Olympic video games

Last updated

Olympic video games are a subgenre of sport video games officially licensed by the International Olympic Committee. These games have more than one event and/or several sports, and have an Olympic theme. This is in contrast to multi-sport games such as Wii Sports which are not classified as Olympic video games. No genres other than sports video games have been attempted with the Olympic license.


They are one of the older video game genres, having first appeared with the 1983 arcade classic Track & Field . Since then, numerous titles have been released, usually in the immediate run up to the Olympic Games each game is intended to cover. Official IOC licenses became a norm since the first official game, Olympic Gold , was released in time for the 1992 Summer Olympics.

This is unrelated to the discussion surrounding having video games be included as an Olympic sport. [1] [2]

Evolution and criticism

Companies like Epyx, Accolade, U.S. Gold and Konami developed many of the early games. The genre is often overlooked by the gaming industry and considered little more than a novelty or memorabilia attached to the event, with some considering it as purely an exercise in licensing and merchandise. Gameplay is the common target for detractors, since it usually consists of the 'button mashing' formula used in Track & Field or 'joystick waggling' as used in Daley Thompson's Decathlon .

However, since they are released at regular intervals, they can be used as a way to compare how graphics in computer games have changed over time: from the CGA graphics of the first Epyx titles to the ever-evolving 3D graphics of more modern titles such as Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and London 2012. Forbes argued that while the genre doesn't evolve, they would like to see how the various sports are rendered on next generation consoles. [3]

From the 1988 Seoul Olympics up to the London 2012 Olympics, an official Olympic tie-in game was released to coincide with each Olympic Games. [3] The games of Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 did not have accompanying console video games. The accompanying console video game returned for the PyeongChang 2018 games under the release of Steep. In 2019, an exclusive console Olympic video game has already been released for Tokyo 2020 in Japan.

Kotaku argues that the 4-year cycle nature of such games results in each release being on a new console, becoming a first-adopter decision for Olympic video game fans. In addition, the site noted that these games never have an overarching sense of narrative, which essentially turns them into a series of minigames. Thirdly, many of the Olympic sports already have dedicated titles out there which would appeal to fans more than these minigame collections which contain simplified gameplay versions of their sports. The games also lack a career mode, which is common in many of their sports video game counterparts. [4]

Vice argues that prominently having successful Olympic sportspeople on the cover of Olympic games builds their public brand profile by introducing them to gamers. The site likened this to how some music-related video games can introduce gamers to new bands, or some media tie-ins can encourage gamers to explore the expanded universe. [5]

List of games


Mario & Sonic


Critical reception

Slate argued that Olympic video games are generally forgotten quickly like the Olympic games they are based on, and thought the genre had remained stagnant from 1983's Track & Field up to 2K Sports' Torino 2006. [7] Kotaku noted that the Olympic brand is so huge that these video games are often non-entities by comparison while the event is happening. And once the event is over the game becomes obsolete too. [4]

Related Research Articles

A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.

A game controller, gaming controller, or simply controller, is an input device used with video games or entertainment systems to provide input to a video game, typically to control an object or character in the game. Before the seventh generation of video game consoles, plugging in a controller into one of a console's controller ports were the primary means of using a game controller, although since then they have been replaced by wireless controllers, which do not require controller ports on the console but are battery-powered. USB game controllers could also be connected to a computer with a USB port. Input devices that have been classified as game controllers include keyboards, mouses, gamepads, joysticks, etc. Special purpose devices, such as steering wheels for driving games and light guns for shooting games, are also game controllers.

This is a list of all video game lists on Wikipedia, sorted by varying classifications.

A sports game is a video game genre that simulates the practice of sports. Most sports have been recreated with a game, including team sports, track and field, extreme sports and combat sports. Some games emphasize actually playing the sport, whilst others emphasize strategy and sport management. Some, such as Need for Speed, Arch Rivals and Punch-Out!!, satirize the sport for comic effect. This genre has been popular throughout the history of video games and is competitive, just like real-world sports. A number of game series feature the names and characteristics of real teams and players, and are updated annually to reflect real-world changes. Sports genre is one of the oldest genres in gaming history.

In the history of video games, the sixth-generation era refers to the computer and video games, video game consoles, and handheld gaming devices available at the turn of the 21st century, starting on November 27, 1998. Platforms in the sixth generation include consoles from four companies: the Sega Dreamcast (DC), Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2), Nintendo GameCube (GC), and Microsoft Xbox. This era began on November 27, 1998, with the Japanese release of the Dreamcast, which was joined by the PlayStation 2 on March 4, 2000, and the GameCube and Xbox on November 15, 2001. In April 2001, the Dreamcast was the first to be discontinued. The GameCube was next, in 2007, the Xbox on March 2, 2009, and the PlayStation 2 on January 4, 2013. Meanwhile, the seventh generation of consoles started on November 22, 2005 with the launch of the Xbox 360.

