Winter Games

Winter GamesThe Game: The Olympic torch is the warmest thing to be found in this multi-event recreation of the Winter Olympics. Downhill skiing, luge, slalom skiing and other events are represented here, and See the videoplayers can even pick which country they’re representing as they go for the gold. (Epyx, 1987)

Memories: One of the more elaborate attempts to recreate Olympic events on the Atari 2600, Winter Games benefits from a few additional years of knowledge on overcoming that system’s limitations. But it’s also, largely, an afterthought: Epyx made its real money from Winter Games on the Commodore 64 and other home computer systems.

Winter GamesBut Epyx deserves at least a bronze medal for the effort: the games in Winter Games are more diverse than the mostly-side-scrolling-friendly fare of Activision Decathlon and Track & Field. But that also becomes a bit of a liability: the similar nature of those earlier games meant that there was, more or less, a universal control scheme for every event. Not so with Winter Games, and some of the varying control methods for different events are counter-intuitive enough to make the experience a bit frustrating and off-putting for Olympic rookies.

3 quartersEpyx also translated its home computer hits Summer Games and California Games to the Atari 2600, again with varying degrees of success, before giving up on attempts to port its games to that platform. But at this point, the NES was in stores, so it’s hard to blame them.