Olympic Summer Games: Button Bashing Madness in the 16-Bit Era

Olympic Summer Games on the Super Nintendo
Button mashing time!

Back in our day, there used to be these sporting games that revolved around button bashing. They were popular in arcades and on home consoles such as the SNES and Mega Drive.

Olympic Summer Games is a prime example! The official title for the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, boasting 10 events and lots of buttons to bash.

All About Olympic Summer Games (the video game)

Silicon Dreams was responsible for this epic, which eventually launched in mid-1996 on the SNES, Game Boy, PlayStation, Mega Drive (Genesis), and even the 3DO.

It was Nintendo Official Magazine that got us all excited about this one. Back when Dave Upchurch was editor—you know who we’re on about!

The staff of NMS did a special review where they all got stuck into the multiplayer action to see who would win.

You see, the beauty of titles like this involves the multiplayer action. Even on the SNES with its two pads only, you could involve in a bunch more players.

10 events. Much button bashing. Much jollification. There were eight epic Olympians to choose from (as that’s how many people took part back in the day):

  1. Paul from USA! USA! USA!
  2. Chris from the UK. Tally, bally ho!
  3. David from Canada.
  4. Kevin from France.
  5. Gary from Spain.
  6. Colin from Japan (of course, with a name like that).
  7. Ian from Germany.
  8. Jon from Finland.

You choose your character, compete in events, and try to win gold medals. So yeah, here’s an example of the triple jump in action.

And here’s the long jump. Remember, bashing those buttons here was the key to getting your speed up for a jump of Luigi in Super Mario Bros. 2 proportions.

We’ve no idea about the science behind any of this, but various theories became urban legends about the best approach to use.

Button bashing wise, we mean. There were a few approaches:

  • Doing the logical button bashing like crazy with two fingers.
  • Rubbing over the buttons with a bit of your t-shirt.

Erm, well that was about it really. Some people swore by one method, others by the other one.

Who knows which one worked best? There seemed to be little variation on results, timing with your jumps was (seemingly) where it was all at.

Other invents include the javelin, high jump, discus, archery, and 110 metre hurdles.

Four years later we had more demented takes on this on the Dreamcast (see Virtua Athlete 2K), but this type of game is difficult to get wrong (even if Nagano Winter Olympics managed to).

Although reviews at the time weren’t amazing, we remember quite enjoying it. Especially in multiplayer mode with a couple of mates.

Not groundbreaking. Definitely a cash-in. But a decent effort that, for a bunch of 11 year olds, in 1996 seemed pretty amazeballs.

Olympic Summer Games on the Game Boy

Yeah! They did a Game Boy version of this! Huzzah! We 100% owned this son of a gun and think we still have it as part of our old Game Boy collection.

Which is cool, don’t you think!? Well, whatever. Obviously the Game Boy version was much more cut back than on other more advanced machines.

And it probably represents the least functioning member of the Olympic Summer Games port family.

But we still just like how many of these games were shifted over to the Game Boy regardless of the outcome. To hell with it! There’s money to be made!

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