I’ve loved the games that thatgamecompany has put out since I first picked up flOw. Flower completely blew my mind and I still pick it up when I’m stressed out to this day.
I was super excited to play Journey when it came out, and finished it in one sitting. I wasn’t disappointed by it by any means, I loved it, but it just…didn’t have the same impact that Flower had on me. “Oh well”, I figured. Not every game can be a masterpiece.
I found the “Journey Stories” tumblr the other day and after reading for a little while, I decided to pick the game up again. My experience with it in the last 24 hours has far surpassed my experience when I first played.
When I’d first played, I had a handful of different travel companions. I felt a pang of camaraderie with a couple, and even sadness and loneliness when I lost one of them. Back when the game first came out, everyone was just taste-testing the game. When I came back and played last night, I found that there were a lot of people in white cloaks with incredibly long scarves.
One such white-cloak took me under his wing and helped me find all the hidden items I’d missed in my first playthrough, only to sit down in the snow and disappear when we reached the final phase of the mountain. It felt like he was sitting back and saying “that’s all I can do for you. It’s up to you from here on!” I was a little saddened when they left me, but then I pressed on because, (and this is ridiculous that a game would make me think such a clichéd Act 3 staple,) “he would have wanted it that way”.
After I finished the game again, I’d earned my own white cloak, and had all the locations for hidden items fresh in my mind. I started playing again as a white cloak from the beginning, and found a new companion in the first area. I guided him to all the secrets, and waited for him when he fell behind, just like my white cloak had done for me. We communicated with little pings like everyone else in the game. By the end of the play-through, we were both happily singing rhythms back and forth to each other on our way up the mountain.
At the end of the credits I sent the player a friend request saying “Thank you for the adventure. You were a fun travel companion!”
After that I snooped his profile and realized that he lived in Japan. I assume he couldn’t understand my English text friend request, even though we were both happily communicating throughout our adventure up the mountain.
He accepted my request. And by doing so, has proven that Journey is one of the most unique game experiences I’ve ever had. I now fully appreciate what it is that Journey does well. Thank you, thatgamecompany!