Journey and the Reinterpretation of the Game Space

Wonderful analysis of the game Journey.

The Animist

In the vast majority of video games, both contemporary and historic, the player’s relation to the game space has been one of conflict. Even the terms “level” and “quest” imply this relationship. The conventional means of progression has always been one of entering a space, whether a simply rendered 2D plane or a complex and intricate 3D environment, inhabited either by obstacles or opponents, and defeating either or both in order to reach the next space. This pattern is apparent in games ranging from Space Invaders to Portal. Almost always, these virtual environments are out to kill us, or rather our digital avatars. As Edvin Babic remarks in his essay, “most computer games can be described as… ‘man against his environment’ approaches, and the history of computer games reinterpreted as the mastery of virtual space.” Whether or not the player must actually kill virtual beings to progress to a…

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