Bally Journey back from the dead

Well, maybe not quite back from the dead, but bringing back the artwork from oblivion. Rich at This Old Game sent me photos of his brand new Journey that he picked up Seattle. So many collectors covet this game, but there are only a few who are willing to pay the extra price when it isn’t local and make the sacrifice to actual add one to their arcade game collection. Rich went the extra mile, all the way to Seattle for this Craigslist find, but his pickup was hardly the HUO Journey that ZFCamaro picked up late last year. This Journey has black acrylic painted sides and needed some TLC. Fortunately, Rich is just the guy to give this machine some lovin.

Journey Trivia

A little fun trivia about Journey that maybe you didn’t know. According to Klov, Journey was the first arcade game to incorporate digitized photos into the gameplay. But this ‘cutting edge’ technology wasn’t originally intended for Steven Perry’s glorious locks but instead for another game where the the cabinet could take photos of players for the high score list. But that game failed at it’s testing location when a player flashed the camera. Ah, good to know that as much as we change as a culture, so many things stay the same, and here we thought ‘Flash Mountain’ was an original idea.

Back to restoring the Journey

Who better than a screen printer who makes faithful, quality, arcade artwork reproductions to bring back a classic from artwork annihilation? The last inexperienced owner of the Journey had tried some modes of removing the paint, carefully placing strips of tape and pulling up the black paint. I was surprised this method worked at all, but here is what Rich started with;

Seattle Craigslist Journey Black Sides

Like I’ve experienced on Atari games, paint will stick greater to some areas of artwork and not to others. On the Atari games I’ve worked on, the most difficult areas to work with were the plain white vinyl, and on the screened colored inks the paint lifted right off. Similar in vein for Rich, the yellow printed Journey lettering needed a little more attention.

Newbie note: Before we start, unless you want to shutter and shake like Raymond Babbitt after a box of glazed, seriously check and make sure you are working in a well ventilated area. You won’t be killing those Friday night beer brain cells, these are the important ones, and you don’t want to impair your decision making skills on your prized Journey acquisition. Oh yeah, and test some of these removers on a small, non noticeable section of your cabinet first to make sure you aren’t adding any new peep holes through the wood, or something worse.

Oh, and don’t forget to put on ‘Frontiers’. The matching artwork on the Journey CD to the cabinet will bring good luck and will make a nice soundtrack if you pass out on the cement floor.

Strip that Journey cabinet, strip it good

First, soak some plush SCOTT® Shop Towels with Motsenbocker’s Liftoff 4 (Graffiti Remover). Why not apply the graffiti remover directly to the cabinet you ask? Well, when you want to remove paint with the game standing upright, gravity is like an being on a date and seeing an ex-girlfriend at a dinner party and you got caught staring. The liquid will run into places you don’t intend, and like the ex, do damage you can’t predict. Plus, trapping those fumes right up against the artwork help lift the paint off even more.

Blue cloths with graffiti remover

After 5-10 minutes, you can see the results to the cabinet.

Black paint removed from Journey sideart

Most of the bubbled black paint brushes away, but a couple applications may be needed to remove every last piece.

Removing paint on lettering

Remember, you are working with a strong cleaning agent, and your vinyl Journey artwork has a durability threshold, so make sure to be careful when wiping off the paint because the remover will soften that vinyl increasing your chances of scratching it or trashing it completely.

Rinse and repeat until you remove all of the paint from the Journey vinyl sideart;

More application - removing black paintAll paint removed from sideart

Once you’re done you can use Naptha for the final touches.

Graffiti Remover and Naptha

Naptha is an awesome multipurpose cleaner and can be used on pretty much anything including glass, metal, and plexi and is perfect for removing old adhesives. Just apply, wipe off the remaining residues and let the remainder evaporate. Naptha will neutralize the graffiti remover, break down any remaining enamel spray paint and will clean the vinyl surface without attacking your screened Journey sideart. Remember though, that vinyl artwork is soft, so make sure to have a new Scott’s towel and watch any hard edges that might leave a scratch.

The photos here just show the Motsenbocker / Naptha technique on the Journey sideart, but this can also be used to remove spray paint from any cabinet without hurting the original paint job underneath.

