30 Games Of April – Day 16

International Track & Field
Developed by:Konami
Published by:Konami
Released: 1996
Format played:Playstation

“Who will be number one in the world?”

Well me, apparently. Yes we’re back in button bashing heaven. Following in the footsteps of its mighty forebear Track & Field, not to mention our old favourite Hyper Sports, International Track & Field takes us back into the arena in pursuit of gold.

I ruddy love this game. It is simplicity itself but no less fun for all that. Nabbing bits from both the original Track & Field and Hyper Sports, there are 11 events in total, including old favourties like the 100m, long jump and javelin, as well as swimming. It’s like a decathalon for iron men. Take that, Daley Thompson!

Up to four of you can take part via multi-tap. Getting a crowd to play is undoubtedly better but even the single player mode is fun. Given that you are competing against records, it is easy to compare / taunt your mates, whether they are in the room for local co-op or down the end of a phone.

The first thing you’ll need to do though is to change the button configuration. There are two buttons for sprinting and one for action, the default controls being square and circle for running and triangle or cross to jump or throw. This is clearly nonsense. Get into the options and switch your sprint control to cross and circle. This means that instead of laboriously tapping each in turn, you can get a couple of fingers right in the middle of the two buttons and frantically move them in quick succession between each, allowing you to max out your speed on almost all events.

With this wonder tactic employed, you’ll come to dominate the events. Indeed the AI offers almost no competition and so unless you play in co-op, it is just you against the record. Back in the day my 100m time was somewhere around 7.3 seconds whilst my high jump best of 2m 72 will take some beating. It’s all gloriously unrealistic of course but it adds to the fun.

What’s that? You want more tips? Oh go on then. The sprint events are straightforward. Just pelt it down the track as fast as you can. For the long and triple jumps, get up a good head of steam but don’t take your eye off the board. A jumping angle of around 42% should see you right. For the high jump and discus, less effort is required to build up maximum speed, so concentrate on timing your jump / throw. Together with the hammer, shot and javelin, the discus again benefits from a throwing angle in the low 40% range.

The pole vault is the one outlier. Back in the day I smashed the world record. If you get it right your man performs a comedy leap over the bar, hanging in mid air for an age like a broken doll. Together with the triple jump though it’s the event I struggle for consistency in. It is harder to build up your speed and a successful vault is dependent on a well timed push up against the pole, then a release over the bar.

It all looks like a blocky mess now of course, but it’s perfectly serviceable. Although I do kinda miss that moustachioed chap from the original. Switch off your brain, get some mates round and crack open a beer and this is still great fun. What retrogaming is all about.

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Jon wood
Jon wood

Best game ever! Those days spent trying to knock 0.01 off a ridiculous record or 1cm longer/higher on field events. Never forget!


It’s a new record! One of my favourite PS1 games. Used to play it so much with my brother.