Thanks once again for organizing the event! I've posted a writeup on my blog of my wonderful encounter with none other than Gilorien
, which I will also cross-post here below:
Happy 7th anniversary to our most beloved game, Journey! This was my 13th journey -- apparently I had not done one last year for the 6th anniversary, so the last time I took to the sands was all the way back in 2017 when I met raisin.
On a whim I decided to take part in the 7th anniversary event, which started at 2:30PM my time. I barely managed to get the requisite system updates and such taken care of in time, but made it to the Broken Bridge with a little bit of time to spare, this time donning my fully-embroidered white cloak. Soon after I dropped to the sands below, I encountered a fellow chirpy white cloak and proceeded to do the normal excited meeting rituals, complete with faceplants and all. The faceplanting actually is quite an easy litmus test for the experience level of the traveler, along with their general flying technique and where they choose to lead us. Old-timers will generally always easily reciprocate a faceplant with one of their own, with no trouble at all -- sometimes even going so far as to do a leaping faceplant (!). The real test, though, is where the traveler decides to go after collecting the 3 glyphs in the level -- if they go through the "headbonk" glitch entrance, or start charging a chargeboost near the sand falls, I'll know I'm definitely dealing with somebody who knows their way around.
This was certainly the case, as I would later learn that my white cloaked companion was none other than Gilorien! I somehow remembered their name way back from the TGC boards, though I can't say I remembered many details of their exploits or exactly who they were. Truth be told, Gilorien messaged me later and told me that they remembered my ID as well, which honestly quite surprised me as I was never a very active poster in that community.
We proceeded to have a wondrous journey, where Gilorien showed me all manner of things I had not seen before (and some that I had), taking me backstage in the Broken Bridge, Sunken City, and the Underground. Gilorien was a wonderful guide and companion through all of it -- very easy to follow, very comforting in the way that they made sure I was with them every step of the way. I did more tandem coasting (where you glide through the air together with no flapping at all) than ever before as well; it felt quite nice to be able to manage it so many times despite my relative lack of experience compared with a lot of the veterans of the game. We even had a nice beamdown or two, though embarrassingly it took me quite a while to get the signal for it -- for a while I thought we were just floating about out of bounds and wondered where we were supposed to go next!
In the Broken Bridge, my initial trepidation for trying to do advanced flying techniques like charge boosting (a glitch of sorts where you can accumulate flying "power" and use it to soar upwards into the sky) was quickly met with relief when I was able to chargeboost from the glyph CB spot up to the level end statue on my first try with no problems at all. I wasn't sure that was the correct destination though, and sure enough Gilorien ended up further upward, toward the sand/wind wall marking the proper level boundary. Understanding that they meant to try to go OOB (though I wasn't sure what the proper entry was at all), I went down for another CB. Charge boosting is a tricky thing to do with a partner because it involves tilting the camera at a specific angle, so it's actually really difficult to see where your companion is going if they take off before you do. Fortunately Gilorien was quite clear on the timing of the CB release and I didn't have too much trouble after another try or two. We made it out of bounds and saw some of the weird skybox stuff back there before heading to the Pink Sands.
The Pink Sands was where I feel like I really got a sense of what kind of traveling companion Gilorien was. It's hard to describe these things, of course, but we traveled to all the usual landmarks, doing quite a bit of coasting along the way (to my delight), as well as wandering and meandering about, playing with each others' scarves and such. I took a backseat for most of the Journey as I honestly don't remember where everything is anymore in a lot of the levels and definitely don't know where anything is backstage, but at some points I'm not quite sure if either of us was really leading the way at all, or whether we were just sort of moving forward by default, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
In the Sunken City rest stop area we chargeboosted up to the invisible platform and went out of bounds yet again, seeing some interesting things here and there before finally landing past the level exit in the UG spot of light that I particularly like. Unfortunately I can't quite remember a lot of the specifics (there was some swirly sand textures, some interesting background color changes, etc), but I told myself that I wouldn't worry about taking notes or photos or anything and would focus more on just enjoying the Journey and my companion for what they were was this time.
In the Underground I was getting a bit worried that our session would run a bit too long if we kept on going at its current pace, meandering about out of bounds every which way to see everything, and I knew that the UG didn't have too much exciting going on in the beginning of the level, so I decided to take the lead there for once. There was a cute moment where Gilorien peek-a-boo'd me from the other side of the cage from the glyph where the bunch of kelp/seaweed/things were, hehe.
In the next room (with the jellies) after collecting the glyph I knew we could either continue forward along the main path, or try to go OOB. From what I had remembered, going OOB was relatively easy, but I've gotten lost out there before and wasn't quite sure I was up for it. Gilorien motioned back towards the OOB route though, and I obliged, feeling that I was safe in their company.
And safe I was indeed! Throughout our entire time together I felt that Gilorien was quite a great leader in the unknown (to me, anyways) depths of the backstage areas and I never once felt that I lost them or was confused. Perhaps they did not take me anywhere particularly dangerous, or perhaps just knew how to avoid all of the danger areas, but all the same it felt quite comforting.
