A candle that burns for half as long doesn't always burn twice as bright.

#1AnAuldWolfPosted 4/22/2014 6:39:15 PM
After the massive build up surrounding this game, I finally caved and bought it. Then I felt that I had to do a little bit of writing about it. It's too big for a post, so I poured the words into a pastebin for your perusal.

http://pb.lui.li/4c50a9c31a393988

Take a look if you want! Or don't if you don't want! It's entirely your prerogative. If you're very passionate about Journey as a good thing, I'd almost say that perhaps you shouldn't. I actually don't want to hurt your feelings, I just had to share mine, along with my thoughts.
#2Flipsider99Posted 4/24/2014 3:02:11 PM
So, I read through your article. I agree that Journey has problems, and it left me cold as well. But, we seem to have entirely different, almost opposite reasons for disliking it.

A lot of your article seems to be railing against the linearity of Journey, the lack of customization, lack of choices. I don't have a problem with any of those things, in fact I think they can be good things. Lack of customization almost inevitably leads to better looking characters, and Journey's character designs are awesome. The game's linearity is a problem only in so much that the linear path is boringly designed. This is usually more of a problem in open games with multiple paths... it's harder to design multiple paths to all be interesting. When you only have one path, level design should be much easier but they still couldn't manage to do much with it.

I agree though that the soundtrack is bland. That's a huge problem because presentation is critically important to "experience" games like Journey. In the end, there's not much that's "new" about Journey... games have always been about heading towards a goal. Journey takes that concept, streamlines it down to practically nothing, and presents it beautifully and with some slight religious symbolism. It's almost an anti-game, a statement: "games don't need to have gameplay. Just give people a goal and pretty scenery and they will be happy." That's a cynical outlook but it seems to fit, doesn't it?
#3Hotel_SecurityPosted 4/25/2014 2:49:35 PM
Then I felt that I had to do a little bit of writing about it.

And make sure we have to click on your stupid blog about it. You have something to say, post it here.

Take a look if you want!

I did. Another case of someone who isn’t angry at the game but annoyed at the hype over it. And then when it didn’t meet the massive hype, you decided it was bad. Had little to do with the game at all. As always, high expectations are the worst thing to have in a game. If you had low expectations, that review would be completely different. Poor run coverage as well…gotta give tactics.

So, I read

Flippy: “Oh boy! Oh boy! Another guy who kinda rips the game! I get to agree with him and rip the game myself in the form of an agreement! YAY!”

But, we seem to have entirely different, almost opposite reasons for disliking it.

Yes, his was high expectations. Yours is buyer’s remorse.

In the end, there's not much that's "new" about Journey...

Yeah! All that hype on the game being something new is wrong! Flippy knows because he’s a great game “insider” and never plays mainstream games. Just ask him!

a statement: "games don't need to have gameplay

Which, once again, is a moronic statement since this game is almost 100% “gameplay.” You don’t even know what the word means. Of course this makes perfect sense since you seemed to think the gameplay in Revengence was good and somehow believe the wooden jumping in Tomb Raider 1 is somehow better than the later games. Holy crap.

Just give people a goal and pretty scenery and they will be happy."

But not you, right Flippy? You’re so much more refined and smart and amazing and you’d NEVER be fooled like all those casual gamers are, right? You’re so smart that you weren’t “fooled” by Journey like everyone else was. Leave it to Flippy to use a game review to stroke his own ego.

That's a cynical outlook but it seems to fit, doesn't it?

Aww…is this all a part of the downfall of modern games?
#4conduitPosted 4/26/2014 8:54:37 AM
In the end, there's not much that's "new" about Journey... games have always been about heading towards a goal. Journey takes that concept, streamlines it down to practically nothing,


This is just flat out wrong tbh and in fact it misses the entire point of the game. a wise man once said "its good to have an end to journey towards, but its the journey which matters in the end", meaning its not the destination which is important but the journey itself, and what we learn and experience along the way. And this game is the perfect expression of that saying, that its not about reaching an end goal at all, its about the journey itself. I mean the clue is in the name right? its called "Journey". couldn't really be more obvious.


as for the linearity of the game, thats an interesting one, and two points can be made about it.

