Journey: When Games Become Art – a personal interpretation

By Darren Whitham (@dazwhitham) on 22nd July 2015

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Having just sat down and played through the excellent game Journey once again on my PS4 after it being released yesterday I can unequivocally state that the game has lost none of its charm nor magic. In fact it retains both and in great proportions. The game is an absolute joy to play and no small part of its genius is down to the open ended nature of the story that just begs the player to theorize about the purpose of the protagonists eponymous Journey. So much so that after being swept away once more in ThatGameCompany’s world and thoroughly enjoying the experience that Jenova Chen’s design combined with Austin Wintory’s stunning score deliver to the player, I could not resist putting finger to keyboard to try and capture how the playthrough made me feel, how it captivated me and how I believe the story of Journey unfolds through the eyes of the central character…

Journey – The Robed Pilgrim (a personal interpretation)

Sparks flying… a feeling of elation, soaring through the air as if my being is light itself, such… such overwhelming joy, such a perfect feeling of belonging and fulfilment… then, darkness, a feeling as if my very own completeness has left me and drifted away… followed now by the touch of sunlight upon my back, sand beneath me, all around me, those feelings, those memories, fading… what were those imprints upon my soul I felt just now?

Gone, nothing, there is only now… and me.

I do not know how I got here, don’t know what or who I am… just that… well, that I exist… I… Am…

I don’t feel right, need to get up, get up and see where I am, I can feel a pull, a feeling of incompleteness deep within my being… sadness, almost despair, I feel lost, without… purpose, yes, without purpose, that’s it. My instinct tells me there is something missing, something I need to do, this is bigger than me, bigger than who or are what I am. It’s getting stronger… the pull, an all encompassing draw to… something.

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I walk up the sandy hill next to where I awoke following my instincts and see something beautiful. A mountain, exuding light in the distance, this light feels like it is part of me, it is calling to me, it needs me as much as I need to reach it. There is no question; no doubt I must reach this place of light though I know not why. With this resolution and with this pure single purpose, I set out on my Journey.

Setting off, I feel light, easily able to run along on the warm sand beneath me. My limbs work perfectly to help me along this sandy terrain. The land is littered with many ornate stones, they trail off in all directions… What are these stones? Markers of some kind? Perhaps signifying others who have trod the same path as I? Markers of success? Or failure? Maybe the answer lies at the mountain that I long to reach.

Weaving my way through the sand and stones feels effortless as if this is what I exist for. In the near distance, I see a light atop a stone structure, it stirs me from within just as the mountain did. I head toward it.

Ascending the structure I behold a symbol etched into a stone, glowing, exuding life, it feels like it somehow reaffirms my existence and purpose. As I get closer, I see pieces of cloth, the cloth that is part of me, of my design, dancing playfully in the light of the symbol. I feel a vibrance, a oneness and affinity with this strange glowing object. Being near it makes me happy, this feels right, I need to get closer. I close in on this, this part of me – yes that’s what it is – and feel the elation as it’s energy surrounds me, the light grows until I feel almost overwhelmed and then, all is still, the light has quelled and there is no sign left of the symbol other than the warmth within my being and the fabric of my being, yes, that’s it, the fabric that surrounds me and clothes me is indeed part of me, an extension of my Self…

This fabric of my very being has changed. A short scarf has now grown from my robe a new extension of my self. The pieces of cloth surround me, dance around me, they also glow and sparkle with the same light I saw emanating from the mountain so far in the distance that draws me so surely toward it.

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The sentient tatters energise me, my scarf glows in recognition of their proximity, once more I feel a shadow of something faint, something from those lost memories from when I began to exist, a joy, a wonder, a purpose, I run forward to the edge of the structure, the cloth tatters surrounding me, energising me, lifting me and then, another new experience, I feel the energy within my scarf radiate power, lifting me up into the air and above the expanse of the sun-kissed sand and enigmatic stone markers… I… can… fly!

This is just the beginning of the game and seemed a good place to stop. Maybe this could just be the first part.

Does my interpretation echo your feelings?

2 thoughts on “Journey: When Games Become Art – a personal interpretation

  1. Pingback: Video Gamez Network | VGN | Journey: When Games Become Art – a personal interpretation

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