[ Retro Scan of the Week ] EPYX Summer Games

August 11th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

EPYX Summer Games Ad- 1984“Why watch the Olympics when you can be in them?”

24 years ago, EPYX delivered the industry’s best Olympics simulation to date in time for the Games of the XXIII Olympiad. While real athletes struggled for the gold in Los Angeles, kids at home recreated their heroes’ moves in digital form, courtesy of Summer Games.

In the mid 1980s, my brother, his friends, and I would pull out EPYX’s Summer Games every year and compete for the best records. We played the Atari 800 version, although EPYX released the game on the Commodore 64 and other platforms as well. Completing all events in Summer Games felt like a real, epic challenge. Our quest for world records was aided by the fact that the game saved our high scores to the disk. (Our 1980s scores are still on that disk, by the way, and I’ve been meaning to back it up for years before it gets screwy.)

To this day, EPYX’s masterpiece is still my favorite Olympic video game. In the spirit of the 2008 Beijing Games, I pulled out Summer Games last night and played it while the real Olympics unfolded on the TV behind me.

[ From Compute!, June 1984 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What’s your favorite Olympic event to play in a computer or video game? (e.g. diving, gymnastics, decathlon, etc.)

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9 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] EPYX Summer Games”

  1. Daniel Says:

    Ahh Summer Games. How many joysticks bit the dust from the running events in this and similar games?

  2. Kitsunexus Says:

    Back dem dings up!

  3. SQLGuru Says:

    Summer Games, Summer Games II, Winter Games, and World Games. What a great collection of games.

    I like the Ski Jump best…….keep the skis straight and then land just right.


  4. MattMik Says:

    Hmm…I can’t say that I have a favorite. The only olympic-style simulator I’ve played is Track and Field II for NES, and that was fun, if you can get past the fact that almost all the sports are hard to play without a turbo button.

    I’d have to say fencing was the best, though. Or karate.

  5. Fessic Says:

    Good memories of the old arcade Track & Field. I was pretty young so getting past the Javelin was a pretty major milestone. But man; I remember watching those older kids hammering away like pros. Some of the guys used Popsicle sticks even.

    As for my favorite event…I’d probably have to go with Archery

    …never did beat that darn Hammer Throw 😀

  6. Captain Angry Says:

    Track & Field II for NES had this arm wrestling event where you pretty much just had to hit the A and B buttons as fast as you can, and the more rapid pressing player would slowly take the lead over the slower guy.

    The catch was there was no time limit or draws so it always became this incredibly long submission match where my brother and I would struggle against each other for 20-30 minutes at a time.

    You’d mash buttons until your right hand gets tired, switch hands real quick, try alternating left and right hand fingers. Let up a little bit to lull your opponent into a false sense of security, then let rip with a burst of speed to go for the win. It was epic.

  7. medarch Says:

    Diving. On the Apple IIc’s Summer Games, I think. Forward, Backward, Reverse, Inward. Belly flop!

  8. SirPaul Says:

    The only ones I really played were Activision’s Decathlon and Epyx’s Summer Games, both on the Atari 2600. And I liked the games where I didn’t have to quickly waggle the joystick left and right. I especially enjoyed Summer Games’ skeet shooting and rowing. I also liked Decathlon’s hurdles, though I could never get the pace right and keep running into the hurdles rather than jumping over them..

  9. JohnH Says:

    There is a reason that kid is holding a Wico joystick. Those things were completely indestructible! So many of the track&field like games involved rapid smacking of those things, you needed one that wouldn’t fade.

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