I was cautiously optimistic as I prepared to play Journey for the first time. There were so many glowing reviews by game journalists that I could not discount its quality, however I wasn't completely convinced of its greatness and so approached it with hope and a slight amount of pessimism.
There have been many defining moments with video games that I've experienced in my life. The joy and wonder of discovering likes of Pac Man and Centipede in the arcade as a five-year-old. As I grew up and video games changed, my horizons opened up with the possibility for adventure in The Legend of Zelda on the NES. Super Mario Brothers, Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Doom and Half Life. Each of these represented major evolutional steps in video games. Exploration, adventure, 3D worlds, immersion, storytelling. I look back fondly on all of those experiences but in doing so realized that as the years have gone by these types of moments came with less frequency and impact. I love games such as Mario Galaxy, Red Dead Redemption and Skyrim. I can appreciate the mind-blowing quality and depth of these games but they don't stack up to the experiences of my youth with, arguably, vastly inferior games.
It only took a short time with Journey to come to the realization that I was experiencing something that I had been missing for many years. Chills ran down my spine. My pulse quickened. I was enthralled. It was not immediate but grew like a wave, building slowly and consistently until the wave broke in a crescendo that was moving and awe-inspiring that left me speechless and teary-eyed. I had not been affected like this in years and perhaps ever.
Journey is an experience that is a privilege to partake in. It evokes a range of emotions from joy and wonder to fear and heartbreak. The visuals are a sight to behold. It is simple, but not simplistic. It will make you ponder life, friendship, love, loss and triumph. Journey deserves to be experienced.
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