There’s been a lot of attention on Guitar Player and Rock Band as promotional outlets and revenue sources for (mostly established) bands. But hearing “Don’t Stop Believin’” on Sirus/XM’s “80s on 8” this past weekend on Jet Blue made me remember that bands scoring placements in video games goes WAY back.

Does anyone else remember the Journey Escape game for the Atari 2600?

The premise of the game:

You must lead all 5 members of Journey through waves of pesky characters and backstage obstacles to the Scarab Escape Vehicle before time runs out. You must also protect $50,000 in concert cash from grasping groupies, photographers, and promoters.

All Journey Band Members – drummer Steve Smith, keyboard player Jonathan Cain, bass player Ross Valory, lead guitarist Neal Schon, and lead singer Steve Perry, are counting on you to lead them to their escape vehicle. It won’t be easy. As Journey says, “Some will win, some will lose…”

The point structure was equally awesome:

At the start of the game, you will have $50,000 and 60 units of time. Each time you get stopped by a groupie, photographer or promoter you will lose some of your money. For example, contacting a groupie will result in a loss of $300, a photographer $600 and a promoter $2,000. Each time you contact a Manager, you will gain a bonus of $9,900.

If you make it to your escape vehicle before your time runs out, any extra time will be applied to the next band member. If you manage to get all five band members into the escape vehicle with time to spare, the extra time will be converted to a bonus of $100 for each unit of time saved.

Journet Escape
I must have heard “Don’t Stop Believin’” 1000 times while playing this game. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that the song is the best selling catalog track in iTunes history, with 2 million copies sold to date?

Witness the magic:

I’m certainly no Alex Lifeson on the guitar, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t find it frustrating that after playing “terrestrial” guitar for years I can’t seem to get past the beginning stages of Rock Band. But after watching this hilarious video from the Colbert Report, I feel a little better. Check out Neil Peart, Geddy Lee, and Alex Lifeson stumbling through “Tom Sawyer” on Rock Band. Fantastic!