When I was younger, one of my best friends was kid named Mark. He was strange: the kind of strange that makes you want to hang around as much as you can. Mark always seemed to know about cool things that I’d never heard of, and sometimes he would deliver lengthy summaries of video games that I’d never heard of.
One of his more complicated lectures centered on time-theory and The Journeyman Project. I recall being utterly baffled by his explanation, which involved time travel and robots and aliens and angry scientists, but I never forgot it. When I finally came across a copy of the game several years later, I was completely enamored to the point that I actually memorized Dr. Sinclair’s rants. Though, I had to find them by looking around on the CD-ROM because I couldn’t actually resolve any of the 3 main temporal discrepancies. I’ve always been terrible at solving adventure games.
When I sat down with the recent re-release of The Journeyman Project: Pegasus Prime (available on GOG), I noticed a couple of things that filled me with great delight.
The first thing that I realized is that Pegasus Prime is not quite the same game that I remember trying to play as a kid. It’s actually a total remake of The Journeyman Project, complete with major updates to the graphics, a few minor tweaks to the puzzles, and some surprisingly good acting from characters that would show up in the Journeyman Project sequel. The visual additions in particular hold up really nicely, even though the remake is 17 years old now.
The other thing that realized is that I never actually knew how to play the game properly. As a child, I was accustomed to playing console games as a series of levels laid out in linear fashion. I start a level. I finish a level. The Journeyman Project—and perhaps all adventure games—require nonlinear thinking. If I couldn’t disarm the bomb on Mars in 2185, it was because I needed a nitrogen tank from Norad in 2112 to freeze the lock. When I finally figured that out, it was as if the game unfurled itself before me in all of its glory. It was a great accomplishment for me. I was finally able to finish The Journeyman Project after all these years, and I really enjoyed it.