Journey (1989 video game)

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Journey: The Quest Begins
Infocom Journey box art.jpg
Designer(s)Marc Blank
Artist(s)Donald Langosy
Platform(s)Amiga, Apple II, DOS, Macintosh
Genre(s)Interactive fiction
Mode(s)Single player

Journey: The Quest Begins is an interactive fiction computer game designed by Marc Blank, with illustrations by Donald Langosy, and released by Infocom in 1989.[1] Like the majority of Infocom's works, it was released simultaneously for several popular computer platforms, such as the Commodore 64, Apple II, and PC. Journey is unusual among Infocom games in that it could be played entirely via mouse or joystick, with no typing required. It was the thirty-fifth and last game released by Infocom before parent company Activision closed the Cambridge office, effectively reducing Infocom to a "label" to be applied to later games.

Journey was the only game released under the "Infocom Roleplay Chronicles" genre. It contains illustrations similar to those used in James Clavell's Shōgun and Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur.


The game package acknowledges the strong influence of Tolkien on the plot of Journey. A land reminiscent of Middle-earth has been ravaged by a mysterious, evil power. Crops, water, and the inhabitants themselves suffer from unexplainable illnesses and blights. A group of villagers ventured forth to seek the help of the reclusive wizard Astrix, but they have not been heard from in months. It is feared that few will survive the additional hardships of the coming winter, and so a second group is being dispatched. The four chosen are Bergon (a young carpenter), Praxix (a wizard), Esher (a healer), and Tag (a merchant). They leave their village behind to cross unknown lands with two goals: to discover the fate of the earlier party, and to plead Astrix for assistance. While Bergon is the leader the group, the story is told by Tag and, for the most part, seen through his eyes.[2]


The game's interface is highly unusual for Infocom. A large window at the top of the screen is divided between a graphic and text describing the current location. The bottom window is subdivided into additional sections: commands that may be performed by the party as a group, such as "Proceed" (continue along the current path), and commands for only one character in the party (the wizard Praxix might be able to "Cast" a spell). The player uses the keyboard, mouse, or joystick to select choices from these menus. This is a stark contrast to the majority of Infocom's other games, in which each command is typed in manually.

At a non-winning end of the game, the player is given the option to read "musings" by the narrator. These typically refer to points in the game where things had gone wrong and give gentle hints on ways to reach a better ending.


Infocom game packages traditionally contained feelies, or "extra" items related in some way to the game that sometimes served as copy protection. The feelies for Journey were:

  • a red fabric pouch containing a "crystal"
  • a map of the land

Critical reception[edit]

G.M. magazine described Journey's storyline as lovely, and a refreshing departure from the graphical tile-based game RPGs that were common at the time.[3] Computer Gaming World gave the game a glowing review, giving particular praise to the game's command interface, but also saying "Journey is full of delightful puzzles, superb prose, and finely honed legends."[4]


  1. ^ "Journey: The Quest Begins". My Abandonware. Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  2. ^ "Journey: The Quest Begins (1989)". MobyGames. Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  3. ^ Shambler (July 1989). "Journey review". G.M. Croftward.
  4. ^ Adams, Roe R. III (June 1989). "Long Play's Journey Into Light". Computer Gaming World. No. 60. pp. 32–33.

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