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Five games the Beijing Olympics will make old-schoolers want to play


This wasn't just sport. It was hyper sport. But because the events featured aren't unusually hyper in any way, we can only assume that the energetic prefix is a sexily-dressed reference to the huge amounts of energy expenditure the game demanded of its players. In a more literal world Hyper Sports could easily have been called 'Pretty Regular Sport Events Played With A Control System That Will F*ck Your Arms Right Up'. Yes, it required inordinate amounts of stamina, but this sequel to Konami's Track & Field was a podium winner, both in the arcade and for its various home computer conversions.

We played it in arcades, but the arcades where we grew up were full of bigger boys and thus hazardous places for little geeks with pocketfuls of loose change. So we mostly did all our hyper sporting in the safety of our bedrooms. Besides the gurn-faced button/joystick abusement, things we remember with a happy tear include the pixel moustaches of athletes, the digitised Chariots of Fire music, the precision art of double-teaming (one man on stick, another on fire button) and the flashy, rainbow-coloured, star-shaped 'Enter Name' screen. And completing the game three times with weak boy arms? Forget about it.


Above: A promo flyer for Hyper Sports. Inexplicably set in another dimension

Best event: Skeet shooting
All the events rocked in their own way, but the satisfaction of hitting the duck and having the shooter turn around to give an approving wink and thumbs-up was hard to beat.

Worst event: Weightlifting
An absolute arm-shagger of the highest order. And some sadist chose to put it as the final event. The definition of cruelty.


Uber-athlete DT was a big deal back in the day. Competing for Great Britain, this jack-of-all-trades broke world records and won gold in the decathlon in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics. He was also one of the first black protagonists to ever feature in a game. Admittedly in the Spectrum version he was definitely an off-white, and his squashed-headed, crazy-eyed approximation on the C64 loading screen was several shades of wrongness. For us, though, we'll always remember it as the game that broke us. Several times.



Sure there were 10 events, but the 1500 meters was the only one that mattered. A torturous exercise in self-harm - completing the whole race was exhausting and we'd be left in a big pile of lactic acid suffering. And there were physical scars too. Our preferred method of waggling might have given us an enviable finishing time, but we'd be left with huge blisters on the palm of our right hand. After particularly savage sessions we'd play through the pain and end up with giant flaps of skin hanging off and a big weeping sore stigmata. The true mark of a man.


Above: A simple sum resulting in a particularly nasty case of 'Daley's Hand'

Best event: 1500 metres
See Activision Decathlon.

Worst event: 1500 metres
See Activision Decathlon.


Since the release of Summer Games, Epyx had been knocking out sports titles that were way ahead of the competition - Summer Games II, Winter Games and World Games were all brilliant pace setters. But Cali Games was the best. It was also one of the first to cash-in on the buzz surrounding extreme and urban sports. But judging from the distinct difference in tone between the US and UK boxes, Blighty obviously wasn't ready for sexy legs or quite fluent enough in the native West Coast language of gnarly.



The California vibe captured on multi-load cassette - no game compelled us to wear mirrored shades and dubious fluorescent tabards quite like this one. The Hollywood and Golden Gate backdrops were BASIC 2.0 works of art, the digitised rendition of the Jaws music whenever the shark appeared in the surfing event never failed to delight and we spent more time trying to hit the seagull in footbag than actually bothering to pull off an Axle Foley. And not a frantic joystick wiggle in sight - it was all about proper skills.

Best event: Surfing
Proper frustrating for n00bs, but once tamed 'shredding the face off an awesomely tubular wave' was a rush.

Worst event: Roller-skating
Only because we thought it was a bit shit that melted ice cream could make the roller-lady fall over. Banana skins, ghetto blasters and beach balls, we could understand. But melted ice cream? No.

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1 comment

  • adamski22 - August 28, 2008 11:59 p.m.

    what about the obvious... beijing 2008? mario & sonic at the olympics?

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