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When Journey was released on PS3 there was a lot of hype from the community. Journey was supposed to be gaming art, and these two words together make gamers flap and remonstrate and argue.
I was slightly more suppressed. For me art is whatever you want it to be and in that sense many games, both old and new, should be considered as art. When I plod around an art gallery looking at paintings and sculptures by people I've never heard of who express emotions I'm not likely to feel, I am usually more confused than moved.
Art has always been about asking questions of the audience as opposed to answering them, and this lies in direct contrast to what gamers are used to. Videogames give in to a strict narrative structure and conclusive, solid facts -- even this one.
Journey is a desert. You are a wanderer who travels to reach the distant mountain. You sweep and swim you towards your goal in a handful of hours occasionally paired up with a nameless other pilgrims. The breadth of its canvas is awash with gold and pink and green. Journey is a desert, but you are never lost.
Floating wistfully along on the updraft of an unseen current to the swells of a bombastic concerto while hearing the jubilant chirps and chimes of your fellow adventurer is certainly worth while; and that's really the whole point.
Journey, like Flow and Flower before it, is great value; about £10. It's not going to be a super-massive JRPG with a 60 hour long campaign and it's not gong to be able to compete with Hollywood style action games that command huge budgets. It can be read about, purchased and completed in the space of an afternoon and without leaving my house.
Art or not, games are unique in their approach and special to me.
This made the experience more personal, more intimate and ultimately something that has stayed with me. I consume art similarly, never with much trepidation and never with much expectation. I've distanced myself from traditional art because I feel to understand it I need a diploma and a few terms of night classes to even have a grasp of what I'm looking at.
This fear of missing out and not understanding art makes me flinch when I hear videogames referred to as a new art form. I understand the language of games much better than the language of art and it's a painful thought to think they might become something I don't understand, something I no longer own.
Art or not, games are unique in their approach and special to me. Resisting the urge to call Journey art is my way of protecting something I know and love from changing. Games mean something to me, in a way I hear that art means something else to other people. Art or otherwise, they are mine.
It finds a sense of serene purity that makes it essential.
Journey is as simple as it is beautiful and somewhere along the line it finds a sense of serene purity that makes it essential. Let's not wrap it up in grand claims or long words. Games are special to me because they are as accessible as they are essential. Journey reminded me I still needed them in my life.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: