Screenshot from Journey, by ThatGameCompany

Two strangers Journey towards a mysterious mountain.

Oh good grief.  I just experienced Journey on the PS3 – by ThatGameCompany.  I know I was looking forward to it – they made Flower after all – but I was… well blown away is too crude a phrase.  I was deeply affected by it.

I’ll avoid spoilers as best I can, but it’s a short game (much like Flower) and you should just play it if you have the opportunity.

I wept at the end.  It wasn’t pretty.  My eyes were horrible and red, my nose streaming, and my collar wet with tears – the credits were blurry through them.  I’m not exaggerating – and if I were reading this, I’d be rolling my eyes about now – but something about ThatGameCompany and their games just goes straight to my emotions, bypassing my brain.

I began in a near-featureless desert, struggling up a sand dune to some artificial markers on the summit.  Other than the basic controls, I knew nothing.  I had no name, no story, barely a face, certainly no gender.  I had no quest, until I crested that rise and saw the glowing mountain peak beyond.  Without text, words or symbols – I knew it was my destination.  My journey had begun.

I traveled through many mysterious places, discovered enchanting things – laughing out loud with joy at some of them, and frowning in concern at others.

I met others along the way – some in passing, some in the distance, and some who joined me for a time.  We sang to the sands, sang to each other, leapt with joy and huddled in fear.  I will never know who they were.

At the end, I had a true companion – we stuck together through thick and thin, and when all seemed lost, we didn’t let each other down.  This nameless, faceless, stranger has been instrumental in the tears I’m crying right now, just remembering.  It’s the saddest, happiest, most delicate game I’ve ever played.

I’m honestly scared to play it again, because I can’t see how it could possibly compare to my first playthough.