Journey (Arcade) is the Retro Game of the Week for 16 January, 2016

Released: 1983
Publisher:  Bally Midway
Developer: Bally Midway
Platform: Arcade
Genre: Action
Played on: MAME, gamepad

Sigh.  Another rushed Retro Game of the Week.  Too much going on, too many sick days, not enough time to play old games.

But that’s okay, because we have Journey.

No, kids, not that barely-a-game adventure game that came out a few years back.  This is the old arcade game, and the journey you will go on is that of the rock band of the same name.  Certainly you’ve at least heard in passing a few of their songs, like Wheel In the Sky?  Don’t Stop Believin’?  Well, if you haven’t, go spin a few of their hits on YouTube or something.  They’re good.  They may not be up to your sappy, repetitious, boring, pop-rock “standards”, but hey.

Oh, right, the videogame.

So you control the five members (at the time) of the band Journey on their quest to regain their instruments from… well, it doesn’t matter, because it’s a flimsy pretext (as all real games are and should be) to play the actual game, which is set up as a set of five minigames, one for each band member/instrument, which can be quite challenging at times.  Each game essentially is a separate challenge on a path to acquire your instrument, then turns into a mini-shooter to return to the other side of the screen where your bandmates are waiting.  Once you succeed, a minigame involving a bouncer keeping a crowd away from your instruments begins, and when the crowd succeeds, a more difficult round of the minigames start.  And for those who know Journey’s musical catalog, electric (MIDI-like) versions of many of their hits play during the game, and a tape recording (contained in the cabinet) of Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) plays during the bonus stage.

Is it a fantastic game?  No.  Is it fun and memorable?  You bet.  And that’s why it’s here.  Aside from the fact that I just had to pick a game quickly to highlight.  Hell, I liked it.  And that’s what matters.