the first point is that the linearity in terms level progression a part of the game which fits in which the general story and theme. for instance does the player character have free will? do they have a choice? They're in the middle of nowhere they have no idea where to go or what to do and it seems pretty obvious, to me at least, that they would be unable to survive on their own and simply die in the desert, and given that the mountain is the only landmark on the horizon it seems a logical conclusion to head towards it. This behaviour is then reinforced by the visions of the mysterious white cloths who act as a guide and encourage them to keep going, seemingly informing the player that they are going in the right direction. But of course I disagree with your opinion that the level design is "boring". To me each new area has its own unique tone and feel to it, enough that the levels don't get boring. So to me the the environments are interesting enough that the level structures hardly feel linear at all.

But the second point is that regardless of the physical linearity, I do not consider Journey to be intellectually linear. That is it does not constrict the player to repetitive patterns of thought, and as long as one approaches the game with an open mind it keeps the player questioning and wondering.

As for the soundtrack, that is probably the one thing I most vehemently disagree with you on, but cannot argue much into it as its mostly a subjective issue. All I can say is that I love the Journey soundtrack, the music really makes the game for me, and its probably my favourite videogame soundtrack of all time.
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~we are a part of the process, not instigators of its progress~
#5conduitPosted 4/26/2014 9:20:53 AM
I read the TC's piece and I was not impressed at all. Not only did I completely disagree with all your metaphors and interpretaions of the story, I disagree with your social commentary and comparisons you make to the real world. I think your were entirely guilty of imposing your own ideological constructs onto the game and sadly it impaired your appreciation for the story.


So, I met the Master Aryan person. There was that. That happened. The ultimate vision of perfection. Was this where I was headed, to embrace uniformity even more, to completely lose myself to the hive? I didn't know. I did know that it was using a painfully large figurative sledgehammer to drive home the point with many pathos-laden sessions of pounding that technology is so very bad, and those who grow too much through it are fools.


What made you think that the white cloth was some "master" and "vision of perfection"? You keep refering to what you call the "Master Aryan"?? Not only does this seem a rather ill-conceived interpretation based on your own pre-determined notion, but it completely contradicts what you just said about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and being anything you want it to be. So I suppose you should have followed up with an explanation of why, in your eyes, this was a "vision of perfection"?


And similarly with your point about the technology. It seems you had a predetermined notion which biased your interpretation and thus you created what you deemd to be a 'moral lesson' regarding the evils of technology. I certainly didn't take this lesson at all, that "technology is bad" or that those who use it are "fools". This seems like a gross over-simplification, which you yourself projected onto the game. You even admit later that A thing cannot be evil by its very nature, as good and evil are notions of our own, we project these things onto them

Technology is just a tool, and the growth of that tool is an emergent phenomenon dependent on a range of multivariate factors. Was it technology that was inherently bad? Was it technology that drove the white cloths to their demise? Or was the growth and development of technology, in parallel with their own civilisational growth, just one of many characteristics of their society?


And the hubris and arrogance of science will lead to stagnation, then the downfall of all.

I suppose that's one way to look at it! One very common way to look at it, too, at that. I tend to see it from the other perspective -- that there are a lot of insightful introverts involved who're always thinking and reflecting upon these very topics, and providing a system of checks and balances. And proper ones, not god-fearing hatred of stem cell research or anything like that. After all, we've managed to stay around this long, haven't we? And look at how much we've grown in the last few decades, because of science.




...because of science? really? the last 150 years of growth of human civilisation is all down to science? wow.

and we've managed to "stay around this long" sure, but for how much longer, given the issues we face?
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~we are a part of the process, not instigators of its progress~
#6conduitPosted 4/26/2014 9:31:31 AM(edited)
There is nowhere in the game that definitely states what caused the white cloths society to die off. But I have my own views about that and the issue itself is a complex one that is not exclusive to advanced technological societies. the collapse and decline of complex civilisations is a recurring cycle and common theme throughout history.

I could go much more into the social, political, scientific points in more depth and detail, I have some interesting book recommendations I could make if the subject interests you. But for now I'll just say I was disappointed at your lack of an open-mind, and the extremely limited and narrow ideological constraints which tie you down, all of which are symptomatic of the prevailing paradigmatic orthodoxy existing in mainstream cuture. and all from a self-confessed "wistful" daydreamer and "creature of novelty". how disapointing indeed.


