Decathlon

In 1984, the Summer Olympics came to Los Angeles, and game developers looked for a way to commemorate the historical event on console systems. However, Soviet Bloc Boycott proved difficult to license, and Reganomics! could only be won by 2 or 3 percent of the people who played it, so Activision's brilliant David Crane gave gamers everywhere a chance to compete in the decathlon.

Gameplay: In an audacious display of authenticity, there are 10 events in this decathlon, including the 100-meter dash, javelin-toss, shot-put, high jump, and the 1,500-meter race. At the start of each event, your decathlon guy (who looks an awful lot like Pitfall Harry in a pair of those camel-toe-inducing '80s running shorts) starts on the left side of the screen. You propel him into the record books by furiously wiggling your joystick from side to side, perfectly timing your jumps and throws.

You'll earn points for each event, and hear a happy little tune when you score 1,000 or more. You win a bronze medal at 8,000 points, a silver at 9,000, and 10,000 will bring home the coveted gold-medal iron-on patch from the Activision Decathlon Club. (Send in a picture of your TV screen, and allow four to six weeks for shipping.)

Each event involves some degree of running, so you'll want to get comfortable wiggling your joystick in front of all your friends, but be careful: Excessive joystick-wiggling could lead to temporary insanity, according to Jack Chick.

Could be mistaken for: Hyper Sports, Track & Field, Battle Of The 8-Bit Network Stars

Kids today might not like it because: By the time they get to the 1,500-meter race, their arms are so exhausted, it's almost like real exercise.

Kids today might like it because: After a lifetime spent playing video games, this is the closest they'll ever get to running 100 meters in a row.

Enduring contribution to gaming history: Decathlon was one of the very first "endurance" games, and it paved the way for arcade exhausters like Dance Dance Revolution and MoCap Boxing.

 

Wil Wheaton did the 1,500-meter race in 3:31.7. Beat that, fools!