California Games (NES Review)

When you’re on top in Hollywood, it’s a long way down…

Californiaaaaaaaaa, is apparently a great place.  I wouldn’t know as I’m broke.  So how is one meant to enjoy the sun, sea and sex of the land of Orange County?  By playing California Games on the NES of course!  Er, maybe not.  CG is a collection of 6 different “sports” which you can run through yourself or play with up to seven friends.  They’re a mixed bag to say the least.

An 8-bit version of “Louie Louie” on the intro screen lets you know some thought has been put into this (although the Kingsmen were from Oregon – fact).


Oh please god no!!!
Oh please god no!!!


The menu screens are bland but functional. You’ve access to all the games through the practice mode and although there is a multiplayer function, there is no CPU challenge for one player which seems a little off.  Let us start with the good.  I like the Half Pipe, which sees our competitor on a skateboard performing tricks.  The stage is colourful and it works well, despite the repetitive music, pulling off tricks is a joy.  The surfing stage is hilarious, mostly because our friend Jaws randomly appears if you wipe out.


The action is a little one dimensional (crash off the wave, land back on it, repeat) but the graphics are good and it feels like a Californian thing.  The BMX stage is also passable, even though the dynamics are a little wacky (no one can bounce a BMX that high!) and if you follow a certain line you don’t need to do much to complete the stage.  Just remember to brake.  The Skating stage is almost identical in feel to the BMX stage with the sole difference being you need to “power-up” those jumps to clear certain obstacles.


Now ya think I’d have enough time to avoid that rock…
Now ya think I’d have enough time to avoid that rock…


From the mundane to the abysmal.  Flying Disk, or Frisbee as it should be known (probably changed due to legal reasons), is way too simple and bland to spend any longer than a minute on.  This and Footbag (hacky sack) look dull compared to the other games.  Footbag’s dynamics depend solely on timing and doing a “Jester” move can throw the thing completely off course.


CG is a bang average collection of games that represent no challenge for the lone gamer, some horrendous product placement (I’ll let you discover that), and not enough content for a decent multiplayer experience.




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