What’s left on this Journey restoration?

Rich is going to probably have the Journey sideart re-printed as a high quality piece of inkjet artwork, because you can see that the artwork just isn’t as brilliant and rich as it once was. He’ll also remove the rest of the black paint from the sides of the cabinet. Overall, a great addition to the collection and not a lot of work to bring an old less desireable Journey back from ‘the dead’.

How rare is a Journey arcade game?

I couldn’t find any speculative numbers in my research on production numbers, but I know this arcade game is highly sought. Does anyone have any information / links on production numbers for Bally’s Journey? Here is a thread on klov asking about Journey production numbers.

A great arcade submitted story

I love stories like this, spotlighting simple things that any arcade collector can do in a specific situation to save a game and bring it back to prominence. Have a story of your own that you’d like to submit? Email me at rothecreations at gmail dot com, visit my contact page to send me a message, or visit the ‘Submit A Story‘ page to get even more ideas for types of arcade related information you can submit to Rotheblog.

Here are some similar arcade posts

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It’s a love or hate game that’s for sure. I have fond memories of the game from growing up and trying to reach the bonus round over and over to hear the Tape Deck play the song “Seperate Ways” I had a pretty nice one but when the Home Use Only one popped up I knew I had to own it… As far as production numbers I haven’t been able to find anything conclusive. My own personal opinion is that there were around 500 produced but this is just my opinion.

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Would also like to know how many were made
my serial# is 134 and theres 1 listed on GGDB w/#1104
so Id assum at least that many.
nice score Zcam BTW and hopefully with a little lovin touchin squeezin mine will look that good.

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I “Faithfully” will not “Stop Believin” that someday your Journey will be a fantastic show piece 🙂 One more saved, many to go.

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So…I haven’t ever played Journey (heck seen one) in person. I haven’t tried it out on Mame either. You bought the game so you obviously like it for one reason or another. Do you really think gameplay is awesome? It looks questionable from the screenshots on Klov

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It’s not much of a game actually. It’s kind of like TRON in that aspect. The gameplay isn’t that much but the cabinet is really nice looking. The gimmick with Journey is that when you reach the bonus round the tape player kicks on inside and plays Separate Ways by Journey. If you have never played it and are not a fan of the band then you most likely won’t want to own one.

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I own a very nice Journey machine and always wondered what the production totals were. The game did not last long in any of the arcades that I saw it in as it was not very popular. We loved it because we liked the band Journey. The bonus round was the highlight. I am sill searching for authentic looking sideart to fix up my cabinet a bit. All of the sideart I am finding is rectangular in shape, but not having the angling on the “Journey” lettering. Anyone have any suggestions? I also have the original Cassette tape but for preservation purposes, I have bought a few 3 minute looping tapes and copied the audio to avoid ruining the original cassette.

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@Digital Daredevil:

Rich was threatening to team up with Brian Jones to get some digital reproductions of the Journey sideart made. That would be after he wraps up his immediate workload. Brian does great work, he just made the Toobin Gators sideart from the original Atari Films.

If I get a chance, I can try to do a legacy search on past Journey artwork reproductions. If you get a moment, send me some links of where you have found even the crappy reproductions so far. And if you find out any information on the Journey sideart before me, send me that info as well and I can add it to my post containing the comprehensive list of past out of stock reproduction artwork.

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I wish I had crappy links. The only thing I am finding is a file/artwork that is basically a poster or picture converted to look like the Journey sideart. It is a very nice piece, however, it does not have the angling of the words Journey on it. The lettering is level, which to me is not acceptable to use. Journey’s are rare and very collectible. I would like to keep mine looking like the original.

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Well answering question from above above production numbers
as most of you know not much is known about many of Ballys games. But recently I had the opportunity to visit with Journey Drummer Steve Smith who told us he was told they only made 50 machines! though he did state he was unable to confirm that but current VAPS list only has 43 register owners of dedicated uprights so that number may not be all that off target.

We actually got some great video of this EPIC meeting which will be featured in the upcoming arcade documentary The Video Craze where were you in 82? a film by Dave Danzara

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