Journey: online gaming the way it should be

Journey, screenshot 01, SCEE/Thatgamecompany (1280x720)It’s tough to have fun playing games online. If you’re not biting your lip as your chosen video game system attempts to reconnect to a flagging game server the umpteenth time, then your frantically jabbing at the mute button to silence the shouts and squeals of the online rabble. Should you dare to play a game that requires teamwork – cooperation beyond attacking whatever crosses your path, you must brace yourself for a tsunami of miscommunication, impatience and frustration.

Journey is nothing like this. The experience of playing this imaginative PS3 title online is a complete eye-opener. Spontaneity. Altruism. Harmony. These the kind of things I heard said or written about Journey, the third game from Thatgamecompany, when it was released two years ago. And they are also emotions I felt as I traversed the land with my (then) unknown Korean companion.

There’s no chat in Journey. But even if there was, it’s unlikely we would have been able to understand each other. Instead through subtly and deliberate presses of a single ‘call’ button, which caused our cloaked figures to emit rings of light and a marine-like pinging sound, we learned to follow one and another.

We climbed ancient ruins. We surfed waves of tumbling sand. We swam with mythical creatures. And, together, we braved the cold heart of a mountain’s summit.

Some may call it, ‘just another indie art project’, but Journey promotes exactly the kind of positive feelings that more online games should strive for.

Image: SCEE/Thatgamecompany

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