Seeing World Games on the page evoked a bit of a groan, along with words to the effect of 'ugh, not another bloody collection of sports'. Things are thankfully a little different here than at the Olympics, as the events take place around the globe and highlight some of the more unusual sports you could find yourself participating in.
Will a mix of known and unknown events make World Games stand above the likes of Summer Games II? Can we finally have a sports game that I find enjoyable? We ought to find out.
A number of ports are available for your worldly sporting travels, and I'm having a bash at the NES version. 'Having a bash' being descriptive of what tends to happen when working out the controls for any given event.
As is typical, the control schemes are varied and make 'sense' in the loosest of terms. The Barrel Jumping event requires the alternate bashing of left and right to build up speed on your ice skates before pressing, holding and releasing the A button to jump unrealistically high over the barrels in front of you, before crashing through the ice on the landing. You're supposed to press down to land smoothly. I didn't.
The controls are often the biggest issue with these kinds of games. I get that they have to mix things up to give you a challenge, but some of them seemingly require absolute perfection to get the most out an event, and that's ignoring if it registers as a success or not. As far as I'm concerned, diving off the top of a cliff without killing myself should be considered a success whether I did some flips or not, but not in World Games, no. I'm still trying to work out what that event wants from me.
Log Rolling - the national sport of Canada if you're learning anything about the world from World Games - requires the bashing of left and right to maintain balance and yet somehow also knock your opponent off into apparently shark infested waters.
Shark infested waters at a sporting event. The failure animations, simple though they are, highlight the fact that World Games is all about coming together for fun and friendly competition, not realism.
You won't know why you were thrown off Ferdinand the bull, and nor will you care. You won't know exactly where you went wrong in your Snatch or your Clean and Jerk, or why you dropped a caber on your foot or how the hell the Sumo event is even supposed to work, but you won't care.
You shouldn't care. The practice mode is there if you're desperate for it, but don't bother with it. Dive right into the events, one after the other. Marvel at how bizarre the selection of events is and just see how far you get when you know absolutely nothing.
Think of it this way: Everything's made up and the gold medals don't matter. World Games doesn't matter, it's just there for the sake of having something to play. That's not to say it's a bad game, just one that has a limited audience.
Sure, it mixes up the events. Sure, it doesn't take itself too seriously. Sure, it could be a laugh in multiplayer. But so could how many games that have been released since? What makes World Games worth going back to? Anything?
I'm not going to say avoid it entirely, but I can't say rush out to play it. I can only say, 'yeah, it's there, if you want it, I guess'.
So yeah. It's there if you want it, I guess.
During the latter stages of development, Epyx learned that they missed the point of the caber toss event - it was to get the caber to land upright then fall away from the thrower, rather than to be thrown as far as possible. The developers didn't bother to change the game to reflect this as "nobody in the US understands this discipline anyway".
World Games, developed by Epyx, first released in 1986.
Version played: NES, 1989, via emulation.