The Top “Ten” Video Games of 2012 – #2
In the silver position in our hearts, sits a curious game. A breathtakingly beautiful experience that manages to captivate, dazzle, and terrify in equal measure. A strange sojourn across the barren plains of life, in a part allegorical, part religious tale with only the companionship of a single random stranger with no obvious means of communication othe than actions. How did the team react to this microcosm of existence?
Graeme Strachan: Next in our list is game No. 2: Journey
Joseph Blythe: This should be number 1
Chris Peebles: I haven’t played it.
Alan Williamson: I bought a PS3 to play Journey. Money well spent
Dave Whitelaw: Should be number 1
Joseph Blythe: Well actually Hotline Miami should be number 1, but never mind
Andrew Travers: I haven’t played it
Chris Peebles: I bought Tokyo Jungle instead. >_>
Graeme Strachan: It’s a microcosm of life, the universe and everything in a 3 hour game
Dave Whitelaw: Do you have a PS3 Andrew?
Phil Doyle: Spellbinding in places
Si Wellings: Really liked it. I think it is the PS3’s Braid
Dave Whitelaw: Stunning as well
Andrew Travers: No I don’t
Dave Whitelaw: both visually and aurally
Joseph Blythe: Journey was properly magical
Phil Doyle: Exhilarating as well
Joseph Blythe: Aesthetically perfect
Graeme Strachan: It was an emotional exhilarating and amazing experience
Alan Williamson: I have a good story about Journey
Graeme Strachan: go for it Alan
Joseph Blythe: I have one too
Graeme Strachan: as do I!
Dave Whitelaw: we all do
Alan Williamson: I played it at a transitional time in my life. Blasted through it in a single sitting (as one must do when one Journeys). I met this girl at work, chatted to her in the bar about this game I was playing. In spite of me chatting her up by talking about videogames, we started dating. She played Journey and she loved it too! And so for me, it’s a game about relationships. It’s about learning to communicate in a way you’ve never done before
Alan Williamson: It’s also about sliding down a sand dune and riding a magic carpet. Works on many levels
Si Wellings: Of course, it is the first game to feature a scarf that didn’t look camp.
Phil Doyle: I think this game does a lot of simple things really well; like sliding down the sand banks. Barely anything to it, you go a bit quicker and the animation is a bit different. But it FEELS so good, it feels like you’re doing it yourself
Alan Williamson: Journey actually does a lot of clever things that a “hardcore gamer” wouldn’t notice. Like the way tilting the controller moves your camera- that implicitly tells people not to tilt the controller to move. It’s very well-designed. You never get lost and you don’t even get told what to do
Si Wellings: travelling over the sand dunes reminded me of playing Tribes 2
Graeme Strachan: First time I played it, I got to the caves, the first beastie terrified me & the random I played with. The second one hit him & he quit out! I didn’t know he’d left and assumed they could actually KILL YOU. I stood hidden behind that pillar gripping my dual axis and wailing in terror for ages.
Alan Williamson: hahahaha! That was a real FUUUU moment when those things appeared
Dave Whitelaw: The ending is note perfect too. It could have been contrite and preachy but it’s just perfect.
Phil Doyle: Also; the first time you meet another player. It’s great to have a friend and then they fall behind or go off somewhere and you don’t know where they are and you realise how lonely the game world is
Graeme Strachan: completely
Dave Whitelaw: Yeah, the first time you meet someone else!
Alan Williamson: It’s a religious experience that even a hardcore atheist like myself can’t scoff at
Joseph Blythe: So obviously Journey has the random pairing system, where you’ll play with several different people as the game goes on. Well one night my brother phones me, and says “hey we should play a game together”. But we worked out that we only had one “multiplayer” game, and that was Journey. We were so determined to play together that we stayed on the phone until we were sure we’d met each other in the game, then hung up and went through the adventure together. It was almost more emotional knowing it my was my brother sticking with me through the whole thing. Struggling up that mountain next to me, and when we were soaring through the sky I knew he was probably smiling as widely as I was
Graeme Strachan: That’s epic.. and nuts Joseph!
Alan Williamson: That’s a really interesting way to play it
Graeme Strachan: I actually like the multiplayer less now, as new players are almost guaranteed they’ll be playing an experienced player
Phil Doyle: Yeah, experiencing it the first time with another player was great
Graeme Strachan: I’d love an option to choose the other player now, but the first time, trying to work it out…
Phil Doyle: How do people think this compares with Flower?
