We analyze Epyx’s summer classic, California Games. Launched for Commodore 64 in 1987, it quickly ported to other desktop systems and consoles.
In 1987 the now defunct company Epyx created one of the most remembered sports games for which we have already been behind us for a few years; we are talking about California Games. He did it for the Commodore 64 computer but it was such a success that he had conversions to practically all the entertainment systems that existed and to come, such as Atari 2600 or Mega Drive among others.
The proposal was most refreshing and consisted of bringing together typical American sports – six – in a single video game, some as surprising as the Footbag or the Roller Skating. As we say, this fantastic combination paid off as more than 300,000 copies were sold within the first nine months of life, amazing for a market, the video game, which had not yet taken off completely at that time.
This was at least the idea they had for the game, to recreate typical California sports from the 80s, although the truth is that many of them were already practiced in many different countries. Despite its success, it was not the first Epyx title to focus on various sports disciplines, since before it the company developed up to four games on this theme; Summer Games I&II, Winter Games and World Games.
At California Games they could play one or two players, choose a sponsoring team and jump to the different tracks of the program to win the best scores and times on them. One of his main curiosities was that Epyx reached agreements with brands such as Casio or Kawasaki to make them appear in the video game, making California Games one of the first electronic entertainment programs to include advertising.
The tests are six, namely between; Half-Pipe —not to be confused with Half-Life, which we see you—, Roller Skating, Surf, BMX, Frisbee and Footbag. In the first, the player climbs onto a skateboard and tries to make points in a half tube, in the second we dodge obstacles on the course with our skates, the third is going to surf waves, in BMX we cross a circuit of cross with bicycle, in Frisbee throws one of these discs as far as possible at the same time that we must catch it before it falls and in Footbag we tap our legs with a small ball filled with seeds. Nothing else. And although today it may seem low in content, it was a blast.