bestkungfu weblog

Button-mashers: stop the madness

Filed in: games, sports, Wed, Aug 4 2004 17:45 PT

Since this year is divisible by four, we get to suffer though another Olympics game. This time it’s “Athens 2004”, a button-masher just like all the others.

Being a bit of a video-game historian, I can point to 1983’s Track and Field console as the pinnacle of athletics game playability. There were only three buttons, spaced well apart, to execute all of the moves. It was fun, it was exhausting, and sadly, it was never repeated.

I can also state authoritatively that every Olympics video game I have played since then has absolutely sucked. Since the NES-style joystick took hold, the entire physics of the original Track and Field was obsoleted for all but the most hardcore players, who bought arcade joysticks for their game systems. Even now, over 20 years after T&F, the A-B button-mashing treatment lives on, despite the addition of 310 new controls on the modern gamepad. Some of the minigames in the Olympic category may have skill elements to them, but most of them still focus on button-mashing.

Do these people not have money to test this stuff on users, or are they just too lazy to? These games don’t even hold a candle to party games like the Mario Party or Fuzion Frenzy series. It’s understandable for a video game company to buy the rights to a franchise like the Olympics to make a quick buck every four years, but, well, maybe next time they can put a little effort into making it, you know, fun. This quadrennium, I’m sitting it out.

One response to “Button-mashers: stop the madness”

  1. Keith says:

    My hands and fingers still hurt from Track & Field and I can still hear the rhythm of tapping as you got your little dude to run toward the pole vault.

    dun, da, dun, da, dun, da, dun, da……whack!

Powered by WordPress (RSS 2.0, Atom)