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Journey

Journey stories photo
Journey stories

What's your most memorable Journey moment?


Teach your children well
Jul 23
// Jordan Devore
Journey has been out on PlayStation 4 for a couple of days. No surprises here: it's stunning. I didn't intend to beat it again so soon, but the game's seamless online co-op dug its hooks into me. I couldn't let my anonymous b...
$150 photo
$150

Celebrate Journey on PS4 with a pretty, limited run statue


$150
Jul 21
// Steven Hansen
Journey looks great on PS4. This statue does, too. But Journey on PS4 is free if you own it on PS3 ($15 otherwise), which I do, while this statue is $150, so I'm going to celebrate Journey on PS4 by maybe playing it on PS4 at some point. You are free to celebrate by buying the statue, or really whatever form of worship you prefer. Light a candle, maybe.
Journey photo
Journey

Here's what Journey looks like on PS4


It's still breathtaking
Jul 20
// Chris Carter
As part of the 2015 "PLAY" sale, Journey is going to be re-released on the PlayStation 4 tomorrow for $14.99 ($11.99 for Plus members). For the most part this is the same exact game most of you have already played, but ...
Journey photo
Journey

Journey gets all emotional on PS4 in two weeks


Free for those who own it on PS3
Jul 07
// Brett Makedonski
Journey has been a staple of everyone's PlayStation 3 indie catalog for the past three years. In a scant two weeks, it'll be that exact same fixture except on PS4. They grow up so fast. Sony and thatgamecompany have ann...
Journey photo
Journey

It's a hipsters paradise: Journey soundtrack going vinyl


Limited edition print also unveiled
Apr 21
// Robert Summa
Journey is a beautiful game. And what better way to honor that beauty than with two separately artful tributes that will soon be up for sale -- the soundtrack on two vinyl LPs and a "very limited edition" screen print by arti...
Austin Wintory photo
Austin Wintory

Journey composer Austin Wintory threatened by musician's union


Band Geeks 2
Jan 13
// Mike Cosimano
Austin Wintory -- the Grammy-nominated composer behind Journey, Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine, and The Banner Saga, among others -- has been fined by the American Federation of Musicians for "violating union rules," Varie...
PS4 photo
PS4

Nice! Cross-Buy confirmed for Journey and The Unfinished Swan on PS4


Probably wouldn't have played them, otherwise
Aug 14
// Jordan Devore
When The Unfinished Swan and Journey are ported to PS4, players who own the games on PS3 will not have to pay again to experience the new versions -- Cross-Buy support is confirmed! Someone in the PlayStation Blog comments al...
Journey PS4 photo
Journey PS4

Journey, The Unfinished Swan announced for PS4


Finally!
Aug 12
// Kyle MacGregor
After months of whispers, rumors and leaks, Journey and The Unfinished Swan are officially confirmed for PlayStation 4, thatgamecompany and Giant Sparrow revealed today. The enhanced versions are being handled by developers Tricky Pixels and Armature Studio, respectively. Journey and The Unfinished Swan Coming to PS4 [PlayStation Blog]
Journey PS4 photo
Journey PS4

Sony spills gamescom lineup, Journey for PS4, then deletes listing


Oops we didn't announce it at the right time, let's act like nobody noticed
Jul 25
// Kyle MacGregor
Sony tipped its hand today, posting a lineup of titles apparently meant for its gamescom showcase next month in Cologne, Germany. You know, before deleting it, anyway. Nothing is ever actually deleted on the Interne...
Austin Wintory photo
Austin Wintory

Journey composer facing $50,000 fine from Musicians Union


Austin Wintory is facing legal action after composing the score to The Banner Saga
Jun 09
// Alasdair Duncan
If you've played the likes of Journey, Monaco, or The Banner Saga, then you'll have heard the wonderful music composed by Austin Wintory. Unfortunately, the Grammy-nominated composer is under fire from his union, the America...
Watch this, fo' real photo
Indie Game The French Movie
This is confusing, but cool. Pixel Heart is going to be a documentary that visits a bunch of talented, global folks in videogames -- Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Rez), Robin Hunicke (Sims, Journey), Edmundo Bordeu (Zeno Clash), Mark H...

