The Top “Ten” Video Games of 2012 – #2

Posted on by Graeme Strachan
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!

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