Tagged With journey


2012 was a good year to be moved by visuals in games. I'm not talking graphic fidelity, but rather aesthetics. So many games this year were visually inspired and pleasing to the eye.


We hear all the time that video games are a young medium, that they've still got so much untapped potential to wow us in unique and meaningful ways. And while it may seem like it's been just another 12 months of sequels, remakes and disappointment, there have been signs that video games are maturing. Some of those baby teeth are shaking loose.


Most video game-players have someone in their life — an uncle, a parent, a cousin, a co-worker — who just doesn't play video games. Time and again, we try to poke and prod at those people, to better understand where they're coming from and more importantly, how they view our favourite pastime/livelihood/obsession/etc.


Sound design tends to get lost when you're enjoying a video game. By that I mean it's the kind of element you don't actively notice. It makes sense: if sound design is done right it's probably best you don't notice it. It should simply be part of a seamless whole, right? Yes, I suppose. But at the same time, it is cool to recognise the folks that work hard on this underappreciated aspect of design. In this great Gamasutra article, Journey's sound designer Steve Johnson goes in depth on the different types of sounds used in the game, and how he managed to produce those sounds! Interesting stuff.


Another post where I talk about how great Journey is? Why not. The soundtrack of thatgamecompany's Journey was one of the reasons why it managed to affect so many people — it perfectly represents the 'strangeness' of the game world, and chimes in subtly at the correct precise times. Now you can buy the soundtrack on CD and thatgamecompany is taking pre-orders now.


Over at the New York Times, where you can see more and more contributions by Kotaku writers, Yahoo News deputy editor Chris Suellentrop and I just had a conversation about video games. We had been asked by the editors there about the state of gaming, about signs of financial struggles at nearly every major video game company you could name. Just about none of them seemed to be doing as well as they used to. That was the premise.


One of the most startling things about Journey is its art. The scale of the world, the familiarity of the universe contrasted with how alien it feels. Thatgamecompany is releasing an art book, which goes in depth into the processes that go into creating a universe like Journey's, and to go along with that announcement the team has released a short documentary. If you loved Journey, this is a must watch. The book will most likely also be a must buy.


Even in a banner year for great game music, Austin Wintory's living, breathing score for Journey stands apart. I've been looking forward to seeing what he's been up to — as it turns out, he's been working on the soundtrack to Horn, an upcoming game by Phosphor Games (that, yes, will be published by Zynga.)


Since the year before I got married, it's become an annual ritual, an immutable part of my life. For one week every summer, my husband's family all get together in a bunch of little apartments down by the beach, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The horde of us are about 30 strong, these days, and with the sun and sand and waves, it's the perfect chance to step away from the worries of the world. That's where I was last week.


ThatGameCompany's Journey was an immaculately constructed game; one that felt like it didn't have an ounce of fat on it. From beginning to end, not a single experience was repeated.


I've waffled on and on about how much I love Journey, so I'll spare you that, what I will tell you, though, is that the collector's edition (yep, digital games are getting collector's editions now) looks like an amazing deal and features Journey, FlOw and Flower as part of one deal. But that's not all...


Really, sales figures shouldn't bother me, and I shouldn't really be favouring one game over the other, but I have to admit — when I heard that Journey was the PSN's biggest selling game of 2012 so far, pushing Angry Birds into second place... I smiled.