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User Reviews

SMS California Games in Better than Genesis Version Shocker Liam Dowds (51) 3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars

Our Users Say

Category Description User Score
Gameplay How well the game mechanics work and the game plays. 3.8
Graphics The visual quality of the game 3.8
Personal Slant A personal rating of the game, regardless of other attributes 3.9
Sound / Music The quality of the sound effects and/or music composition 3.7
Story / Presentation The main creative ideas in the game and how well they are executed. This rating is used for every game except compilations and special editions which don't have unique game content not available in a standalone game or DLC. -
Overall User Score (20 votes) 3.8

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
Game Freaks 365 (Jan 15, 2006)
In conclusion, there is no doubt in mind that California Games is one of the greatest sports titles in history. After playing it on the SMS, there's no wonder in my mind as to why this title was ported to nearly every system in existence and even led to a sequel. If only Epyx could have did a better job with later titles. It's a shame for them, but not for us because we have this to play. In addition, for those of you interested in the collecting aspect of the Master System, there is a rare re-release of California Games with a different label. Quite hard to locate and an additional bonus for anyone interested in playing and collecting.
From the start you've got an option to play in one, all or some events, or just practice them: none are so hard that you'll smash your Sega, nor so easy that you'll master them in an hour. The graphics on all are pretty impressive, the animation smooth - but it's the competitive element that makes this a winner. Whenever you play it, it's totally compulsive.
To put it bluntly, California Games is the best Sega game to date, combining six superb games, stunning graphics and animation, and a variety of excellent tunes and sound effects. The events are all highly playable, and had me glued to the Sega for hours. Don't miss it.
Mean Machines (Mar, 1991)
The array of sub-games and the skills needed for each event in California Games makes this one of the best multi-player games about; inevitably some people are better at some events than others, guaranteeing an exciting challenge. My particular favourite's the BMX race, whereas Julian prefers Footbag. Some of the events are tricky to learn, especially the Flying Disc and Half Pipe, and this may be discouraging to some payers. It's worth persevering though, as California Games offers a varied and thrilling test of anyone's joystick skills.
The Video Game Critic (Nov 15, 2019)
Still, the frothy blue water looks refreshing and it's cool how a shark or dolphin will cross the screen after each wipe out. The skating event really has a fun-in-the-sun beach vibe as your bikini-clad babe navigates a boardwalk strewn with hazards like cracks, grates, sand, and beach balls. In the BMX stage you race a bike along a hilly dirt track, launching off ramps and performing stunts. Wrapping things up is flying disc which takes place at a picturesque park. Aftering first hurling the disc with a golf-style meter, you then move a second player to catch it. It's very satisfying when you make a diving catch! You'll probably want to keep the manual handy to reference all the elaborate controls. It also includes a glossary of California lingo like gnarly, tubular, and aggro. I enjoyed playing California Games both alone and with friends. It's ideal summer fun and probably the best version you'll find.
Video Games (Mar, 1991)
Sechs für den amerikanischen Sonnenstaat typische Sportarten warten bei „California Games“ auf bis zu acht Mitspieler. Das Geschicklichkeitsspektrum reicht vom Fahren mit dem Skateboard übers Frisbeewerfen bis zum Surfen,
Sega Power (Dec, 1993)
The first and still the best Games game of the series, featuring all the usual beach-burn pastimes: skateboard, roller skate, foot bag, surfing, frisbee and BMX riding.
VideoGame (May, 1991)
Os jogos típicos de verão da Califórnia (estado da costa oeste dos EUA) estão presentes neste jogo, em seis modalidades: half skate boarding (manobras no "half pipe"), foot bag (a popular embaixada ou "bolinha" no futebol), surfing, roller skating (patinação), BMX bike racing (bicicross) e flying disk (arremesso de disco). Vale a habilidade.
Power Play (May, 1989)
Ich bin von der Sega-Umsetzung dieses Computer-Klassikers angenehm überrascht. Ohne spielerische Abstriche wurden alle Disziplinen in ein Modul gepackt. Steuerung und Spielbarkeit sind sehr gut. Bei den sechs Disziplinen gibt es keinen Ausfall; sie machen alle Spaß. Besonders viel Mühe haben sich die Grafiker gegeben. Auf dem Master System sieht California Games am schönsten aus. Viele Farben, große Sprites, kein Flackern weit und breit. Selbst die Amiga-Version kann da nicht mithalten. California Garnes bietet Sega-Besitzern eine prima Gelegenheit, einen bewährten Evergreen in gut aufpolierter Form zu spielen. Wer ein Faible für Geschicklichkeits- und Sportspiele hat, wird den Kauf dieses Moduls nicht bereuen.
Einziges Manko: Die Steuerung der SEGA-Version ist ein bissl schwieriger zu handhaben, als man das von den Rechnern gewöhnt ist. Der Sound ist für SEGA-Verhältnisse als sehr akzeptabel einzustufen. Rundum also ein spaßiges, wenn auch nicht taufrisches Game, welches im Grunde für die Konsole zu erwarten war.
In the translation to the Sega joypad, little has been lost. The graphics are very good indeed. Backgrounds are as lively as the colourful, well defined sprites and the various participating teenage characters are realistically animated. Definitely one for the collection.
Sega California Games is smarter than all the other computer versions with the possible exception of the Amiga. The gameplay is looking a bit dated, but since it's the first of its type on the Sega, it should receive an appreciative audience. And deservedly so.
70 (Jan 12, 2005)
Overall I think it's a great game definitely worth owning. If you own it and don't think too much of it, I ask you to have a go, be patient, practice at it and you'll find it's better than you thought. And if you can, try play with some friends, it's a good laugh. And for the record, no one will ever beat my high scores.
1UP! (Dec 06, 2003)
California Games n'est pas un si mauvais jeu, la réalisation est satisfaisante (d'impressionants scrollings parallaxes au niveau du désert), c'est juste un titre dont les qualités sont complètement rongées par sa maniabilité désastreuse. On n'arrive à rien car il faut toujours presser le bouton pendant un moment trop infime pour que cela puisse être fait par le commun des joueurs. La manette ne se prête pas non plus à certaines actions qui correspondent mieux au clavier, comme cet usage intensif des directions haut et bas. Donc vient l'échec répétitif, la frustration, l'ennui, puis le rejet. Et six épreuves, c'est finalement peu, surtout quand la grande majorité d'entre-elles sont injouables. Le jeu n'ayant aucune profondeur ni de secrets, il est facile de s'en désintéresser rapidement. Le salut vient uniquement du mode multijoueurs, jusqu'à huit en alternance, mais il tire sans doute plus parti du fait d'être entre amis que du jeu lui même.
VideoGame (Mar, 1991)
Há seis opções de jogo, numa espécie de mini-olimpíada californiana. Primeiro, escolha seu patrocinador. Depois, vá em frente, começando pelo half skate boarding, ou simplesmente skate, no qual o importante é pegar velocidade para fazer acrobacias na rampa.
Retro Archives (Nov 12, 2017)
C’est assez joli, c’est fluide, mais bon sang ce que c’est dur! Légère sortie de route pour cette version Master System de California Games, qui va vous en faire baver plus que de raison. Si vous prenez le pli – ou si vous n’avez jamais touché à une autre version du jeu – vous vous retrouverez néanmoins avec un titre très satisfaisant, mais ce portage sera sans doute à réserver aux nostalgiques et aux hardcore gamers.