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Just Dance: Journalière Is Surreally Beautiful

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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Nathan Grayson

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