<i>Track & Field</i> (video game) 1983 arcade video game

Track & Field, known in Japan and Europe as Hyper Olympic, 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.

<i>Salamander</i> (video game) 1986 shoot em up video game

Salamander, retitled Life Force in North America and in the Japanese arcade re-release, in Europe known as Life Force: Salamander, is a scrolling shooter arcade game by Konami. Released in 1986 as a spin-off of Gradius, Salamander introduced a simplified power-up system, two-player cooperative gameplay and both horizontally and vertically scrolling stages. Some of these later became the norm for future Gradius games.

<i>Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games</i> 2007 crossover sports and party game developed by Sega Sports R&D

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is a crossover sports and party game developed by the Sega Sports R&D Department. It is the first installment on the Mario & Sonic series. It was published by Nintendo in Japan and by Sega in other regions, and released on the Wii in November 2007 and the Nintendo DS handheld in January 2008. The first official video game of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, it is licensed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through exclusive licensee International Sports Multimedia (ISM), and is the first official crossover game to feature characters from both the Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog series.

Motion controller type of game controller that uses accelerometers or other sensors

In video games and entertainment systems, a motion controller is a type of game controller that uses accelerometers or other sensors to track motion and provide input.

<i>Sega All-Stars</i> (series) video game series

Sega All-Stars is a series of crossover video games featuring video game characters from games developed or published by Sega. It consists of four games: Sega Superstars, Sega Superstars Tennis, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

<i>Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games</i> 2009 sports video game

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is a 2009 sports and party game developed by Sega. Like its predecessor, it was published by Nintendo for Japan and by Sega for North America and Europe. The game is officially licensed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through exclusive license International Sports Multimedia. The game is the third official crossover title to feature characters from both Mario and Sonic's respective universes, the first and second being the game's predecessor Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games and Super Smash Bros. Brawl respectively. It was released on the Wii and the Nintendo DS in October 2009, and is the first official video game of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

<i>Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing</i> 2010 video game

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is a kart racing video game, part of the Sega Superstars series, produced for Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, and Microsoft Windows, featuring characters from Sega franchises. A mobile version has been developed by Gameloft. The game was released for iOS in June 2011, as a paid download. A version for OS X was released by Feral Interactive in April 2013.

Platform exclusivity refers to the status of a video game being developed for and released only on certain platforms. Most commonly, it refers to only being released on a specific video game console or through a specific vendor's platforms—either permanently, or for a definite period of time.

A home video game console, or simply home console, is a video game device that is primarily used for home gamers, as opposed to in arcades or some other commercial establishment. Home consoles are one type of video game consoles, in contrast to the handheld game consoles which are smaller and portable, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place, along with microconsoles and dedicated consoles.

<i>Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed</i> 2012 video game

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed also known as "Sonic Racing Transformed" is a kart racing video game developed by Sumo Digital and published by Sega. It was released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U in November 2012, for PlayStation Vita in December 2012, for Microsoft Windows in January 2013, for Nintendo 3DS in February 2013, and for iOS and Android in January 2014. The PS3 and Wii U versions of the game were released in Japan on May 15, 2014.

<i>Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games</i> 2013 sports videogame

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is a crossover sports/party video game for the Wii U, the first for the console. It was unveiled on May 17, 2013, is the fourth game in the Mario & Sonic series, and is the official video game for the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi. It was released on November 8, 2013 in Europe, November 9, 2013 in Australia, November 15, 2013 in North America, and December 5, 2013 in Japan. It the first title in the series to feature an online multiplayer mode, and the first to be published by Nintendo globally, as previous titles were published by Sega outside Japan. Unlike previous titles, the game is solely on home console, and does not have a portable version.


  1. "Video Games May Be a Part of the 2024 Olympics". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  2. Moosa, Tauriq (2017-08-11). "eSports are real sports. It's time for the Olympic video games | Tauriq Moosa". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  3. 1 2 Mazique, Brian. "Sports Video Games We Wish Existed: 'Rio 2016'". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  4. 1 2 "The Problem(s) With Olympic Video Games". Kotaku Australia. 2010-01-24. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  5. "Why Is There No 'Proper' Olympics Video Game in 2016?". Vice. 2016-07-29. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "The Weirdest Olympic Events in Video Games". Maxim. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  7. Pollack, Neal (2006-02-17). "Olympic Video Games". Slate. ISSN   1091-2339 . Retrieved 2017-12-26.