Austin Wintory: Everyone has the potential to make music

Feb 24 // Dale North
[embed]271066:52720:0[/embed] Destructoid: I really enjoyed your D.I.C.E. talk on the democratization of music making. As you said, someone could have a crappy $50 Casio keyboard and the pre-installed software on a computer and go to it and... Wintory: ...and make something that actually sounds good. Even ten years ago it was like, that's clearly amateur stuff. So I did Monaco, for example; I did a double album release. So one of the ones on there was by Laura Intravia, who worked with Video Games Live as the flute player. She would dress up as Link and do a Zelda medley for solo flute that she arranged. She is an excellent flute player. She's also a singer, and when we would do Journey for VGL she would sing "I Was Born for This." The joke was it's Laura Intravia featuring Video Games Live because she is involved on every single track and every piece they do in their setlist until recently. I connected with her, love her, and she's so wonderful. I told her I'm doing this second album with covers of Monaco.  Because she was on tour so much, she decided to get rid of her own place, and I think she moved stuff into her parents' basement because she was only not on the road for what seemed like a few weeks a year. Between shows, she went into her parents' basement, and with a laptop, using, like, FruityLoops, made the thing you hear on that album, and it's unbelievable. She sent it to me asking for production tips. I said that it just needs less reverb, and then it's perfect. I was like 'holy shit,' I couldn't believe it. [embed]271066:52722:0[/embed] It's all about knowing your tool, right? I had a friend show me a video interview with a European electronic dance artist that managed to top the charts with a single. The artist was asked to show his creative process for a magazine, but he couldn't because he had no idea what he did. That may sound terrible to some, but I think that's wonderful! The people that come from a traditional background see that and are threatened by that and I think it's a bunch of bullshit. People respond to it. What does it matter how it came to be? That's nice to hear, coming from you. Because I am one of those conservatory trained guys. [laughs] These people obviously tend to gravitate toward electronic music. But you look at someone like Danny Elfman; he writes orchestral music with the best of them and he does not have a background in that at all. I think that makes his music so incredibly rich and amazing. Even five years ago, it would have felt like a distant wish for any musician to have a chance at making music for a videogame. Now, with this lower barrier of entry, will it be that just about anyone can make music for games? Look at game jams. People can make ridiculously interesting games in 24 hours that 10 years ago they couldn't have because of the tools. Things like Unity and Garage Band speed up the process so much. I love that. So this changes game music for the better, right? It changes all music for the better. Like you said, there's a big dance hit made by a guy that has no idea what he's doing. It's not restricted to games. I think everything benefits from it, from every angle. The competition is dramatically bigger now. I'm not part of a select group of 15 guys. I'm part of all of humanity now. Every person is basically a viable composer and competitor to me until proven otherwise. All the rest of humanity has the potential to be viably up for anything I would be, and I actually really love that because that means I have to be all that I can be to stand a chance. There's no chance for complacency. There's not a certain level in your career that you'd reach where projects just kind of come and you can kind of cruise control from there. No, people respond to what's interesting, different, engaging, and exciting, and if you're not part of that, then it's really easy to just sort of go away. Malcolm Gladwell was once on The Colbert Report, talking about his book The Outliers, which was his follow-up book to Blink. On it, Colbert asked what Gladwell called himself, as he's a writer, a researcher... I can't remember exactly how he prompted him. But Malcolm described himself as being professionally curious. I thought that was fantastic. I stole that, and now on my Twitter it says that I'm professionally curious about music. What's great is that there are 500 million other people that are the same. We can inspire each other, we can drive each other, and we can just generally sort of rise the tide as one giant entity. I don't see any downside to that. [embed]271066:52723:0[/embed] On the flip side of toy keyboards and budget tools, how do you get to use a full orchestra on an indie game like The Banner Saga? Well, it's all Kickstarter! We said, hey, we'd love to do this the right way. They brought me on in the middle of the campaign, and by this point their thing was this out-of-control steamroller. I asked that they have tiers. I made a deal with Stoic and said to carve out some specific rewards where the money geared to get those is going to go solely toward the score instead of toward the general pot, which we would then have to figure out. People took to it like crazy, and we ended up with a bigger budget than I had on Journey. I mean, the deal is structured differently, so that's somewhat of a deceptive statement to make. Without getting into all the minutiae of the finances of it, the takeaway is that there are a lot more musicians on The Banner Saga than