Deciphering the Journey

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Posted 7:08pm on Wed 11 April 2012
VG_Staff
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Deciphering the Journey
Lewis Denby journeys into the rich tapestry of thatgamecompany's metaphor-filled universe. Spoilers abound, naturally.

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Posted 2:46pm on Thu 12 April 2012
pblive
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Lewis Denby journeys into the rich tapestry of thatgamecompany's metaphor-filled universe. Spoilers abound, naturally.

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An interesting read. The thought of the conception to birth thing never crossed my mind until I read that!

I just felt that it was deliberately obtuse because that was the best way to ensure the player got their own message from the game and the resulting personal impression is stronger because of it.
Posted 11:37am on Thu 3 April 2014
NPcomplete
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Lewis Denby journeys into the rich tapestry of thatgamecompany's metaphor-filled universe. Spoilers abound, naturally.

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During some time I supported the "Last Journey" theory: you start the game right after you die (you begin near a graveyard), so you are in a kind of limbo and you have to reach the mountain to "get into the light" and gain a kind of transcendent state. You find some perils in the way, as it happens in many myths concerning this subject.

However, this interpretation doesn't explain each phase of the game. So recently I moved into another theory: the game represents your whole life until dead and afterlife. This interpretation lets you give some natural meaning to all game phases.

You begin as a "baby" in a vast mysterious area. You know nothing, not even how to move, so the game has to teach you the controls. When you reach the area where you can choose the chapter (the one with several doorways), you climb a short tower representing your infant size, and next you arrive to an area where you have to "build" a bridge over a series of ascending pillars. This bridge represents growing during your childhood. Later you reach a vast desert (childhood is exploring time) and eventually you arrive to a darker area with dusty winds and scary sounds coming from two towers. So you are a teenager: everything is confusing, everything looks dirtier, and you feel fear for the first time (even though there is no real danger there). It's the last time you'll grow in your life, and it's represented by two tall towers of different sizes (you have to climb both, the second one is higher). Next you have fun surfing downhill through the sand. You are young, you live on the edge, you are strong and beautiful (the visuals of this phase are beautiful). Most of time you just have to have fun, no real responsibilities. Eventually you fall into the dark tunnel, then you are an adult. Welcome to responsibilities, welcome to duties, life is not as easy as before. There are dangers out there and you have to be careful. Later you reach a high vertical tube where your goal is reaching the top. Ascending represents pursuing your life goals (job, money, having kids, doing some useful, or whatever). When you reach them (you reach the top), the white ascendent shows you your whole life until then, welcome to your retirement. Then you start to climb the mountain. You are retired and the sightseeing is great, but you are weaker than before and slow. Eventually your body falls on the mountain (you die), and then some kind of gods raise you to heaven, paradise, limbo, or whatever, where everything is beautiful and your last goal is reaching the light. Then you become a star and you come back to starting place of your journey, where you can begin a new game (reincarnate).

Anyway, I think Jenova Chen is laughing and having a lot of fun with these discussions. :-) And Joseph Campbell is also laughing from the white light.
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