Just Dance: Journalière Is Surreally Beautiful

By Nathan Grayson on July 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 am.

What indeed.

Journalière is desolate. Alien.

There is life in it, but it has no shape or sound. Movement but no intention. Nothing does, really. You play as a woman ostensibly on her way to work, but the landscape of her world looks like a mix between sun-parched Play-Dough and a sheet-white desert dreamscape. I can’t really think of another game that’s taken me to a place quite like it. It’s amorphous, stark, and unsettling, but somehow gorgeous for it. Drive from place-to-place, admire the hand-drawn/sculpted architecture, and ponder what everything means. Also, dance. Dancing is the best part.

Journalière was made as part of the month-long No Future competition, which focused on work, jobs, and the astounding number of issues that arise from the unquenchable hunger of industry. I can’t even begin to fathom what it truly means, but I read it as an exploration of the dichotomy between freedom and structure – the way we become part of some larger, shapeless corporate blob entity not because we want to, but because we ultimately have no other choice.

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS

I wandered, I watched TV, I played a quick little in-game arcade game, I gazed out into the infinite sea, and I danced. Oh yes, I danced. And once I started, everyone else joined in. I mean, why not, right? One person just had to lead the way. Show them that it wasn’t weird. Make them slip out of the bony shackles of inhibition – the fear of judgment – and just lose themselves in jutting, individual moves.

Then I went to work, and everybody melted.

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13 Comments »

  1. golem09 says:

    Suddenly I have the urge to get my gameboy camera out again.

  2. distantlurker says:

    It’s a well realised, personal introspection seen through the lens of classical surrealism – of the search for, and ultimately the price of; the female orgasm.

    Emotionally arousing, if a little hollow.

  3. KwisatzHaderach says:

    Only three TV channels?! Thanks but no thanks!

  4. Cunning Linguist says:

    Is this French art?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      No, silly. Games aren’t art.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Of course it’s an art game – the protagonist is female – FEEL THE BURN OF SATIRE.

  5. GallonOfAlan says:

    Like the graphics. Basically every game on the pre-colour Macs in the 80s looked like that.

  6. realitysconcierge says:

    That was awesome.

  7. nemolom says:

    It was!

  8. dcalogue says:

    it reminded me of the (less bleak) work of Trevor vanMeter FlyGuy

  9. The Random One says:

    So is there something you can do about the floating monster and the spiral-demanding monster other than dance at them?

    Pretty cool game. I think there was a game on the Minimalism Ludum Dare by the same person, the style is identical.

  10. Curundir says:

    This really reminds me of Moebius’s work. Just do a Google Image search on Moebius and you’ll see what I mean. Moebius is the alter ego of the late French comic artist Jean Giraud, who might be better known for his work on the styling of Aliens (the costumes), The Abyss (the spaceship) and The Fifth Element (sky cities with flying cars).

    • Cunning Linguist says:

      Sweet, Moebius is my favourite graphic artist. I have almost all of his released comics/ graphic novels. Unfortunately he died recently, a game drawn by him would have been bliss.