Journey is a wonderful game for many reasons, of course, and its short length lends itself very well to this sort of return. I continued to enjoy just being in the world, I had some lovely interactions with my companions, and there’s something viscerally joyful about the experience of jumping and flying in that game. But it’s also a game that I’ve played few enough times to still be experiencing it in different ways each time I play.
Or maybe it’s that I’ve changed since the last time I played it: because while I love flying around in the game, I have a lot more appreciation for the simple act of walking than I used to. I did my first playthrough in a relatively normal fashion; for my second playthrough, though, I tried to avoid getting scarf segments (it turns out that the game will give you one little bit of scarf whether you try to get it or not), and I stayed on the ground whenever possible.
That isn’t something that I’ll necessary make a habit of in the future, but I’m glad I did it once. It felt more solitary: when other players came by, I would chirp at them a bit if they seemed like they wanted to be friendly, but I was also content to let them soar on away from me if that’s what they wanted. (Which they almost always did!) But it wasn’t solitary in a lonely way: it just turned the experience into something that was mostly about me and the environment; or about me and acceptance; or about introversion; or something. (Journey has never been the sort of game that projects a singular meaning, after all!) I didn’t stop and linger, I didn’t rush; I just kept on going.
Now I’m wondering what other experiences there are for me in the game. If I wanted a traditional gamey experience, I could finish my trophy collection. Alternatively, I could go out of my way to try to think about and stitch together the narratives that the game gives us. And I’m sure there are interactions with my companions that I could try to foster.
Who knows; I’m in no rush. I’ll come back next year; maybe I’ll try out one of those approaches, maybe the 2014 version of myself will have a new set of ideas that he wants to reflect upon with the game.
This post has not been revised since publication.