Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Retro Game of the Day! Decathlon

Retro Game of the Day! Decathlon

Decathlon by Activision, for the Atari 2600. Released in 1983.

Summer Games, Winter Games, California Games. Track and Field. We all remember those great games. But who here has fond memories of the OG video sport of Olympians? Put your hands together for David Crane's Decathlon!

Back in the day, when Activision was on the polar opposite end of the spectrum to where they are now, they put out some pretty weirdo software. Decathlon for the ol' VCS was up there alright. The theme wasn't anything unusual, but the gameplay was insane. Not bad, because this game was definitely a blast to play - but it was insane.

Ten events packed into this tiny cartridge was no small feat, especially back in the days when there was no such things as "minigames" - because all games were minigames, let's face it. Anyway, lots of riffing on a theme in this case, but the main element which most will remember of Decathlon was the running. You'd throttle your poor rubber joystick controller back and forth (left and right) to increase your runner's acceleration. Sounds like madness, and it was - this was the cause for so many households to replace their standard-issue sticks, as they'd simply get destroyed after a few sessions of this. So it was nuts, and it hurt, and it frustrated the hell out of anyone who played the game, but dadgum it was fun!

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