Game Design | Day 10

This session was on 18th March, 2021

Alone and surrounded by miles of burning, sprawling desert, you soon discover the looming mountaintop is your goal. The passage will not be easy but this experience of a lifetime will help you discover who you are, what this place is, as you arrive at your purpose.

Journey is an indie adventure game co-developed by Thatgamecompany and Santa Monica Studio, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 3 in March 2012 and for the PlayStation 4 in July 2015. In Journey, the player controls a robed figure in a vast desert, traveling towards a mountain in the distance. Other players on the same journey can be discovered, and two players can meet and assist each other, but they cannot communicate via speech or text and cannot see each other’s names until after the game’s credits.

I found the minimalism of this game to be quite unique and relaxing. With ultra realistic graphics and high end mechanics being the norm in video games, this game makes you realize that games can not have those features but still make an impact. This game also had unique gameplay mechanics, in which the player sings tunes, and collects cloth pieces. The music dynamically responds to the player’s actions, building a single theme to represent the game’s emotional arc throughout the story. I think the intention of the game was to make the environment the focus in this game, which I think the game designers have achieved spectacularly.

‘Bound’, a PS4 exclusive which released in 2016, was a game in which the player controls a princess as she navigates different dangers throughout the game. The trailer had a weird vibe, with eerie shapes and colors, providing a unique visual theme. Initially I wondered how the character would dance for such a long time in the gameplay, but when the game was streamed in the later sessions, I came to know that the character used to repeat a step over and over, instead of the whole sequence of steps.

This game takes place in a lady’s mind and she was following the orders of her mother to defeat a monster. She danced with arms stretched to clear obstacles in her way. Bound is a game about an unpleasant divorce and the emotions that are a part of it. It is a game about parents who argue, children who watch those parents argue, the consequences for those arguments, and the potential emotional difficulties that such a thing can present during both childhood and adulthood. Bound ultimately seems to make a concerted effort to craft a view of humanity as conflicted and flawed, as beautiful and persevering; this is achieved through slight dialog, purposeful cut scene choreography, fleeting but still narrative scenes, and the relationship of all these elements to the mode of traversal in the gameworld.

Dinesh sir’s friend, named ‘computational_mama’ also joined us during the stream. I visited her profile, and happened to find some really interesting creative coding streams. Sir also said that she might take a guest lecture for us on how to make Discord bots.