So I pondered this as I continued my tourism, despite how much I vehemently disagreed with the view so openly held by this experiential game.


For all your criticism of the games apparent "agenda" ...I contend that it is in fact your own projected view, and not that of the game at all.
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~we are a part of the process, not instigators of its progress~
#7Flipsider99Posted 4/26/2014 5:48:31 PM
conduit posted...
This is just flat out wrong tbh and in fact it misses the entire point of the game. a wise man once said "its good to have an end to journey towards, but its the journey which matters in the end", meaning its not the destination which is important but the journey itself, and what we learn and experience along the way. And this game is the perfect expression of that saying, that its not about reaching an end goal at all, its about the journey itself. I mean the clue is in the name right? its called "Journey". couldn't really be more obvious.


Well, I agree with you... I think that's what the developers probably intended. But like I said, the outlook I presented was a cynical outlook. It's probably not true... but even so, from a certain point of view it fits pretty well. Some people, myself included, find Journey is a very lazy game. For arguments sake, say you agreed with that... looking at it that way, you can see what I mean, right? If the journey is supposed to be what's important, then it would be ironic that seemingly not much effort went into designing that journey to be interesting, wouldn't it?

As for the soundtrack, that is probably the one thing I most vehemently disagree with you on, but cannot argue much into it as its mostly a subjective issue. All I can say is that I love the Journey soundtrack, the music really makes the game for me, and its probably my favourite videogame soundtrack of all time.


Interesting, isn't it? People can have pretty wildly different taste in music. I think that for me, melody is a key component of music, and I felt like the "songs" in Journey didn't have any melodies that caught my interest. But yes, music is very subjective. If I were to imagine that Journey had a completely different soundtrack, one which was so amazing to me that it was my favorite soundtrack of all time... then I could easily see myself loving Journey as much as you. A good soundtrack makes that much of a difference.
#8AnAuldWolf(Topic Creator)Posted 4/27/2014 1:13:52 AM
@2

"A lot of your article seems to be railing against the linearity of Journey, the lack of customization, lack of choices."

I feel that this is a misconception and it might be in error on my part as I failed to explain it properly. My issue was, from front to back, a failure to allow for expression. I feel that in an interactive art form, if you're not allowing the player any form of expressive agency, you're missing the point and what you've created is the equivalent of a short film.

So with player agency removed, I looked at Journey as a short film, and instead parsed its more obvious agenda, its angle, if you will. That angle was ultimately what you, yourself saw -- that player agency is bad, that allowing another to express themselves within a plot is an inherently corruptive process that shouldn't be permitted. Those parsing the art should parse it only as the creator in question desires it to be parsed.

Journey reminds me of bad artists who hate it when people see things in their art that they didn't actually intend. Those people aren't actually great artists, because they're missing the point of the art in question. Journey, the experience, is telling me to be a creature of no opinion, it tells me to cheer, and offer praise, and to be happy to be one of the many, to embrace herdlike thinking, to praise it for the wonder it is.

Except it's not really a wonder. It's a bunch of incredibly populist ideas dressed up as faux art, it's flim-flammery that desperately wants to be considered as art, and tries to take agency away from anyone who'd try to consider it. It's clever, but it's not art. It's art perhaps in the way that a con-man would succeed in selling a banged up car for ten times its worth, but that's more to do with proficiency than anything, playing the audience, and it relies on the audience lacking the perspicacity to stop and think about what's actually going on.

So it's not so much about linearity or player customisation, but rather that the complete absence of these things speaks volumes of how much they want to suppress the thought of the person playing Journey. Do Not Think. Experience. Enjoy. Love. Do Not Think. Do Not Comprehend. Do Not Understand. Be Enriched.

But, I'm sorry, I DO think, and I DO comprehend. It's a testament to herdthink that so many chose not to see the three primary popular tenets.

Creationism appeals to religious people, which is going to be a massive demographic. Uniformity appeals to anyone who lacks the soul-sickness to actually achieve a degree of self awareness that would permit them art and presence of their own. Neo-Luddism appeals to those who hate new things because they don't understand them, and they hate those who do with a passion, seeing both as abominations that will bring about the ruination of the world.

