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Video Game / The Longest Journey

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"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where."

April Ryan is an ordinary art student living in the Cyber Punk metropolis Newport and applying for the local Academy of Arts. She has her share of problems with her parents, insecurity about her future, and increasingly strange dreams, but she also has some great friends, a job, and a friendly landlady. Then a weird Cool Old Guy named Cortez appears and tells her that she is The Chosen One who has to Save Both Worlds — and then he sends her to that other world, Arcadia, she is supposed to save. As her familiar world crumbles around her, April has to dive deeper into the secrets of the universe, fulfill cryptic prophecies, bring down an Ancient Conspiracy or two, save the Guardian of the Balance, and ultimately restore the harmony between the Twin Worlds of Stark and Arcadia. And that all in less than two weeks.

The Longest Journey is a 1999 Adventure Game written by Ragnar Tørnquist and developed by the Norwegian company Funcom for Microsoft Windows. Famous for its expansive storyline, a lovable, Genre Savvy heroine, and flawless gameplay (as far as point-and-click gameplay goes), the game is commonly credited with resurrecting the Adventure Game genre after its crisis in the late 90's. An Oddly Named Sequel, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, was released in 2006, and another, Dreamfall Chapters, between October 2014 and June 2016 (in five episodes). In November 2014, The Longest Journey also received an iOS port.

Please add character-related tropes to the characters tab.

Tropes found in the game:

