Video games are one of the only art forms that has rules on how you view it. Competition, action, and combat heighten excitement and can induce stress and frustration. It is nice sometimes to be able to interact with a virtual world without constant vigilance for death and failure. Jenova Chen’s Journey game offers the opportunity to explore a world designed for gentle immersion in gorgeous artwork. It allows bonds to form between strangers, making for meaningful multiplayer experiences.
You play as an intricately red robed figure who navigates the terrain on a journey to a distant mountain. The landscape from sand to snow is fraught with the ruins of a once thriving civilization. Stone slabs reveal images of the world’s history, and altars trigger cut scene visions that allow you to advance through different chapters. Power is taken from pieces of cloth allowing you to fly. The more squares of lights collected, the longer the cape becomes, and the longer you stay in the air. Journey allows you connect with one player at a time until you separate. Each character communicates through wordless chimes. If two characters are in the same vicinity, the cape can recharge itself with light.
Breathtaking visuals and elegant player designs make this game a stunning work of art. It leaves cultural and symbolic meanings open to numerous interpretations, so that everyone can get something different out of it. One of the most unique things about Journey is that there is no way to harm other players. The characters are designed to work even better together, automatically bringing out the best of human nature. It is possible to stay with a companion throughout the entire game, even flying together indefinitely. Touching interactions can result out of this, and I spent a long while exploring the world with new friends. The simple gameplay complements the gloriously cinematic score and visuals, and was indeed a journey of beauty and tender emotions.