Track & Field
"Pah ... you kids have got it easy nowadays. With yer Playstations and yer Ninjendo 65's ... sitting at home playing these new-fangled so-called games with zillions of pygmies per second. Not in my day I can tell ya. No, we had it hard ... real hard. We had to sweat and work, work, work at games in our day. Wearing our fingers to the bone pounding buttons just to make a person run across a screen is how we played. Aye, but those were good days ... not like now. I blame these nuclear plants. And mobile phones ... matron!! Where's my gin??!? ..."

... yup ... thanks Mum. Anyway, on with the review ...

No strangers to innovation, Konami introduced a new way to play sports games when they unleashed Track & Field. Requiring real physical exertion, Track & Field features six events and a completely original (although cloned endlessly since) and very apt control system - two 'run' buttons to tap alternately to make your little man run, and an 'action' button used to throw or jump. Up to four players can compete, and in the running events (100 metre sprint and 110 metre hurdles), two players get to go head-to-head simultaneously (during which I normally mess up halfway by bursting into fits of laughter). Each event has a qualifying target and failure to qualify leads to the loss of a life. Initially, you are actually not given any lives, but despair not as lives are awarded for every 100,000 points gained.

As an avid Track & Field fan, I have spotted a variety of different techniques being used to gain that extra bit of speed. Here are a few ...

The button smashing technique: To the delight of arcade maintenance staff, this seems to be the most popular method and basically involves thrashing the buttons like a maniac. Unfortunately, some people don't realise that it's not how hard you press the buttons, but the speed at which you do it.

The seizure: The expert's choice, this is a difficult one to describe. Placing a finger from each hand over each button, the idea is to 'twitch' the muscles in your arms to achieve a gentle, but - if done properly - rapid stabbing action. Be aware of the disadvantages of performing this technique in public however, as it will definitely make you look as though you are having a fit. Another pitfall is the dreaded 'locked arms' syndrome which normally occurs after extensive play. Suddenly you'll find your arms have taken on a life of their own and are either pressing both buttons simultaneously and very slowly, or are not moving at all despite your brain's best efforts to shift them. If this happens in public, onlookers will be fully expecting you to keel over and swallow your tongue.

The condiment manoeuvre: Take a rounded pepper pot or golf ball and slide it furiously between the buttons. Alternatively, you could simply insult the mother of one of the arcade staff. Either way will ensure your swift departure from the premises.

Continued on next page ...

'The ice-cream man!! The ice-cream man!!'

Gain bonus points on the javelin event by shooting this strange bird out of the sky.

'Heh heh ... wait til my opponent jumps into this! Cackle, cackle ... '

But of course. Who else?

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