Journey

So this weekend I was supposed to finally get around to doing hobby work. I’ve just upgraded to Lion, which means a major version upgrade of XCode, and that means that my current “learn how to code in Cocoa” project won’t compile, and that will need some in-depth analysis. (Or at least, in-depth for me, which may be cursory and obvious once you’ve had a few months’ worth of Cocoa programming under your belt.) Plus every other project I’m supposed to work on, committee I got drafted onto, and also tidying up various bits and bobs from this “day job” thing you’re supposed to care about.

Unfortunately this all got derailed because on Saturday morning I acquired two things:

  1. A Playstation 3, and
  2. Journey

Generally I’m not a gamer. I don’t have time to game, dammit, so I end up applying my usual rule of time-attention-spending to gaming as I do to any other media: could I spend the hour/two hours/afternoon doing something better? If I need to relax, I can unwind socially, and then I can also exchange thoughts with friends and get ideas for other projects. Meanwhile, I could spend that afternoon making something.

(I’m aware this makes me sound like an intimidating workaholic. The truth of the matter is that over the last four years I’ve cultivated an alarming capacity for self-guilt, which manifests itself as general low-feeling whenever I wastespend an afternoon doing something that’s not immediately creative. I’d make the world’s best Catholic if I could stand old white guys telling me what to do.)

Occasionally, I find something new in a game. Journey is one of those games. For the uninitiated, in Journey you guide a robed figure through a desert towards a mountain. Along they way, you slowly learn the story of the people who used to live in this desert, from the creation of life itself through to your own pilgrimmage. At no point does anyone speak; at no point do you see anything written down. It’s ambiguous, subtle, and wonderful.

I was planning on writing about how the game affected me, or some of the things I found wonderful about it, or my interpretation of the story, but in honesty my views on it aren’t particularly novel. If you have a Playstation 3 and like stories, it’s totally worth getting. Don’t read up about the game any more - do at least your first run to the mountain spoiler-free. Just make sure you enable multiplayer: it’s a much better journey with a companion.

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