Bob Rice, Champion of Video Game Music and ‘Journey Escape’ Creator, Dies at 79

Rice created the mold-breaking rock video game “Journey Escape” for the Atari 2600

Bob Rice (photo courtesy of Top Dollar PR)
Bob Rice (courtesy of Top Dollar PR)

Bob Rice, an agent who was one of the first to tap into the potential of the video game music scene, has died, according to his reps. He was 79.

Rice was the creator and executive producer of mold-breaking rock video game “Journey Escape” for the Atari 2600. The game starred rock band Journey and featured music from the “Escape” album, though the name also speaks to the surreal band-on-the-road adventure’s gameplay. From its instructions:

“You’re on the road with JOURNEY, one of the world’s hottest rock groups. A spectacular performance has just ended. Now it’s up to you to guide each JOURNEY Band Member past hordes of Love-Crazed Groupies, Sneaky Photographers, and Shifty-eyed Promoters to the safety of the JOURNEY Escape Vehicle in time to make the next concert. Your mighty manager and loyal roadies are there to help, but the escape is up to you!”

“Journey Escape” was far from Rice’s only claim to fame. He was also a successful agent responsible for founding Four Bars Intertainment in 1992, highlighting video game music and composers at a time when not everyone saw their value. He represented talent such as composer Inon Zur, who’s famous for his musical work on Bethesda franchises including “Fallout,” “The Elder Scrolls,” and the upcoming “Starfield.” Other clients included Cris Velasco (“Darksiders”) and Steve Ouimette (“Guitar Hero”).

“I lost my original mentor today,” Velasco wrote on Twitter. “Bob Rice was my 1st agent. He’s the 1st agent to see a future in games. He got me my 1st pitch on a game (Battlestar Galactica) and changed my life. I’ll remember his generosity, jokes, stories, and friendship. RIP Bob Rice. You were loved by many.”

“Bob was one of a kind and the last of an era,” said Ouimette. “Not only did he help launch my video game career, he also introduced me to many people in this business that have become great friends and partners over the years. He was personable, funny, witty and always made you feel he was on your team. Because he was.“

While games and game music are prominent business today, their artistic and commercial merits may not have been perceived so quickly and fully were it not for Rice helping pave the way.

Rice is survived by his daughter, Lisa.