We've all been caught crouched in the corner of our bedrooms, illuminated by the glow of sweaty bodies on our televisions, as our wrists work overtime and our faces contort in anticipation of impending pleasure. We are, of course, referring to winning gold in Konami's revered International Track & Field – a PSone sporting classic that's still entertaining even today.
With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (officially) getting underway in a matter of hours, and no sign of a PlayStation 4 title to mark the occasion, we figured that we'd whip out our sweat bands and revisit this 1996 favourite in celebration of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. It's not like there's anything else to write about this summer, after all.
Known as Hyper Athlete in arcades, International Track & Field was the first entry in Konami's summer games series to release on the PSone. As its name alludes, the title focused on athletics, with only one of its 11 included disciplines stepping outside of its Atlanta-inspired stadium to tackle the 100 metre freestyle in the Olympic pool.
"International Track & Field took a herculean leap forward in terms of presentation"
Gameplay, as in previous entries, was built around a very accessible control scheme: square and circle managed power, while triangle was reserved for timing-based activities, such as releasing objects or launching jumps. You could play with up to four players, and because of the turn-based nature of most events, didn't even necessarily need multiple controllers or a Multitap.
While its moment-to-moment action didn't really evolve what was already available on the NES or computers, though, it really took a herculean leap forward in terms of presentation. Cinematic camera angles framed all of the action for maximum drama, and innovative (at the time) features such as replays and working stadium screens really heightened the authenticity of the experience.
Above all, though, it was amazing fun competing against friends and family trying to smash World Records. Everyone had their favourite events – though we're yet to meet any fans of the javelin – and that made for extremely entertaining competitions, as everyone worked against each other trying to secure the best possible score.
With just a handful of events and only two modes – an Olympic campaign and a practice option – International Track & Field was derided at launch for its lack of content. But even today its rudimentary polygonal presentation and vibrant art style make it an appealing local multiplayer option. Just remember to roll down your sleeves so that you don't lose any skin while rubbing the run buttons.
Do you have golden recollections of International Track & Field, or is this one game that's been disqualified from your memory? Ready, set, go in the comments section below.