A screenshot of Journey, showing the player character running on a red carpet or ribbon above a desert landscape.

Journey: The Game That Made Me Forget About Reality

Journey will stick with me for the rest of my life. 

BY IBRAHIM KANDA: I will never forget the spring of 2017.  Not because leaves were returning to the trees and flowers were returning after winter, but because that was the time that I finally got my hands on Journey after years of waiting.  The game that made me completely forget about reality.

For those who have yet to play this gem, Journey is a game in which you are a traveller that has a journey to reach this mountain that shows what used to be a civilisation that has become covered with sand. Sometimes you might even meet another traveller along the way, and sometimes you might need to walk the road alone.

Why Journey Made Me Forget About Reality

Journey is essentially wordless and as a result, I didn’t understand exactly what was going on at first.  But even when I didn’t understand, I wanted to keep going – not in the hope that I would eventually understand what was going on, but because of the way that it made it feel like you, the humble player, had a PURPOSE.

But more than the drive to keep going, Journey completely absorbed me with its mesmerising visuals.  Sometimes I struggle to describe the look and feel of the game but at the same time feel like that’s the point – it is so good that you can’t even describe your time with it the way you want it to.  It is less of a game and more of an experience.

Journey gives a feeling of freedom that makes you feel like you can do what you want within its world. It takes away the burden of real-life troubles and instead draws you into its mysterious world, urging you to push on forward.  Any concerns or worries that you may have had before playing are instantly cast aside.

Journey uses its pacing, aesthetics and gameplay to create a calming experience.  It makes you feel like you should play for just a little bit longer to experience more of what it has to offer.  It provides a stress-free, unhurried, calming journey.  Learning to relax can be a key challenge in life, particularly when you may be feeling frustrated, anxious, or annoyed at the things the real-word presents us, but Journey finds a way to set everything aside from the moment that you load it up until the moment that you put the controller down.

What I Gained From Playing Journey

Aside from being just an excellent game, Journey game me the following benefits:

Fulfilment: Shen it comes to being a happy person that likes games, playing a game like Journey gave me fulfilment when I was finally about to achieve the goal of what the traveller desired most.

Sense of purpose: When playing Journey, the traveller had only one purpose, and that purpose was to reach a mountain in a far distance.  Like the player, the traveller, might not know exactly why they must go there but something in the mountain draws them forward.  I think about this sense of purpose often.  Maybe there is a purpose for everyone?

Relaxation: Journey felt relaxing. You didn’t have to be competitive or even think a lot when playing the game, you just play it. Few other games are able to achieve this.

Entering the flow state: This was the highlight of why this game pulled me out of reality.  I’ve NEVER seen such a simple but at the same time insightful game that can take you on adventures that you wish you could dive in by yourself and not come back. It made me forget about everything other than the journey ahead.

If You Haven’t Played Journey, You Should

Journey will stick with me for the rest of my life.  If you haven’t played it yet, you really should.  It is unlike anything else you will ever play.