Remembering Journey’s ancient Atari 2600 video game

If you’re of a certain age, you might have owned an Atari 2600 like this.

SONY DSC

In 1982, Atari was hot, publishing both E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Pac-Man, shipping close to 700,000 copies into what they thought was an insatiable market. But then came The Great Video Game Crash of 1983.

So many manufacturers were in the video console game that the market became saturated. At the same time, there was a movement away from consoles towards games played on more powerful personal computers.

Millions of game cartridges went unsold, forcing Atari to dump an untold numbers in a landfill near Alamogordo, New Mexico. It took another two years for the industry to recover.

It was in the midst of this video game irrational exuberance that a company called Data Age released an Atari 2600 game based on the 1981 Journey album, Escape. It was an insanely successful album, featuring singles like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Who’s Crying Now,” “Stone in Love,” and “Open Arms.” A surefire hit, right?

The game was described like this:

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!

The graphics were, er…

Is…is that the Kool-Aid “Oh YEAH” guy? Yes. Yes, it is.

Let’s play, shall we? Love those 8-bit versions of songs from the the album.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Remembering Journey’s ancient Atari 2600 video game

  • May 23, 2020 at 2:39 am
    Permalink

    I still have my original 2600, with 42 games and one of them being the Journey Escape game. In this time of “spare time”, maybe I should bring it out and let my kids experience!

    Reply

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