Overlooked Game Pick : The Journeyman Project

     Since this blog set a new record for hits in a day after the Fl0w and art games post, I figured I’d drive my traffic stats way back into the dumps by mentioning another obscure video game that I absolutely adore.

Ohhh the Journeyman Project series. It’s a series of three games made by Presto Studios, a company that is sadly gone now. I suppose you’d call the games adventure games, except they’re first person. I hesitate to use the term “first person adventure” because apparently Metroid Prime stole that term and claimed they invented it.

I love these games because they demonstrate to me EXACTLY how the sequels to video games should work. They’re games about time travel, which I’m already a sucker for. Video game sequels tend to be criticized if they don’t change the gameplay enough. The second entry in the aforementioned Metroid Prime series is a good example of this. The Journeyman Project series evolves beautifully with every entry, both in terms of story and gameplay.

In all the games you play as Gage Blackwood, an agent working for the “temporal security agency”. This is basically a police force that protects the integrity of time itself. The first game involves a plot to disrupt mankind’s attempt to meet peacefully with aliens and be inducted into the alien equivalent of the United Nations. A scientist sends robots with different missions to three different places in time, and Gage needs to stop them. 

This sounds like pretty typical science fiction fare. The game was quite well made, allowing for a “safe” and “violent” way to solve most of the combat puzzles. It was an above average adventure game that never got the attention it deserved.

The second game “Buried in Time” took place six months after the first game. In these six months, the pegasus time machine from the first game has been adapted into time traveling suits that people can wear. This time, Gage has been framed for tampering with history, and the whole debacle is making the alien UN thingy threaten to shut down the TSA and revoke humanity’s time travel technology. This is completely different from the first game both in how it plays and the story being told. It also gives Gage a sidekick, an AI named Arthur. 

The third game is full of twists and turns that affect how you view the plot of the previous two games, but it has a greater emphasis on history and artifacts. It also brings a new game mechanic with the chameleon suit, a time travel suit that allows Gage to look like anyone that it saves in memory. It’s great… play it.

This is how a series should evolve. The established characters and story continues and the gameplay changes slightly as well. The key is that each game introduces new technology and mechanics that is believable in the game world. Also, the core gameplay remains mostly the same, but different enough to be interesting. As you look back on the games you see an arc in the story, with each game becoming less and less about the nitty gritty of the time traveling, and more about the humans and their effect upon history and the future.

If you like adventure games, totally check out the Journeyman Project. Each game after the first is less and less puzzley, if that’ll help you. As far as I’m concerned, almost every modern game franchise has something to learn about sequels and story progression from the Journeyman Project series.


2 Responses to “Overlooked Game Pick : The Journeyman Project”

  1. 1 The Machination
    December 8, 2009 at 5:11 am

    As I was reading this I got this strange feeling of familiarity, then you mentioned the Chameleon suit and it all came back to me. I remember playing a demo of this when I was quite young, I think it came with Myst, and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I never actually got around to playing it, but after reading this I might just see if I can find a copy, thanks :).

    • 2 reddingmineshaft
      December 8, 2009 at 6:27 pm

      Cool stuff! I recommend all of them. Unfortunately, many of them only run on OS 9 if you’re using a mac. I’m not sure about windows, but you might have similar problems with backward compatibility. If you’re one of those old school adventure lovers though, you should know more than a few ways of getting it to run somehow. The first game was also remade as “pegasus prime” with newer graphics and an updated interface and whatnot.

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