California Games

Download California Games and experience the ultimate retro sports compilation! Skateboard, surf, BMX, and more as you compete in iconic events and embrace the Golden State's sunny vibes. Catch the wave and play now!
a game by Epyx, Inc., and Milton Bradley
Genres: Racing, Sports
Platforms: Sega GenesisGenesis, Sega Master SystemSega Master System, NESNES
Editor Rating: 8.1/10, based on 8 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 4 votes
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See also: California Games
California Games
California Games
California Games
California Games

Take part in one of several activities related to the California beach culture in this multievent sports sim from Epyx, authors of the original Summer Games.

California Games is another addition in the "games" series from software publisher Epyx. Like their summer and winter offerings California Games lets players participate in sporting events. This time out, they are more non-traditional, such as half-pipe skateboarding, surfing and foot bag.

California Games allows for up to eight players to compete in rotation through either single events, a selection of your favorites, or all six events. A single event can also be selected to practice and gain proficiency The users can name their players and points are awarded for each event depending on how each player finishes. Once all events have been completed the total scores for all players are tabulated and a winner is declared.

The six events you can participate in are half-pipe skateboarding, footbag (also known as hackey-sack), surfing, boardwalk roller-skating, BMX bicycling and disk toss (Frisbee). All events have their own style and method to victory.

In the half pipe the player controls a figure on a skateboard and attempts to do skateboarding tricks on the half pipe rim and in the air, without wiping out. The player has a minute and 15 seconds to gain as many points as possible.

In footbag the player controls an on screen figure who can be maneuvered horizontally across the screen and made to turn 360 degrees. By kicking the footbag into the air and basically juggling with your feet you can gain points. More points are awarded for tricks and complex maneuvers. There is a time limit again of one minute and 15 seconds.

Surfing consists of riding your surfboard smoothly along the lip of the onscreen wave. One can perform tricks by launching off the top of the wave and landing the jump properly. The main goal is to go as far and as fast as you can in the allotted time in a risky position.

On the boardwalk the player controls a roller skater skating into opposing traffic. The boardwalk is littered with obstacles and is uneven and unfinished in many places. The goal of the event is to make it to the end of the boardwalk in the shortest amount of time while dodging objects in your way and doing as many tricks as possible. When controlling the player one can jump, duck and spin 360 degrees. The player is only allowed three falls before they are disqualified.

BMX biking is another event where the player races to the end of the course in the shortest time possible. Controlling an onscreen BMX biker one can do different tricks such as backwards and forwards flips off of large jumps and ramps. There are numerous obstacles that will throw you from your bike. The player is allowed one serious (i.e. falling on our head) or three easy (i.e. falling over) wipeouts before they are disqualified.

The flying disk event is the final challenge. The goal is to accurate through a plastic flying disk the length of a field to a catcher. The factors that affect the disks behavior are the amount of force one uses to toss the disk. Once it has been thrown control transfers to the catcher who must be positioned ready to catch the disk. Points are awarded on the distance the catcher must run. The closer you throw to the catcher, the more points that are awarded.

Compete in events such as skateboarding, footbag, surfing, roller skating, flying disc (frisbee) and BMX. Some events are ranked by judges (Surfing), which gives you a score to help you improve your routine.

Download California Games


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.

Sega Master System

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • P-200, 32 MB RAM

Game Reviews

The popular cult classic, California Games, has found a new home on the Genesis. Originally released on the C64 and Atari Lynx, it has been enhanced for the Genesis. Play through five of the best events offered: BMX Racing, Footbag, Surfing, Halfpipe and Skating. Up to four players can compete alternately in the games for added enjoyment! Great graphics and sound make Calif. Games a cart to check out!

People say:


Very rarely do multi-event games work for me and this is a prime example. Although the individual events are entertaining, the cohesive threads that could have made this play like a real game are missing. Basically you play each event until you get tired of it. While that may appeal to some, I like more depth in my game.


This game is OK for somebody who has never played a version of this. Unfortunately, it's been around so long, and no company has bothered to change or at least, enhance the cart, that it still looks like the ancient computer game. I would have hoped for something fresh, with new ideas to some old sports.


This is what happens when you try to take a computer game and put it on a video game system. The graphics are very good but the game play is extremely choppy and difficult to control. The games may look a little better but they aren't any fun because you can play them.


Hey! If you really want to play California Games and have fun, I suggest you go out and get the Atari Lynx version! This game just doesn't translate well on the big machines. It reminds me of the vain attempt to put Boxxle on the Genesis when it belonged on the Gameboy. It is only average here.

