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C64/128 Cover art
David Wise (NES version)
Chikako Kamatani (SMS version)
Andras Magyari (Genesis version)
California Games is a 1987 Epyx sports video game for many home computers and video game consoles. Branching from their popular Summer Games and Winter Games series, this game consisted of some sports purportedly popular in California including skateboarding, freestyle footbag, surfing, roller skating, flying disc (frisbee) and BMX.
The game sold very well, topping game selling charts for winter months. It also got very positive reaction from reviewers, many of whom consider California Games to be the last classic Epyx sports game, due to staff changes not long after its release.
Several members of the development team moved on to other projects. Chuck Sommerville, the designer of the half-pipe game in California Games later developed the game Chip's Challenge, while Ken Nicholson the designer of the footbag game was the inventor of the technology used in Microsoft's DirectX. Kevin Norman, the designer of the BMX game went on to found the educational science software company Norman & Globus, makers of the ElectroWiz series of products.
The sound design for the original version of California Games was done by Chris Grigg, member of the band Negativland.
Originally released for the Apple II and Commodore 64, this game was very lucrative for Epyx and was released for several other platforms over the years. It was eventually ported to Amiga, Apple IIGS, Atari 2600, Atari ST, Atari Lynx, DOS, Sega Mega Drive, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo Entertainment System, MSX and Sega Master System.
More recently the game was released for mobile phones in the Java format, and current rights holders System 3 CEO Mark Cale has stated that the game will be available in future as both a retail product and an on-line product for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS. The Commodore 64 version was released for the Wii's Virtual Console service in Europe on April 11, 2008 and in North America on July 6, 2009.
The events available vary slightly depending on the platform, but include all of the following:
Team sponsors for California Games[clarification needed] include Epyx, Costa Del Mar, Kawasaki, Santa Cruz, Ocean Pacific, Casio, Auzzie, Spin Jammer, Maxx-Out, Milton Bradley, Jetski and Ray-D-O.
California Games was very successful for Epyx, outselling each of the four previous titles in the company's "Games" series. Computer Gaming World recommended the game, calling it fun. Compute! called California Games "both inventive and charming". The game was reviewed in 1988 in Dragon #129 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4½ out of 5 stars. Historian Jimmy Maher in 2015 wrote that
- The game was the focus of a comedy skit made by Mega 64.
- The game was used in an episode of Captain N: The Game Master.
- The game and its sequel California Games II was featured in an episode of JonTron, a YouTube channel that reviews vintage video games and provides comedic observations on them.
- "BIT.TRIP CORE Brings WiiWare Library to 100 Games and Counting". Nintendo of America. 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
- GoNintendo » Blog Archive » System 3 CEO confirms upcoming original Wii downloadable games, new California Games included- What are you waiting for?
- California Games (Virtual Console) Review
- MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 6, page 76, June 1992
- Mega rating, issue 9, page 23, Future Publishing, June 1993
- Maher, Jimmy (2015-06-19). "The Evolution of the (Epyx) Games". The Digital Antiquarian. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Teverbaugh, Rick (October 1987). "Sports Scoreboard" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 40. p. 42. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
- Bobo, Ervin (November 1987). "California Games". Compute!. p. 40. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (January 1988). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (129): 32–42.
- JonTronShow (2014-06-14), California Games - JonTron, retrieved 2016-02-21