California Games on the C64 is one of the best conversions of a game ever programmed and it takes a massive leap forward from Epyx' previous titles Winter Games, Summer games, Summer Games II and World Games (all I might add - well worth getting your mates around, up to 8 players, with some food and some drink and playing into the night) with much better graphics, great spot FX and music, and a playability, and longevity that you just don't see in 'section' games of today.
From the offset, as the number plate revolves during the loading screen and you get the wonderful SID Chip blasting out the title music - a splendid rendition of a classic surfing tune, you know you're in for something special and it really sets the mood.
You then choose number of players, their names and their sponsors (key to achieving high marks from the judges in various events...) and then - off you go.
The events are as follows: Skate Boarding, Hackey Sack, Surfing, Roller Skating, BMX Biking and Frisbee and against the tried and tested head to head difficulty, you have to rely on completing cool stunts and gnarly tricks.
By far the best events are Skateboarding, Hackey Sack, Frisbee and Surfing, from the beginning of the game, you have
the option to practicing any single event. I have spent, literally hours playing Hackey Sack and Surfing - seriously - hours.
Lovely little touches and hidden little effects keep you coming back for more, but it really is the stunning interface and responsiveness of the game to your actions that keeps you coming back for more and with a large party of you in say, two, three or even four mini-teams - it is tremendously competitive.
Hackey Sack, by far will have you wanting to play again and again as you strive to hit all of the tricks and get a massive score. You can even hit the occasional gull and if you knock the hackey sack off the side of the screen, a whistle tells you someone is throwing it back and if you catch it (kick it in the air again) you get bonus points. An utterly compelling event.
Frisbee is just hilarious (look out for the UFO) and the Surfing event is the second best of them all (after Hackey Sack) - you can play this one event for hours and remember - holding fire as you turn slows you forward speed, but you spin the board much, much quicker - also, whatever angle you leave the wave at - you have to mimic it upon re-entry with the front of the board. Look out for the shark... Brilliant.
You can so easily spend an evening playing California Games with your mates. An ultimate classic. Get it on.