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Enter the pages of the hand painted world of Journal. A journey through the life of a young and troubled girl as she tries to face up to the choices and responsibilities that come with childhood. An experience that questions the reliability of how we choose to remember events and explores the truths hidden within our dreams.
Release Date: Feb 17, 2014

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Soundtrack now available

February 23rd, 2014

Thanks for everyone for supporting us in the launch of Journal. You can now purchase the soundtrack from iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/journal-original-soundtrack/id813989661
or listen to it via Spotify:
https://play.spotify.com/album/5aboVtrPx0gEXCtwCMMJAp

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About the Game

Enter the pages of the hand painted world of Journal. A journey through the life of a young and troubled girl as she tries to face up to the choices and responsibilities that come with childhood. An experience that questions the reliability of how we choose to remember events and explores the truths hidden within our dreams.

Journal is a narrative driven adventure game by Richard Perrin, the creator of Kairo and the white chamber, with art and writing by Melissa Royall.

PC System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0
    • Hard Drive: 250 MB available space

Mac System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: OSX 10.6
    • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0
    • Hard Drive: 250 MB available space

Linux System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10
    • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0
    • Hard Drive: 250 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
336 of 404 people (83%) found this review helpful
854 products in account
136 reviews
3.7 hrs on record
Journals are personal things; housing our thoughts, experiences, and deepest secrets as we pour our hearts out into their pages. In a similar way Journal the game is also deeply personal to its developer, Richard Perrin, being kicked around for nearly a decade and only just coming to fruition after passing through numerous different forms and surviving setback after setback. It's a passion project that needed to see the light of day regardless of how long it took to do so, but as any artist should know, after spending so long with your creation it's easy to lose sight of where it's headed and what it has become. For all the time and devotion put into it, Journal is not the masterpiece its creator no doubt envisioned it to be, unfortunately materializing as something far less profound and memorable.

Journal is the story of a girl. A girl having a very hard time attempting to come to terms with the recent upheaval of her life, as well as the general pains of youth attempting to find who she is in the world. It's a melancholy tale that attempts to deal with heavy problems in a realistic, relatable manner, but for all its endeavors to tell a more down-to-earth story than you often see in games, it overplays its hand by throwing its character through far too many hardships without ever elaborating on any of them. It comes off as disingenuous and almost exploitative, like an outsider trying to explain someone else's troubles without anything more than a surface knowledge of what someone experiencing them actually feels like. It's hard to feel empathetic when events unfold like those of a soap opera; without any explanation or justification, only serving to move the narrative onto yet another contrived moment.

The cliches extend to the characters themselves, all of which encompass some form of clique or extreme to better fit into their role of providing the protagonist with a wall to bounce questions off of, with the answer being largely insignificance. One of my biggest issues with the characters and narrative on the whole is how it presents an illusion of choice with no real changes or consequences to speak of. Something you say may affect a handful of lines of dialog (usually not beyond the immediate scene) but the plot itself remains the same, with the most important moments being completely out of the player's control despite the dialog options continually alluding to something more, as if you actually have some control of the outcome.

The worst of these moments are those that retain pertinent information until after you've had to make seemingly important decisions, without being given the facts to do so. For example, early on a friend of your character is accused of breaking a window, an act she denies and you are inclined to agree with, only later finding out that you were the one who accused her in the first place (and as is soon revealed, actually broke the window and were hiding the blame). These revelations come too late though, as you are forced to choose a side prior to being made aware of what actually transpired. It's like walking into a play during the second act; you're expected to already know the characters, their motives, and the the events that have occurred.

By the end of the game I was thoroughly detached from the protagonist, as her actions became more selfish and out of character as the game progressed, and I was helpless to influence any of it or even be clued in as to WHY she was doing what she was. For what is essentially an adventure game with the puzzles and exploration removed, for the dialog and characters to be so uninteresting and half-baked made for an experience that felt hollow.

It might not seem it, but this was a hard review to write. I wanted so badly to be drawn into the beautiful artwork and somber soundtrack which seem so ready to compliment a deeper story than we've become accustomed to, but it all fell flat. Perhaps it's a side-effect of Journal's tumultuous development process, but something went awry and the end result is less than amazing. It's hard for me to pan something that was obviously close to its creator's heart, but when it is flawed at such a fundamental level I can't write it off as something that can be overlooked, but instead have to dismiss it as a whole. Like the journal from the title, it's almost as if large portions of the game simply vanished, leaving you with a shell of what might have once been.

