Winter Games (Atari 2600)

Foreword

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games have finished, and thinking of everyone who still wants to enjoy winter sports, I thought in writing a new entry about this event. I know is about the port of a game I wrote an earlier entry, but in my visits to Video Game Critic, I found a quite different version of this classic, for the Atari 2600 console, and I was surprised at what could be achieved in that console, considered obsolete by the time this particular game was made.

Datafile

Company: Epyx
Year: 1987
Plataform: Atari 2600
Controller: Atari 2600’s Joystick

Game

Being an adaptation of the original game of Commodore 64 it’s logical to think it has the same features than its predecessor, where the limitations of the console would hinder some features like typing your name, and retiring some countries from the game, taking out their flags and anthems. But it was possible to maintain the ability to 8 players to compete, and the same amount of 8 events than in the original games, even if that meant replacing the two skating events for new additions, which are:

Slalom

Not quarter of minute, and 6 missed flags…

Belonging to alpine skiing sport, this event have been present in Winter Olympic Games since 1948. Slalom Videogames were quite frequent in the first videogame consoles. I guess the idea of controlling a downhill at top speed and at the same time trying to get pass between flags was easy to program. Here I’m surprised by the detail of the skier, the trees, even the public, which look more like christmas elfs than peopel, but who is complaining.

The controls are: the event starts when you press the button, and with horizontal movements you can adjust the rotation of the virtual skier.

As already mentioned, the idea is passing between the greater amount of flags in the least possible time.

Luge

Think about a sled from a kid’s playground, but bigger and faster.

Event where you descend in a sled, in this case, only you, with your feet at the front. Present in Winter Olympic Games since 1964. Similar to Bobsleigh, where you slide in a sled and try to descend as fast as you can, the controls are identical to the Bobsleigh event in the original game.

It’s amazing the detail applied, since is prefectly distinguishable the participant, comparing to the ones in Bobsleigh.

If you are curious, we show here how the other events fare compared with the Commodore 64 game. The controls are the same in both games.

Comments

EventNotes
BiathlonIf you see, the image is quite identical to slalom, and that’s because it is the same. The differences are there are no flags and the direction the skier goes changes: down, up, down. In this event you can see a little heart at the bottom of the screen which helps with the rhytm.
Hot DogIn this adaptation, a closeup is added in the top right section to get a better view and “ease” making pirouettes.
Speed SkatingSame controls, and same only event where two players compete simoultaneously.
Ski JumpVery similar to the original event, with the difference that if you don’t make a perfect landing, the poor virtual skier bounces like a rubber ball, and truth be said, it’s quite funny to see in the top screen. The same applies if you can not jump from the ramp.
Bob SleighSame controls as the Luge event, and I like how it’s possible to see that is a differente vehicle comparing with the one of that game.

Countries

The number of events is different from the Commodore 64 version, but also the number of countries the videoplayer can choose from to “represent”, in this game, the countries are:

Epilogue

I’m amazed at what was achieved with an already considered obsolete console, and the game can retain what made great the original game. If the Ski Jump event was already difficult, here is harder. The Luge event, at first, I thought it was a vile copy of Bobsleigh, but later I realized it was harder to control the sled. I got a lot of fun how was implemented the Biathlon recycling the screens of Slalom. A great and enjoyable surprise, where the time goes really fast when you compite in all events.

References

Sport Icon designed by Smashicons of FlatIcon licensed by CC 3.0 BY.

Console Icon taken from Retroarch.

General info about Olympic Winter Games.

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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