A&B Computing

Winter Olympiad '88

Author: Shingo Sugiura
Publisher: Tynesoft
Machine: BBC/Electron

Published in A&B Computing 5.02

This was a hard choice - regular readers will know my aversion to sporting simulations but this time Tynesoft has produced a winner. Just as well really as they've also released it for just about every machine around.

The Acorn versions, coded by Dave Croft, are much more than simple updates or enhancements of Tynesoft's earlier Winter Olympics. Dave has gone back to basics, coded some intriguing new events (bob sled, speed skating, ski jump, giant slalom, ski slalom and biathlon) and then combined excellent pseudo-3D graphics with just the right amount of addictive and skillful gameplay.

As with many Tynesoft games, it opens with an excellent title screen (must get around to picking the ten best title screens some day!), leading onto the events. As usual in these simulations there are three heats for each event and (obviously) you must try to beat not only the other players and/or the computer, but the actual Olympic records. Well, that is going to take some time.

Winter Olympiad '88

Some problems remain - a common Croft problem seems to be a bit of colour spill caused by windowing sections of the screen for different mode graphics, I suppose. I remember it well in Phantom and it's noticeable here, especially in the bob sled (should that be sledge?) where a small overhead map of your progress bottom right of the screen changes colour halfway down the window. But this is really just a minor whinge - the graphics on the whole are stunning with a real sense of distance and movement. Nice human touches too - the speed skater is especially well animated and the shooter in the biathlon is nicely detailed.

Quite simply - the best sports simulation I can recall for quite some time and, with the inclusion of an introduction if the booklet by David Vine and a simple competition (closing date: 30th January 1988) with a great prize of a trip to Calgary for the real Winter Olympics, this should be considered very strongly even by those (like me) who usually dislike these simulations.

Interesting too to see Tynesoft taking a long time to get the game right (even to the extent of delaying all their other autumn/winter BBC releases) and being forced to raise their prices on this one game - to pay for the prize obviously.

And, for those unable to enter the competition, we have our own Arcade competition. There is in the game, a simple mistake (not a bug) which I spotted at once on the sample video demo for the game. The first person to contact us with the right solution gets their choice of any three Tynesoft games - Spy Vs Spy, Phantom, the forthcoming Indoor Sports or Boulderdash, Commonwealth Games, whatever.

Finally, lads, before I get into another argument with you about scoring - remember I'm bound to mark down sports simulations. Still, despite that, this is a game that I've played with very real pleasure.

Shingo Sugiura

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