Welcome to the Summer of Retro on Antstream
Updated: Mar 27
As the UK continues to bask in the warm glow of the long summer days, we begin a look at some of the sun-soaked games available to play now on Antstream. After all, who wants to go outside when you can be sitting indoors playing videogames?
California Games – Sega/Epyx, 1991
It’s always summer in California, so what better place to start than in the Golden State. This renowned alternative sports series began life on the Apple II and Commodore 64 computers before being ported to virtually every platform known, including this Sega Mega Drive version from 1991. And the hot sun is beating down on every event with the clear blue Californian skies above the player as they perform all manner of strange manoeuvres. First up is the half pipe where fancy skateboard skills are needed in front of the famous Hollywood sign.
The background shifts to the Golden Gate bridge for foot bag, where fancy feet are needed to keep the small grain-filled globe in the air, with extra points awarded for the more flamboyant and dextrous your moves are. And what summer is complete without a trip to the beach? At the California Games sandy retreat the player can compete in two diverse activities: dodge banana skins, beach balls and rocks as you roller-skate across the sidewalk, before grabbing your board and heading out to the choppy waters for a spot of surfing.
Ant-fact: California Games is one of the more colourful and beautiful Mega Drive games, and the breadth of its summer hues can be viewed with a colour test, accessed via the options menu.
Ant-tactic: Unlike joystick smashing games such as Daley Thompson’s Decathlon and Track & Field, California Games’ events require timing and finesse rather than brawn and stamina. The key to each skill is rhythm, and syncing your key-presses to the on-screen animations.
Treasure Island Dizzy – Codemasters, 1988
Following on from the incredible success of the budget smash, Dizzy, the Oliver twins expanded the ovoid’s adventures for the inevitable sequel in which our round and smooth friend has gone and got himself lost on a desert island. It all began so promisingly as Dizzy boarded the ship to begin his long-coveted luxury cruise. Maybe its captain Long John Silver, complete with parrot and wooden leg, should have been a warning sign; instead the egg superstar borrowed some of the captain’s spare legs in order to organise an impromptu session of that most English of summer games, cricket. A trip across a not-so-friendly piece of wood, the notorious plank, and into the warm ocean waters was Dizzy’s punishment for the unauthorised use of Silver’s spare pegs. Thus stranded on a rather strange and not so uninhabited desert island, this anthropomorphised egg must find a way to get home so he can lodge a most serious complaint against his travel agent. Many obstacles lie in his path –
but at least the weather is nice.
Ant-fact: Treasure Island Dizzy’s rather stingy singular life count came from a logic bug that the Oliver Twins discovered on the eve of the game’s release. Dropping items underwater or on the far beach often results in drowning our hero. With the next life starting on the other side, the game suddenly became impossible to complete. With time running out, the brothers simply removed the other lives, indeed eliminating the issue, but making the game suddenly very hard to complete!
Ant-tactic: Despite their fragile nature in real life, Dizzy is quite a sturdy egg and can withstand high falls. He can’t breathe underwater, however, so make sure he obtains the snorkel before you venture anywhere near the sea.
Super Dodge Ball – Technos, 1987
Sports games do not come much crazier than this adaptation of the gym hall classic, Dodge Ball. After choosing your team, it’s time to face off against the opposition and hit them where it hurts with the large and fast-moving ball. Strike an opponent enough times and they are eliminated from the competition with the last man standing declared the winner. An utterly bonkers evade-‘em-up, there are button combinations for jump and duck, as well as a special power shot for each team’s captain. And unlike the dodge ball of the 2004 Vince Vaughn movie, these matches are played outside and across the world, as the player takes on opposing countries in a very summery world cup competition.
Ant-fact: The Japanese original of Super Dodge Ball stars Kunio-kun, star of many Technos games such as Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (known as Renegade in the west) and River City Ransom.
Ant-tactic: The team captain is key in Super Dodge Ball. While larger, and therefore easier for opponents to hit, they boast more power and can unleash a devastating power shot. When the captain is low on energy, it’s often wise to shield them with your team’s weaker inner-court players.
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