Matt Chat 18: Summer Games and the Olympic Mini-Games

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Hi, guys, here it is: Matt Chat 18: Summer Games. Enjoy, and please rate the video and let me know what you think about Summer Games. I hope you guys had as much fun playing this one back in the day as I did!

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Chris Kennedy
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Anyone have a boxed copy of Summer Games for C64?

What can I say, Matt? Good review. Lots to cover. You hit the high spots. "I hope you didn't dry off yet" was a great line. Perhaps those with Summer Games experience will mention anything that was left out or needed more attention, but I say that this was a job well done. Summer Games was one of the games that I have on my "gotta check this one out" list for C64, but I never investigated it much via youtube, emulator, or otherwise. I guess it just got bumped up.

The only "Games" game I have previously played is California Games. Did it get the most pub? Perhaps there were more ports? For whatever reason, it's the one I heard about the most. I believe I first played it on IBM PC. A friend of mine later rented the NES version. Certain parts could get pretty addicting.

One thing that was really cool about California Games that seems like it would apply naturally to these other games was the fact that different people could specialize in different things depending upon their interest and then share their talent in a group gathering. One gamer might be really good at skateboarding while another could really tear it up at BMX. This helped keep the game interesting if a bunch of friends got together and played California Games. I am not sure if I ever quite got surfing...

Wow. I knew there was another one for C64 (Winter Games), but I had no idea there were that many total "Games" games. The horse clip looked pretty good from an artwork/animation standpoint.

Good job! I look forward to the next one.

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Bill Loguidice
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Great job as always, Matt!
Chris Kennedy wrote:

Anyone have a boxed copy of Summer Games for C64?

For sale? I can't recall seeing it available much. Sad to say, but I had all the games pirated back in the day (still have those copies). My favorites were Summer Games, Winter Games and World Games, but that's probably because I played those the most. I also of course played (and own) many of the other variations from other companies, both before and after, like Microsoft Olympic Decathlon (have that boxed for the Apple II), HES Games (which came out around the same time as Summer Games on the C-64), Activision's Decathlon, Track and Field, etc. It seems like the most popular platform for those types of games these days in the Wii, because that's a favorite home for mini-game shovelware.

Chris Kennedy wrote:

What can I say, Matt? Good review. Lots to cover. You hit the high spots. "I hope you didn't dry off yet" was a great line. Perhaps those with Summer Games experience will mention anything that was left out or needed more attention, but I say that this was a job well done. Summer Games was one of the games that I have on my "gotta check this one out" list for C64, but I never investigated it much via youtube, emulator, or otherwise. I guess it just got bumped up.

Summer Games and the whole Games series were high points on the C-64, right up there with games like Impossible Mission, also from Epyx. In fact, as of the earliest computer games companies (as Automated Simulations), Epyx probably peaked when the C-64 peaked, creating a wide range of memorable titles both for and that took great advantage of the platform.

Chris Kennedy wrote:

The only "Games" game I have previously played is California Games. Did it get the most pub? Perhaps there were more ports? For whatever reason, it's the one I heard about the most. I believe I first played it on IBM PC. A friend of mine later rented the NES version. Certain parts could get pretty addicting.

One thing that was really cool about California Games that seems like it would apply naturally to these other games was the fact that different people could specialize in different things depending upon their interest and then share their talent in a group gathering. One gamer might be really good at skateboarding while another could really tear it up at BMX. This helped keep the game interesting if a bunch of friends got together and played California Games. I am not sure if I ever quite got surfing...

I have the boxed Atari L y n x and a few other versions of California Games, though I'm a bit ashamed to say I haven't played it much. I always hear people go on and on about how amazing surfing was and how it was the best surfing game until the surfing games from the PS2 forward. I'd say California Games was perhaps Epyx's greatest hit and their most ported game, though sadly was probably also their last great hurrah before giving up the ghost around 1989.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Bill Loguidice
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Just a comment about the

Just a comment about the Epyx joystick thing, the red and black Epyx 500XJ joysticks were my joystick of choice on my C-64 and Amiga. Nice clicky micro switches and very comfortable in the hand. Very, very different from the Atari 2600 joysticks, though since my 500XJ's are all worn out now, I generally stick with the Atari joysticks today.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Mark Vergeer
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Video response to Matt Chat no 18

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Matt Barton
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Thanks for the comments,

Thanks for the comments, Bill & Chris. California Games is probably more popular with some because it was "cooler," featuring a great soundtrack and more stuff in there to appeal to a teenage audience (which make the Atari L y n x a very nice candidate for a port; too bad the system tanked). However, I think the Olympics-based ones may have broader appeal (at least demographic wise).

