The Longest, Longest, Longest Journey

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.

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