Copyright/Publisher: Epyx, Game Design By: Fuzzy Furry, Chuck Sommerville, Jon Leupp,
Ken Nicholson & Kevin Norman, Graphics By: Jenny Martin, Suzie Greene,
Sheryl Knowles & Paul Vernon,
Music By: Chris Grigg & Gil Freeman,
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Multi Events, Number Of Players: 1 to 8
Having given you the opportunity to participate in seasonal sports in the Summer and Winter
Games series, and to travel to distant lands in World Games, Epyx now offer you the chance to
go to California and take part in some of the World's trendiest sports.
California Games is the fifth in the Games series, and boasts six new events. Those who've
enjoyed the previous releases will recognise the now-standard options screen. This allows up
to eight players to compete in all or some the events, practice an event or view the record
table (the disk version automatically saves the highest scores for posterity).
When a competition starts, all players input their name and choose a sponsor (there are nine,
including Casio and Kawasaki) before undertaking the following:
The sport of the self-proclaimed Kings of Hawaii, surfing now takes place along the whole
length of the California coastline. Now's your chance to shoot the curl, shred the tube or
hang ten without even getting your feet wet. The screen displays the growing whitecap with
your surfer lying on his board, preparing to catch the wave.
Pressing the fire button sees the surfer stand up and begin his ride. The aim of the contest
is to ride the wave for as long as possible, while attempting to enter the curl itself.
Moving the joystick controls the direction of the board, and holding the fire button down allows
sharper turns to be made and also slows the board down - effectively allowing the wave can
catch up, and allowing you to enter the tube itself.
A 'Wipe Out' is the term used for the premature separation of surfer and board. This occurs
whenever you stray to far to the bottom of the wave and also if you get caught in the tube
itself. The ride lasts for one and a half minutes, and at the end of your efforts, a group of
laid-back beach bums hold up score cards to tell you how you fared.
Set in a beautiful lakeside park, the frisbee event involves two people - a thrower and catcher.
The objective is to hurl the disk to the catcher as accurately as possible. Points are awarded
for the type of catch, either running, diving or overhead - and the less the catcher takes to
reach the disk, the more the catch is worth. The player has three attempts to throw and catch
Become the most awesome dude on four wheels in this radical skateboarding event! A press of the
fire button signals the skateboarder to push off from the starting ramp at the top. Up and down
joystick movements accelerate the skater as he oscillates across the half-pipe, and a combination
of the fire button and left and and right on the joystick starts either an aerial turn, hand
plant or kick turn, depending on the skater's position on the pipe when the joystick is toggled.
Careful timing is essential during a manoeuvre, otherwise the skater falls and is 'wiped out'.
The player is given one minute and 15 seconds of four wipe outs to complete as many stunts as
possible. Go for it, and see if you can shake the pipe enough to cause an earthquake (that
wasn't my fault - that was San Andreas' fault).
THe beach boardwalk is a dangerous place for a non-skater, and Californian skaters are the
coolest around. Getting from one end of the 'walk to the other while staying cool and doing
stunts is the task that waits you in the section. Your female on-screen counterpart beings at
the far left of the boardwalk and has to traverse the length of the course, avoiding cracks in
the pavement, grass, old pairs of sneakers and even flying beach balls.
Repetitive movements of the joystick cuase your skarer's legs to move, while pressing the
fire button causes her to leap in the air. Spins award you with extra point, and jumping
spins over obstacles are awarded with corresondingly higher scores.
BMX BIKE RACING||
The Californian desert is the scene for the toughest of the California games - BMX Bike Racing.
Seated on your dirt bike at the top of the first ramp, the course extends to the right of the
screen and must be completed in two minutes or under. You are judged on the number and duration
of stunts accomplished, and bonus points are awarded for the time remaining on completion of the
There are a variety of jumps, burns and low bumps to be negotiated safely as well as rocks, tyres
and logs which can unseat the careless biker. Each player is allowed three 'easy' falls (ie
running into objects and tumbling from your bike) or one 'serious' fall (where a stunt goes
wrong and you fall on your head). Any further falls result in the end of the attempt, and the
total score is then displayed.
Every California has a foot bag, or hackysack as they've otherwise known. These are small, leather-covered
bean bags which are carried around and used in moments of boredom - such as when you're waiting
in a queue to hire a windsurfer. In this event the objective is to keep juggling the bag for one
and a quarter minutes using only your head, knees or feet. The screen displays a front view of
the player, who moves left and right, jumps and turns around.
As soon as fire is pressed the player kicks the ball in the air. When the ball drops the fire
button is pressed to make the player kick at it again. Timing and positioning is crucial - the
player tries his best to keep the ball up, but if he's too far away, or kicks out late or early,
he misses. Points are awarded for keeping the ball in the air as long as possible and extra scores
are awarded for performing stunts (such as spinning between kicks).
What an amazing package! Six events filled with fun and sun, just begging to be played each time
you switch on your computer. The beauty of the beast is that all six games are of an equally
high standard, so the only problem is trying to decide which event to take part in first! Even
in purely technical terms Epyx have somehow managed to surpass their own high standards - the
pictures and sounds generated by this program are atmospheric beyond belief.
cassette may cause a few headaches, but the amount of enjoyment to be had is so high that even
this inconvenience should only seem minor. California Games is a real progression in the Epyx
sports sim range - and surely there can't be a higher recommendation than that.
Gold medals, it seems, are just like double decker buses - you wait all year for one, and then
two come at once! Hot on the heels of Head Over Heels comes the superb new Epyx release,
California Games. Once again the American software house have exceeded both themselves and
the limitations of the C64 to bring us another incredible - and somewhat laid-back - sports
If you gather up all the superlatives from the previous Epyx reviews and add them
together, you just might go half-way towards describing California Games. Again the animation
and graphics are without peer, and the six separate games join together perfectly to form a
single, unbeatable package. Just for the record, the Surfing is my favourie - fun to play,
relaxing to watch and flawless in its implementation. I love it.
Sometimes I hate Epyx. They produce something seemingly unsurpassable like World Games, and
you use every superlative in the book to sum up its brilliance. Then, a year later, they
release California Games, to boldly go where no-one has gone before... and produce something
even better! The gameplay is by far the best in the Games series, incorporating (and you'd better
believe this) better graphics and animation and even more depth and variety than even before!
There's no getting near the limits of the score within a few plays either. All events,
especially BMX Riding, Foot Bag and the Skate events, require an awful lot of practice before
you even start scoring - developing your skills is another matter entirely! California Games
is quite simply the apex of computer sports gaming at the present time. Recommending it is