The Journey Effect

I’ve just enjoyed an epic weekend party with friends old and new, and I thought I’d share an awesome gaming moment that took place there.

We were all staying in a hostel for the weekend, with a number of small children who had very little to do during the day. I’d brought my PS3 for SingStar the night before, but my wife thoughtfully suggested I put Journey on in the communal lounge for the kids. No online features, sadly, but we thought it would be harmless fun for an hour or so.

5-year-old Ethan played it through start to finish in one sitting.

He struggled a bit with keeping the controller level, so I had to reframe the camera for him occasionally. And he asked me to take over briefly during the scary serpent sections, but bombarded me with questions throughout, which I tried to let him figure out for himself. In the background I heard a number of adults discussing the art style, mood and pacifism of the game appreciatively. But Ethan remained utterly engrossed, except to turn occasionally and tell me his interpretation of what was happening onscreen.

By the end of the game Ethan and the watching children were literally laughing aloud with glee as he sailed up the mountainside on the back of a cloth whale.

I felt wonderful just to have introduced him to the experience. ThatGameCompany should be very, very proud of what they created. It’s art like theirs that makes me proud to work in the industry.

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