Full disclosure: this game was reviewed using a copy provided by the developer.
Posted: February 17th, 2014
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46 of 57 people (81%) found this review helpful
331 products in account
8 reviews
1.3 hrs on record
To debate whether this game has artistic merit or if it is worth buying seems almost pointless. The game is currently 80 minutes, and even then it is where the game has you make all the choices you can achieve before proceeding. It is not a game like Gone Home, where the details to every little thing are incredible. The game has rough edges where the main character would often clip at edges or I would go through a door twice due to tapping it once and going to the left slightly. But...I feel like it is a game that needs to happen for the continuation of the medium of games.

The character goes by unamed, and the first few minutes are rather naively optimistic. You are exploring why the pages of your journal are missing! It will be a intriquing journey of mystery and investigation. But the game hides what your character did and did not do, thus leading to misenterpretations where you make a choice that you regret instantly.
But, the game benefits from these choices. It is a very truthful game where the main character is not a vessel or a blank slate for the player, but is truly a confused young girl who is unsure of what is the right or wrong thing to say or do. Gone Home is where you view the experiences of a confused girl, while Journal is more about BEING a confused girl. I am really glad that my character doesn't agree with my own stance on the matter, even when she makes a choice I would have made because I am a seperate person from what her life is.

The art, while getting a lot of praise from people, to me is very simplistic and helps achieve a children's story feel that betrays the true meaning of the game. You do not help people in this game, nor do you make lifes better. It is what a child would feel when going through such a painful moment in their life, and I really do respect and admire a game that can achieve such clarity on the subject of childhood innocence and even if it is possible.
I say that it is a important step in video games is because this is a really personal story for the writer and artist. It is not a game where there is any power trip nor any sense of accomplishment, and is really not about finding the truth or letting go of things. It's about a normal person dealing with things that can never be undone or fixed. To spoil the ending or even the moments within it would ruin the experience of actually going through it.

Would I recommend this: YES
It is a very close and personal game, where the length or technical lack of polish does not ruin or even bring down the honesty and bluntness Journal has brought. I wish I could say specifics, but to do that would ruin your own experience with it.

Suggestion for developer: I believe more polish to the game would be benefical, and more stories from the writer and artist would be greatly appreciated.
Posted: February 17th, 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes No
31 of 33 people (94%) found this review helpful
1,374 products in account
73 reviews
1.8 hrs on record
Personal Rating: "Grab it during a sale"
Traditional Rating: 5.5/10
Genre: Indie Adventure

I am not really sure what to make of indie darling Richard Perrin's (the maker of the wonderful puzzler Kairo) latest game - Journal. It's clear from the ending that it must have been a deeply personal project, but I am still not entirely convinced the adventure game medium was the best way to tell this tale. First things first - Journal is not much a game, but more an interactive choose-your-own adventure kind of experience. How you view this in relation to what you consider constitutes the act of gaming will greatly affect the way you will probably feel about the title. Most are probably going to be dismissive about it and that is perfectly fine since Journal exists in a tightly sealed niché vacuum. I am all for games expanding beyond the traditional shoot-to-kill or might-and-magic tropes that have become gaming's hobbyhorse of late but I am not convinced that Journal is going to be the one to breach those shores.

The game opens with an unnamed girl whose diary seems to have lost all its pages. Interigating friends and family on the various topics that crop up or situations the young girl finds herself in will result in her journal once again fleshing itself out. These engagemets will also start to give you some context into this young girls life. We soon learn that her parents are seperated but we don't learn the truth behind this seperation until the final stages of this brief adventure. The games central themes of loss and grief are slowly recorded within the journal but the problem here is that the journal, a central plot-device, is often left on the sidelines as we endure one too many angst-ridden teenage growing pain moments (the Diary of Adrian Mole this most certainly ain't).

Maybe I am just too old and I have forgotten what it must feel like to be a selfish teenager and all the drama that accompanies those evolving years, but I found I cared less and less about stolen snow globes, broken windows or cheating on math tests and even more so when I was trying to do good by helping a pair of school friends fall into love when beneath the surface of this action it did nothing but cut and scar my young protagonist's heart. There is a bigger theme at play here that eventually gives rise to the reasons why the young girl is behaving the way she is and I am not going to reveal it for those still interested in playing Journal. This late game reveal does try to ground the actions that preceded it, but in the end I found it didn't really move me.

There are some striking things to be found in Journal though. The carnival puppet show that moves each chapter along is engrossing and very well told, eventually tying into the games main storyline and one can't deny it does exude a certain British charm, even if that charm feels as though it has come direct to us from the 1950's. There is a human beating heart at the core of this game - it's just a pity that it's all so surface-level philosophy (ripped straight from psychology 101) than the actual tapping into of one of life's realities - that life can often be a tangled mess when concerned with the likes of human emotion. The game is accompanied by a lovely piano score that while often depressing to listen to suits the tone of the game quite well.