Even though summer is past, you can still play your favorite summer type of games will California Games for the Genesis. Originally out for computer owners, it was then translated for the Lynx. Now, all five events are back; BMX racing, footbag, surfing, skating, and the halfpipe. Don't let the Winter blahs get you down, try California Games for your Genesis.

  • Manufacturer: EPYX
  • Versions: Apple, Amiga, Atari 800, Atari ST, Commodore 64, IBM PC

California Games allows up to eight players to compete in six gnarly events in an effort to be crowned the "baddest" around. Gamers must surf, bike, skate, toss and kick their way through six events in an attempt to claim this prestigious title

Half-Pipe Skateboarding

The secret to good skateboarding is maintaining control at all times. If the board is going too fast, stop the up-and-down motion and slow the skater down until it feels comfortable again. Although there are three stunts players may perform, the hand plant is the one to concentrate on. The plant not only slows the skater down a bit, it can also be performed twice in a row at both ends of the pipe for a real score booster. As a matter of fact, scores of well over 12,000 points can be obtained simply by performing hand plants. To get the most out of the plant, remember to push the button just as the skater hits the top of the pipe. Releasing is another story. Do not wait until the board hits the pipe as the instructions suggest - this will always result in a flop. Instead, try to release just after the board passes over the skater's head in midair. With practice, scores of over 675 points can be achieved with a single plant.

This is not to say that the other two stunts are useless. However, since the kick turns require a slow pace and are only worth upward of 300 points, they can be avoided. As for aerial turns, if the skater's speed is way up there, go for it, dude!

Foot Bag

The foot bag is a much more laid-back event, where variety is definitely the key. Practice the moves described in the book until they become familiar. Once competition begins, make a strong effort to perform each move one at a time until every move is complete. Although it seems strange to perform the lesser valued moves instead of the harder ones, variety is what earns the big points with these judges. While performing the Doda can get the bagger 5,000 points, turning in a variety of six or more moves awards the player a variety bonus of over 36,000 points!

Once all the moves have been completed, tack on additional points by performing the harder moves like the Doda or the double arch.


The trick to surfing is to keep the surfer in the top half of the wave, close to the "tube", as much as possible. Low scores are earned by staying toward the bottom, no matter what stunts are performed. The judges are big fans of turns - high points are obtained by turning up toward the top of the wave and then turning back just as the tip of the board hits the crest. This is called "catching air". Be careful not to wait too long before the cut back, or the surfer will wipe out.

The other highly valued stunts are the 180 and the 360. A 180-degree turn can be done in the top half of the wave much the same way as catching air. The 360 requires a bit more wave to complete successfully and should only be attempted if the surfer is below the halfway point of the wave.

Another valuable stunt is to ride the board over the top of the wave and turn 180 degrees in the air to come back down on it. The trick here is to make sure the board is exactly 180 degrees from the position it was when it left the wave. Landing at any other angle will result in a totally radical wipeout!

Roller Skating

Skating is a game of steady rhythm. Start by building a steady pace of up-and-down movement to get the skater to move evenly across the walkway. Holding the stick in one direction too long will cause the skater to wander in that direction. Compensate by holding the stick in the other direction a bit longer on the next stroke. While skating in this manner, simply press the button right before the skater reaches an obstacle to jump over it. Sounds simple, yet keeping an even rhythm can be tricky for the novice player.

Once the player is secure in skating, he or she can rack up the big points by doing 360s. The best way to accomplish one is to press the button as the skater approaches an obstacle and rotate the stick all the way around instead of the usual up-and-down rotation. If done correctly, the skater will jump and do a 360 in the air, earning big points.

BMX Bike Racing

Here is a sport which requires precise timing and more than a touch of patience. Start by taking it slow. Get a feel for the track, and learn where the biggest hills are located. These are the only places where the four "in-the-air" stunts should be attempted. It is not possible to complete these four stunts at any other point, and attempts to do so will result in a serious wipeout that promptly ends the competition. Once the biker reaches the top of a large ramp, timing comes into play. The player must hit the button just as the front wheel hits the edge of the ramp. If that's not hard enough, he or she must then do the desired stunt immediately after the button is pressed. Even a one-second delay will not give the biker enough hang time to complete the stunt. Remember also that the tabletop stunt requires the player to press the stick up and release it before the biker touches down, or he will wipe out.

The rest of the track is pretty straightforward. Players get points for jumping over or avoiding obstacles. Extra points can be earned by making sure that you are always doing something, never just coasting along. If the biker is on a small stretch of track with no obstacles, do a wheelie or simply jump the bike up and down. These simple tasks can earn the biker up to 400 points each!

