In the early 90's and late 80's, every now and then, there's a couple of games that, regardless of their quality, you have zero problem throwing into your NES and just messing around. Since games from this era were also pretty tongue-in-cheek, which left them with an endearing quality. Caveman Games is one that I kinda don't care for as a game, but enjoy as an experience.

Published by Data East in the United States, Caveman Games (known as Caveman Ughlympics, a much cooler name) was originally a Commodore 64 title developed by Dynamix in 1988. Duties for the NES port were handled by British studio Painting By Numbers, who mostly worked on Ocean games. Knowing that there's a connection I can link between Caveman Games and N64's Fighter's Destiny ALONG with ties to EA Sports validates my existence on this planet.

As the name implies, Caveman Games is an Olympic-themed competitive game that hosts six different events. Up to six players can participate and select their competitor, the events range from races, one-on-one tournament sanctioned fighting ("Clubbing"), pole vaulting, and fire-making. One of the favorites that people in our household used during sleepovers was the Mate Toss. Well, the event is self explanatory. Trying to get a max length throw only to be rewarded with the wacky chicken dance is worth the effort.

The rebuilding of the 8-bit sprites look pretty good, Caveman Games does have some quality animation with nothing in the way of latency or clipping. Each event uses unique sprites, so there's quite more packed into this game than I ever gave it credit as a kid, and it runs as impressive as Konami's Track & Field series. I suppose the trade-off is some of the colors can be a little on the plain side, even for the NES, and for the most part, each of the six athletes are merely head-swaps. This shortcoming is overlooked by a good lot of the visual humor and gags. Besides, it's impressive for 8-bits.

There really isn't a lot to say about Caveman Games' controls. Most of the events require pressing the "B" and "A" buttons as quickly as possible, followed by a measured launch button. The strategy to it isn't really explained, it's pretty much speed-based. Getting it down to a science runs the risk of burning the joints in your fingers. To this day, I still have some calloused remnants on my thumbs from all the mashing. Rock the D-pad around and hope something happens in the Mate Toss, and press the buttons for dear life to keep from getting mauled by a prehistoric cat. One of the tactics we used as kids was getting a AAA or AA battery and zipping it across the face buttons of the NES controller. Not really something I'd consider the mark of good game design, but I'm certain Caveman Games was some developed to help sell the NES Power Pad back in the day. "Now you're playing with power! Peripheral power!"

Caveman Games is stupid good fun, and fits itself in that tier of NES games that one who grew up in the era may have experienced during a rental, but beyond a certain period, it can really wear on the digits. To play it well means grinding your hands into a fine powder. There are a good deal of laughs to be had, so the cartoony charm fits it in an interesting place in history. 

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