Konami 88 Review

Konami’s once mighty empire seems to be unravelling now, which is saddening as some classic games were produced under its banner.

88 Games (known in Japan as Hyper Sports Special and Track & Field in North America) is one such multi-event athletics game that requires players to meet specific quotas for progressing to subsequent events.


Konami 88 was initially known in Japan as Hyper Sports Special and later, in North America, as 88 Games. Based on (but unlicensed by) the 1988 Olympic Summer Games held in Seoul, players can compete in eight events such as 100m Dash, Long Jump, 400m Relay, 110m Hurdles Skeet Shooting Archery Javelin Throw and Hammer Throw.

Graphics in this game are well designed and detailed enough to create an authentic sporting atmosphere. For instance, during a 100 meter dash other athletes can be seen warming up and performing various drills in the background; and during long jump jumping the player’s perspective changes from being side on to top down when jumping – simulating momentum of an athlete.

One area where the graphic design could have been improved was with animated crowds; they would have added to the realism of the game and made for more exciting action scenes. Furthermore, using advertisements for other Konami games as an innovative feature at that time made this title stand out among its rivals; later copied by other video game designers in the 80’s such as Sega Outrun which also used roadside adverts.


Konami 88 offers impressive sound design. Bullets hitting metal machinery create an enjoyable clinking sound, while defeating bosses results in thunderous explosions. Furthermore, its music sets are equally enjoyable; jungle stages, waterfalls, snowfields and bases all have their own signature soundtracks that get players in the spirit for combat; the boss theme in particular stands out.

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One drawback of the sound was the use of digitalized voices for events introduction, which often come across as scratchy and incomprehensible. Digital voices were still fairly new at this point in game development, so perhaps their rough edges are understandable.

Even with low scores for voice acting and music, this game stands out with its sound effects. Bullets ricocheting off metal machinery, bowstring twanging against metal surfaces and powerup notifications all sound clear and distinct – it truly adds another level to an already exciting gameplay experience!

Kiyohiro Sada was responsible for creating the music in Konami 88. Originally employed at Konami in the early 80s before leaving for Natsume, Sada served as composer, sound designer and programmer on many of their titles including Castlevania and Goemon series games before eventually founding video game composition studio Good-Feel together with former Konami staffers; today he continues working in video game composition studios such as Good-Feel.


Konami 88 is an iconic example of the “Wiggle Joystick” genre of games, wherein players must wiggle a joystick and hit action buttons in an intricate rhythm in order to get into position for various activities – whether it’s timing takeoff angles on jumps, throwing javelin, passing batons during 400m relay races, or pulling back an arrow during archery competitions.

Once a coin has been inserted, the game begins with the 100 meter dash where timing the fire buttons 1 and 2 in an alternating rhythm is critical to making sure a sprinter makes it across the finish line before time runs out. Similar timing is required in long jump, 110m hurdles, javelin throws as well as skeet shooting and archery events.

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Konami 88’s controls are reliable enough to deliver an enjoyable experience, yet they lack personality or any distinct features that set this game apart from similar titles in this genre.


Konami 88 is an Olympic Games-inspired sports game that tests your button bashing skills to compete successfully in eight events. Each requires certain amounts of time, distance or score in order to advance to the next round; and as more points are required per event the difficulty increases with each new round.

Konami 88’s graphics are meticulously detailed. Animation of athletes performing warm up exercises and the rotating view of the stadium during the 100 meter dash are both very well done, while its perspective view for long jump is also pleasing to look at; unfortunately though its static crowd crowd can sometimes prove dissatisfying.

Sound in Konami 88 is functional yet unremarkable with scratchy digitalized voices that are difficult to understand, while music features subdued fanfares meant to recall Olympic opening ceremonies.

Konami 88’s controls are easy to grasp and gameplay flows relatively smoothly; however, certain sequences won’t advance until a set number of times when the same option was repeatedly selected by the player – something which may become frustrating without feedback as to whether that option had actually been selected by the player or not. Furthermore, konami 88 is often subject to bugs requiring the user to restart sequences in order to overcome issues related to these glitches.