on Journey. I mean, the orchestra is the single most populous department in the whole game. Like, Stoic is three guys, and then a few additional programmers and writers came in here and there. But the orchestra was over 50 people, and I had a whole bunch of soloists as well. And percussion, and three different singers, Taylor Davis on violin... so over 60 people performing on the score. So that's the biggest thing you've done so far? I have a few things going on right now that I can't talk about, but I'm trying to think if they'll end up being more than that. There are definitely some things coming up that are more elaborate in terms of the production, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there are more players. In film, I've worked with 100-plus sized groups, and in concert music as well. But Journey was just strings, and it was a modest sized group, too. [embed]271066:52721:0[/embed] But Journey sounded so big and expensive! It was not. It was done right, and I don't feel like we cut corners. It was the first time Sony had done that for a download title. It's funny in hindsight to remember that Journey was supposed to be only a download title. It ended up going a lot further than any of us thought it would. But I remember I had to make a kind of "Braveheart" freedom speech to Sony to say to them that we've come so far and we just need this extra little bit. And look at how that turned out! Do you think they've learned from that? Yeah. I don't need to benefit from that. The produced The Unfinished Swan the same exact way immediately following. I had nothing to do with The Unfinished Swan but I think they felt empowered to go that extra mile from our experience, and it turned out beautifully. It seems like you're well-grounded in the indie side of games. Is that where you want to be? I mean, you can probably pick what you'd like to do at this point, right? No, it's all over the board. I actually prefer to be in both worlds because they are very different and similar at the same time, and the kind of cross-talk that they make within me is very stimulating and helpful to kind of stay fresh. It's funny; doing a game like Monaco, the perception is that Journey is basically triple-A. Talking to my friend, composer Gerard Marino, who worked on God of War and other big titles, in his eyes, Journey is like this little indie. Whichever camp I'm talking to, Journey belonged in the other. It was a weird middle ground in that sense. But Sony showed it the same love that they showed to The Last of Us and Uncharted. The budget was not anywhere near the size of those games, but they didn't sort of just try to sneak it out. In other words, we had the full benefit of what the name Sony brings with it. In my mind, that makes it essentially sort of a triple-A title. Monaco is like pure grass roots. I've got another game coming that's called Gorogoa that's even more starkly. It's an even smaller team than The Banner Saga, but a a beautiful, wonderful game. I'm delighted. And there's bigger stuff as well. Well, whoever you're working with is going to be well off... That's very generous. I feel very lucky to be gainfully employed in any way. Well, you got a Grammy nomination. Has that changed things for you? Obviously I would be stupid to pretend that the phone was ringing more before that than after that. But it wasn't that specifically so much as it was the general insanity of Journey. And it was every day. Especially around this time last year, every day there was another something happening, and it was blurry and ridiculous. And we had already been through a blurry ridiculousness when the game came out and it was selling so well, and the reviews were just perfect scores, one after another. So I had already had several surreal waves of like, is this actually happening? The thing that meant the most about that was as a lifelong admirer of John Williams, to be able to have a brief moment of being sort of, in the eyes of somebody, shoulder to shoulder with him. It was unreal to me. I met him when I was like sixteen years old and it made me realize I could do this. He was just this guy. I had all of his soundtracks already. When I shook his hand I thought that that was the hand that wrote Star Wars and Indiana Jones. That humanized him and made me think that I could do this. I was a profound experience for me. So to be able to circle back and actually sort of share that moment was really personal and meaningful. But I don't think it's some sort of big truth beyond that. And, also, it has a danger hiding beneath it as well. When you have someone offer you a reward nomination or you earn an award of some kind, there's a tendency to think that you are now validated as a great composer. Which means that the next time you go to write a piece of music, you'll think 'this music is great because a great composer wrote it.' And the moment you start to think that is when the end begins. So I get very weary when people try to be super effusive of that sort of praise because I don't actually believe it to be true. I generally don't think I'm a great composer. I think I'm a terrible composer, but I'm good at making sure that people don't hear 99% of what I write. [laughs] I'm a good curator.
Interview: Austin Wintory photo
Interview with Journey, The Banner Saga composer
We managed to catch up to composer Austin Wintory (Journey, The Banner Saga, Monaco) following his D.I.C.E. Summit talk on how technology has changed music making, and how this impacts videogame scores. As a fellow musician a...

