Video game: Journey (PS3)

Figure in a desert with the words JOURNEY.

I’d been hearing great things about a PS3-only video game called Journey, but knew almost nothing else about it until I sat down to try it out last week. Three hours later, I’d finished the game and been profoundly affected by it.

You wake alone and surrounded by miles of burning, sprawling desert, and soon discover the looming mountaintop which is your goal.

Faced with rolling sand dunes, age-old ruins, caves and howling winds, your passage will not be an easy one. The goal is to get to the mountaintop, but the experience is discovering who you are, what this place is, and what is your purpose.

Travel and explore this ancient, mysterious world alone, or with a stranger you meet along the way. Soar above ruins and glide across sands as you discover the secrets of a forgotten civilization.

There are no weapons in Journey, no combat, no dialogue, and only minimal game controls. Everything about this game is gorgeous: the character design, the moody settings, the effortless game play, and the haunting score. The game is immersive. Turn the lights off, turn the music up, and free yourself of distractions — you’ll want to be in this world and nowhere else while you play.

I don’t want to say much more about the game because both the journey and the theme of the game surprised me. After I finished, I sat staring at the tv with the lights out, letting the music loop over and over again. The experience bordered on spiritual, and many days later, I still find myself thinking about it.

This is not a normal game. You will not kill stuff and take its loot, you will not go up levels, you will not defeat evil and transform the world. Journey, on the other hand, might be capable of transforming you.


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