There are several games that people will play over and over for either one certain reason or no reason at all. Trust me, there was a reason for this story. Back in 1983, Konami released some really great titles to the arcade. I can’t remember how many quarters I spent on Gyruss and Super Cobra. But once again, there was always that one game that stood out amongst the others, Track and Field.
What I personally consider to be one of the original button mashers, Track and Field put you right in the pressure of a standard track meet with some of the best events The 100m Dash, Long Jump, Javelin, 110m Hurdles, Hammer Throw and the High Jump. How you get through the events was actually a difficult task. There are two run buttons and one jump button. The faster you press the buttons, the faster your player runs. I am not over exaggerating when I say that this game was brutal! Every time I play it, I break a sweat. That’s not good.
There were actually two different forms of release of the control panel. The first one was with just the buttons. It was probably the easiest to use of all the versions… at first. The faster you pressed the left and right run button, the faster the runner goes. People actually found ways to cheat the game by using a pencil and correctly mounting it in their hand to help the runner go faster. Fair enough that they had to change it to the buttons with guards. But this was the most annoying way to play for those who find themselves using their entire hands to press the buttons, I actually remember breaking a few finger nails on that version. If I ever saw a Track and Field in an arcade, this is always my first question, are there guards on the buttons. If there are, next game please. And this was just for the button options for the game and running.
But later on Konami released a version of Track and Field which I considered to be the most fun. They later added a trackball to the control panel. Did you ever have to pound on the buttons again? Heck no! It was just a matter of spinning the ball to the left or right. Whatever direction worked best for you. And when they released it, world records were getting smashed every day!. The speed of the ball was so slick that the runner is moving at the most tremendous speeds and causing the player to throw the javelin further than ever and get to the end of the race in no time. But some people claimed that this was cheating and was wrong.
Besides the factor of running, I always took Track and Field for a game of timing. It was when to hit that throw/jump button. Also was a matter of angles. For example, in the javelin, in order to qualify, your button needs to be held down until it is at a 45 degree angle to get it at a fair distance. And if you hold the throw button the whole time, there is an easter egg of a light getting hit and you get extra points. So, I never thought of it as cheating, i though of it as helping. I can’t remember how many times I got blisters from playing this game with the original buttons. And if you get blisters, you can’t move on to the next game. Where is the fun in that?
Granted, when playing this game in a competition, I would say, go back to the original concept of the buttons. This way it gives everyone a fair chance. And put the stupid pencils away! But if you are just playing for fun, the track ball works for me. There are no more blisters and there are even more reasons to…..
Keep Calm and Insert Coin