#86 Summer Games II

Posted: 3rd April 2012 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

135th played so far

Genre: Sports
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1985
Developer: Epyx Inc.
Publisher: Epyx Inc.

Epyx’s Games series – aside from this game, at some point in the future we’ll also cover World Games and California Games – is not the first collection of minigames (even in our book Tron comes first), but it’s probably one of the first that made a succesful series out of it.

Its concept is simple – you’re participating in the Olympic Games in several events, and you have to win for your country.

Our Thoughts

Right, let me explain why this game came up at this point, as there’s a (small, but present) story behind this. You see, this is what we call a catch-up game in our game picks – a game we play because we need to catch up on a genre or year (or as in this case, both). This time, however, it was also triggered by memories. Both Winter Games and California Games were a larger part of my game playing memories from my youth, back in the days when I just had a 286 to play with. This installment came first, though.

As said, this is really just a collection of minigames. Eight different sporting events coming from those seen in the Olympic Games. As the game implies, this is the second game, which means that some of the more obvious events – such as hurdles or running – aren’t present. This is, in this case, a good thing – the first game had a lot of button mashing for these types of event, an aspect that’s greatly reduced in this game, with only cycling and rowing really featuring these.

Instead, we get a lot more timing-based games (two times of jumping, javeling throwing as well as vaguely similar equestrian events), a slightly more complex strategy-based fencing game and a real avoid the obstacles race in kayaking.

For a game this age, sound and graphics really don’t matter – 4-colour CGA really is nothing to write home about – but the main fault we have are with the controls. I’ll be honest – this might be our failing, as we couldn’t get any joystick to work with this game – but I know that far from everyone in these days had one anyway, so that shouldn’t matter.

Instead, the keyboard controls are fiddly and inconsistent. Some events are straightforward, and therefore fun to play – javelin is a simple run right, then press left to aim – but others seem to have forgotten to support the keyboard when it was ported. Cycling, for example, is done by rotating the arrows, and that’s just not easy to do on a keyboard.

Final Thoughts

Are there fun bits? Yeah, there’s a few games like that. But I’m hoping California Games really holds up better and doesn’t disappoint me now.

  1. […] been playing a bunch of games based on sports games before, mostly from these earlier eras – Summer Games II comes to mind – but the collection of minigames with a sports theme lasts in the modern day […]