California Games (NES)

California Games (NES) Box Art

California Games

System: NES

Release Date: June 1989

Developer: Rare

Publisher: Milton Bradley Company

Genre: Sports

Alright, so I just played California Games on the Nintendo. Spoiler alert, the Sega has the better game. You have the same six events that you had there. I’m just going to do some comparisons.

The Halfpipe starts things off. Picking up speed is a lot more of a pain here, because the kick turn actually works. But you have to be careful, because trying to turn while moving backward leads to a big wipeout. Foot Bag is a lot easier to control here than on Sega. You get a lot more air when kicking the bag and can make smaller lateral movements. Racking up the points is a lot easier here.

Surfing is a bit slower. I found it difficult to get ahead of the wave if I got lost in the tube, but catching air is still doable. The shark is back! Skating controls by mashing the A Button instead of alternating up and down. The hit box was annoyingly different from what I expected.

The BMX event has the same problem, you biff it when you don’t touch obstacles. Be careful not to press the d-pad any time you get air, because you’ll start your flips and land on your head. The Flying Disk isn’t any better, but it’s easier to make an overhead catch. The diving version? Not so much…

Graphics: 1.0

The graphics are pretty poor. Like, a big step back from the Sega.

Sound: 0.5

Sounds and music are terrible and Louie Louie was absolutely butchered.

Gameplay: 1.0

Every event controls and plays worse except MAYBE Foot Bag.

Difficulty: 0.5

It’s not difficult for any other reason than it doesn’t work well.

Fun Factor: 0.5

This is way less fun than its Sega counterpart.

Overall Grade: 0.7

California Games earns a D-. That’s closer to what I expected. The NES has the worse version of California Games, hands down. Hopefully we can leave these titles behind us forever.

California Games (NES) Video Review on YouTube