Sega has released their London 2012 Olympic Games video game for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and PC for all those who strive to be Olympic athletes. The latest edition takes players off the couch and performing the actual events thanks to Microsoft's Kinect. This marks the second game to feature the 2012 Olympics with Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games being the first. The events featured in Sega’s new release include Archery, Swimming, Gymnastics, Shooting, Track & Field and Weightlifting with sub-categories for each event respectively. The game itself is already garnering strong reviews over previous entries such as Beijing 2008 (an all-around deplorable game).
Then again, we’ve been playing Olympic-based games since 1977 with the introduction of Pong for the Atari 2600, which didn’t actually become an event until 1988 (as ping-pong), but who cares about the semantics.
Once we hit the 1980’s games based on the Olympics had become more appealing as the ‘eye-candy’ evolved over simple rectangular blocks with games such as HesGames ‘Summer Games’ for the Commodore 64 which featured events such as diving, track and weight-lifting and allowed for up to six people to play against each other making it an early form of multiplayer.
Another game that came out at roughly the same time was Activision’s ‘Decathlon’ for the Atari 5200 that featured all ten events including the high-jump and pole vault.
However, the pinnacle of 80’s Olympic-based gamming came in the form EA’s ‘Caveman Ugh-Lympics (released in 1988) for the Commodore 64, DOS and NES systems and featured Olympic favorites such as mate-tossing, fire making and saber-racing where runners competed against each other with a saber-tooth tiger running behind them for encouragement.
These games were promptly followed by official IOC (International Olympic Committee) sponsored games in the 1990’s such as Sega’s Olympic Gold (Barcelona 92) for the Game Gear, Genesis and Master System and let players compete in events such as hammer-through, hurdles and spring-board diving.
Sega’s ‘Olympic Summer Games’ for the SNES, Genesis and Game Boy platforms released in 1996 came next. The game featured events such as discus, javelin and skeet-shooting in all of its 16-bit glory.
All of these games eventually lead to the incredible and realistic games we see today with visuals that make Pong look extremely archaic in comparison, but still provide a nostalgic sense of fun none the less.