Journey was composed on a $50 crappy Casio keyboard

Feb 24 // Dale North
I asked Wintory how he was able to create such expressive music with what most would consider to be a toy, and not a proper musical instrument.  "You know, it's just an input device. Ultimately, at the end of the day, if it's something that needs to be expressive, like flow, I spend a lot of time manipulating controller data. If it's something that needs to be expressive like in the manner of Journey, I'm putting microphones in front of musicians." Be sure to check out our full interview with Austin Wintory later today.
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You'd think Austin Wintory would have better tools
We recently had a chance to chat with Journey and The Banner Saga composer Austin Wintory, and as a fellow musician I took the opportunity to talk shop. Curious about which tools he uses to create music with, I asked abo...

The Last of Us photo
The Last of Us

The Last of Us leads D.I.C.E. Awards with 13 nominations


Awards to be livestreamed on February 6 at 7:30PM PT
Jan 16
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The 17th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards take place in Las Vegas from February 4 to February 7 and the nominations have been announced by The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Last year the Sony exclusive Journey was up for...
PS4 photo
PS4

Journey, Unfinished Swan might be coming to PS4 (Update)


Sony Santa Monica creative director teases potential releases
Nov 03
// Kyle MacGregor
[Update: "Lots of people asking so I'll clarify. Was nostalgic playing the PS4 versions of the games so I busted out the PS3 to replay some others," Gary said in a follow-up on Twitter, adding he believes Journ...
TGC photo
TGC

'No one is doing what we're doing,' says thatgamecompany


Co-founder is both 'proud' of and 'worried' about new game
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
In a New Yorker piece covering Journey, Flower, and Flow developer thatgamecompany, the publication got a few more tidbits out of co-founder Jenova Chen regarding the team's next game. In line with his prior comments about it...
PS All-Stars' lost stage photo
PS All-Stars' lost stage

Images of cut Gravity Rush/Journey PS All-Stars stage


What-If Machine: cool-looking alleged Gravity Rush & Journey PlayStation All-Stars stage surface
Jul 22
// Steven Hansen
Some pictures of a seemingly cut Journey cross Gravity Rush stage of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale hit the web courtesy of designer Ky Bui's website. They were quickly taken down, but the internet is all-seeing, without...
thatgamecompany photo
thatgamecompany

New thatgamecompany title will relate to a wider audience


'It's a natural evolution of everything we are doing'
Jul 01
// Jordan Devore
Ah, Journey. I thought I was a total latecomer, having picked it up during a holiday sale late last year -- but thatgamecompany's thoughtful PlayStation 3 game continues to sell well. "We made the money back last year, the...
thatgamecompany photo
thatgamecompany

thatgamecompany on post-Journey problems & the future


Company co-founder Jenova Chen dishes out some details
Jun 21
// Steven Hansen
The practically perfect Journey has received no shortage of compliments, awards and cold, hard sales. The latter, one might expect, should have ensured smooth sailing going forward at thatgamecompany, but according to thatgam...
Keita Takahashi photo
Keita Takahashi

Katamari creator goes indie, joins former Journey devs


Keita Takahashi working on game with San Francisco-based indie devs
Jun 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Kamatari creator Keita Takahashi is working a new game with Funomena, a fledgling indie studio founded earlier this year by former thatgamecompany developers. Announced at the Horizon conference in Los Angeles yesterday, the ...
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Apparently people don't like Journey cosplay


Mega64's latest gets them in trouble with the heat
May 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Mega64's latest parody sees them taking on Journey as they simply go about town looking for friendship. Sadly no one wants to be friends with a well-dressed armless creature.

