[WIP] Journey — Confront the horror lurking behind your bookshop [Updated 01/13/2021]

First post here! Alright, here goes.

Journey genres: comedy, young adult, low-fantasy, alternate reality

Current word count: ~10k total (I have no idea how many words per average playthrough)

Description:

As if working an evening shift at a regular bookstore wasn’t enough.

In Journey, you play as Oliver Lee, a 17-year-old boy who’s already having a fantastically awful day before he meets a customer with bright neon hair and a very, very odd necklace with 6 minutes to go before his shift ends. Blue Hair is looking for—what else?—a book. About a fear monster. Who sounds like it would find Oliver an absolute snack.

On the bright side: at least they’re not a Karen.

To play the demo of Journey, go here: https://dashingdon.com/play/annwu23/journey/

Character descriptions
  • Oliver Lee (he/him):
    • Hates working the till. They’re meant to do it in shifts, but usually June (sometimes Leo) covers for him
    • On the other hand, he’s really good at recommending new books for customers
    • His anxiety mostly manifests in social interactions and not knowing what’s expected of him
  • Leo Hamasaki (they/them):
    • They’re older than Oliver and June; think young twenty-something instead of a teenager
    • Generally exhausted all the time because they have to juggle 1) the bookshop job, 2) another job at a daycare, 3) college, 4) paying the rent, 5) taking care of their parents
    • Takes care of the accounts, payroll, and honestly almost everything else in lieu of their absentee boss
    • Thinks of themself as Oliver and June’s resilient authority figure. (They aren’t one.)
  • June Parker (she/her):
    • Probably the most extroverted out of the team!
    • Leo and Oliver think she’s great at customer service. She is not; they just have low standards
    • Has been best friends with Oliver since they were kids
Specific feedback I crave

Hi, this is for a school assignment! Any and all feedback is appreciated, of course, but specifically I would like to hear about:

  • Characterization—did the characters feel alive to you?
  • Functionality—essentially just bugs/typos
  • Replayability—did you want to try again after the first playthrough?
  • Accuracy—ties into Characterization a bit: did the challenges Oliver face (both in Journey and just in daily life) feel real?
36 Likes

-its interesting so far. I like the character actions/dialouge, they seem realistic (specifically the awkward handshake haha)
-its a fun idea, getting stuck with some random person and now gods exist!
-i found no errors, so nice job there
-could be cool! i’ll be following :ok_hand:

3 Likes

I gave this a couple runs and had a pretty good time! It was a different brand of urban fantasy than I’ve seen. I liked the notion of a hero’s academy and D&D style classes, while playing as an outsider to those things.

Feedback

Characterization: I liked both Oliver and Alex and I did think they were interesting and dynamic. Their speech was pretty good too, I was impressed at how you managed to write them stammering and stuttering and having false starts and things while still keeping it not obnoxious to read. Didn’t have much opinion on the other bookstore characters, but that was mostly just because of their limited time on page.

Replayability: I actually ended up doing two runs because I wanted to ask a couple different questions throughout the story, so that’s obviously a good start, and I was surprised that things played out as differently as they did in a relatively short time. I’d also be interested in replaying the other character’s routes and seeing how they interplay or don’t with each other.

Accuracy: I’m not sure if this is quite what you’re asking here, but I did feel on my second run when Alex’s pendant went nuts, that it felt kind of jarring for this big dramatic thing to happen (which included an employee getting hurt), then have June the de facto manager just kinda bail like it was no big deal. Her forcing said wounded employee to deal with the situation was also uncool. Admittedly most of the customer service jobs I’ve worked leaned REALLY hard into reporting and accomodating every tiny little mishap, so I might be a little spoiled here, haha. But it did seem kind of jarring to me.

Functionality: Didn’t notice any typos or bugs in my runs. I did notice one odd little bit when Alex was describing being a paladin, though it’s more a style thing.
You automatically point out that blood oaths are stupidly dangerous and can cause great harm if the two people have different blood types.
It felt strange that this wasn’t a spoken line of dialogue, but instead summarized a thing that the MC said.

All in all, I really enjoyed it, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this goes. Good work! :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Thank you! That’s what I was going for (I have had my fair share of awkward handshakes, lol).

I love reading about a world from an outsider’s point of view; really gratified that came across well!

Thanks for the feedback—I’ll definitely edit that section. June can be overly cold/logical sometimes, but she is not and will never be a bad friend.

(Their boss Robert Williams is… less concerned about employee safety, admittedly, but he’s just a dick.)

2 Likes

Unofficial Small Update

The content hasn’t changed, but I went through Journey and made a separate swear-free version (because, well. School :sweat_smile:)—right now the game is completely swear-free, but I’ll make it a feature you can opt into/out of after January ends. Also added a credits scene to prevent confusion about the ending of the game, since a few people brought it up.

— stay safe, everyone!

1 Like