For those of you who have never heard of thatgamecompany, let me introduce you to the breath of fresh air the gaming industry desperately needs. Last year, the two biggest games were Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us. While both games are amazing and definitely deserve to be the successes that they are, GTA5 was a sequel, and The Last of Us, while original, was still too much like games I’ve played in the past.
“When Thatgamecompany designs a game, they begin by deciding on the emotions and feelings they wish to invoke in the player. This differs from the approach of most developers, who build from game mechanics or genre features. According to Santiago, the company creates emotional responses to demonstrate the wide range of possible experiences in video games, which she believes is larger than the few—excitement and fear, for example—that are typically presented.”
Flow is a game where you play as a microbe, and you go around collecting other microbes to become longer and longer. It’s basically musical Snake.
I’d heard of Flower, but didn’t see how it could be interesting. You play as the wind as you move flower pedals around. That sounds like a terrible idea for a game. Yet it was a hit on the PSN. I took it to be a sign of the sad state of the industry.
Then they have a new game, titled Journey. You actually control a character and walk across a desert to a mountain in the distance.
If these descriptions don’t enthrall you, don’t worry; it didn’t to me when I first heard of them. But I came across a three game collection of them at Walmart a few days ago for $8 and decided to give it a try.
Flow, I’m sad to say, it just awful. I immediately didn’t like it. The emotion I felt was boredom.
I moved on to Flower with very low expectations, and within five minutes I had my thoughts about the game…… CHANGED!! OMG!! Flower is an unbelievable game! The transition from Flow to Flower is to incredible, you’d think they did several games in between to get to this level of perfection. The graphics are so clear, the controls are to fluid and easy to use. I was able to turn and get exactly where I wanted to go without any trouble. It may sound corny, but the emotion it made me feel was wonder. I couldn’t help smiling while playing this game.
Then we get to Journey. This is their first game where you actually control a character in a traditional sense. And, being the company that they are, this isn’t a typical game at all. Yes, you walk to a mountain in the distance, but you also solve puzzles getting there. The game requires being online, because an anonymous companion, a real player, will join you. You see no name, and no messages are allowed during the game. The only communication between you is a musical note. With Journey. I experienced something I don’t think I ever experienced in any other game. At one point, my companion fell off the ledge we were climbing, and I…..went back for her. I knew I should have gone on because I needed to get to the mountain, but I couldn’t just leave her behind. When we met each other halfway, we both let loose a long stream of musical notes. Later when I fell, she went back for me.
Strangely, the emotion I felt from Journey was friendship. You start out the game by yourself, and when you get to the second area, that’s when you get your companion at random. The thing I noticed at the first part was how lonely it was. There was no one, and nothing. When you get the companion, you think, “Yay! I’m not alone!”. When you lose them, you don’t want to be alone again. This is a vast world . You need your companion.
The music in Flower and Journey really intensifies everything. The soundtrack is available for both games on the disc. I listen to them as much as I can.
On their website, you can see thatgamecompany is working on a new game. I am eager to play whatever they have to offer us next!