It seems simple. Cross a desert and climb the mountain in the distance. That’s what Journey – the game, not the rock band – is all about; the trip, not the destination. A robed figure making the ascent of a lifetime, both physically and spiritually. The sun glimmers on the sand, and the wind is fierce. Since you can meet other random online players along the way, the experience is never quite the same twice. There’s no text or voice chat, so you can only communicate through your pilgrims’ humming musical notes. If you’re playing the game for the umpteenth time, you can even act as a guide for those less experienced. There may not be any words exchanged, but they’re not needed. The journey itself is everything.
Yeah, it’s a different kind of video game. As in, 2012 Game of the Year different.
So is its soundtrack, for that matter. Austin Wintory composed the music as an emotional counterpart to the gameplay; the tempo picks up as you’re racing across sand dunes, and drops into something foreboding as you explore ancient ruins. And as you’re climbing those last few inches up the mountain, you might find yourself crying a bit. As a testament to the soundtrack’s quality, it was nominated for a Grammy in 2013!
Good gaming, good music.