Karen Lord is the author of Redemption in Indigo, a trickster chaos story that draws inspiration from a Senegalese tale; her latest book, The Best of All Possible Worlds, is waiting on my e-reader. She has a piece here about being a “writer from an Other culture”–and if it doesn’t make you question the question she’s asked by the end of the first paragraph, well, read the rest of the piece!
Monthly Archives: February 2013
I couldn’t believe it. The story I’ve been waiting on–a story that I’ve been hoarding, the second volume half unplayed (in part due to time, in part due to, um, how I got eaten by a troll)–is moving again. Red Thread Games is running a Kickstarter to produce Dreamfall Chapters, a sequel to The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey.
In the video, they note that The Longest Journey came out in 1999. I remember that I bought it and another called The Last Express at about the same time, and I was always getting the titles mixed up. I’d been enthralled by Myst‘s beauty, though never particularly good at it (in part due to how our off-brand computer didn’t actually play most of the animations–something I didn’t find out until years later). But my real love was the adventure game. I do, actually, like to point and click. I like to find objects and put them together. I abhor dead ends, strict timing with no do-overs, any sort of thing where you’re always about to vomit from the ever-shifting camera, and shooting things. So I’m a fan of things like King‘s Quest and Monkey Island and Syberia and so on.
The Longest Journey didn’t quite do it for me. It was a big leap ahead in terms of storytelling, but I sometimes felt it dragging in the many, involved conversations that the protagonist, April Ryan, had to have to move things along. When I later heard it described as “playable manga,” things made a lot more sense, and I started to think about it more as a story; Dreamfall was more movement-oriented, but, well, troll. Futuristic troll, of course.
Here’s what makes this all so memorable: story. Not just a flowchart that gets the characters from place to place, but a real, details, intricate story. I wouldn’t remember this series of games without that aspect; I’d have given up after part one, as beautiful and dreamlike and gritty as it was.
And here’s my point: Good stories are worth waiting for. They’re worth time spent in revision and polishing. They’re worth putting in a drawer and ignoring for a month so that you can come back with fresh eyes. They’re worth long hours of typing and researching and dreaming. It’s a long journey.