Video Games and Goals

As some of you know, I’ve been waiting for my new visa to be processed by the UKBA, and because they have my passport while processing, I was unable to go on a three-day trip to Paris my husband booked as a belated birthday trip for me. We decided he should go on his own because it was non-refundable and would give him time to get his head down in a nice hotel and focus on some work he had to do. He’s been to Paris a lot for work, so he scoped it out for exactly what we can do when we go. Eventually.

Which only makes me more eager for the UKBA to hurry up. While he was away, I raced (see here) with some writer friends and got 4 chapters revised, but also did some fun stuff that I usually feel “too busy” with writing and job-hunting to do: I played video games.

I’ve always loved video games. My first foray into the world of computer games of any kind was at age 4 when my parents bought a TRS-80 (Radio Shack) computer that hooked up to our TV. We had graphics games as well as text adventures (Infocom was the BOMB). Then we moved up to an original B&W Apple Mac with games like Dark Castle, Gemstone Warrior, and many more Infocom games. Then on to NES, SNES, and so forth. And I loved me some time in the Aladdin’s Castle arcade at the Summit Park Mall in Niagara Falls during my elementary and middle school years. Gauntlet, Castlevania, Golden Axe, Marble Madness. Arcade games rocked. To this day when I hear the Peter Gunn theme, I think of Spy Hunter at the arcade. Oh yeah. You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. (Okay, maybe you don’t).

We recently invested in a PS3. Bit behind the times but better late than never. There were a few games specifically we wanted it for, one of which was Journey.

I’d never heard of it before, but back after my husband announced we needed to get it, I saw the soundtrack on sale on iTunes and fell in love with the music. Soothing and rousing and all by itself it takes you on a journey, so when I started playing the game on Thursday night, alone in the flat, it was like greeting an old friend, hearing the familiar music as backdrop to the beautifully-rendered landscapes.

If you’ve not played this game and get a chance, I highly recommend it. I don’t even quite know how to describe it, so watch this video instead:

You play an unnamed character who travels through changing landscapes to reach a peak far off the distance. There are no typical computer game features like endless baddies or an array of weapons. The game is short; both times I’ve played it’s only taken me about an hour and a half.

You can read all about gameplay elsewhere, but I’m here to say how surprised I was by how moved I was. I experienced that the first time I played Final Fantasy 2 on SNES, but that doesn’t even compare to this. I watched the credits roll and sat somewhere between peaceful contentment and bittersweet loneliness at the end. The best part of the game is that occasionally, you’ll be playing with another player online. You can’t communicate through words, and you don’t know who this person is, but you can help each other, follow each other, or leave each other alone. In my first game, I was helped along or followed by 3 separate players at different times, and by the end I really felt like I’d been through something unspeakable but special with them. My husband simply described it as, “not a game but an experience.”

All I can say is, thank GOD there are still people out there with creativity! I applaud the makers of this game, including Austin Wintory, the composer.

It made me feel hope and joy and sadness and all kinds of emotions; not on an overwhelming level, but just gently bubbling below the surface. It sounds simplistic to say it’s about cooperation, and that’s incorrect as well because I think you can finish the game even if you never meet another player. But it’s much more moving when you do.

The goal of the game seems to be to reach the peak that you see throughout, but at the end–and as it came so quickly–it felt more like the goal was just to experience the journey. Seriously, it seemed as simple as that. While I can say graphics and gameplay in other games is beautiful, Journey is just a beautiful experience from start to finish. It made my heart happy.

And at the risk of sounding cheesy, this brings to mind a quote my husband recently pointed out to me.

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

-Guilaume Apollinaire

We’ve both been so caught up in future stuff: when my visa will come, when we’ve decided where to settle, when we’ll get our own house, when I’ll get a job. We’re learning to remind each other and ourselves that we’re allowed to be happy right now, not just then.

And that’s all. I was going to find a clever way to work this into my update on my monthly writing goals, but nope. I’m leaving it at that. Just go play this game, if you haven’t already.

– – –

On to my September Writemotivation goals:

1. Reach 70k word mark on WIP first rough draft. Slightly worrying, I’ve not done anything on this because, as I noted before, I feel like a firecracker’s been lit under me to get MS#1 fully revised thanks to inspiration from Leigh. 
2. Revise 1st MS based on any beta feedback received. Doing pretty well.
3. Send feedback for beta reading (if not done by end of August). Not doing too well here. Currently have 3 manuscripts to read and feed back on. Apologies for slowness & thanks for understanding 😀 I will get there.
4. 1st MS x3. Hope to do this at the end of the month.
5. Revise query for WIP to include changes. Done!
6. Set aside specific time weekly to read blogs/comment/cheer! Still not making as many rounds as I’d like but trying to do a little each day. You guys are awesome!! <3

So, three weeks left in the month. How are your goals going? And if you’ve played Journey, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Share Button