This game appeared on so many ancient consoles, many gamers mistake it for Pong. Shitty jokes aside, you’re probably better off doing so anyway since the game holds up about as well as sleeveless Ralph Macchio t-shirt.
Above: Long before Yaris and Target Mountain, Cali Games embraced its inner whore
As is usually the case with multi-evented sports games, the developers operated on the assumption that if you can’t make a good game with any depth, make several short and shallow ones to falsify the illusion of value! Most third-party Wii titles still operate under this very principle.
Above: Left Image from a console you’ve never played. Right image from a console you’ve never heard of
Representing the Golden State and all its contributions to culture, California Games featured numerous events most could never perform without a Master System, such as hacky sack and Frisbee tossing. But for the purposes of this feature, let’s hurry and acknowledge the ability to frolic in a half pipe with some archaic spin-based trickery. We assure you: At the time, it was quite tubular.
The sequel further perpetuated California action sports stereotypes by adding Jet skis and hang gliding into the mix. Of course, they didn’t let the beefier new consoles go to waste. California Games II may have churned out some of the worst music committed to midi, but it cranked the SNES’s Mode 7 up to 8.4!
Above: Profanity filters were still years away
However, Epyx upped the skating stakes significantly. Figuring a “Game Over" screen was far too lenient, California Games II literally put the fear of death into the player. Skate or Die were no longer mere words. It was programmed outcome.
Above: You will be missed. You’re bogus skillz will not
How did Atari go about making the ultimate outdated skateboard game? Well, outside of appearing only in arcades and the NES, they named it after the “ultimate trick” of the day: The 720 ° - two complete aerial spins. Of course, Tony Hawk pulled off a 900° in 1999 and Shaun White nearly landed a 1080° in 2005, so Atari’s antiquated title would go on to be like an MLB game with an unlockable Negro League.
Above: “The ‘Ramp’ is one of twenty skate parks!” So, 20 Ramps = 20 Parks?
Either way, 720° is by no means devoid of a moderate amount of 4-wheeled fun. Through the Skate City hub, players had to improve their menagerie of tricks in order to open up the four event types: Jump, Downhill, Ramp, and Slalom. And when we say “had,” we’re not just talking about normal progression. When not in an event, a timer counts down until killer bees are unleashed upon your inactive skate-rat and it's game over.
Above: If this needs explanation, head here