Mean Machines

California Games
By Milton Bradley Company
Nintendo (US Version)

Published in Mean Machines #15

California Games

Are you gnarly? Well, if you are, I suggest you see a doctor. If you're just a cool dude, man, California Games could be the cart for you. The game involves competing in six bodacious events, namely foot-bagging, frisbee, surfing, BMX, roller-skating and half-pipe.

The object of this is to rack up mega-dabba-docious scores to impress all your pals. If your chums decide that they can do better, they can join in for up to four-player thrills and excitement. Whoever scores best here gets the coveted "Very Trendy Person Cup". Are you the raddest, baddest person in... your house, or are you just a sad and lonely pinhead who's about as cool as the planet Mercury?

On Yer Bike, Man

Take to this hilly assault course and test out your BMX skills (even if the coolest dudes have got mountain bikes these days). The judges mark you according to the quantity and skill of the BMX-related stunts you pull off during the event.

Aerial Antics

California Games

If finger flips, McTwists and Aerial Airs are your bad, doubtlessly you'll head straight for the half-pipe. With cunning use of the joypad, you can make your on-screen skateboarder perform hand-plant inverts. But if you're a real skill dude, awesome aerial jumps and swivelling kick turns are the ones for you!

The faster and more precisely you do there, the more points you get.


California Games is easily the best of the Epyx Games series, and it certainly made a successful transition to the console world when it hit the Master System. So how does the Nintendo version fare?

California Games

Well, the graphics aren't bad, although the colours are very drab, and the sound is okay. But the real heart of California Games is the gameplay and I'm glad to say that that's one thing the NES version has in abundance. Each of the events provides enough challenge to keep you practising for ages, and the multi-player option improves the lasting appeal greatly.


California Games is one of my all-time favourite Master System games, and I was interested to see whether this version would be as good. Well, at first things don't look promising. The graphics aren't as good as the ones on the Master System version and the sound is roughly the same.

However, play it and your fears soon evaporate - the gameplay offers even more fun and challenge! Each event is almost like a game in itself, especially the foot-bag, and there's plenty of potential to knock up huge scores. With its multitude of options, including the multi-player mode, California Games offers plenty of challenge and lasting appeal and shouldn't be missed by crazy dude sports fans.


California Games

Presentation 86%
Loads of options, a choice of sponsors and excellent in-game touches.

Graphics 79%
Dull colours, but terrific animation.

Sound 75%
Good, though sparse effects and catchy ditties.

California Games

Playability 91%
As playable as heck, with plenty of challenge and variety in all of the events.

Lastability 87%
Lots of practice needed to master each event, and the multi-player mode adds plenty of extra lasting appeal.

Overall 90%
A fab and generally wondrous game which should appeal to any Nintendo owner who lives easy of Beverly Hills 90210.