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My name is Wayne Chamberlain and I'm a geek daddy who is into Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, books, movies, video games and talking to creative people about their work in these mediums. And that's what you'll find here, along with news, previews and reviews. I'm a journalist, an editor and co-host of the Star Wars Book Report podcast. So come on in and feel free to geek out in a fun, friendly environment.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

London 2012 video game earns a silver

As I sit here writing this review today, Canada has two silver medals and five bronzes at the actual London 2012 Olympic Games.
Virtually, I gotta admit our country is kicking a little more butt thanks to my skills at playing London 2012, from Sega for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Playing the 360 version (and without the Kinect hooked up … I’m fine being a virtual athlete with my butt planted firmly on the couch, thank you very much), I’ve come away quite impressed with what Sega has managed to produce here.
Usually, tie-in games tend to be on the sucky side. Tight margins for turnaround often mean games aren’t fully polished and bug-free when they hit the market timed to coincide or capitalize on particular event.
But London 2012 is far more enjoyable than anticipated.
Growing up, way back in the 1980s when you had these things called arcades, there was a game that Konami put out called Track and Field (you can pick it up as an arcade offering these days for the consoles). I sucked at that game. It involved pounding buttons with your hands in a drumming motion and then slapping another button to jump or launch a javelin or shot put (making sure you held on long enough to get the right angle so your aerial missile would go as far as possible).
God, just thinking of that game, my wrists and palms hurt.
Not that there aren’t elements of those mechanics in play in London 2012. But it’s not to the same degree at all. Stick pushes now launch you over a hurdle, or fire your javelin or shot put.
Mostly, it’s about tapping buttons in rhythm to get your athlete to perform. Sure, you have to slap that button rapidly at times (at least with the old arcade game you could use your whole hand, in a kind of palm-drumming motion) so expect some sore digits, but there are times to rest and regain stamina before having a big go at it again.
There’s a decent number of events to play, including: 100m and 200m sprints, 100m hurdles, 400m races (the women finally get to run at 400m, they’ve been held out of the other events for some stupid reason), discus, high jump, long jump, triple jump, swimming, diving, shooting, archery, trampoline and vault, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, table tennis, weightlifting and beach volleyball (this, of course, is the women so we can amp up the spandex sex appeal).
Unfortunately, some events are missing. I’m sure the lack of basketball and soccer is due to other companies holding the rights to the pro players taking part in London.
But overall, this game does provide some nationalistic entertainment and enjoyment. It’s a nice accompaniment to the actual games.
Overall, the controls for all the sports aren’t exactly spot on, so expect some occasional frustration (as well as digit pain). But it certainly gets enough right to earn a spot on the podium.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5. Rated E.

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