The Flying Disk

The flying disk is probably the easiest event to master. The trick is to throw the disk at the right time. Try to release the disk when the power level is in yellow (not green as the instructions suggest). This makes the disk descend to the left of the catcher, which is perfect because catches made from the right of the disk are worth more. The catcher's job is made easier by reducing the need to run all the way right and then back again to get under the disk from the right side. Once the disk begins descending, remember that it falls at a steady rate; so by watching its line of descent on the upper screen, one can judge pretty well where it will come down. Keep the man to the left of this point, and once the disk reaches elbow level, jump left and make a diving catch. After a couple of runs, it's like totally possible, dude!

Hey, dudes, get ready to, like, hit the beach and compete in five gnarly California-style events -- BMX bike-racing, Footbag, Roller Skating, Half-Pipe Skateboarding, and Surfing. Radical! Even better, up to nine buds can compete at the same time. Like, it's the perfect party game. And the graphics are so awesome you're gonna' feel the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair. Hit the beach, or hit California Games. (For more info see Game-Pro, January '92.)

Hey, bud, when it comes to ' the sand and surf, California has had the advantage over most states. Not anymore! With California Games by Sega you can bring the beaches home and compete in five gnarly California-style events! Radical!

Hang Five

California Games is a mondo collection of five separate cool events: BMX bike-racing, Footbag, Roller Skating, Half-Pipe (pull some gnarly skate board moves inside a giant half-pipe), and Surfing. Like, play the events in order or just check out your favorites when your karma's right.

Ya gotta' be totally hot to beat some of the events, but you can adjust the difficulty level of the Footbag and Surfing events to match your bioitiythms.

This is totally awesome because it gives dufus players a chance to kick some sand in someone's face.

Of course, the real challenge in a game like California Games is the chance to compare your skills with your buds'. Or, in this case, up to NINE buds! Yup, it's no problemo! Up to nine dudes can compete at the same time -- and, like, you can even share one controller! And since you can play it with nine dudes you know what this means don't ya? California Games is the perfect party game! This hot game even has a high score board so you can keep a record of who's making the most points and tagging the title of "Big Kahuna".

ProTip: Don't set the difficulty level at its lowest for the Footbag and Surfing events unless you really need the practice, otherwise you'll only get half the points for each maneuver if you do. Bummer!

In Yer Face

The graphics and animation in California Games are totally awesome. Really cool multi-level scrolling makes the surfing event look more like a film clip than a video game! The animation's colorful and smooth as sand. When your skater flies off his board, you'll be reaching for the band-aids! The sounds are wild too, with bouncy beach tunes and gnarly bone- crunching sound effects. Don't have a perfect beach nearby? No problemo! California Games is the perfect solution!

Total Control

An old surfer dude once said, "a game is only as good as its controls". California Games isn't too shabby in this area either. The controls are very responsive (like, it does what you want when you want it!). This is super importante, especially when you are trying to do a hand-plant! Timing is the key to becoming a master of the events.

  • Don't by flips off of small jumps in the BMX event, if you land on your head, you're one dead dude!
  • If you get the timing of the jumps down while Skating, you're gonna1 nail the entire event.
  • To gain speed in the Half-Pipe you've got to "pump" at just the right places on the pipe.

Surf's Up!

Hey, gamers, whether you're a California dude or not this game's cool. It looks awesome and plays great, and, like, it's got stuff in it that you're not gonna' see anywhere else! So hit the beach, or hit California Games!

It's awesome, it's radical, it's... well you know! California Games finally comes to the NES, allowing you hours of fun as you surf, skateboard, ride BMX bikes, play hacky sack, rollerskate, and toss the frisbee. You'll almost feel the sun on your back, the wind in your hair, and smell the ocean breezes, as you play this highly original game. It's the next best thing to being in California!

California Games is a 1987 Epyx sports video game for many home computers and video game consoles. Branching from their popular Summer Games and Winter Games series, this game consisted of some sports purportedly popular in California.

The game sold very well, topping game selling charts for winter months. It also got very positive reaction from reviewers. Many consider California Games to be the last classic Epyx sport game. After this game, the staff in Epyx changed.

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots

Sega Master System Screenshots

See Also

Viewing games 1 to 2
Track & Field II
This sequel to Track and Field features improved, larger characters and a choice of events.
Quattro Sports
Quattro Sports was released in 1993 and features four unlike kinds of sports games, exciting and full of action.