Track & Field (video game)
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|Track & Field|
European arcade flyer
Ocean Software (ports)
Atari, Inc. (ports)
Kemco (NES PAL)
Apple II, Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit, MSX, NES, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Amstrad CPC, Sharp X1, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo DS
|Display||Raster, Horizontal orientation, 256 × 224 resolution|
Track & Field, known in Japan and Europe as Hyper Olympic (ハイパーオリンピック Haipā Orinpikku), is an Olympic-themed sports arcade game developed by Konami and released in 1983. The Japanese release sported an official license for the 1984 Summer Olympics. Players compete in a series of events, most involving alternately pressing two buttons as quickly as possible to make the onscreen character run faster. It was followed by a sequel, Hyper Sports.
In the original arcade game, the player uses two "run" buttons (or a trackball in later units that replaced buttons damaged from overuse) and one "action" button to control an athlete competing in the following six events:
- 100 Meter Dash – Running by quickly alternating button presses.
- Long jump – Running by alternating button press and correct timing for jump. Hold jump button to set angle (42 degrees is optimal).
- Javelin throw – Running by alternating button presses and then using action button correct timing for angle (43 degrees is optimal).
- 110 Meter Hurdles – Running by alternating button presses and using action button to time hurdles
- Hammer throw – Spinning initiated by pressing a run button once and then correctly timed press of action button to choose angle (45 is optimal).
- High jump – Running (speed set by computer) and then action button must be held down to determine angle of jump. Once in the air, the run button can be rapidly pressed for additional height.
In each event, there is a qualifying time or level that the player must achieve to advance to the next event; failing to qualify (in one heat for running events or three tries in the other events) will reduce the player's number of lives by one, but if none are present in his/her disposal, the game will end. Players earn extra lives per 100,000 points scored.
The game can accommodate up to four players, who compete in pairs for the running events, and individually for the others. If there are fewer than four players, the remaining slots are played by the computer (or player "CPU"). In all multiplayer heats, though, the relative performance of the players has no effect on the game, and advancing is based solely on qualifying times. While most multiplayer arcade games had each set of controls relative to the players going from left to right, this game (which has two sets of controls) had a somewhat different setup. The left set of controls were for players 2 and 4, while the right set was for players 1 and 3. This is one of the few classic arcade games where single player mode was played on the right set of controls rather than the left. If a player completes all six events after a brief medal ceremony, he or she is sent back to the field for another round, with higher qualifying levels, however the game can be configured to conclude after the final event.
Because the game responded to repeatedly pressing the "run" buttons at high frequency, players of the arcade version resorted to various tricks such as rapidly swiping a coin or ping-pong ball over the buttons, or using a metal ruler which was repeated struck such that it would vibrate and press the buttons. As a result, arcade operators reported high rates of damage to the buttons and later versions had modifications to prevent such actions.
In 1996, Next Generation listed the Track & Field series collectively as number 78 on their "Top 100 Games of All Time", remarking, "OK, so the games' play style has little to do with skill at (or even knowledge of) the actual sports. But so what? In a test of pure button pushing endurance, nothing can beat Track and Field, especially when you play with four players."
AllGame gave the game three stars out of five, calling it "a physically exhausting game that invented a new genre" and "In addition to challenging events and pure originality, Track & Field offers nice (if cartoonish) graphics, rich colors, smooth animation and a terrific rendition of the theme from Chariots of Fire."
Konami continued releasing games on the series:
- Hyper Sports (1984) (Arcade)
- Track & Field 2 / Hyper Olympic 2 (1984) (MSX)
- Konami '88 (1988) (Arcade)
- Track & Field II (1988) (NES)
- Track & Field (1992) (Game Boy)
- International Track & Field (1996) (Arcade, PS, PSN)
- Nagano Winter Olympics '98 (1998) (Arcade, N64, PS)
- International Track & Field 2000 (1999) (N64, PS, GBC)
- ESPN International Track & Field (2000) (DC, PS2, GBC)
- Konami Sports Series (2001) (Mobile Phones)
- New International Track & Field (2008) (NDS)
- Hyper Sports Winter (2010) (iPhone OS)
- Hyper Sports Track & Field (2010) (iPhone OS)
- Hyper Sports R (2018) (Nintendo Switch)
Ports and re-releases
Track & Field was initially ported by Atari, Inc. to the Atari 2600 console and the Atari 8-bit computers, and under the Atarisoft label also for the Apple II and the Commodore 64. A port for the Atari 5200, identical to the Atari 8-bit computer version, was being developed in 1984, but was cancelled.
When Konami ported Track & Field to the Famicom (as Hyper Olympic), they only included four out of six events. Afterwards, they converted Hyper Sports to the Famicom as well, this time including three of the Hyper Sports events and one more event from Track & Field. By the time the NES gained popularity in the United States, Konami retooled the game for release in America by including all eight events from both games in one cartridge. Of the original six events from Track & Field, only the hammer throw is missing; in its place, however, are skeet shooting, archery, and triple jump.
The NES version of Track & Field was re-released in Europe in 1992 as Track & Field in Barcelona by Kemco in the light of the 1992 Summer Olympics. The opening song for the NES version is the Chariots of Fire theme by Vangelis (which was also used in the arcade version's high score screen). The Game Boy version was also re-released as part of the Konami GB Collection series.
The Xbox Live Arcade version of the game was released on the Xbox 360 on August 8, 2007. It features updated graphics and sounds, leaderboards, and online play over the Xbox Live service. The game also appears in Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits for the Nintendo DS, but with an altered version of the Chariots of Fire theme.
On December 18, 2008, Héctor Rodriguez, of California, USA, scored a world record 95,350 points. Rodriguez beat the 23-year-old record of 95,040 points set on June 30, 1985 by Kelly Kobashigawa, of Los Angeles, during Twin Galaxies' 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
The Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records - Arcade Volume, lists history's largest video game contest as the "1984 March of Dimes International Konami/Centuri Track & Field Challenge". The editors say: "More than 1 million contestants played Track & Field between April 30 and May 26, hoping to be among three finalists going to Japan to represent the USA. As a fundraiser for the March of Dimes, the event was held in Aladdin's Castle arcades and National Convenience Stores. Gary West of Oklahoma City won the U.S. Finals, but Phil Britt, of Riverside, California, won the World Championship in Tokyo on June 10, 1984."
- Olympic Decathlon (1980), computer game with similar concept and controls.
- The Activision Decathlon (1983) home game from Activision released the same year as Track & Field.
- Daley Thompson's Decathlon (1984)
- Summer Games (video game) (1984)
- "Track & Field - Videogame by Konami". www.arcade-museum.com. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
- "Track & Field - Videogame by Konami". www.arcade-museum.com. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
- RePlay, January 1984
- "Olympic Summer Games". Next Generation. No. 20. Imagine Media. August 1996. p. 101.
- "Top 100 Games of All Time". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine Media. September 1996. p. 44.
- Weiss, Brett Alan. "Track & Field". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
- "Track & Field II for MSX". MobyGames. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Reichert, Matt. "Track & Field". AtariProtos.com. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
- "The Amstrad CPC Resource : : Track and Field by Ocean Software for the Amstrad CPC/GX 4000". CPC Zone. Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- "ZXDB Powered Software Search: Game, Set and Match 2". SpectrumComputing. SpectrumComputing. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- "Twin Galaxies' Track & Field High Score Rankings". 2009-12-27. Archived from the original on 2013-09-13.
- "Guinness World Records 2008 - Gamer's Edition", page 251
-  Archived copy at WebCite (July 14, 2007).