The great thing about sporting genre arcade games is that they allowed a regular person to transition from simply cheering on their favorite sports star to stepping into the fantasy of actually being a top athlete themselves. In fact this particularly popular form of video game has come far since the hay days of dimly lit arcade game centers offering pixilated graphics, block colors and slow processor speeds. With today/’s much improved technology, gamers can now enjoy a new level of realism and really feel like they/’re playing side by side with football heroes at the FIFA Cup or smashing shoulders with NFL super stars.
Looking back at some of the best sports game titles put onto the market there is one in particular that stands out as a classic and helped build the foundations for many of genres best selling games; track and field 2. Released in 1988 by Konami for the Nintendo Entertainment System, this title was based around the Olympic Games offering players a chance to take part in a wide variety of athletic events including taekwondo, hurdles, fencing, pole vaulting and many others.
Track and field 2 is actually the third follow up game in a long line of Olympic styled track and field titles offered up by Konami over the years with the original first release entering the market in 1983, simply named track and field or /‘Hyper Sports/’ to Japanese gamers. This first version that started it all was built for the large arcade machines which offered 2 buttons and a joystick; the faster you hit the buttons the faster the character would go, so you always knew when people were playing track and field because it was the loudest game in the center.
The new Track and field 2 finally took the game off of the arcade screens and put it into peoples homes, offering 3 times more sporting events, as well as substantially better graphics and smoother game-play. Players could choose to represent one of ten different countries and select 3 different game modes training, Olympic event and a 2-player versus mode for competing against friends. The controls were also basically unchanged from the first track and field game, consisting of just 2 buttons and the direction arrow pads, with character speeds and accuracy depending on alternating button hits or pressing the action key at just the right time. For example in the hurdles event a player runs by alternating hits between the A and B buttons and then jumps a hurdle by hitting the C button at just the right time; tripping over a hurdle obviously slows you down and ruins your chances of winning the race.
Although track and field 2 was the third title in the series to be released by Konami, it was the one that propelled the game into the public spotlight and helped spawn the development of a long list of future titles such as /‘Nagano Winter Olympics /‘98/’ and /‘New International Track and Field/’ .
Leave a Comment