Embracing failure: We're all losers and that's OK

Apr 25 // Steven Hansen
One of the singularly unique features of videogames is your ability to lose them. A movie isn't going to stop 3/5 through and ask, "Hey, smart guy, who's the bad guy?" and then shut off if you’re too dense to figure it. Or maybe you were too busy fantasizing about a quixotic life in a small, but modern apartment with your waifu, eating steak fresh from the local butcher. Books don't quiz you on the moves and tactics you've learned and ask you to write a page before carrying on. Games can do this, and it can be a wonderful thing. I was thinking back to X-COM: Enemy Unknown and how it allows you to fail spectacularly at saving the world. With all the games that task you with being the Ultimate Savior of All Things, few offer a sense of urgency or suspense. You generally know you'll save the world, even if some grind is involved. Eventually. Whenever you're good and ready. In X-COM, you can play for 20 hours, fail to prepare adequately for an alien invasion, and lose the game. Game over, man. Game over. Feel free to try harder next time, you twit. It's easy to fall into the "ain't nobody got time for that" camp, but there's something delightfully droll about the game telling you you've reached absolute failure. And something in me that makes me want to try again. After all, I knew the stakes going in, and I should've been a bad enough dude to handle them, right? There's an untapped level of tension that keeps you engaged and on your toes when the impetus to succeed is put squarely on the player. It's the same feeling that encourages people to do self-imposed permanent death runs of games. Developers don't even have to be as damning as Firaxis was with X-COM, though. It would be neat to miss a QTE and end up with a scar that follows your player for the rest of the game. Just some semblance of consequence that elevates things beyond circumstance, or more ambiguous states of failure and success beyond the "dead/not dead" binary. In Persona 4’s narrative, you -- that’s you, the player, by way of a mute, surrogate main character -- are trying to catch a criminal. It's easy to lull yourself into a state of passivity and complacency, busying yourself with the tertiary mechanics and wonderful trivial details while you wait for the story to play out and tell you what's what. If you do that, though, the only things that will get you to the best, fullest endings are either a guide or plum luck. The game assumes you're properly invested. The quest for truth and, subsequently, what truth means, seems to be the highest thematic goal of the narrative and it’s reflected on the metagame level of rewarding players with a thirst for satisfaction and an attention span to match. It’s a good thing. It encourages an attuned, critical audience. There's something to be said for a challenge, whether reflexive or mental. I'm not advocating arcane rules, difficulty spikes, or cheap mechanics aimed to preclude potential players. I don’t mean to perpetuate insularity. But death or failure in games doesn't have to be pointless, or merely a brief respawn to a previous, uncorrupted state. Imagine a pure detective game that, unlike L.A. Noire, actually requires you to do proper detective work to succeed rather than scurry you up the promotion ladder because of player nepotism. There was something arresting about playing Myst and being told, “Figure it out,” as I scrawled across notebooks record of each and every little island discovery. Why is this market so painfully underserved while companies churn out samey games. Didn’t anyone ever tell them not to go chasing waterfalls? I'm reminded of the visual novel/puzzle game 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which ended with me being stabbed in the back by an unknown assailant. It was awesome. It was infuriating. It had me yearning for another playthrough in which I do a better job of staying on my toes, unraveling its mysteries, and avoiding an empty death. What we need less of, in part, is what we’re inundated with: linear adventures in which we’re led by the nose by way of noisy, arrow-laden UI, toward inevitable, empowering success. Having actual threat and consequence to the player can make for unique experiences -- Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls come to mind as games in which you fully inhabit their worlds -- and serves as one way to heighten engagement as players explore the finely tuned digital space. It is also a means through which less stagnated design can be born as genre conventions would have to be either interestingly worked around or entirely cast off. In the case of the L.A. Noire example, a team would have to work out a viable way to make an actual detective game. Even some games in which you can’t “lose” offer a fresh alternative to the whitewashing of failure and instantaneous reversion to a comfortable, safe save state. During a particularly treacherous portion of Journey, I felt more possessive and protective of my lengthy, hard-earned scarf than I would have a lives counter ticking away and subsequently resetting me a couple of minutes. Failure is part of life. It's most of life for most of us. It also has room to be a meaningful part of a game beyond a temporary state to be overcome with the smallest amounts of added insight, skill, or chance. Giving failure meaning or consequence -- and exploring different modes of failure beyond the kill or be killed dichotomy -- is a chance to inculcate players with another experience beyond reckless abandon and lethargic play. It can add tension or engagement. If I’m just carted around on a sightseeing tour, made more voyeur than participant, my actions and attention both meaning little, it becomes easier to disengage.
Eminent fail photo
Or; Another reason why Persona 4 is still cooler than most other games
As I was knee deep in the glorious Persona 4: Golden, something curious happened. A heavy 50 hours into the game after something resembling a climax, the game ended. It was an ending that felt hollow, strangely devoid of reso...

