Did/Do You Like Marc Blank's Journey?

Nathan did a comment about how he installed Journey on ios. As I can’t run it properly in Fabularium I was trying to run in Frotz.

If it’s the one at GitHub - ifrotz/iosfrotz: Frotz for iOS source (formerly at code.google.com/p/iphonefrotz) - and I have absolutely no idea whether or not it is - then the documentation says at the very bottom that “Frotz does not yet support games with graphics, which can be identified in the IF Archive as Z-Code version 6”.

1 Like

Ah! My mistake, carry on :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Not me. The most modern Apple device I ever used was a IIc.

In my experience, the best terp for the V6 Infocom games is SDL Frotz. I’ve used it with great results on Linux and FreeBSD. But I don’t care for Journey (or Shogun, for that matter).

1 Like

Thank you very much for the aclarations. Then it seems that the only way to play Journey properly is with windows frotz (I have played a bit and works fine) and this SDL frotz? in Mac.

There’s the option of emulating the original hardware, of course, e.g. with DOSBox. The MCGA font (when launching the game with the /dm command-line option) is a bit hard on the eyes, though:


EGA mode (/de) is easier to read, but the graphics are a bit degraded:


I assume the CGA mode (/dc) is just the EGA graphics, dithered to black and white?


Interestingly the game GUI looks a little bit different depending on what kind of computer it thinks it runs on. SDL Frotz used to always claim to be an Amiga, but that turned out to cause some minor glitches with non-Amiga versions of the game. I guess Infocom made tweaks when the games were updated for new platforms, but didn’t bother to re-test on the old ones.

You can find some details about this in Amiga isn't always the most appropriate default for Journey (#230) · Issues · David Griffith / frotz · GitLab (mild spoiler) and Color selection in Shogun crashes sfrotz (#225) · Issues · David Griffith / frotz · GitLab (no spoilers)


Thanks for the suggestion. I have installed MagicDos. Dos is my friend, I use dosbox to run many if games.
Hmmm is a very interesting stuff.

1 Like

@Jade I’d be interested to hear your podcast, do you have a link please?

Also, this might be of interest… For a brief spell Marc Blank was in the ZIL group on Facebook. I asked about Journey and there was a fair bit of conversation around it. You’ll get info direct from the horses mouth, so to speak.

1 Like

@kamineko This might be of interest. As noted in my previous post Marc B spent a few months in the ZIL group on Facebook and for a period was quite chatty. We asked him about Journey and it sparked a bit of conversation.

Also, do you have a link for your podcast?

Here’s the Facebook conversation, you’ll need to have a Facebook account and logged in and be in the group to view it.


Thanks Adam, that sounds very interesting.

The podcast has been snagged on Journey for a while, but hopefully we’ll get the episode out over the weekend. I’ve linked the host. It should also be discoverable from any of the big name platforms.


Nearly two months later, the podcast is finally out. You might say it was a journey.


Good podcast! Sounds like it was recorded a bit before I pinged you the link earlier which is a shame as it would have filled in some of the blanks, but otherwise really interesting to get your perspective on Journey!

I’m no biographer but with the power of screenshots and copy & paste I think I can answer some of the questions posed at the beginning of the podcast. Here goes!



& No worries, we’ll read this on the air next episode. Thanks for this great find.


I posted mi opinion on the podcast article, forgeting this thread was here XD. So indulge me that I copy paste it here:

I would say that the concept of Journey, aside of a banal Lord of the Rings ripp off, is very worthy. You know, a choice based game, that contains some world modeled problems, and a narrative that always go fordward… is quite innovative for digital games.

The problem arise when the need of the genre obligues the author to insert puzzles inside, and puzzles that put you in a dead man walking state of the game.

I think a similar game, with a modern design where loops of farming needed reagents (like in Elden Ring, or Dark Souls) are strategically placed; or bad endigs that are more satisfactory, like the proper ones in CYOA and gamebooks; could be a really good design and a really good game.

Of course, that is not the current case of the game.

Great program!


Yes, yes and yes, with inform 7 and glulx.

1 Like

Replying was on my to-do list for today, so I’ll just do it here!

I agree with everything you’ve said. I think it was good for Blank to challenge the assumptions of Infocom games, but ultimately he was unable to let go of parser-style puzzling and the convention of the one, true playthrough (only one satisfying ending).

Glad you enjoyed the episode! I’m glad we were able to do more than unload snark on it, though some snark was certainly deserved.

I’m over a hundred hours now and still going. What a game.


Thanks, looking forward to it! :smiley::+1:

1 Like

Here’s a question then! :slightly_smiling_face:

Can Journey be “fixed”? We’ve established that the system itself is, functionally at least, good. The problems seem to be the usual resource and “dead man walking” problems (where the player made a choice that doomed them but they don’t find out until much later in the game).

Asking because we could have a go at tweaking the code.

I haven’t managed to compile with the pictures though, so unless someone else can do that then we’d lose those in the amended version.


1 Like

I agree with Ruber. Fixing the game is possible, but it’s a design problem, not a code tweak. You’d have to add story beats to the “bad” branches which either are as interesting as the “good” outcome, or lead to more resource acquisition, or (preferably) both.

I’m thinking of Jon Ingold’s lectures on Inkle story design. He talks about letting go, not just of a “one true playthrough”, but of even knowing all the possible playthroughs! You give the player choices which set story properties, and then you make sure that at every choice point, at least one option is available. The options are based on properties (resources), but you don’t have to sit down with graph paper and figure out which ones are possible. Just throw in a bunch of interesting choices and let the audience find the paths through.

(Even if the player has failed to pick up any essences, some kind of “you bumble through barehanded” option will appear. The player doesn’t have to see it if they have better options available!)


The other option is the Hadean Lands plan: give the player an easy and frictionless way to jump back and explore the state tree. But Journey doesn’t really have the same structure as HL. You can’t move around the map freely, so you can’t turn “perform the foo ritual” into an always-available shortcut action.

I think you’d want to present a plot graph to the player. Click on any node to see a list of known choices at that point. Select a different choice and the downstream nodes change to show your updated inventory! Maybe highlight nodes where new choices are now available.

I guess this counts as a “code tweak”, but it would be hella extensive. You’d need to be able to show a short (one-paragraph) summary of every plot branch. You’d have to be able to jump to any node, which effectively restores the entire game state to that point (aside from the map).