Summer Games II

I thought the Olympics were every four years...

Source // Lemon 64

Yup. It's another athletics game. I'm not going to have the best time with it, am I? What will Summer Games II do differently from the likes of Track & Field? Was the original Summer Games not a big enough leap forward for the genre to be included on the 1001 list?

I shouldn't be so harsh on it, especially having not played it. If anything it'll be a damn good excuse to see how Commodore 64 emulation works, seeing as I hadn't tried up until this point. Who knows, maybe Summer Games II will blow my socks off.


Oh boy, probably should have gone for a port instead...

I had some... fun... getting Summer Games II up and running. I got it up and running in the first place, which is good, but finding a control scheme that worked for me was a bit tricky. The one I settled on, using WASD for movement, meant that none of those keys were recognised in the text entry fields, so say hello to 'Frnk Cvil'.

The emulation also captured my mouse and gave Windows a bit of a hard time when it came to taking screenshots, so, uh, here is a lovely shot of the end of the opening ceremony, which is neatly animated. It looks both detailed and simple, and I look forward to actually trying to play it.

Oh for the love of all that is holy, no. Is this what people put up with back in the day? Lining up cassette tapes and hitting play? You want to know the funny part? It took a while even when emulating at twice the speed, and then I watched my dude fail the Triple Jump three times (still haven't bothered to read controls before playing games) before I got dumped onto another loading screen to get me to the menu again.

Hell no. I'm heading to YouTube.

Source // C64 Wiki

Fun Times

It looks good doesn't it? I saw the run animation a few times, as well as a little bit of a stumble face first into the Triple Jump sand, but even that was enough to know that we've clearly come a long way from Track & Field and even Hyper Sports. Seeing all the events - which include newcomers to the genre like Kayaking, Cycling and the Equestrian - makes me want to struggle through the hassle of loading them. I guess I could play the practice mode...

I think most of the video I saw was just the tape loading, but in between those flashes of colour were moments of digital athletic prowess. The animation, the sound, the music... they're not perfect by any means - the animations look fluid, the sound is a little dusty and fuzzy, the music (especially the national anthems) is a bit of a strain on the ear - but together they make for quite a game.

It's the same game format as every other athletics based game we've seen and my toaster could load things quicker, but damn does it deserve its place on the list or what? Maybe just me. It might have knocked a space shooter off the list...

Final Word

I might end up shocking myself by willingly coming back to an athletics game and trying again some day, because I get the sense of missing out by not really being able to play Summer Games II. I'm fairly sure that my experience would be the same as every other game so far - figuring out the controls on the fly will end in failure, practice is a must, you'll succeed at neither - but I can live with that.

At the very least it's worth a watch, and I'm even tempted to see if anyone has done a well produced comparison of athletics games over the years, because they do show off the advancement of technology nicely. Whether the gameplay does anything is up to you.

Fun Times

Not much trivia from this one, but if you ever wanted to know who the 1984 Summer Olympics medallists were in each of the Summer Games II sports, they're printed in the back of the instruction manual.

Summer Games II, developed by Epyx, first released in 1985.
Version 'played': Commodore 64, 1985, via emulation.
Version watched: Commodore 64, 1985 (William Hunter)