Thanks for listing some other games of this type, Bill. I haven't heard of several of those you mentioned. How similar are they to Epyx?

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Bill Loguidice
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Earliest Olympic-style videogames?
Matt Barton wrote:

Thanks for the comments, Bill & Chris. California Games is probably more popular with some because it was "cooler," featuring a great soundtrack and more stuff in there to appeal to a teenage audience (which make the Atari L y n x a very nice candidate for a port; too bad the system tanked). However, I think the Olympics-based ones may have broader appeal (at least demographic wise).

Well, the other factor of course is that Epyx was the original "developer" of the L y n x when it was still the "Handy", so that's why a lot of the early software for it was from them (Electrocop, Blue Lightning, etc.). They just didn't have enough money to bring it to market themselves, so it ended up with Atari. Sadly, that was not a great place to end up for obvious reasons, but it is what it is. It was and is a great handheld, with tons of power.

Matt Barton wrote:

Thanks for listing some other games of this type, Bill. I haven't heard of several of those you mentioned. How similar are they to Epyx?

They're all rather similar, yes, though of course Epyx's games were as popular as they were for a reason - they were tuned well and felt "just right". I had for instance HES Games at the same time I had Summer Games on the C-64 and I played Summer Games far more. Of course HES Games had some unique events that it would take later "Games" games to cover, and I did play a lot of archery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hes_Games).

I should maybe do a video on Microsoft's Decathlon, Apple II version, as a companion to what you did and cross promote your Summer Games coverage as the first breakthrough hit olympics-style game. Busy, busy day today and tonight, though.

Here's some screenshots: http://www.mobygames.com/game/microsoft-decathlon/screenshots

It's obviously a "rawer" type of visuals and more clinical approach to simulating olympic events. Since it came out in 1981, I wonder if it's the earliest olympic-style game with recognizable graphics? I can't really recall anything earlier save for Pong-style ball and paddle games that called themselves "olympics", a la Atari's late 1970's "Video Olympics" (http://www.atariage.com/software_page.html?SoftwareLabelID=585) and arcade antecedents.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Mark Vergeer
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Suzo Arcade Joysticks were my choice

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good choice

The Epyx Games series reminds me of my childhood when I played them alot. These games really stood out from other C64 titles, in terms of graphics (especially smooth animation and little details) and great music for each event starting with Summer Games II. The overall quality was outstanding. A worthy choice for Matt Chat! I always look forward to which classic you might feature next.

Rowdy Rob
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Matt Chat: Summer Games comments

Less than 24 hours after you posted the video, there's already over 100 views of this episode. Not too shabby!

This episode might be the tipping point where it all seems to have come together: excellent commentary, cool intro titles, excellent cutaways, and even an "insert" graphic. It seems, dare I say it, "professional."

It seems that your commentaries have gotten even better with the microphone in front of you. Are you more comfortable with that arrangement?

As for Summer Games, it was appealing because it was a subject matter everyone is familiar with and could relate to, as opposed to invading aliens or hopping on mushrooms for power-ups. Yet, most of the mini-games, while hard, were less about reflexes and more about timing, making the game approachable to most non-joystick-jockeys. Yet it was still a videogame, so the joystick jockeys could have fun too. The animation was, for its time, excellent.

I always wanted to play Winter Games, but it wasn't available for the Atari 8-bit. It looked really good!

I did mess with the (I think) Amiga version of "California Games," but it really didn't appeal to me. To me, it was less "California Games" and more "SLACKER Games." To play a swimmer, runner, or pole vaulter was to play a real athlete, but California Games gave you "hacky sack," a pastime for losers who weren't skilled enough to do something cool, like play videogames. Since playing real "hackey sack" was essentially goofing off, it felt redundant to goof off playing a videogame about goofing off.

Great video! And all this talk about the Epyx 500xj joystick makes me want to dig mine out. Actually, I think I have two of them! Great joystick.

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Rowdy Rob
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A couple more quick comments

1. You were kidding about the "Bjork" performance in Summer Games, right???

2. This might be a controversial idea/question, but can you do "annotations" in your Youtube videos as ad placements for your books? I generally hate annotations (especially those word balloons) and usually turn them off, but who knows, someone might actually click on an annotation ad at the bottom of the video and go to your Amazon page. It might be an idea worth considering (or rejecting).

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

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