Old Man’s Journey Review And Analysis (SPOILERS)

At the start of the game, the old man in question receives a letter, and travels across rural France. Through rests he takes at the end of each level, his story is told piecemeal through his memories. A budding romance with a beautiful woman quickly dissolves into a relationship on the rocks. They fight, make up, fight again, he stages grand (if unsuccessful and self-serving) romantic gestures, and they eventually have a child together. He never fully commits to his family, and one day, he leaves to sail around the world. He returns home years later and is shocked to find that his family have made their own vanishing act. Heartbroken, he moves to a coastal town to live alone. When he finally reaches his destination, we discover that his daughter sent the letter. His wife is dying, and she wants to see him one last time. She dies shortly after their reunion. By some miracle, his daughter lets him into her and her own kid’s life, and he’s able to finally have a family again.
Since this game has no dialogue, Old Man’s Journey makes use of music, symbolism, and the man’s surroundings to bolster the plot and create  strong emotional impact.

The soundtrack, and art are fantastic, and help create an optimistic, cheery mood at the start of the journey. The background, if at times messy, is filled with warm colours, and busy villages. As the player moves the landscape around people and animals peek into view, pop-up book style. Reassuring us that this will be a sweet, light-hearted game, the music and art work in concert to lull the player into a false sense of security.  The rolling hills and upbeat music begin to darken, as we learn more of the old man’s story .

Image from iosrider.com

Old Man’s Journey allows you to interact directly with this captivating art, as you shuffle around the landscape so the man can progress to the next stage. I thought this was really unique puzzle design, but I wish they’d gone even further in terms of interacting with the environment, especially for a game that draws so heavily on natural beauty.

Image from Airgaming.com

The only other issue I had with the gameplay were the two minigames where you need to clear the landscape for a speeding lorry, and train. I found it impossible to rearrange the background before the vehicles overtook me, and it became frustrating to have to stop and start so many times. I have no idea what these repetitive exercises in futility were meant to add, asides from undercutting the game’s overarching conceit. A speeding train and lorry have nothing to do with the entire point of slow, painful journey that reflects the process of reflection and accepting your past. But, as much as I nitpick, they couldn’t ruin the game for me.

By the time the man reveals that he abandoned his family, the landscape has changed from rolling hills peopled with colourful villages to desolate coastal ruins lashed with rain.

Image from NeoGamer

In the emotional climax of the game, the normal mechanics of the landscape are suspended. Usually to progress across a level, the man falls down waterfalls to reach a new area. However, the man misjudges and falls down a waterfall too large, and passes out. Progressing through an eerily quiet water level, the man reaches a grate with a large padlock, symbolising how he’s repressed painful memories and his guilt. As the padlock falls away, the man thinks back to how much he missed his family- only to return home to find their house abandoned.

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Until now, he pushed his abandonment of his family to the back of his mind, only to be forced to come to terms with his past in order to meet it in the present.

While leaving so much unsaid does draw the player in, leaving so much up in the air made the conclusion feel shallow, not bittersweet as intended. If Old Man’s Journey had elaborated on his wife, and daughter’s experiences, the emotional impact of their reunion would have been heightened. His family have certainly chosen to be estranged from him, since neither visited despite knowing his address, although this isn’t highlighted. Without the obstacle of a family that feels hesitant, and conflicted about reuniting after so long, the game’s conclusion feels undeserved and their poignant reunion falls flat.

But all in all, I thought this was a really charming game that is well worth your time. The art, and music are fantastic, and the game’s plot, while told in a simple way, tugs at all the right heart-strings. I’d give this a 7/10.

Old Man’s Journey is available on Steam, the App Store, and Google Play.

Featured image is from Steam.


October Favourites

Here’s to being another month closer to winter break!


Tracy Chevalier’s Girl With A Pearl Earring is a historic fiction novel inspired by the painting’s model. Griet is a maid trapped in the dangerous dynamics of the Vermeer family, and her complete lack of control over her life.

I also read some books about female addicts – both difficult reads in their own right. Cat Marnell’s How To Murder Your Life is a really acerbic, actually brutally honest account of how her addiction affected her life.

Roddy Doyle’s novel, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, describes Paula Spencer, an Irish woman that became addicted to alcohol as a result of her husband’s 18 year abuse spree.


Primitive Technology is one man’s attempt to make primitive huts and tools out of local mud. He actually made this mud hut with indoor heating.


Atomic Blonde was such an incredible film. Set in 1970s Berlin, Lorraine (Charline Theron, of course) is a British agent forced to team up to get hold of a list containing the true identities of agents on either side of the curtain. It is honestly the most hardcore film I’ve seen in too long, AND it features a tough, complex female lead.