My best friend related Journey to social dance once, and I'm really inclined to agree. There is so much nonverbal communication, and so many different types of interactions, whether it be between two dancers/companions who are already experienced, or perhaps someone new paired with someone who already knows the ropes. I'm happy that I had enough experience with CBs and other tricks to understand pretty quickly what Gilorien was going for in multiple occasions, and I think that really made things easy.
As is often the case with guides who take me OOB in the underground, we somehow managed to mess up some of the War Machines, making them inactive and playing with them for a while. We were in the room with the first WM encounter when alas -- Gilorien dusted on me, I assumed due to a disconnect. I quickly checked Discord and the fan forums to see if they had posted anything, and then decided to hastily run through the rest of the level in hopes of meeting them at the beginning of the tower.
It worked! I saw the white cloak, recognized the familiar chirp cadence, and the playful faceplant, and I knew I had found my companion once again! We started proceeding up the tower -- I unlocked the first water level, but I think Gilorien wanted to play around without doing the further unlocks (or perhaps they had wanted to do a dry climb in the first place?), so we helped each other up a bit, until .... Gilorien dropped from the sky and....dusted once more. =( Apparently they were having issues with their router, with quite unfortunate timing for the event.
So I completed the rest of the tower without doing much special, though I think I did manage a nice CB of some sort at one point which sort of impressed myself. I had hoped to meet up with Gilorien again in the snow, but alas, I paired with a reddie, and accompanied them the rest of the way to paradise and beyond in a relatively uneventful end (aside from us getting chomped by a WM in the snow, oops!! I need to start just leading reddies over to the left side of that area...).
Gilorien and I messaged each other after our "companions meet along the way" screen and thanked each other for the wonderful company, but Gilorien also asked if we could perhaps resume our Journey from the Snow level until the end. I was happy to oblige, and we proceeded to right away go for the backstage entrance at the beginning of the snow level. Lucky for me, I'm actually familiar with this OOB entrance, and the "trick" of returning to the beginning entrance to "re-warm" your scarf, so I wasn't super confused by that part and managed to get up there just fine after a try or two. I'm actually also familiar with the other (easy) OOB entrance near the wall painting as well, which was nice.
Gilorien showed me a great many fun things in the snow level backstage, including a very interesting steep and tall "wedge" of snow in the middle of nowhere that looked quite beautiful, as well as a flying WM to play around with. When we got back into the stage proper, I took the lead and rushed over to the lantern room excitedly, my favorite place in the entire game. I don't think I really need to ask Gilorien, I'm sure my love for this room came through clearly through my actions, as this was one of the few times I took the lead, and I chirped more excitedly than ever, followed by a lingering meditation session, and than a final large shout after leaving and turning back to the room.
I write this pretty much every time I go out of bounds with a traveler, but seeing the mountain in the snow level from out of bounds is always quite something. I always get the feeling of "I wonder if I can really MAKE it this time". Every time we are out of bounds it feels like we are approaching the mountain from a different vantage (though I'm sure maybe it is just the same way and I just forgot), and it really does seem really close, almost within reach sometimes. But alas, the death march must still happen one way or another, and we dropped down into it as soon as we flew close enough.
Paradise was a really unique experience this time around. I don't think I have ever felt so =free= and happy to be in Paradise. That is because while I think Paradise is a beautiful level with amazing music and great colors and everything, it's also the level where you can travel the fastest and farthest, and therefore the easiest level in which to quickly lose track of your companion.
But for this time, I had Gilorien with me, and I trusted them to be my watchful "chaperone" of sorts through paradise -- I knew that even if I flew quickly, they had more than enough skill to keep up with me and keep track of me, as well as the patience to follow me even if I went meandering off into random places or acted like I didn't know what I was doing. And I think that let me really feel a unique sort of joy and "freedom" in the way that I played in Paradise. Here too I felt a bit less reserved to take the lead if I felt like I wanted to fly somewhere, or see something, or play with the whales, or whatever. Of course, Gilorien also showed me a number of really neat things, including a very very very epic sit-and-slide meditation drop. Wow!!! I have done a meditation slide before in Paradise, maybe it was this one too, but I certainly don't remember it being so epic. That was a lot of fun! We went OOB here too, to see some various things, meandered about and frolicked, and finally went up to the final walk to the light.
I felt that drawing a heart here would be too cliche, and felt a bit "cheap" because Gilorien was more of a special companion for me. Besides, they mentioned they had already drawn a heart for me when they were alone in paradise (
). So we zigzagged our way across the chalky sand, and I spontaneously made up a small "red light, green light" game before we approached the final walk into the light -- where Gilorien showed me you could wiggle your way into the light backwards! Haha, a fun Journey right until the very end...
What a wonderful time! I consider myself so lucky to have met you on the sands Gilorien. Thanks for a great Journey-versary :)