It’s undeniably enviable, change is spreading slowly across the video game industry, engulfing what was formerly considered important in the structure of the medium. It’s a steady movement to be sure, but soon enough what we presently consider fundamental and commonplace in games will drastically change with advances in technological society. Even now you can see the future of the video game industry developing and slowly taking shape. Indie games or “independent” games, are becoming more and more prevalent as time progresses forward. Due to their lack of creative limitations, gamers can easily explore new, unique, and focused experiences with these newcomers to the gaming scene. Typically most Indie titles share the commonality of being only several hours long, due to a small budget. This nature of condensed games can at times mirror our preferences in today’s busy world, attracting those gamers who perhaps are limited time wise.
For the most part, this suggestion of playing a smaller sized game is generally considered negative. However as the best Indie titles have shown, the wheels of the industry appear to be turning towards quality as opposed to quantity. With a short, simplistic and meaningful experiences also resulting in similar amounts of success.
It’s completely understandable for veteran gamers to be concerned about the future of their beloved industry, and the dynamics of the products found within. After all, games are all about enjoyable experiences are they not? Its reasonable to question how different levels of enjoyment could be with a dramatic change in gaming configuration. How can a much shorter game deliver on the same wavelengths as your favorite video games? However one such Indie title suggests there is nothing to fear about evolution in video games and only good prospects lie ahead. Thatgamecompany’s beautifully crafted title ‘Journey’ is an example all Indie games (and those of any other genre) should study closely.
Journey is a fantastic blend of simplicity and complexity, brilliant design, sounds and originality. Perhaps most impressive of all is that these positive aspects, which most games are lucky to contain full stop, are provided within mere hours of gameplay. Not only is this unheard of and admirable in its own right, but Thatgamecompany proves that great games don’t need to follow the misguided myth of plentiful hours in order to be successful in the industry.
A very appropriate title, Journey follows the seemingly simple drive of reaching the peak of a mountain. Symbolism is vivid here, as the personification of every individuals personal struggle towards an undying need is beautifully placed on display. Throughout your adventure, the mountain is always the main focal point, as you are constantly reminded of your one and only task. This mountain is all you know, and all you need to remember.
It’s this simplicity within Journey that allows you to completely immerse yourself within the stunningly detailed landscapes and swept away by original orchestrated melodies. No narrator delves you deeper into the tale and no dialogue is ever spoken, not even by your protagonist “The Wanderer”. In some games this lack of familiar compounds would leave a bad taste however in Journey it completely works, heightening your experience as your absorb the wonderful world Thatgamecompany has placed before you. Journey is an artistic marvel at its foundation, connections between backdrops and music are always present. It’s almost more of a feeling and emotional ride rather than a video game, a awe-inspiring experience following a simple goal. Indie games that obtain large amounts of attention and popularity follow this path of simplicity, and as the genre grows every year it’s an excellent formula for any future titles to follow. The task is clear and uncomplicated however the focused artistic design and deep musical fusion is as far away from simple as possible, being truley something else to behold. Sometimes saying as little as possible speaks the most volumes, and this is certainly the case here.
As far as gaming soundtracks go, I will openly admit that it takes a very special selection of melodies to amaze me, let alone for me feel the need of listening to presented tracks. Therefore it should speak for itself when I used my hard earned money to purchase the complete soundtrack for Journey. The tracks are beautifully arranged by a very talented orchestra and merge seamlessly with your Journey experiences. It’s the only gaming soundtrack in history to be nominated for a Grammy award after all! There are tones for every mood and situation you find yourself in, what your feeling during your tale and what the game effortlessly makes you feel. It simply has one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard within a video game. It’s quite astonishing to picture the amount of detail and effort that went into creating this high class of music within such a short gaming experience, especially when compared to the usual length of entries from various franchises. This level of commitment cannot help but elicit excitement for Indie games that will certainly present themselves in the future.
A common element that arises frequently when discussing Journey is the focus and dedication to it’s cause. Thatgamecompany’s cause being a emotion inducing experience through immaculate artwork and captivating ballads, rather than unnecessarily complex gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, the gameplay is certainly interesting and engaging, but what sets it apart from all other titles is its art direction and unique presence. Journey captivates its audience in a way that gamers may not expect, which I believe is key involving its allure.
Short independent games may be the future of gaming, and as far as Journey is concerned it is something certainly nothing to fear. Thatgamecompany turns the expected on its head, making all users of video games reconsider what makes up the structure of successful video games. The shift from gameplay to design, long involved stories to short direct ones, are trends we may see continue going forward. It’s impossible to be completely clear on what the future in the industry holds, however Journey makes one thing quite obvious. The myth of shorter indie titles missing vital aspects which make up video games is completely disproved, rather even it supplies classic elements of gaming on a greater level than the majority of releases do. Journey provides everything a video game should, gameplay, design, sounds, presentation, attachments and they are all open on display within Thatgamecompany’s project. With this Indie entry in the gaming world, I have nothing but hope for what the future holds.
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