Journey's Escape: The Video Game
Ever since that spack in the Minneapolis paper compared Journey to Nickelback, I've been trying to figure out a way to differentiate them, and to basically justify having Journey songs on my iPod. Because if they're nothing more than a former-day Nickelback, they have to go.
I do believe I've found it. Journey's Escape video game, released for the Atari 2600 in 1981.
That's right, Journey had a video game. I know, I forgot about it too, which is surprising -- I don't usually forget things like this. But there we were at the bar Saturday night, and someone brought it up; I was dumbfounded. After my memory was jogged, I remembered small pieces: that you had to pilot the band to the Scarab, maneuvering away in the standard video-game fashion away from the bad guys, in this case, groupies and managers and paparazzi. From the original box:
"You're on the road with Journey, one of the world's hottest rock groups. A spectacular performance has just ended. Now it's up to you to guide each Journey Band Member past hordes of Love-Crazed Groupies, Sneaky Photographers, and Shifty-Eyed Promoters to the safety of the Journey Escape Vehicle in time to make the next concert. Your mighty manager and loyal roadies are there to help, but the escape is up to you!"
Oh man, this was a great game. Not really, but you do have to hear "Don't Stop Believin'" in 1981 Atari MIDI quality to believe it. That might be the most awesome thing you've ever heard come through your TV speakers, honestly, so be ready.
The Scarab, which is the bug-looking vehicle on the cover of the CD (well, album in those days) busting out of the orb, is your vehicle. But before you can get to the Scarab to "Escape", you have to get the band members into the Scarab. That's right, Bad-Graphics-Steve-Perry, plus drummer Steve Smith, keyboardist Jonathan Cain, bassist Ross Valory, and lead guitarist Neal Schon. If you can manage to avoid the groupies, photographers and promoters and get all five band members to the Scarab intact, you win.
The funny thing is, I can remember playing this game and not even knowing it was a rock band starring in it. When I was six, my musical tastes were limited to Billy Ocean, Hall & Oates and Huey Lewis & The News. So not knowing who Journey was, I played because, well, anything on Atari that you could get was cool.
A montage of characters from the game, screen captured from my trusty Mac OSX Atari Emulator, using a font called "Press Start" to lend authentic period type treatments to the graphic:
How awesome is that?
Now, with their own video game, complete with Bad-Graphics-Steve-Perry, and a rockin' MIDI version of Don't Stop Believin', clearly Journey is no Nickelback, and vice-versa. I'd like to see those toads in Nickelback get their own PS2 game.
Ah, that's better. Now I don't have to remove Journey from my iPod. Its a good day.
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