Journey Iconography

Journey is a contemplative video game set in distant land riddled with mystery. It was created by my favorite game developer Jenova Chen. A beautiful symbolic language haunts your imagination as the story develops. After exploring the realms by foot and flight, the symbols’ meaning becomes clear.

Largely indecipherable, the characters can be generated quite easily using computational methods.

Each symbol is a composition of four discrete icons arranged in a 2×2 grid. The icons are 3×3 pixel arrangements of only black and white. There are precisely 20 icon types. They can be rotated in random intervals of 90 degrees.

All 20 icon types

A screen capture of Journey gameplay on the PS4. The main character runs along a tapestry of symbols.

Journey is an endless source of inspiration for me. This symbolic language is one of many beautiful elements in the game. I have not calculated the total possible number of symbols possible in this generative system. My guess is about 64^4 (or 16,777,228).

Download Source Code

Programmed in Processing

By Jared S Tarbell

In Albuquerque, New Mexico

Around 7:00pm March 20, 2020, under lock-down quarantine

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