This leads to an obvious reaction. One of 'oh, they understand me, they agree with my opinion, and they've presented it in quite a stylistic way that I don't personally find threatening. Is this... art? Do I finally understand art? Do I get it now?'

Art by its definition should challenge you, it shouldn't lay out everything on a silver platter, as Journey did, and force you to accept it. Instead, it should allow room for subjectivity and perspective, and the tenets of the art piece should be debated over, with what it's saying meaning different things to different people. Journey is closer to propaganda than art, because propaganda is something parading as art that tries to convince people of its cleverness, to help them think like it.

I'm not talking about choices when I talk about Journey, I'm talking about the agency of expression. In interactive art, I should be allowed to explore it and challenge it, like I would be with any other kind of art. This agency of personal expression is missing, and being a self aware person, I noticed.
#9AnAuldWolf(Topic Creator)Posted 4/27/2014 1:23:07 AM
@3

"And make sure we have to click on your stupid blog about it."

You've immediately marked yourself as someone that I shouldn't take seriously. The reason for this is two-fold.

First of all, you felt the need to insult me, but your insults didn't show a whiff of effort or inclination toward wit or wisdom. I actually like being insulted, it tells me something about me, but to properly be an insult it has to be insightful, it has to say something about the person you're insulting. This is something I'm doing now, hopefully you understand, yes?

The second is that with a mere handful of words, you've betrayed your lack of observational skills. Were you to click the link again and have a bit of a goosey around the digital environs presented to you, you might (and I'm being optimistic) realise that the link leads not to a blog, but rather a humble pastebin. A place where one dumps text in an unceremonious fashion, to sit without decoration amidst a bunch of other, similar texts uploaded by many other people from many walks of life.

It's quite important to understand the difference between a blog, which is an entirely vain and personal presentation of oneself and one's life to the Internet, and a pastebin, which is none of those things. Next time, you might want to consider comprehension before speech. You are, perhaps, one of the herdthink types who considered Journey to possess a genuinely powerful and poignant message, yes?

Well, bully for you. Not everyone agrees, nor needs to. There are a lot of people who believed that The Titanic was the best movie ever, and that Pan's Labyrinth was utter trash. Now I'd disagree with that because my opinions are quite the opposite.

You need to learn how to deal with people disliking the things you just so happen to like.

So, yes, you are entirely silly person, I'll leave it at that.
#10AnAuldWolf(Topic Creator)Posted 4/27/2014 1:32:12 AM
@4

"[...] it keeps the player questioning and wondering."

Questioning what? Wondering about what?

I had the game pegged from the outset, it was the propaganda of a very closed-minded religious person, one who was quite incapable of what art should actually be. That so many lack the perception to realise this is surprising to me.

You believe it is art because you were told it is art.

Are you familiar with the concept of the Emperor's New Clothes? I'm going to assume you are, and not patronise you, because you don't deserve that. That's what thi sis. Think about it. What about this game actually constitutes art, wonder, novelty, or curiosity? What compels you to move forward?

For the average person, it's the art and a combination of things that the less well read would be unaccustomed to. I suppose that part of the wonder is the ancient civilisations, the Arabian culture, and/or that they built DMT into the world itself. I've seen all this used elsewhere, myself, many times. As such, it wasn't the creative revelation that many seemed to view it as, with some gifted people going so far as to declare it to be the new Mozart without ever actually explaining why. They were told to think that, and so they do. This is herdthink.

Herdthink is very common amongst extroverted circles. The extrovert wants to fit in with their cultural niche, so they want to agree with the popular opinion. The popular opinion is that Journey is art, but no one actually understands why or where this popular opinion began. No one questions it because it is the popular opinion, and they don't want to be the one cast out and ostracised for having the nads to actually stand up and speak honestly. Instead, they accept it, they praise it.

Yes, the clothes are beautiful!

"Hang on a minute, though," says a sole idiot, "he's not actually wearing anything!"

And that's what Journey is. Its clothes, its art, are a well-conceived scam that a great number of people have fallen for, without ever stopping to question it. In that, as I've said, it is quite clever, but it is not art. This Emperor has no clothes. This game has no art.

And if you want to contest me, and I invite you to do so, then show me precisely where these clothes are.
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