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Reviews (0-9 / A-M)

'88 Games

MANUFACTURER: KONAMI
1
988 (1-4 Players)


 

Overview and game play

Konamiís í88 Games is an Olympic games style sports game testing the button bashing skills of the player to compete successfully in eight events. Upon depositing a coin, the player is requested to enter their initials and then the game begins. After putting his finger in his ear, a man with a starting gun begins the first event, the 100 meter dash, following a countdown by a digitized voice that does not have its origin on screen. Timing of pressing the two fire buttons in a fast alternating rhythm is the key to successfully guiding your sprinter to a qualifying time of less than 17 seconds to proceed to the next stage, the long jump. A time of more than 17 seconds results in the game ending, so there is an extra incentive for players to hit the buttons fast. In one player mode, a computer controlled opponent races against the player to provide a challenge and also act as a pace maker for the race. Players may be tempted to try and get a head start in a race by beginning before the start countdown is over. Sometimes it is possible to get a minor head start but invariably a foul or false start will be declared. 

 

 

The long jump stage is a little more forgiving as players are allowed 3 attempts to jump 6.50 meters or better and qualify for the next stage, the 400 meters relay. However, attaining a qualifying distance is not easy, so practice will certainly be necessary. Players guide their athlete down a running track to reach the highest power and speed level possible. Just before the foul line, the athlete must jump in the air. Keeping button 2 depressed will increase the angle of elevation the athlete jumps and experimentation is needed to obtain optimum results, although a nearly full power gauge and 40 degrees elevation obtained a qualifying distance.

The third event, the 400 meters relay features 4 teams racing against each other with each member of a 4 person team racing 100 meters each and then passing a baton over to a team mate waiting to start the next leg of the race. In addition to maintaining a high speed rhythm with the power button, players must master passing the baton to their teammates in order to maintain forward momentum. This requires timing and practice, and failure to make a smooth transition will cost valuable seconds. Obtain an overall time of less than 40 seconds and the player will qualify for the next event. Other events in í88 games include: 110 meters hurdles (less than 15 seconds to qualify); skeet shooting (above 2500 points in 20 seconds to qualify) and javelin throwing (more than 70 meters to qualify).   

 

Graphics

A pleasing aspect of the graphics in í88 Games is that Konamiís designers have paid some attention to details in the presentation that enhance the overall gaming experience. For example, while competing in the 100 meter dash, other athletes can be seen performing warm up exercises in the background. The long jump switches from a side view of the athlete to a perspective view when jumping to create the illusion he is jumping towards the camera.  This is a nice graphical touch, but the game is nevertheless let down by a static crowd in the long jump stage that perhaps would be more realistic if animated. Nevertheless, the cartoon style graphics are well designed and detailed enough to create an appropriate sporting atmosphere. A further example of effective graphics details is the presence of advertisements for other Konami games. Other game designers also used this idea in the late 1980ís, such as the roadside adverts in Outrun by Sega. It is unlikely the game designers in the 1980ís would have foreseen that their idea of placing adverts in games would develop into a lucrative source of income for game developers by the year 2000, yet companies have now started to realize the potential for advertising in games and will pay for the privilege to see their name in some games.   

 

 

Sound

í88 Games features digitized speech that is not very clear. Male and female voices introduce events and even though the game was made many years ago, the result sounds scratchy and barely recognizable. Digitized voices in games were just starting to gain popularity in 1988 and few games at that time featured clear speech, so in comparison with other games in 1988, í88 Games would be about average in the sound department. Sound effects are functional but not memorable and music consists of various subdued fanfare tunes presumably designed to evoke memories of opening ceremonies at Olympic Games.

 




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