Journal asks that its user be a bit more introspective, but in the end the message it conveys is something one would more likely find written on a milk or cereal carton and that ultimately diminishes its power. Try it - if you dare to be different - but just don't expect your indie world to be spun off its axis.
Posted: July 13th, 2014
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32 of 48 people (67%) found this review helpful
321 products in account
10 reviews
1.2 hrs on record
The game provides us with some interesting situations, ranging from the social interactions with peers, to conversations with a priest, the deceased and a homeless person. We get a more or less subtle view into each of their lives, which adds up to a bigger picture. A bigger picture of life as a hardship. The human condition, if you will. Especially in the time as a teenager. Insecurity, stress, insufferable amounts of complexes and general frailty - when it comes to the need of being accepted by the people around you - are things which are prominent in the years of being a teenager; in the years of being at all, to be honest. Where the desperate attention seeking can spring into action actions which in retrospect can be seen as abhorrent. But with a little bit of care, consideration, empathy, with a little bit of knowledge and insight into a persons motivations, WITH A LITTLE BIT OF THESE THINGS, understanding these idiosyncrasies can be much easier. The person being a "♥♥♥♥♥" can at the same time at home deal with angry parents, destructive parents, alcoholic parents, whatever concoction of behaviorism you can imagine and thereby themselves become a person like their parent, for the simple reason of learning behavior from your surrounding.
A depressed, absent-minded mother who blames you for her stress and angst, and a father who left you stranded with her will surely make you desperate for attention, in whatever way possible, especially when you're falling out with your friends, or the people you assumed were your friends. This is the case of our protagonist. Making her actions understandable, as I've seen people think otherwise.

We follow our maincharacter through a hodgepodge of a timeline, where we often get to see the consequences of something she'd done wrong. As in cheating on a test, stealing a snow globe and breaking a window and blaming it on her friend. This is where we need to get the notion of what a game "SHOULD" be out of our head. We don't have a say in these things, we are merely a witness. Sure, we control everything but we're not really in control. We are watching everything unfold in front of us without any say. For once I find this positive. It's a personal story, why should the player interject their own personality, morality or will? Why plaster your face onto a character when it's clearly not meant to be that way? Why forcefully demand the relatability of everything any character does, that's why the personality of most gamecharacters are nonexistent. Why are we afraid of people not being like us? Let this game be an expansion of your view of people. Why not let a character be itself, and then the analysing could be of interest.
And this is where my point is to some critique I've seen for the game. This game is not about trying to let you choose how to handle a situation, it's showing you the situation of this particular teenage girl. It's showing you the aftermath of some regrettable actions. It's showing you how it affects a person, how guilty a person can feel because of a mistake they barely had any real reason behind. And how your peers and upper echelons shame you because of these mistakes. It show's you the protagonist being shunned by friends and family because of silly mistakes, and the fact that you feel the need to steer her actions lets you know that the game is doing what it intends to do.

The stereotypical feel of the characters in this game is because they are real characteristics of real people. They are very common issues, personality types, and very typical scenarios for people to be in. The thing about putting this in a game is to illustrate it somehow, and get an outlet for these things you think about, as you do. To get past things. To put things into perspective. It's all there, you just need to look close enough. The game doesn't hit you in the face with its messages, or it's insights. But it's all there. From the carnival stories, the distorted mirrors of better times, memories being forgotten of the people that passed, the lying lion who did anything just to get another bite of food - in reality a metaphor for attention? I need to play it again, you should play it, think about it. Discuss it. I wish I wasn't as tired as I am right now, I don't think I can do the game justice. It's not the most beautiful game, not the most intricate, not the most interesting, but it has its moments. It's a game that tries to give us something, more than just a couple hours of time spent. I will always pay for a game with a good concept, a game that tries to do something interesting. This game certainly did, even though it may have been too much to actually get across in the best way possible. But I think most of it is already there, the teenage hardships, the tragedy of selfishness, the selfish social interaction, the shallowness of sociality, the subtle character motivations which can be parallelled with our lives. It did what it set out to do, a shame it didn't get more leeway to express this in a much grander and more beautiful way, but what we see is what we get, and what we got was good enough for a purchase, also for probably more than one playthrough.

I think I got across what I wanted to say, albeit clumsily and badly, but I did it.
Posted: February 17th, 2014
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11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
279 products in account
8 reviews
1.4 hrs on record
Journal comes with few interesting features like visualization and music, and rely heavily on storytelling aspect. However story isn't that gripping or intriguing from start till the end, even though final "twist" helps a bit.

I personally didn't enjoy this game as much as i would like to, but quality is present.

6/10
Posted: July 11th, 2014
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