Geek Out 

Game as Art

JOURNEY "It's taken us a long time to get to Vagina Mountain, but I think it was worth it."

JOURNEY "It's taken us a long time to get to Vagina Mountain, but I think it was worth it."

THERE IS A MOMENT, about an hour into Journey, where your character is sliding sideways through the sand-covered halls of what was once a majestic temple, crimson scarf flowing behind its head, as the setting sun peeks between gigantic columns to drench the entire scene in a shade of gold that transcends the color itself to become almost tangibly liquid.

Trust me, I know how that sounds, and I rarely wax that poetic in a game review—but when coming up with a one-word descriptor for developer thatgamecompany's latest, the only term that leaped to mind was "beautiful."

I don't mean that in a purely aesthetic sense either. There are a lot of games that look good thanks to powerful graphics engines and clever art direction, but Journey is, quite honestly, a work of art. As a result, it can't really be compared to other games. Yes, it's on the PlayStation 3, and you control the thing via the standard controller, but in every other aspect, Journey is a title to be experienced, not played.

Story-wise, Journey is simplistic: You're given no introduction to its sandy, alien world, nor any reason for why you should care for its nameless main character (a mute, supernaturally agile biped who looks like a Bedouin redux of Final Fantasy's Black Mage.) Normally this would be a huge problem, but Journey's greatest strength is its ability to tell a tale without actually using words. Through a combination of enticing aesthetics, engaging character animations, and a cast of secondary entities ranging from adorable dolphin-esque floating carpets to menacing rock dragons, Journey creates a level of emotional engagement that can only be compared to the best films, novels, and paintings.

Frankly, I don't care for the "are games art?" debate, but I do know that if the purpose of art is to move its audience emotionally, philosophically, or even spiritually, then Journey is undoubtedly art.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Comments are closed.

From the Archives

More by Earnest "Nex" Cavalli

  • Geek Out

    Grand Theft Auto V is the series' biggest, best, and most disturbing entry.
  • Geek Out

    Saints Row IV lets you be a superpowered president of the United States. Thanks, Saints Row IV!
  • Geek Out

    With Project X Zone, Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega join forces—for a game that's far less than the sum of its parts.
  • More »

Most Commented On

Top Viewed Stories

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy