Daley Thompson's Decathlon

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Daley Thompson's Decathlon
Daley Thompson's Decathlon Cover.jpg
Developer(s)Ocean Software
Publisher(s)Ocean Software
Programmer(s)Paul Owens, Christian Urquhart, Dan Hartley[1]
Artist(s)David Thorpe
Composer(s)David Dunn, Martin Galway
Platform(s)Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
Genre(s)Sports (Olympics)
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Daley Thompson's Decathlon is an Olympic-themed sports video game developed and released by Ocean Software in 1984.[2] It was released in the wake of Daley Thompson's popularity following his gold medals in the decathlon at the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games. The game is based on the gameplay format established by 1983 arcade game Track & Field.[3]: 42, 106 

A second game, Daley Thompson's Super-Test, was released the following year. The third title, Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge, was released in 1988 to coincide with the 1988 Olympic Games.


The player takes part in the ten events of the modern decathlon:

The player starts the game with three lives; failure to reach the minimum standard in an event results in the loss of one life. Success in the 1500 metres event results in the game returning to Day 1 to repeat the events with more difficult qualification criteria.

Depending on the computer, running is simulated by hitting two keys (representing the left and right leg) alternately and as quickly as possible or by moving the joystick from side to side as quickly as possible. The game rapidly gained a reputation among players as a "joystick killer" because of the constant vigorous waggling of the joystick required during many of the events.

The Spectrum version was the first game to use Speedlock, a fast loader on the computer.[4]


The soundtrack of the C64 version of the game was composed by David Dunn. The introduction music, by Martin Galway, is based on the 1978 electronic music piece "Rydeen" by Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).


Daley Thompson's Decathlon was the ninth best-selling computer game of 1985 in the United Kingdom.[5]

Sinclair User gave the game a score of 8/10.[6] The game won the award for Best (Overall) Arcade Game in the Crash magazine Readers Awards 1984[7] and was the Best Arcade-Style Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards.[8] The One magazine in 1991 rated the game two out of five stars for the Amiga and Atari ST.[9]

In 1985, Ocean acquired the rights to produce official conversions of Konami's games[10][11] starting with the arcade follow-up to Track and Field, Hyper Sports. Their officially licensed versions of Track and Field were finally released for the Commodore 64[12] in 1987, and Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum in 1988.[13]

In 2017, the game was placed on Eurogamer's "10 games that defined the ZX Spectrum" list.[14]


  1. ^ "News". Crash. No. 9. Newsfield. October 1984. p. 41. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  2. ^ Bourne, Chris (November 1984). "Daley takes the gold". Sinclair User. EMAP. Archived from the original on 2001-02-23. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  3. ^ Wilkins, Chris; Kean, Roger M (2013). Ocean - The History. Revival Retro Events.
  4. ^ Eddy, Richard (1987). "The One David" (44). Crash. Retrieved 9 January 2013. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "News Desk: Exploding Fist tops Gallup 1985 charts". Popular Computing Weekly. 20 March 1986. p. 4.
  6. ^ "Daley takes the gold". Sinclair User. No. 32. EMAP. November 1984. p. 26. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Crash Readers Awards 1984". Crash. No. 12. Ludlow, Shropshire: Newsfield Ltd. Christmas 1984. p. 96. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  8. ^ "News". Computer & Video Games. No. 44. EMAP. June 1985. p. 121.
  9. ^ Presley, Paul (28 March 1991). "The Price is Right". The One. No. 31 (April 1991). EMAP Images. pp. 80–1.
  10. ^ "Ocean's Hypersports". Computer Gamer. Argus Specialist Publications: 6. July 1985.
  11. ^ "Hypersports". Computer and Video Games. EMAP: 46. August 1985.
  12. ^ "Track and Field". Zzap64. Newsfield: 16. December 1987.
  13. ^ "Compilation City". Computer and Video Games. EMAP: 113. January 1989.
  14. ^ Mason, Graeme (9 April 2017). "10 games that defined the ZX Spectrum". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 10 April 2017.

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