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If you are looking for something different from your usual track-and-field type of sports game, and especially if you have somebody to play against, then this comes highly recommended. If you don’t normally enjoy competing alone then there’s probably nothing here that will change your mind. For everyone else this is a worthy purchase and a welcome addition to the Virtual Console.
I was pretty quick to dismiss Epyx's Summer Games II when it arrived on the Virtual Console earlier this year, because I felt that, across the board, trying to figure out its varied and frustrating control schemes wasn't worth the time or effort required. California Games is similarly crippled, in that you're just never really going to perfectly translate the experience of these Commodore 64 compilations -- classic though they are -- without the original hardware, joystick and keyboard from an actual C64 system.
Having played through each event once, and having failed most of them because of the sluggish animation colliding with ergonomically evil Wii controls, I'd satisfied my nostalgic impulse and felt no compulsion to go back and improve my skills at these basic challenges.