Olympic Video Games: The Most Baffling Game Genre

They thought we wouldn't notice just because we don't know the first thing about sports.
Olympic Video Games: The Most Baffling Game Genre

With the Winter Olympics taking place right now, we finally have the excuse we wanted to cover the best Olympic video games of all time! Oh, wait, we just learned that they're never good because cramming all the mechanics needed to make so many different sports work into a single game is an impossible feat. We're gonna have to go with celebrating the weirdest and most inexplicable Olympic video games of recent times instead. Yeah, it turns out that even even though the Olympics are the strictest and most respected sports event in the world, there's no shortage of games that hilariously miss the point of the whole thing over and over again. This is on them for thinking we wouldn't notice just because we don't know the first thing about sports.

Like Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, a series of games where Sonic challenges an everyday plumber and all of his out-of-shape friends to perhaps finally find out who's the fastest of the bunch.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games race


… And he only wins the gold medal in sandbagging.

Even putting the obviously unfair nature of it all aside, it's hard to ignore the one size fits none format going on. Sure, kids like Mario and Sonic, but they'd much rather play them in games tailored specifically to those characters fun to play as. What's the point of a slow Sonic? Same with adults who actually care about the Olympics. They'd much rather play a more serious adaptation of the sport with no super-powered marsupials involved.

This is a lesson game makers should have learned back in '96 when they created Izzy's Quest for the Olympic Rings, a SNES and Genesis title where you play as the actual mascot of the Atlanta Olympics as it goes on a sidescrolling quest to capture the Olympic rings. It was the second-worst thing to come out of the Atlanta games. What is Izzy doing? Challenging yourself is all cool, and all, but the point of the Olympics is to crush others. Hard to do on a single-player campaign. Also, maybe someone should tell the devs that the medals are what you get in the Olympics, not the goddamn rings. Why do they all want to turn the Olympics into a Sonic thing?

Maybe in an attempt to cater to more serious sports fans, Sega's devs went on to create a more realistic game for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, one that's famed for being pretty decent. Let's take a look:


Okay look, it's still a game, don't let a dumb skin ruin your immersion …


Okay, I give up.

But the gold medal of weird Olympic games can only go to QWOP. Don't let this Adobe Flash-looking thing fool you; this is the real big leagues. There are only 4 keys that are used to control each of the 4 parts of your character's 2 legs. Sounds complicated already? It's even worse. You really need to play suffer QWOP to understand not just how hard it is to win but how hard it is to take a single step.

A single step forward that is.

QWOP might not be the best Olympic sim out there, but it sure is the best Olympic champion simulator because beating it isn't that much easier than winning an actual medal. It deserves extra love for also being the only game in the world truly deserving the title of "walking simulator."

Join us next time when we cover the world of very serious horse racing video games!

Top Image: Nintendo


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