When reading the Lowgren chapter and listening to some of the discussion in class I was reminded again of the games of Jenova Chen et al at  thatgamecompany (I know I’ve used them before but for some reason their work seems to resonate with me in relation to this class), particularly in when Lowgren talks about immersion, not necessarily the whole VR stuff but when he talks about “engaging so deeply in a task at hand that the world around it ceases to exist”. This to me resonates with the concept of flow, explored by Chen in his MFA thesis, “Flow in games” and the following ACM Viewpoint paper. The initial game prototype that accompanied the thesis can be played here and was developed further to be thatgamecompany’s first game for the Playstation Network.

Their newest game Journey (which I will admit I haven’t played, only read about and watched an interview with Chen which you can view here) seems to incorporate the quality of ambiguity, the player not knowing why they are travelling through the desert, and what they are supposed to do other than travel through the environment. There is also for me an element of the personal connectedness spoken about by Lowgren, as while playing you may come across other players who you can interact with through the “songs” of the avatar and by accompanying each other which reminded me of the Italian “drin”/”squillo” mentioned in the chapter. The diagetic nature of the connection bot allowing traditional communication but through use of the songs and actions within the game a connection with other plays can be formed.

Anyone have any thoughts?