Why Journey should win the HMV Golden Joystick Awards downloadable gong
OPM staff writer Phil Iwaniuk explains his love for thatgamecompany’s Journey, and why it deserves to win Best Downloadable game at this year’s HMV Golden Joysticks.
HMV Golden Josticks best downloadable – Journey
Let me tell you about the first time I played Journey. I’d buddied up with… someone during the first puzzle, and we made fast friends. They were patient, long-scarved, and didn’t overdo it with the whistles. When I fell behind at the hands of a giant floating terror, they came back to look for me. And when they lost their voluminous lengths of scarf to that same menace, that was some Saving Private Ryan sh*t. This total stranger was like Alyx Vance rolled in with everyone I’d played Team Fortress 2 with who wasn’t a dick. The perfect multiplayer companion in the perfect (i.e. mute) multiplayer experience. Spoilers ahead, by the way.
Then, just before the end of the game, my friend Katie called to tell me about her new tattoo. Look, I had to take the call, alright? Our Journey together was to be cut short. I wandered away into the kitchen chatting absent-mindedly, thinking of my cross-legged nomad behind the pause screen, and the poor friend I’d abandoned to cross Journey’s threshold alone.
But when I returned, fully informed of the size, duration and sensation of said tattoo, something incredible was happening. I unpaused to find that my friend had been pushing my neglectful ass through the sand for a full ten minutes. We were spitting distance from the end. I resumed control, jumped in glee and whistled like Swiss cheese in a wind tunnel. The two of us, reunited against all odds at the last minute, finished the game the way it should be finished. Someone, somewhere in the world had taken ten minutes out of their day to finish the experience they’d shared with me, and I was insanely grateful.
Look, it turns out that person wanted the trophy for finishing the game with a companion, but let’s put that heartbreaking, spirit-crushing truth aside. This was a game that made two complete strangers risk life, limb, and tedium for each other. An experience so exquisitely put together that it needed not a single line of dialogue. No weapons. No upgrade menus. Just understated visuals that somehow made sand look sexy, sublime level direction and puzzling, and a unique co-op experience. Look Journey in its ethereal little eyes, and tell it that it doesn’t deserve a Golden Joystick.
Find out more about the Golden Joystick Awards and nominations here.