Journey CE photo
Journey CE

Journey Collector's Edition makes its way to Europe


Europe gets some delayed love from Sony
Apr 18
// Raz Rauf
Journey was the little game that could -- the indie David that took on the triple-A blockbuster Goliaths of the gaming world...and won. It was critically acclaimed, won a plethora of awards, and perhaps most importa...
Journey photo
Journey

Journey devs cave with 'Rocket Death Match' DLC


'A whole new journey'
Apr 01
// Jordan Devore
On this fine April day, Journey developer thatgamecompany has uploaded an announcement video for a new add-on that seeks to please everyone who didn't enjoy the experimental game. Too little gameplay, you say? Not enough fig...
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Phantom Pain, Destiny, & A Total Eclipse of Battlefield 4


The Destructoid Show really needs you tonight
Mar 29
// Max Scoville
Holy moly, you guys, it's been a long week, and we had lots of news out of GDC to cover on today's Destructoid Show. For starters, EA showed off seventeen full minutes of Battlefield 4, which looks very pretty, albeit exactl...

Journey inspired by World of Warcraft, loneliness

Mar 29 // Steven Hansen
“Three minutes is a good amount of time to walk to your death” Designing this new idea from ground up, then, was a highly iterative process. While prototyping with co-op play, “Sony kept telling us the game could have great multiplayer, but it needs to have single-player.” Concepts were thrown together in 2D to explore how to deal with cooperative play, many of which failed to translate into 3D. Initially, the multiplayer could include up to four players, but play testing showed that caused pairing schisms; or, worse, three players leaving the fourth out.  Early concept art for Journey is decidedly more intricate than the final result, but much of the game’s framework was set down immediately. The issue was pacing. After the second year of development, the game was effectively done. The trailer from that milestone would closely reflect the final trailer, but the entire last third of the game needed to be reworked to provide appropriate catharsis. An entirely new set of animations was created for the last third of the game in an effort to convey its message more accurately.  Initially, Journey’s playable avatars were entirely humanoid, looking more like ninjas or as if they were students going to kendo practice. This was eventually pared down, as were much of the game’s systems. Matchmaking was removed so people wouldn't get irritated they couldn't chat with their friends. Soon after release, people would post messages to their unknown companions on the forum, apologizing for disconnects or thanking them for making the journey with them.  When he met the man who drove the first lunar rover, Chen asked him about the experience. The reply was, “On the moon there is nothing. There is no sound because there’s no air. And the earth is so small…you’re on this strange place where there’s nothing and no sound. You can’t stop but thinking ‘Why?’ ‘Why are we here?’” Journey allows you to share that pensive isolation with another, though it also works perfectly well as an offline, single-player journey. It captures the same widespread isolation and sense of existential curiosity so well.  Chen opened the talk explaining how other mediums define their genres based on the feeling a piece evokes, whereas games, in a holdover from the more simplistic past, define genres based purely on mechanical systems. He also noted how he tired of power fantasy games as he grew up, noting “if there are a variety of feelings in entertainment, it will make gaming a more healthy medium,” all of which I agree with. The larger part of the industry is heavily skewed toward escapism and power fantasy, less concerned with emotion than re-skinning the same tried and true mechanics.  Toward the end of the talk Chen puzzlingly pondered whether or not the extra year of development, which marked the second time they pushed the game back, was worth it. If you remember, the team eventually had to put up its own money to finally get Journey out. Yet, with all the (well-deserved) awards and critical acclaim, I think the answer is evident. Perhaps it was a rhetorical or perhaps it was the result of Chen’s humble, affecting personality.  Anyway, at the end I stood in applause.
Chen speaks, you listen photo
Some notes and tidbits from Jenova Chenís insightful GDC talk on Journey
thatgamecompany founder Jenova Chen delivered a talk on Journey, right on the heels of a sweep of the Game Developer’s Choice Awards the night prior. Naturally, the room was packed full, and Chen received a lovely stand...

