Atari Poop – Journey Escape
Journey Escape. Yes, Journey, THAT Journey. If you don’t who Journey are, leave now. No, don’t go googling it. Just forget I ever mentioned them. Save yourself. Come back next week when I’ll talk about a game not based on a band whose music has been known to destroy people’s entire lives.
Now, I know what the rest of you are thinking. It’s likely a combination of things. First, why was a game based on quite possibly the absolute worst band in the entire history of humans making noises for fun and entertainment released on any console? Why weren’t the people behind this burnt at the stake immediately upon the mere suggestion of the concept for the game? Second, for the love of Frank Grimes, please tell me the game doesn’t feature any of their horrendous “music.” Finally, why are you now telling me about this gaming abomination when clearly anyone with half a brain must understand how simply knowing of its existence will likely drive you to suicide? Well, cats and kittens, you don’t need to worry. Trust me. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of what you’re thinking. This is a survival horror game (note the word “Escape” in the game’s title) and one with a very surprising ending.
The game starts with some music most of us will unfortunately recognize immediately: Don’t Stop Believin’… by Journey. However, the people behind this game knew what they were doing, as the song only plays just long enough to seriously angry up the player’s blood before stopping. The song gets you into the right state of mind, somewhere between intense fear and absolute despair. Now, you’re ready to start the game.
You play as a poor, confused fan who has spent all week trudging away at work, just waiting for the weekend where you’ll be able to turn yourself loose during your favourite band’s performance. You don’t even care that they’re just opening for some other band. You’re going to see Loverboy, and Loverboy only, so who cares who’s playing after them, right? If only you had checked your ticket on the concert listing. Now Loverboy has left the building, and you’re stuck at a Journey concert and you need to get out. FAST! You’ve heard stories about Journey’s music, which the U.N. has officially declared one of the worst and most inhumane forms of torture, and when you hear those first few notes, you are compelled to do everything you can to prevent yourself from hearing the musical cancer that is Journey. YOU HAVE TO ESCAPE! Hopefully, you’ll get lucky and find a way out.
You can reach this goal a couple of ways. First, you have $50,000, so when you meet groupies, photographers, and concert promoters (all there for Loverboy) running around trying to escape the horrors, you can try to bribe them into killing you; however, this method will never work. These people are completely hysterical and cannot be reasoned with. You can give these people your money until you run out and it won’t make any difference. You’re still alive and Journey is still playing music and life is pain.
A second way you can attempt to win is trying to find a litteral escape. You can avoid all of the groupies, photographers, and promoters who just slow you down, along with those annoying barriers, and try to find a way out. Along the way, you’ll meet roadies and managers who will help you (rendering you able to pass through everything unhindered). They help you because they are almost completely dead inside, but they see there is still life inside you and that faint glimmer is awakened inside them, that one last remaining shred of their humanity, so they help you in the hopes that you do not become one of them. If you make it far enough, you will come across a vehicle. Enter it and for a split second, you’ll believe that you’ve finally escaped. Sadly, the vehicle you entered is the Journey tour bus, which takes you to the next stop on the tour, and you find yourself trying to escape all over again.
This leaves you with one, final option. As Jean-Paul Sartre explained, you always have two options, no matter the situation, because suicide is always an option. Thus, the only way you can truly beat the game is to just run until your times runs out, which essentially means you’ve run until you die from exhaustion. Your only alternative would have been to stand quietly and endure the Journey concert. Forcing you to make the choice, to accept death over a fate worse than death is horrifying. It will change you forever. Just look at what it did to this guy. It made him so ugly, people made a poster urging him to not have children.