It’s Not The Journey Or The Destination, Frankly It’s Both: The Journey & Arrival At An Objective


I can’t believe I forgot about this topic till recently, the last posts somewhat amusing title jogged my memory which is lucky. Whenever I bring up topics of a fun ride that ends in a way I dislike I generally meet some form of “It’s not the destination its the journey”. I could just flip that as a counter point turning it into all about the destination rather than the journey but that would be meaningless. I for one think both are pretty darn important and thought it would be fun to explore my thoughts behind that, as well as perhaps some of yours.

First there is this whole journey not the destination or the vice versa that seems to actually be a thing to my bewilderment. I don’t know about you but when I go on a journey it usually has a destination of decent importance, in fact I think a journey without a destination is just…wandering around like a headless chicken. Conversely when I set out for a destination I generally have high hopes that the journey will not be awful, sure arriving there is fun but I was in a hell of a sour mood before because the journey frankly was abysmal.

The journey and destination reflect upon one another, I am on a journey to get to the destination, without a reason to get there I’d not move from this comfy bed. If it is all about the journey I don’t want anymore to complain about a bad ending or a disappointment in the finale of anything, after all who cares what happens in the end if you enjoyed the ride. If it is all about the destination I similarly don’t wanna hear a peep about having to get to say Shangri La by dingy in the worlds worst thunderstorm, after all with it being all about the destination the means to getting there are meaningless in the big picture of things.

I recently had met a rather mild and disappointing ending to a 90 hour romp through a video game and while I very much enjoyed my time playing I feel severely wounded by this lacking ending. Perhaps it is a human impulse to see efforts come to fruition, to not throw our lives into something meaningless but rather play our part in something grander, the result being greater than the sum of its parts. All I can tell you assuredly is that I look back at all those hours spent and still feel like they are worth something, while simultaneously feeling a looming voice telling me that I spent all that effort for bugger all.

I would like to see if I can get a hold of Xenoblade Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii, the English voices put me off but word has struck my ears that there is a JP audio track, if anyone can confirm that I’d be delighted. The game is easily going to throw me 100+ hours of content without even trying and I do sincerely hope it will be worth while, both in the meat of the content and the final resolution. I don’t want to throw away hours for a goal that ends up disappointing anymore than I want to reach a worthy goal with an awful adventure I struggle to enjoy. Basic game design even posits that if your core game isn’t fun, no matter how good the rest is, epic narrative or not nobody is going to wade through the dirt to find it.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” I found this little quote when making a note of this topic & it struck me as odd. Well…..obviously, the logical perception to the destination of life is death, that’s an awful destination. Arguably I don’t think that quote even makes sense, death isn’t so much a destination as it is an inevitability so really I don’t feel like it can be called as such. Without a destination there is no journey. Life is a…..wander of the world, trying to make sense of what to do beyond the basic instinct of all living creatures on the planet. Yeah I can like with that, the purpose of life is whatever we choose it to be which then provides us a destination to arrive at, I can get behind that thought.

I think there is something to be said about the unnerving feeling of going into a big game, the equivalent perhaps of having issues with commitment. Not that I don’t want to do so, I am simply afraid of committing to something I won’t enjoy all that much. I might explore that whole mindset of being hesitant to dedicate time from the gaming view and perhaps many more that may face similar dilemmas.

Let the road to the city be full of wonder and delights, a glorious ride to a lofty goal. Let the city be reached and found to be all that we wanted and more, justifying in our hearts the effort and work we mustered to get here. I just want to see both be made into something I can write home about, I don’t ever want people to say it is okay for one or the other to be bad because it is about the opposing as some sort of end all statement. Just get it all right, as difficult as that sounds it has been achieved before. Simply prove to me it was not a stroke of luck but rather one of genius.

What do you think about this whole journey and destination jumble? Is there an excuse to be found in defaulting to either statement to defend poorly crafted endings or stories? Thanks for the read and I’ll see you around.


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  1. #1 by Matt on January 29, 2015 - 5:05 pm

    Xenoblade Chronicles is a hell of a journey with a satisfying destination!

    Both the journey and destination are important, but it all depends on the kind of game you are playing. You always know how Mario and DK platformers are going to end, so the journey in those cases is far more important.

    Meanwhile, for games like Zelda and Metroid, the destination is far more important, even if the journey is probably the most valuable of the two.

    Anyway, it all depends on what you are playing.


    • #2 by Prof.mcstevie on January 29, 2015 - 5:16 pm

      You point to Mario and DK but at least for Mario games there are tons of voices who beg for something with more substance to give us reason to play the games. Yes we go for the gameplay but you gotta admit if they boasted a really fantastic end reward for beating the game narrative wise you would be at the least optimistic & curious.

      Zelda and Metroid games are renowned for their “journey” while also having a sometimes enjoyable end to it all, only recently Zeldahas had a bit of a failing in that point. Skyward Swords end boss was patheticly easy and it sorta feels like you didn’t really accomplish something big, you just rescued Zelda is all.


    • #3 by Matt on January 29, 2015 - 5:33 pm

      I am on the camp that wants to see Mario games have very minimal plot. The exceptions are Mario RPGs, which are another story altogether; those need dialogues and script.

      As for Zelda, despite its good plot, it is true SS did not have much at the ending other than the revelation of where Ganondorf’s evil comes from. TP, WW, MM, and OOT did have some pretty satisfying endings, though.


    • #4 by Prof.mcstevie on January 30, 2015 - 1:06 pm

      I don’t mind a minimal plot, just one that makes me actually give a damn. On the surface I liked 3D Worlds plot, saving fairies after seeing them put in a bottle had an amusing air about it.

      I still remember how much I enjoyed going through Twilight Princess with Midna, her role and thus your motivation for progress was far better than conquering an evil or save Zelda, it was help out a friend in need.

      Liked by 1 person

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