  • Abusive Parents: April's adoptive father, though it's strongly hinted he feels deep remorse over it.
  • Alice Allusion: When Cortez helps April travel to Arcadia for the first time, he deliberately invokes this imagery to her: "Why, Alice, I am sending you through the looking glass!"
  • Almost Dead Guy: Flipper utters some final words to April when she meets him half-dead.
  • Alphabet Soup Cans: Roper Klack is beaten by using a calculator, to prove that you can do math and he can't. Or at least, you can do it faster. Afterward, the mage gets sucked into the calculator, for reasons unexplained.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Talisman of the Balance helps April out in various situations.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Vanguard.
  • Ancient Tradition: The Sentinel Fathers.
  • Arcadia: Arcadia is Another Dimension where magic is possible. While it looks like a pastoral utopia to people coming there from our world, it has its own share of problems, too.
  • Bird People: The Alatien are roughly humanoid birds with wings for arms.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • After all her numerous trials and sacrifices throughout TLJ, April is basically given heartfelt thanks... and then left to her own devices. She even admits as not knowing how to feel as she starts her trek "home".
    • By the end Arcadia is under attack and Tobias is dead.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Glass eye on retinal scanner.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Initially the story does not take itself too seriously, being at some points an Affectionate Parody of fantasy stories and even campy and comedic at times, with lots of Lampshade Hanging. But the story starts to take a very dark turn when the Tyren army invades Marcuria and Emma is shot by the Vanguard.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Mr. Guybrush is utilized twice in the game.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Mystery Door by the Fringe.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: The volcano on Alais.
  • The Chosen One: Played with heavily. When April asks Cortez if she is the chosen one, he denies the idea. Later, he gets to admit it to be true. April doesn't want to be in that role either, but grows into it.
  • Clever Crows: Crow helps April solving puzzles.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: You never know what George the maintenance man will say next.
  • Common Tongue: Na'ven or Alltongue, a magical language spoken in all of Arcadia (a parallel universe). Its omnipresence is justified with the fact that you can become a fluid speaker after listening to it for just a few minutes, as April does upon her first visit to Arcadia.
  • Cosmic Deadline: Sort of a Disc one variant, with April obtaining two pieces of the stone disc within roughly ten minutes of each other. In true Longest Journey Fashion, she points out how easy obtaining these pieces was.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: In Stark the Vanguard are working under the cover of the Church of Voltec.
  • Creator Cameo: Ragnar Tørnquist voices Marcus, a minor character near the start of the game.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: Abnaxus.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: There are other things too, but special mention goes to Detective Minelli. First you poison him (or at least give him a severely upset stomach) to get him to move out of an area, then you steal his glass eye (he obviously becomes very panicked when you do this) and replace it with a plastic eye from a toy monkey (which he then puts in his eye socket). Other solutions involve conning your way around problems.
  • Cyber Punk: Newport.
  • Cyber Punk Is Techno: A lot of technoheads in the cyberpunk metropolis of Newport.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: The Guybrush monkey toy.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Wino, the man innocuously squatting with his back turned next to the steps to Warren Hughes' apartment, appears to be in the middle of doing this. Much to April's disgust.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: April breaks into the Vanguard headquarters by pretending to deliver pizza.
  • Diary: April keeps a diary throughout the game, which is an important source of her characterization. How she manages to update it even after being pulled into a parallel universe in just her underwear is never explained.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The ending reveals that April is actually supposed to get the Guardian to his destination, not become the Guardian herself.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Shifters are the only creatures known to physically travel between the twin worlds of Stark and Arcadia, as well as to and from much smaller splinter worlds, like the Guardian's Realm (although speculation abounds that the Draic Kin are capable of it, as well).
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Stone Disc, the key to the Guardian's realm in the first game. Justified in the Back Story: the disc was originally kept at the Sentinel Enclave, ready for pickup by The Chosen One, but then the Vanguard tried to steal it. Afterwards, the Sentinels decided to break it up and hand the pieces over to the four magical peoples most motivated to keep it hidden (since most magical creatures would likely perish if the Twin Worlds were forcibly reunited).
  • Disney Villain Death: Cortez and Jacob McAllen, Word of God stating that the former is just hiding, though what that would imply about the latter...
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: Pretty much the point of the first part of the game and it explicitly references Alice at many occasions.
  • Dream Intro: Subverted. While it looks like a dream, when April visits the same location in the waking world, she can see the traces of her actions from when she was "dreaming" about it at the start of the game. In other words, it was real from the start, she just didn't realize it then.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The fictitious drug "Rapture" comes up repeatedly, though it's not important to the story. Too many will really mess you up.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: Unlike other examples of this trope, you don't get to choose when to go to the other world.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Captain Nebevay is tricked by April into leaving to checking on apple supplies below decks, despite noticing what pest is infecting them.
    These are worms, all right — vicious, snarling wheat worms driven mad by their hunger for a change of diet!
  • Fantastic Drug: "Rapture" and "Amathin". The effects are never explained in detail.
  • The Federation: Northlands, particularly, Ayrede.
  • Framing Device: The game starts with an old woman named Lady Alvane being asked to tell a story to two children. Instead of the one they asked her, she tells them the story of April Ryan. At the end of the game, Lady Alvane finishes her story, and the children leave.
  • Funny Background Event: April crashes a news report and does this.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Some actions have to be done in the exactly right order, even if the game seems to accept any order. Usually it's no big deal, except for one puzzle that doesn't allow disassembling a partly-assembled contraption. It requires to pull a rubber duck (that has to stay inflated) over a steel clamp and then tie a rope to the clamp. Since there's a time limit until the duck deflates, many players reverse the order: attach the rope to the clamp, then blow up the duck and attach it. But this way the game behaves as if there is no rope, and April can neither use the device, nor untie the rope. The device is required to finish Chapter 2, but the mistake can be made early in Chapter 1. In other words, a player has to restart.note 
  • Gentle Giant: Sleeping Q'aman. Not surprisingly, his official circus nickname is "The Gentle Giant."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: It's heavily implied, visually and through April's dialogue, that the man standing with his back turned next to Building 87 on Hope Street is masturbating.
  • Glass Eye: The police officer's eye falling out and rolling around. Also an example of Electronic Eye. It becomes a Borrowed Biometric Bypass.
  • Guardian of the Multiverse: Guardians of the Balance.
  • Guide Dang It!: One of the reasons this game was so well received was the lack of this trope. However, even then, a few puzzles may come off as unintuitive, namely the rubber ducky puzzle very early in the game.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Gordon Halloway has one after his soul is reunited with his body.
