A downloadable game for Windows and macOS

Buy Now$9.99 USD or more

... the most genuinely realistic game ever made. It is like life: puzzling, difficult, uncertain, unclear, always seen, in St Paul’s words, through a glass darkly.  — Bryan Appleyard, The Sunday Times

The Night Journey (2007-2018) is one of the first experimental art games ever made. A collaboration between renowned media artist Bill Viola and designers at the USC Game Innovation Lab, it uses both game and video techniques to tell the universal story of an individual’s journey towards enlightenment. 

After being exhibited around the world for the past decade, this foundational videogame artwork has now come to home platforms. Updated for this release with new, original dream footage, the project stands as a milestone in the search to expand the boundaries of what game experiences may communicate through their game mechanics and world design.

About the experience:

The game begins in the center of a mysterious landscape on which darkness is falling. There is no one path to take, no single goal to achieve, but the player’s actions will reflect on themselves and the world, transforming and changing them both. If they are able, they may slow down time itself and forestall the fall of darkness. If not, there is always another chance; the darkness will bring dreams that enlighten future journeys.

The interactive design of The Night Journey evokes a sense of the archetypal journey of enlightenment through the mechanics of the game experience – i.e. the choices and actions of the player during the game. The game design explores a challenging question: what is the game mechanic of enlightenment? How can we model such an intensely personal yet archetypal experience in a game?

Visual inspiration is derived from the prior works of Bill Viola which provide reference for the game world, while source material for the in-game “reflections” is drawn from the vast archive of his video footage. Textual inspiration comes from the lives and writings of great historical figures including: Rumi, the 13th century Islamic poet and mystic; Ryōkan, the 18th century Zen Buddhist poet; St. John of the Cross, the 16th century Spanish mystic and poet; and Plotinus, the 3rd century philosopher. 

The team created a set of custom post-processing techniques for the 3D environment that give a sense of “explorable video,” integrating the imagery of Bill Viola’s prior work into the game world at both a technical and creative level.

The Night Journey was awarded "Most Sublime Experience" at the IndieCade Festival of Independent Games.

Contact The Night Journey support

System Recommendations:


  • Windows 7* / 8 / 10
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Dual Core or Equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1024 MB NVidia or ATI graphics card
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Keyboard & mouse or game controller (See this list for supported controllers)

* Users running Windows 7 with Nvidia cards may need to run the game in Compatibility Mode and as Administrator. See our FAQ for more info.


  • OS X 10.9+
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo  or Equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1024 MB NVidia or ATI graphics card
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Keyboard & mouse or game controller (See this list for supported controllers)

Developer: Bill Viola Studio and the Game Innovation Lab

Copyright 2007-2018 Bill Viola Studio and the Game Innovation Lab. All rights reserved. Not authorized for posting on Steam or any other sites.


Buy Now$9.99 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $9.99 USD. You will get access to the following files:

nightjourney-macintosh-osx.zip 1 GB
Version 3
nightjourney-windows-pc.zip 1 GB
Version 3

Box Set Available Again - Lovely for Gifts!

Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

The Night Journey - Box Set

This lovely box set makes a great gift for the holidays or any occasion.

The box set includes a beautifully designed folded cover and a  4GB black metal USB drive loaded with versions of the game for both PC and Mac along with information on how the holder of the box set can register the game for future updates. As the purchaser, you will also receive your own unique download link at the time of purchase, so you can register and download an extra copy of the game for yourself if you're giving the box set as a gift.

Cost includes box set plus shipping fees. Please enter your shipping address at the download link that you receive from Itch.io after purchase. We will email you to confirm your address before sending the package.

Important: DO NOT check "Give this game as a gift" during the process as that will cause all communications regarding shipping info to go to the email you gift the game to -- and may ruin a surprise! If you want to send the box set as a gift, simply give us that address when we confirm shipping details instead of using the "give as a gift" checkbox.