Game of the Year et al. photo
Game of the Year et al.

Journey kills at the Game Developers Choice Awards


More than half of the awards, including Game of the Year
Mar 28
// Steven Hansen
Game of the Year, Innovation Award, Best Audio, Best Game Design, Best Visual Arts, Best Downloadable Game. That’s 6 out of 11 total awards, and the game was ineligible for two of them (and I’m still not sure why ...

BioShock Infinite and my mom don't get along

Mar 27 // Allistair Pinsof
It’s awfully strange to picture it, but that may because I never actually witness it: My mom was a gamer before I even picked up a controller. On my family’s Atari ST, she played adventure games like The Colonel’s Bequest, and many years later, Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village (DS). Currently, she games more than I do, playing Facebook games with friends and family all morning and night. Though she never took to The Sims, Tetris, and SimCity as my aunt once did (be careful what you wish for; do you really want your system taken away from you by an obsessed relative?). We all have that one game we want to show off to our parents in an ill-advised attempt to share the magic of videogames, the new media that they only hear about in terms of child murder and outdated pop culture references to Pac-Man and Mario. For me, that game was Final Fantasy IX. Yes, Final Fantasy IX. Hardly my favorite in the series but it was a very exciting release for the time, one that boasted a lush soundtrack, visuals, and a light, fantasy story that lacked the macho qualities of action games and the overbearing angst of FFVII and FFVIII. Perhaps it didn’t help that she joined me halfway through the game -- at a point where even I couldn’t follow the story -- but she didn’t have much interest, looking at it as merely cute. I thought, “If only they talked in these games!” In reality, that’d probably make the situation worse. But it’s 2013 and motherfucking BioShock Infinite is upon us -- yes, Ken Levine’s epic is permitted to fuck my mother. Yet, she had no interest in taking this skybird home. At first, she excused the awkward beats in action (waiting for a door to open, characters disappearing from a scene), but once the game presented itself as a first-person shooter instead of the adventure she suspected it may be, she lost interest.“It has taken a gruesome bloody, twisted turn … and I was just enjoying the serenity of it all,” she wrote on the laptop I gave her. The rich visuals and detailed art direction continue to carry her interests, but the gun fights continued to bore her. Yet, this is supposed to be the crossover hit that would get everyone’s Grandma to buy an Xbox 360! Ok, Levine and Irrational never said that but BioShock Infinite may be the closest we ever get to a first-person shooter that is about more than just the shooting -- yet having the shooting (and so much of it) is enough to turn away my mom. No mystery, story, or visuals can ever be enough to get away from the inherit disgust and boredom that prolonged firefights summon in her.I went into this experiment suspecting this would be the case. I’m hardly disappointed in her, the game, or Ken Levine. Most of all, I’m not disappointed in myself because I don’t need my mom to validate my gaming interests nor any other adult, especially as that desire in so many consumers has brought about an industry where every major franchise must imitate The Dark Knight in a boring attempt to be more mature and realistic. Why so serious? Because moms. Did I pick the wrong game? Of course. I can see her enjoying Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire, but I see little point in uncomfortably shoving her outside her comfort zone of Facebook games and TV. I used to judge her and put an effort into getting her into “better art,” never realizing how much of a jerk I was, especially since she never did that with me and my videogames. "I ALSO READ BOOKS MOM!!!!! TAKE THAT MOM!!!!" says the game journalist.Must we always be so self-conscious and defensive about our favorite hobby, hoping for games that present real emotion (lol Journey lol) and narrative (lol Dear Esther lol) when these things mostly just make for a dull game? We are an industry that constantly wants to appease our mothers, afraid to admit our arrested development instead of embrace it. This is a large part of why I love Japan, a country where gaming doesn’t occupy the same divide between gender and age. While people bemoan Metal Gear Rising’s eccentricities over here -- “Ugh, why can’t we have an emotional meaningful Metal Gear story, guys?” some may type on Twitter -- in Japan, they celebrate these goofy moments that throw all good logic and sense out the window. They don’t care what their moms think, or maybe their moms are just cooler than ours. Now, I got a BioShock to play. Alone, happy, and conscious-free is how I will do so.
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