Track and Field

Foreword

Due to the upcoming 1984 Olympic Games, Konami chooses to try its luck with a videogame about a sport which little to no competition, like the competitions of track and field athletics, succesfully capturing the energy and emotion of those events trying to achieve goals either advancing a distance in a minimum time, or reaching certain distance jumping or throwing.

The videogame was an amazing hit, with (for the time) an innovating control scheme to give the sensation of energy, which consisted in removing the joysting using only buttons.

Datafile

Company: Konami
Year: 1983
Plataform: Arcade
Other Names: Hyper Olympic
Controller: 3 buttons.

Game

Four possible athletes, note those short shorts so 80s.

As mentioned earlier, the control of the game was quite unusual for the time, using three buttons, where two of them used to run and the third one to either jump or throw. Actually you can use only one of the running buttons, but using the two of them, helps to accustomize to the pace of the game.

The game allows up to 4 human players to compete, where in the two running competitions can go head-to-head. To determine which player win the competition, scores are added according to the time or distance reached. Also, in almost every event, the player can get bonus points if certain conditions are met.

Well, not a gold medal, but at least you can get recognition.

It’s really important, in the events of jump and throw, to consider the speed (a bar at the bottom of the screen helps to get an idea of the speed achieved) and the angle of jump/throw which is really important. The best values to get the desired results are speeds above 1100 and angles between 41 and 44. The last two athletics events, including the infamous hammer throw, do not require bashing the running buttons, but instead, incredible precision with the angles. If the player do not reach the minimum distance/time, it’s instant game over for that player.

If you can get pass the high jump event, you see a prizing podium with a spectacular blonde and hearing the theme of the movie Chariots of Fire courtesy of Vangelis, and after that you start all over again, but with more difficult requirements to advance. The music also appear in the screen where the higher scores are shown.

Events

In every event, the player is allowed to fail twice before getting the desired goal, a common rule in athletics events. In race events these failures are false starts, since if you don’t finish the race in the indicated time, you lose. These two failures in the other events are jumping or throwing after a certain mark in the floor. If you fail for a third time, it’s game over. The events of the game are:

100 mts

The first and easiest of the events, where you only have to press the running buttons as quick as possible to reach the goal line before the qualification time.

Actually, it’s not mandatory to win the race, the only requirement is to finish before the qualification time to advance. Whoever reach first in multi-player competitions get more points, which can be important for the final score.

The qualification time es 14 seconds.

You can get 1000 extra points if both racers reach at the goal line at the same time. If that happens, appears the protagonist of the game Tuttankam (also from Konami) from one side to the other of the track and giving the points.

Long Jump

The difficult increases, because aside from getting a minimum speed, you need to be precise with the jump button. First for pressing it before the mark, and then, holding it so an arc indicating the angle appears, and starts moving. Then you have to release the button to get the angle desired, between 41 and 44 to get the qualification distance. The player has 3 attempts, but only the one with the longest distance is used to get points.

If the angle is minor, it does not get enough altitude, otherwise if it’s too high, you can not get enough distance.

The qualification distance 6.50 meters.

You can get a bonus of 1000 points if the 3 jumps get the same distance and are not foul. Appears the same character as in the previous event.

Javelin Throw

Practically the same mechanic than in the previous event, where you need to reach the minimum speed of 1100, and also press the throw button before a mark in the floor to make a succesful throw. Remember that the angle must be between 41 and 44 to reach the qualification distance. The player has 3 attempts, but it considers only the longest distance to consider the score.

If the angle is minor, it does not get enough altitude, otherwise if it’s too high, you can not get enough distance.

The qualification distance is 70 meters.

You can get a bonus of 1000 points if you can reach a great speed above 1250 and the angle of 80 degrees. This way, a virtual bird is impaled and while falling you get the points. I naively used to think it was a lamp at the roof of a domed athletics stadium.

110 mts Hurdles

Well, read the paragraph for the 100 mts, because the controls for running are the same, but adding that the distance is a bit longer, and you need to press constantly the jump button to get over the hurdles. If it’s not mandatory to jump all the hurdles, they can slow you down and that can be the difference from advacncing to the next event.

Because the qualification time is 14 seconds, the same as 100 mts, but running a longer distance and jumping the hurdles.

You can get 1000 bonus points meeting the same criteria as in 100 mts.

This event where ussualy where the players started to fail advancing.

Hammer Throw

IMHO, the most difficult event of the game. The first that do not require to bash the running buttons to get the desired speed. The player only needs to do it once to start spinning and increasing the speed. Then, you have to press the throw button to release the hammer, the game helps when to do it, by turning the hammer red. If not pressed at the right time, the hammer hits the wall and it counts as a foul.

Now, once pressed the button, you must apply the same mechanincs as in previous events to get the angle between 41 and 44 degrees, if not, the hammer won’t get the qualifying distance.

BTW, the qualifying distance is 75 mts.

And not, the event is the only one who does not offer bonus points. I think that if you can get to the next event is prize enough. Believe me when I tell you that seeing the hammer land in the field is quite satisfactory.

High Jump

The last athletics event of the game. Just like the previous one, higher precision than in the others is needed. Press once one of the running buttons to start the event, and near the bar, you press the jump button. You start at 85° and by pressing the jump button you lower the angle trying to get pass thru the bar.

You start trying to beat 2.15 mts and as you clear distances succesfully, the bar is getting higher. The fouls are accumulative.

The qualification height is 2.35 meters.

If you reach the qualification height with two fouls, a mole appears giving the bouns of 1000 points.

EstadioRetro

Informatic guy and fan of retro videogaming. Mexican and spanish. I like to drink good coffee. My favorite sport is baseball, but I like to watch others.

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