Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Games: Winter Edition & Winter Challenge Reviews

Epyx released its first Winter Olympics game, Winter Games, in 1985 and I'd say it's still a great game just as the first two Summer Games are. Maybe it's the simplicity of them, in both the graphics and gameplay, that many future games based on the Olympics from other publishers couldn't match. Those early games were not officially endorsed by the Olympics but Epyx was able to acquire the license for both of its follow-ups, the Summer and Winter Editions of "The Games." The Games: Winter Edition's release hit in 1988 to coincide with the Calgary '88 Winter Olympics. I've always enjoyed the "Games" series from Epyx and as I mentioned a few times previously, I had hoped to do a "Let's Play" video for this one during the 2018 Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, my Commodore 64 broke at an inopportune time so instead, I've got some magazine scans. One review is for the Epyx game and the others are for Accolade's very similar release for the '92 Olympics called Winter Challenge that was published in 1992 for the Sega Genesis under its Ballistic label.

The review for The Games: Winter Edition is from Commodore Magazine. They provide quite an in-depth review as they detail each one of the seven events included in the game. One thing I never quite figured out in this game is how the judges score the figure skating. It's a rather intricate event as you choreograph your routine before performing it and while I always felt like I performed well, my scores were always dismal.

Commodore Magazine - December 1988

Before I get to the Winter Challenge reviews I've got a preview of Accolade's DOS version called The Games: Winter Challenge from the January 1992 issue of Video Games & Computer Entertainment. I decided to scan this one because I couldn't find a review of it and quite a few Internet sites seem to believe it released in 1991, which is what the title screen displays as the copyright (title screens being off by a year is not uncommon). However, that seems unlikely as this preview is based on an incomplete beta that didn't even have the sound in it yet. Magazines did have to write articles in advance and sometimes issues hit newsstands a month or so ahead of what the cover says but it still makes more sense that 1992 is the release year. In any case, I find it to be a fun, if brief, read due to the PC hardware that is mentioned: " gets pretty hot on a 33 MHz PC." Also, you can see bits of Elvira II and SimAnt previews on the parts of the two pages that are included.

Video Games & Computer Entertainment - January 1992

For the Sega Genesis' Winter Challenge I've got reviews from Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM), GamePro, and Game Informer. There is quite a range of opinions here with EGM disliking it, GamePro giving its "FunFactor" category the highest possible rating, and three Game Informer staff scoring it 6, 7, and 8.5 overall.

EGM #35 
GamePro - March 1992

Game Informer - January/February 1992

UPDATE February 4, 2022: My Commodore did eventually get fixed and four years later another Winter Olympics is happening so I finally made a video of The Games: Winter Edition.

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