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Journey

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Journey is an arcade game made by Bally Midway in the 1980s. In 1983, the release of the Frontiers album brought the band Journey to the forefront of 1980s rock music. Bally/Midway decided to ride this wave of popularity and created an arcade game based on the band. The game was intended to be released to coincide with a US tour by the band, and hence a second team of developers (Incredible Technologies) were drafted in over the Christmas period to finish the game.

The featured members of the band are: Steve Perry, Neal Schon, Steve Smith, Jonathan Cain and Ross Valory. Although they have cartoon bodies, the faces of the members are shown as black and white photographs, taken of the band while on tour. The photo technology was originally to be used in another game, which would take photos for the high scores. However, the game in question failed location testing when one player flashed the camera.[1]

The game starts out with the player choosing one of five planets to travel to. Each planet features a minigame starring one of the Journey band members, with the objective of collecting his musical instrument (or, in the case of Steve Perry, a microphone).

Once the instruments are collected Journey performs a concert. During the concert sequence, an edited, looped version of "Separate Ways" is played through a cassette player inside the machine. The nature of these units mean that very few are still in good working order, which could explain why the game is quite scarce at this point, rarely being seen at arcades. While the concert sequence is being performed, the player takes control of Journey's roadie, a large, fat man who's object is to keep the fans from rushing the stage by placing himself in front of one of three entrances to the stage. Once the fans do rush the stage (which is inevitable, as they move faster and more aggressively as gameplay continues), they run off with the band's instruments, and the game thus starts at the beginning again.

In the "Connect" section of the June 2007 issue of Game Informer magazine, Journey was number 9 on the "Top 10 Worst Licensed Game Ideas (ever)".

The band would also be in a video game for the Atari 2600, titled Journey Escape.

Gameplay

There are five separate games—one for each band member—plus a bonus round game. Each game has two phases: Recovering the musical instrument, and returning to the Scarab vehicle. The games are as follows:

  • Steve Perry: Steve starts at the top of the screen and must make his way through a maze of moving turnstiles to his microphone at the bottom of the screen. Once he has the microphone, he uses the fire button to shoot at rows of passing turnstiles (similar to Galaga).
  • Neal Schon: Neal must navigate a cavern using his jet pack. Once he grabs his guitar, he must fly across the cave towards the exit while dodging rockets (similar to Scramble).
  • Steve Smith: Steve must jump back and forth between drums, turning them from yellow to blue. He then climbs behind his drum set and shoots bullets at flying infinity symbols (similar to Galaxian).
  • Jonathan Cain: Jonathan must make his way down conveyor belts, jumping piano keys (by pushing the joystick up). Once he is behind his piano, he shoots at vertical rows of circular objects that converge from the edges of the screen inward. Each object must be shot twice before it is destroyed (similar to Donkey Kong and Mega Mania).
  • Ross Valory: Ross jumps between elevators in an attempt to reach his bass at the top of the screen. Once he has reached there, he fires downward at cannons that are firing deadly LP albums.
  • Bonus Round (Concert/Herbie Herbert): Herbie, Journey's tour manager, must block the doorways and prevent the fans from entering any of the three doors on stage. If a fan gets past Herbie, everyone rushes the stage and steals the instruments again. During this scene, the machine plays a cassette loop tape of "Separate Ways."

Notes

The arcade game machine uses imagery from the band's 1983 album Frontiers.

Originally, the game was not to feature the band Journey, but rather to have a digital camera that would take pictures of the player's face and transpose it on the face of the player's character. However, after a few tests where people had pictures taken of unmentionable body parts to be used as heads, this was dropped.

References

  1. Kent, Steven L. (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games. Roseville, California: Prima Publishing. pp. 174–175. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. 

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