  • Here There Were Dragons: Among other fantasy stuff.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Accessible via the Book of Secrets.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall
  • In the Doldrums: The Guardian's realm looks like this. It turns out to be a Fisher Kingdom—in the sequel, the replacement for´ the first game's ailing Guardian adds plant life and a proper sky.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: Trope Namer.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Tobias gives you the Talisman of the Balance, and is quick to admit that aside from being magical, he has no idea what it does and doesn't really know how it will help, only that it's supposed to be given to April.
  • Keep It Foreign: In the Spanish version Cortez is not Hispanic, but rather a Frenchman named "Corthes".
  • Lampshade Hanging: Done a lot.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: The Gribbler takes this to ludicrous levels, one of many, many signs that she is totally evil and will eat you:
    I was out picking bones- uh, berries, for my stew, and flowers, yeeess, pretty flowers...
    Oh, I'm no one, no one at all, just a frail, old woman out picking booones- uh, berries, picking berries, for her stew so she can feed her prisoners- uh, guests, so she can fatten them up for... um, the long winter...
    I still need your help, plump pudd- um, nice pretty girl, [...] Help me home and I'll cook you... um, a nice stew! Yum, I'm getting hungry already *growl*...
    Oh, what have we here, this... "stew", isn't good enough to stuff yo- um, to serve, a guest as plump- as well built and deliciou- as honoured as you, my dear...
    • ...And April still follows her home. Not until she's trapped inside her house does she go "Hey, you know what..."
  • Limited Wardrobe: Partially averted, with different, context-sensitive outfits for April. Justified, too, when she enters Arcadia in her nightclothes.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The White Dragon, who turns out to be April's real mother.
  • Magic Versus Science
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: The scientific Stark and the magical Arcadia. A balance is kept so that no technology goes to Arcadia an no magic goes to Stark.
  • Medieval Stasis: Way back in history, the inhabitants of the world in question had to make a choice between "magic" and "science", and two parallel worlds were created, between which the Player Character can skip. Our PC is from the Science world, apparently Twenty Minutes into the Future, whereas the Magic world is still on swords and bows, because anyone born with ingenuity and inventiveness ends up in the Science world. Stark the science world is set in the 23rd century with interstellar travel and antigravity flying cars while Arcadia the magic world which has been separated from the other for several thousands of years is perpetually in the medieval ages level of technology. The Azadi in the sequel have introduced steam technology and airships but itself must rely on magic (though saying so in public can get you arrested). Stark on the other hand is only able to produce faster than light travel and antigravity technology because of magic seeping into this dimension as it defies the laws of physics (unbeknowest to its denizens). The high number of antigravity accidents are due to the chaotic nature of magic and after the collapse the complete removal of magic causes society to revert to old technology as both antigravity and etrasolar travel is no longer feasible.
  • Merged Reality: That's what the Vanguard are attempting to do; apparently, chances of failure don't bother them much.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Gribbler, ye gods.
  • Move Along, Nothing to See Here: Said by the police guard bot at the site of the crashed transportation unit in front of PD.
  • Mr. Exposition: Cortez and Tobias have lengthy exposition speeches.
  • Narrator All Along: At the end Lady Alvane turns out to be April Ryan herself in later years.
  • Non-Linear Character: The Venar, who perceive all of their life simultaneously. Asking one to focus on the "now" to talk to you gives it a massive headache.
  • NPC Amnesia: April can chance her answers without fearing any backlash.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Roper Klack's castle.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Stark is the world of order, Arcadia is one of chaos—but when they begin to seep into each other, chaos wins out. Also, on a different level, the Vanguard and their desire to merge the worlds and rule them versus the Sentinels who want to keep the worlds separated.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Draic Kin.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Simply by holding a pizza box, April can get by a guard she had continually pestered to let her in to no avail.
  • The Passwordis Always Swordfish: At PD, April correctly guesses the password for the database to be "laura0731" which is the name and birthday of the officer's wife.
  • Percussive Maintenance: The housekeeper at the Mercury theatre kicks the flickering neon sign with his broom in hope to get it to work again.
  • Physical God: The Guardian, after the Changing of the Guard; outside their Tower, however, they are as helpless as normal humans.
  • Prophecy Pileup: By the end, April fulfills the prophecies of at least three magical peoples who all proclaim her their respective Chosen One.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: The introductory cutscene.
  • Reconcile the Bitter Foes: April has to play the peacemaker between the Alatien and the Maerum to get to the Old God, a.k.a. the Blue Kin.
  • Refusal of the Second Call: After saving two worlds from annihilation, April becomes a bitter cynic and refuses to help Zoe when when the world is in peril again ten years later.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: If you look at a red cherub in the cathedral, April mentions that it must be from the sequel of the Bible.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Banda, furry little creatures with curious speech patterns and rather elaborate naming traditions.
  • Save Both Worlds: There are two worlds in place of one Earth: technological/ordered Stark and magical/chaotic Arcadia. If they collide, there may be a hell to pay. Or not. Let's just leave the cosmology of the Twin Worlds at that.
  • Scary Shadow Fakeout: Invoked - you must assemble a pile of things to make a shadow that resembles one of a man pointing a gun, so that a guy sees it and gets scared.
  • Set Piece Puzzle
  • Shout-Out: The game features a lot of homages to famous TV shows and movies of our time, including Looney Tunes, Evil Dead, Futurama, Labyrinth, and Star Trek. And there is Constable Guybrush.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: When April tries to get past a security guard by acting cute, all he says is, "Sorry, ma'am, I'm gay".
  • Standard Powerup Pose: The Guardian of the Balance assumes this pose (but with his legs together) upon ascending to the top of the Tower of the Balance.
  • Stealth Pun: When April returns Crow to his original horrid owner, she's literally giving him the bird.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: The scene with the Gribbler, although the jury is still out on whether it was played straight or as a mockery of the trope.
    • Disrupt the magic compass and prevent the ship's escape from a storm that even got the hardened crew shaking in their boots? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Draic Kin.
  • Supervillain Lair: Roper Klacks' castle and McAllen's skyscraper and office.
  • Surprisingly Easy Miniquest: Getting the Stone Disc pieces kept by the Dark People and by Abnaxus.
  • Taken for Granite: Roper Klacks favorite pastime is turning people into sentient statues.
  • Technicolor Fire: Blue flames are a fairly common sight in Marcuria.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Subverted. In this game thirteen is a lucky number.
  • Time Dissonance: Again, the Venar.
  • Title Drop: "You're about to take the first step on the longest journey of your life."
  • Translator Microbes: Na'ven or Alltongue in Arcadia is a magical language that can be learned in a few minutes just by listening to it..
  • Unfortunate Names: Abnaxus, who frankly is quite the opposite of obnoxious.
  • Visible Invisibility: We can still make out April when she becomes invisible.
  • We Can Rule Together: McAllen tries to convince Cortes of this.
  • Wild Magic: All of magic in Arcadia (and sometimes Stark) is rooted in the energies of Chaos.
  • You Can't Miss It: The mapmaker's directions in the delivery mission.