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Virtually Overlooked: Journey Escape


Welcome to our weekly feature, Virtually Overlooked, wherein we talk about games that aren't on the Virtual Console yet, but should be. Call it a retro-speculative.

Workin' hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin' anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the Atari 2600 game never ends
It goes on and on and on and on

Why the game hasn't been announced for Virtual Console yet:

We haven't stopped believin' that Atari games eventually will show up on the VC, but they haven't. The wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'. We don't know what systems will be on the VC tomorrow. If they do show up, hopefully at a thrifty 100-200 Points each, we'll come to them with open arms. If you wonder who's cryin' now, it's us thinking about all the potential 2600 games we could be playing.

Why we think it should be on the Virtual Console:

One of the best things about Atari 2600 games is that it's often impossible to tell what the game is about from the graphics or the gameplay. Case in point: this game consists of nondescript people walking straight up, avoiding huge disembodied heads and hearts that come at you in serpentine patterns. It is also about the band Journey. Sure! Why not?

Journey Escape is the riveting story of all five identical members of Journey (distinguishable only by their initials in the corner of the screen) trying to leave a concert venue in single file, and leave in the scarab vehicle from the Escape album cover. They must avoid Shifty-Eyed Promoters (huge heads in straw hats), Love-Crazed Fans (giant hearts with legs), and Sneaky Photographers (flashing lemons) on their way to their transport. Of course, the only way to know that your character was a member of Journey and that those abstract monsters represented humans was to read the instruction manual. If you're lucky, you can make contact with a Loyal Roadie (blue rectangle with antennae) who will make you invincible for a few seconds, or a Mighty Manager (flesh-colored Kool-Aid Man) allows you to walk through the entire level without taking damage!

The game starts with what passes for a cutscene in an Atari game, of the scarab thing flying through space shooting some lasers, to the strains of a very bleepy "Don't Stop Believin'." Conveniently, after all five members of Journey successfully make their egress, this same animation serves as the ending! We don't care-- we could listen to that music all day. We only wish we could find a recording for you!

Wouldn't it be great if, when left with like 200 Wii Points, you could spend them on Atari games instead of having to add another $10? The whole set of Atari games could fit on the Wii's internal memory 100 times over. Even if Atari was on board, Journey Escape is a third-party game from a publisher that basically died in the video game crash. We don't know who has the rights to Data Age's games, but maybe someone could use that $10 to acquire them.

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