ELO

ELO: The Video Game – A Soundtrack To A Game That Never Was

In an age when Beatles Rock Band is old hat, It’s hard to remember a time when video game “product placements” or celebrity connections were a rarity, and kind of a big deal: Atari slapping Pele’s name on a new soccer cartridge, Mattel Electronics securing permission to emblazon every new sports video game with the name and logo of that sport’s professional league, or the one that started it all, a 1976 arcade, game awfully similar to Night Driver, called Datsun 280 ZZZAP!.

[Via] Hirudov gaming

And then there was Journey. Around 1983, you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger radio hit than Separate Ways (Worlds Apart). That synth line, the one that leads the whole song off, was practically made to be turned into video game music. Journey inspired two video games – a fantastic Midway arcade game, and the quirky but enjoyable Journey Escape for the Atari 2600.

[Via] MY SATURDAY M0RNINGS

Read: Celebrate Atari Day With Journey Escape And MTV!

But what if another band had been in the right place at the right time to cash in on the video craze?

That’s the idea behind another project perhaps best described as “quirky but enjoyable” – a soundtrack for ELO: The Video Game that was never, in fact, made.
ELO
The free downloadable “ELO: The Video Game” album from online label Pterodactyl Squad re-imagines several of the band’s singles, and a few lesser-known tunes, as chiptunes – as they would sound as music for intros, level-up animations, and even boss battles.
ELO
It’s a little disconcerting seeing the ELO spaceship – a fixture of the band’s album covers since 1977 – spewing missiles at everything within sight on the artwork for this release, but it’s a fun (and fast) listen.

Now someone just needs to create a game to go with the music.

Rockin' Out

Rockin’ Out In Orbit, LEGO-Style Rock Band Spaceships

Lego was already rockin’ out with wondrous things going all the way back to my childhood. The “Space” series sets were a staple of playtime. And now, if any of these fan-designed set proposals can be approved and licensed, I might go back to space with Lego…and turn it up loud.

Lego user Grobiebrix has suggested a new line of licensed Lego sets: Rock Band Spaceships. It’s funny how all of these are either from the 1970s or represent bands whose roots were planted in the ’70s – just another sign that the arrival of Star Wars made sci-fi cool enough for all walks of life, including rock music.

Rockin' Out
The Boston spaceship is crewed by a Tom Scholz minifigure, and preserves the UFO-shaped-suspiciously-like-a-guitar form seen on the 1976 cover of Boston’s debut album.

The Boston spaceship has graced all but one of the band’s album covers since then…and even the album cover that didn’t feature the ship (1986’s Third Stage) still sported a space theme.

Rockin' Out
Journey’s Escape album cover is commemorated in Lego form as well, with the “Scarab” spaceship that featured prominently on several of the band’s early ’80s album covers, and was even a central element of two Journey video games (one in the arcade, one for the Atari VCS) inspired by the same imagery.


Sticking with Grobiebrix’s theme of the axemen-as-spacemen, Neil Schon and his guitar would come with this proposed set.

But perhaps my favorite out of the bunch – and this is a purely personal bias, as it would be (if it was approved and made) a rare piece of merchandise involving my favorite band of all time – is the ELO spaceship, a Wurlitzer jukebox speaker-inspired beauty seen on the cover of 1977’s Out Of The Blue, the Flashback greatest hits box set (2000), and Alone In The Universe (2015).

This iconic, colorful flying saucer – one which a friend of mine once called the Flying Hamburger – naturally has the reclusive but brilliant Jeff Lynne in the pilot’s seat, complete with guitar.

I guess I’ll have to customize my own minifigures for the likes of Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain, Richard Tandy, and Bev Bevan.

(Has anyone noticed that two out of the three musicians featured in these proposed sets are reclusive mad musical scientists fully capable of assembling entire albums by themselves?)

All three projects have a following in the low hundreds, and time’s running out to hit the 1,000 supporter mark to keep these proposals alive in Lego’s system. If you, too, think we need to turn up the volume in space, lend your support as well.

Journey Escape

Celebrate Atari Day With Journey Escape And MTV!

The 26th of the month is here once again, friends! Which of course means it is Atari Day. What better way to celebrate than by checking out Data Age’s Journey Escape?

Journey Escape

Image courtesy of Atarmania

While in fact Journey Escape was marketed as a tie-in to the band’s 1981 album of the same name. The game actually uses an original theme with the exception of a rather nice chip version of Don’t Stop Believin’.

[Via] A Personalised Insane Asylum

When Journey Escape for the 2600 was released back in 1982, it flew under my radar. However at the very least by the time I picked up the cartridge at a garage sale in 1983, I was quite familiar with the band’s arcade game. I’m not sure how in 1982 I managed to miss this rather excellent television commercial. Not only is it imaginative, capturing elements of the game itself. But moreover it has the bonus of Casey Kasem’s voice work as well!

[Via] MYSATURDAYM0RNINGS

In the light of having missed the TV ad for the game. It’s probably not too hard to imagine that I also failed to catch the MTV interview with members of Journey itself talking about the game.

[Via] ScottithGames

What was the goal of Journey Escape you ask? It would seem you are traveling with Journey and they have just finished a performance that has netted them $50,000. It is up to the Player to escort all five members of Journey with their money to the safety of their escape vehicle – the Scarab naturally!

The obstacles in your path to accomplish this are many. For one thing you have to guide the band members past “Love-Crazed Groupies”. If a Player comes in contact with one of these they lose time and $300 bucks.
Journey Escape - Love Crazed Groupies

In Journey Escape a Player must also be wary of the paparazzi. The likes of the “Sneaky Photographers” will cost you $600 dollars upon contact. Why so much you might ask? To pay for the film negatives of course!

Also while playing the game you have to beware the “Shifty-Eyed Promoters”. These slightly gangster looking hucksters will cost you a whopping $2,000 dollars on contact.

Now the Player must also do their best to avoid the Stage Barriers. While at the very least it won’t cost you money if you collide with it – it does slow you down.

Having said that though, not everything in Journey Escape is designed to hinder your game. Case in point the “Loyal Roadie”, who looks in fact like a robot. If you manage to make contact you will be granted a temporary invulnerability.

Last but certainly not least is none other than the “Mighty Manager”. This jovial character allows a Player to run all the way to the Scarab without being stopped. In addition to adding $9,900 to the band’s purse.

I certainly hope you enjoyed learning a bit about Journey Escape for Atari Day. I hope you will also remember Atari Day is celebrated every 26th of the month.


Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.

To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O’s site by following the link here!

A 1984 Virtual Arcade By Dave Dries

With the announcement yesterday of the Retroist Arcade Meet Up At 1984! I felt this wonderfully moving tribute by Dave Dries over at CinemArcade needed to be shared. Dave’s computer animated ode to those glory days of the Mall Arcades, with aid by Journey’s “Stone in Love” as well as an absolutely fantastic catalog of background arcade titles makes me wish that November 9th was already here!

A big thanks to jamin1317 for uploading this video over on YouTube!