it.
His body disappeared into ashes and flew away with the wind. He was gone.
My heart was in pieces. I had failed. I didn’t protect him. I couldn’t finish our Journey as partners. He placed a trust in me by following me and waiting for my signal to run.
I had let him down.
I had I failed as the mentor I strived to be..
From then on, every single one of my Journeys have been in memory to that person who I never got to see their name. I was too ashamed to finish the journey on my own, I felt like it was not mine to finish. Like I didn’t deserve to fly around freely in the beautiful world towards the top of the mountain..
I vowed to protect all my companions and to never put them in harms way during the part he was attacked. I will never forget how I felt when it all happened…
To be honest I kind of bought Journey on a whim; I’d seen it at EuroGamer Expo 2011 and heard people and developers there singing it’s praises, and vowed to check it out when it neared release. I ended up caving in and buying it without much thought (or knowledge of the game) a few days after release. I’ve never played flOw or Flower.
Jumped right into my first playthrough, and encountered a few other people - I didn’t even know they were other, real players and not NPCs until I took a break about an hour in. I must of seen about 5 people, each spending about 2-10 minutes with me before fading away or getting lost. None of them seemed very interested in me at all despite my friendly chirps, and while this dissapointed me I still went on absolutely loving the scenery, gameplay and music.
When I got to the room with the water, I found another player who hopped onto the flying scarf creature and chirped excitedly at me. From there until the end, we helped eachother and got through the game, having little chirpy ‘conversations’ and waiting for eachother if one of us struggled behind a few steps. I got caught by a war machine in the blizzard heading up to the mountain and was terrified that it might of been the last I’d see of my companion; only for them to throw caution to the wind and fly straight over me, chirping worriedly and sticking close to me until we got to safety. We managed to make it to the end of the blizzard, where my heart wrenched at the sight of us growing weaker and weaker before collapsing. When I entered the final, joyous section, I couldn’t help but feel a bit lonely when I couldn’t see my partner anywhere. Still, tears were shed at the sheer emotion of the ending and credits…
I was delighted to see a list of people I’d encountered after the end, and hesitantly sent my companion a friend request over PSN. They accepted it within seconds, and instantly sent me an apology for losing track of me at the end. We’ve chatted for a bit about Journey since, and it seems I’ve infact made a few friend out of such an amazing game (experience?) after all! I look back on Journey with fond memories of the partnership I had with that one person, and look forward to my next playthrough in the coming days.
My heartfelt thanks to those who have already submitted stories to this blog. I have been deeply moved by reading your experiences, and I hope visitors and followers of this page have enjoyed the stories as well. I am still all amazement at how universally powerful this game is.
Please keep the stories coming! I will share some more moments from my own journey in the near future.
The experience I would like to share is technically not my own, but my younger sister’s.
I played through Journey a couple times on release day. I did my best to stick together with whoever I met, but things kept seeming to go awry. Regardless, I felt love for whoever made the effort to travel with me, no matter how briefly.
This evening my sister picked up the game, hardly having watched me play it, not knowing a thing about anything outside the concept. She dawdled around in the first area for some time, learning the ropes, having fun. She took to chirping as she went along very quickly, making little songs.
When she reached the broken bridge, she found someone. She chirped at them. They chirped back. They ran around, no goal in mind, discovering things and conversing. Seeing the two playing together so carefree brought a tear to my eye, so accustomed I am goal-oriented players, even in this game.
From then on I was rooting for them.
I smiled as they found new things, I struggled not to give tips and sat on the edge of my seat as they snuck past the guardians, I held my breath when her partner seemed to idle and felt my heart race when they slipped apart on the final windy path.
When the two fell to the ground in a frozen heap, and then burst into the air together, tears welled into my eyes. They called for each other, waited, propelled one another, up into the air, up to the summit, into the light.
When the credits rolled I scrambled to the screen, camera in hand, to catch her partner’s name, and we both smiled, eyes glistening with emotion.