I’m going to be honest. I’m not a huge fan of the Olympics. I don’t necessarily have anything against them; I’m just not that interested in watching the festivities on TV or following the medal count on the Internet. I’m sure there are reasons why, but does it really matter? No, it probably doesn’t.


If the Olympics included events reminiscent of the old Roman Coliseum and gladiator days, that might draw me in. Can you imagine an athlete from each country being released into a large amphitheater with various weapons scattered about. Last man standing wins the Gold.


I suppose if they added a videogame event, say Counterstrike or Halo, and let the cyberathletes compete like they used to in the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), I would watch then, but probably just that event. I could see the headline now, “Fatal1ty wins the gold for Team USA in Free for All event."



I'm going to tell on myself a bit and reveal how big of geek I really am. When I hear "Summer Olympics" or "Winter Olympics", the first thing I think of is the many many years ago when I was a wee lad and novice gamer playing the Olympic Games on my brother's Commodore 64. It's amazing how complex and entertaining those games were for their time. For those that aren't familiar with the Commodore 64 architecture, you could actually use a 9 pin D-SUB controller (like from your Atari 500) on your Commodore 64. Actually you could use two controllers. Nifty, eh?


Most of the events required a degree of rigorous movement on your joystick (labeled joystick waggling by some) to run, jump, swim or otherwise interact with your onscreen athlete. This movement often consisted of rapid left to right motions and would often cause the rubber boot to separate from the joystick. (Not sure that constitutes normal wear and tear). Thankfully, it didn't impact the overall operation of the joystick except you couldn't get as good of a grip on the cheezy white plastic stick underneath the boot. (Let's keep it rated E for everyone and not make any "rigorous movement, grip and stick" jokes...LOL).




Good times.


Most of the games, or at least the ones we had and played, were created in the mid to late 80s by Epyx and Accolade (both are now defunct and have been absorbed by other companies).


Titles like Summer Games I and II, Winter Games, World Games and California Games were instant classics with us and the source of many hours of entertainment.


Summer Games I posted events in pole vaulting, platform diving, sprinting, gymnastics, freestyle swimming, skeet shooting and rowing. I liked pole vaulting the best. Sprinting was good for wearing a hole in your hand, or at the very least, a blister. The rest were just so-so


Summer Games II was a bit more interesting and offered the triple jump, high jump, rowing, javelin throw, equestrian, fencing, kayaking and cycling. I never could do the triple jump. I swear I faulted every time. If you have ever watched the real event on TV you might understand why. It's a timing thing. Fencing was pretty cool, but I think that was because it involved a sword like device. Kayaking was also neat.


Winter Games didn't really improve on graphics or game play over Summer Games I and II but at least it offered some new events that included alpine skiing, ski jumping, biathlon, bobsled, figure skating, speed skating, luge and freestyle skiing (or more appropriately, Hot Dogging). I didn't like a few of the events because it was more of the same joystick waggling, but freestyle skiing was pretty fun and my personal favorite event.


When World Games came on the scene, it really expanded the previous editions with some unique and entertaining events, all of which were somewhat enjoyable to compete in. The events included weightlifting (Russia), slalom skiing (France), log rolling (Canada), cliff diving (Mexico), caber toss (Scotland), bull riding (United States), barrel jumping (Germany) and sumo Wrestling (Japan). I was a pro cliff diver.


California Games might have somewhat strayed from the Olympic theme and been more comparable to the X-Games, but the events were the best and the game was quite entertaining. You could compete in the half pipe, roller skating, surfing, BMX, foot bag (also known as hacky sack), and the flying disk (also known as Frisbee). With the exception of roller skating, all the events were a load of fun and worth their weight in gold (or maybe silver).


Results of the classic Olympic video game event:


Gold - World Games

Silver - California Games

Bronze - Summer Games II


There is no boycotting the good old days of Olympic gaming. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think my spot at the top of the podium is ready, just in time to hear my favorite song.