We need to go on a Journey
I've loved games for as long as I can remember. Not because games allow me to do something that I possibly can't do in real life, I can read a book or watch a movie and get a similar high. For me it's always been special because I can fill in the gaps. I can take the caricature of a story that the game developer gives me and make it my own.
Think Halo, what made it special was not the infinite amount of badassery that Master Chief could perform, it was the feeling of being Master Chief that made that game so special. There was something sublimal about how that game was designed.. You were always talked to, Master Chief never spoke. Your actions spoke for him.
Uncharted took a different route, Naughty Dog was more cinematic in their approach and they nailed it. I loved Nate and Elena and Scully but they were not me. They were characters I cared about.. but they were not me.
Then I played Journey last night and I almost wept. I wasn't sad, I wasn't even too happy. I was satisfied, emotionally. Here was a game that made me care about the nameless character without saying a single word or showing any emotion. I filled in the gaps, I made up the backstory and I finished the game. It reminded me the first time I played asteroids, I imagined myself to be an astronaut one time, the next time I was Han Solo.. The game gave me all I needed, it game me and idea, I then made it my own everything I played it.
I miss that about games, I miss being given a canvas that I can paint my memories on. When I was done, I sat down and reflect on what I had just experienced.. I had lost track of time, and not in a oh this is fun so I'm going to keep doing this for hours kind of way. I lost track of time in the truest sense of the word, in a way that when my friend asked me how long it took me to beat the game, I could not honestly answer. I knew it wasn't a long game, but I couldn't say if it was an hour or if it was 3. It's that good. It made me smile because of how the game reacted to what I was doing, then it made me feel sad when things went wrong. For all the cinematic explosions COD gives me, I've always know that it was a fake made up world. When I played Journey, I wanted to believe that it was all real.. I believed it was all real. When it was over, I was satisfied.
I miss that about games.