I used to play this athletics game on a really old PC. I don't remember much about it since I was probably 4-5 years old by then (1990), but what I still know is this:

  • It was monochrome.
  • There were at least track running (two players pressing buttons repeatedly) and pole vaulting (you had to hit space to jump and the head of the pole vaulter was just a square box, this always disturbed me), others I can't remember.
  • The year I wrote (1990) might not be that helpful, since my dad might have used some at that time already old equipment.
  • I don't think it was Microsoft Decathlon.

It was the first game I ever played, so I really like to know if anyone can help me identify it.

  • I have an image in my head with the pole vaulter filling nearly half the screen and having a huge square head. The graphics of Microsoft Decathlon still looks way too sophisticated to me...but the race track somehow looks familiar, although we only had a monochrome monitor, so it is a bit hard to say... – mischa.mole Mar 5 at 10:14
  • 2
    If you're unsure about it having been on a PC, and think it was less sophisticated graphically, the similar Daley Thompson's Decathlon was popular on 8-bit computers from the mid 80s onwards, at least in the UK and probably Europe. It was available on Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad CPC464, if you had any of those. – Jules Mar 5 at 11:15
  • 1
    Here's gameplay of Microsoft Decathlon. Notice the square head of the pole vaulter: youtu.be/wA2wiAbYcAM – traal Mar 6 at 3:58
  • Thanks for the video, I guess I was wrong and it IS olympic decathlon! Can you add this as an answer? – mischa.mole Mar 6 at 6:41
  • @StephenKitt I think you deserve the credit. – traal Mar 6 at 6:50
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This sounds very much like it is Microsoft Decathlon. Other similar PC games of that era either didn’t have pole vault events at all, or had more detailed depictions of the vaulters. There aren’t many candidates leading up to 1990: Mobygames lists four booters, seven DOS games released in 1988, four in 1989, and three in 1990. All told, the only summer games available on the PC by 1990 were Microsoft Decathlon, Summer Games II, World Games, The Games: Summer Edition, Summer Challenge, Daley Thompson’s Olympic Challenge, and Carl Lewis’ Go for the Gold; I doubt titles such as Caveman Ugh-Lympics would fit the bill since you’d be likely to remember the setting.

As you can see in this gameplay video (thanks to Ilmari Karonen for finding it!), the pole vaulters in Decathlon weren’t detailed at all.

If you aren't sure it was on MS-DOS, it may have been the original Summer Games by Epyx, which had pole vaulting, sprinting and several other events. It was available on almost everything except MS-DOS.

Here's a sample of the Atari 8-bit version, including the pole vault 24 seconds in.

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.