Truly my dream woman.


I binged Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor this month. Kaiji is a NEET that made the fatal mistake of co-signing a massive loan. Now that the original debtor failed to pay, he’s given the opportunity to join an illegal gambling ring on the S.S. Espoir to pay his debts, and maybe earn back more. Creator Nobuyuki Fukumoto twists traditional games of chance to create tense strategy that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.


Tumanbay is a gripping audiodrama, inspired by the Ancient Egyptian Mamluk slave dynasty. Think of this as Game of Thrones but for your ears. Season 2 just wrapped, but there are still plenty of episodes to listen to on your ride home.

Featured image from The Hollywood Reporter.

This week in links: Apathetic ladies, carpets, and justice

Arist and illustrator Miranda Tacchia’s draws unimpressed, blunt women. Find more of them on her Instagram.

Transgender Thai women continue to be conscripted into army as if they were men, unless they can prove they have “gender identity disorder” as well as having sexual reassignment surgery.

Larry Mantle of AirTalk interviews Carly Mee of SurvJustice and law professor Sherry Colb about “stealthing,” its possible legal consequences, and what this could mean for victims of rape.

SurvJustice is a US-based organisation that advocates for justice for victims of sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.

Vreni’s comic at The Nib details her experience with abortion.

Adam Clark Estes profiles the Portland airport carpet that became a hipster icon.

Jen Deerinwater argues that white feminism fails Native Americans under Trump.

Beyoncé’s Lemonade: A Black American Women’s Reader

A lot of people have already written about Lemonade, Beyoncé’s groundbreaking work that highlighted the unique struggles that Black women face.

I’m not going to be one of them.

As a white woman, I am not the intended audience and will never experience the misogynoir  that Black American women content with on a daily basis. In light of this, why would my voice add anything to the conversation?

Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of articles, essays, videos, and podcasts of African American women sharing their thoughts, critiques, and reactions to Lemonade. 


Zandria F. Robinson analyses Lemonade‘s Southern gothic, historical and cultural context, as well as noting that the album

concerns itself with legitimating and creating space for a range of black women’s emotions, pushing back against the generational curse of hurt patriarchs and unrelenting state actors who refuse to stop hurting the women and girls who sacrifice the most and love them best.

Brittany Spanos shines a light on Beyoncé’s connection to rock, and the black women in its history.

Tiffanie Drayton criticizes explicit, and implicit colourism in the “Formation” music video and Beyoncés Superbowl performance, while also recognising that one woman alone “cannot represent the full complexity of the black experience. Nor should she be expected to.”

Expanding on the above, scholar Yaba Blay writes about her experiences as a New Orleanian, dark-skinned black woman, and how Beyoncé’s celebration of her creole heritage harkens to antiblackness and colourism.


bell hook’s Moving Beyond Pain takes a more critical view, stating that

No matter how hard women in relationships with patriarchal men work for change, forgive, and reconcile, men must do the work of inner and outer transformation if emotional violence against black females is to end. We see no hint of this in Lemonade. If change is not mutual then black female emotional hurt can be voiced, but the reality of men inflicting emotional pain will still continue (can we really trust the caring images of Jay Z which conclude this narrative).

DrMyrtleMean’s essay on Therecipeforecstacy.com sees Lemonade in terms of death, and mourning – but also a rebuilding and consolidation of community and family.

It is time to wake up and open your eyes to the reality ofloss. She is not just talking about her personal losses but the losses of the  African American community.  She introduces the injustices perpetrated against young Black men and references the devastation of a Black community with images of the Stadium where people sought refuge after Hurricane Katrina. (pain, images of death)

DrMyrtleMean’s note about the importance of men in Beyoncé’s healing is reminiscent of bell hook’s The Will to Change.

She also speaks to his (the Black man and Jay Z’s)  ability to facilitate her growth. He is magical again. He has the ability to heal her instead of deceive her. He can make her insecurities invisible.  They will love openly for the world to see. But the world will be absent to them. They will again make sweet love All Night long.


Seren’s (aka Sensei Aishitemasu) free-form vlog discusses her emotional response to the Lemonade film, its imagery, and reminds her audience of Beyoncé’s humanity and life portrayed through her art.

ceedotceeTV’s review sees Lemonade in terms of a cheating partner, and breaks it down by each section, and song.

Ashley Miller’s album review looks at Beyoncé’s musical development, and possible connections between Lemonade and her personal life.


The Unfriendly Black Hotties’ episode LemonSLAYED is an hour-long discussion of their favourite looks, what impacted them the most, and cultural conversations about Lemonade.

Black Girls Talking’s bonus episode on Lemonade declares a state of Beymergency.