Graeme Strachan: Better than flower but not as pick-up able. I play flower every few weeks
Alan Williamson: I love Flower, but Journey is something else
Graeme Strachan: I’ve played Journey 3 times
Phil Doyle: I feel that both games hit the same ‘beats’ (the exploration, the descent into darkness then the feeling of power at the end) but Journey takes it for me
Graeme Strachan: Journey is an emotional investment. Flower is a relaxation toy
Alan Williamson: I didn’t want to play it more than once, didn’t want to spoil the initial experience, but I did anyway
Joseph Blythe: Flower is about as relaxing as a game can be, but Journey hits a totally different note
Alan Williamson: The music‘s up for a Grammy, too! Well done Austin Wintory
Graeme Strachan: The music is AMAZING. In fact, our top ten has featured some incredible music
Dave Whitelaw: I found Flower quite emotional as well actually but in a bit more of an abstract way. It’s a little less ‘obvious’ than Journey
Joseph Blythe: When it kicks in as you’re surfing down the sand I couldn’t help but laugh out of sheer joy
Graeme Strachan: Yeah Flower is hopeful and beautiful. Journey is more melancholy and grim in the round
Phil Doyle: When you go sliding through the big room tunnel thing and the light is shinning through the pillars casting massive shadows? Best bit in gaming of the year for me
Graeme Strachan: The snowy mountain is (without going into story detail) one of the most grippingly harrowing levels of a game ever
Joseph Blythe: That’s the bit Phil, just incredible
Graeme Strachan: pretty much…
Joseph Blythe: Aye
Dave Whitelaw: Phil, agree.
Si Wellings: it’s notable that the indie games the ones that are invoking the most reaction this year
Joseph Blythe: As a storytelling experience Journey stands head and shoulders above almost all the competition this year, and that’s without a single word of dialogue
Alan Williamson: “Almost all” segues well into #1, if it’s what I think it is
Graeme Strachan: true
Dave Whitelaw: Yeah – that bit is just amazing.
Alan Williamson: This is the year of the indie
Phil Doyle: So it looks like the best games this year have been the ones that deliver emotions to the player
Dave Whitelaw: The way the sun shines through those pillars.
Alan Williamson: Most big retail games have been pretty formulaic
Phil Doyle: That really make you FEEL something when playing
Joseph Blythe: That was going to be one of my final thoughts overall, how many great indie games there have been this year
Graeme Strachan: dancing with the carpet beings
Phil Doyle: Speaking of which…
Graeme Strachan: so sweet and lovely
Phil Doyle: =D
Graeme Strachan: OK, so. final thoughts on Journey, any last comments?
Andrew Travers: Never played it, but it sounds like something I need to play
Mitch Alexander: easily moves you to tears of bliss.
Alan Williamson: An absolute joy from start to finish that renders all comments about what is or is not a game utterly redundant
Si Wellings: If you don’t have a ps3, find a friend who does and play it
Andrew Travers: Will do
Dave Whitelaw: Worth owning a PS3 for.
Graeme Strachan: Andrew. My house. some point
Phil Doyle: Yep. What Dave said
Graeme Strachan: bring beer
Andrew Travers: Sounds like a plan. haha
Joseph Blythe: If you were trying to sell games as a legitimate platform for storytelling and, hate to say it, but art, then show someone Journey
Graeme Strachan: yeah, I agree Joseph
Dave Whitelaw: Is it wrong that I liked that it was only 3 hours long too? As in, it didn’t outstay it’s welcome.
Graeme Strachan: No I think the length was perfect. much like flower
Dave Whitelaw: Paucity of storytelling.
Graeme Strachan: brevity, soul of wit and that
Alan Williamson: If you have to convince someone that games are art, beat them to death with a PS3 and then go play Journey
Joseph Blythe: Hahaha
Si Wellings: A short game can be as good as a long one.
After travelling through a desert and a mountain of life, the universe and everything, we’ve now reached the brink of the abyss of brilliance. Only one game remains, the Best Game of 2012 as voted by the staff of SquareGo Magazine. If you want to see what it is, then check back at 5pm tomorrow!