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‘London 2012 Olympics’ too basic to be enjoyable

A few years ago, the Chicago Sun-Times assigned me to review the Olympics on TV. That’s when I devised a rule: If you could smoke during an athletic event, it shouldn’t be called a “sport.”

To wit: The “London 2012 Olympics” video game includes stagnant skeet shooting. That’s ludicrous, because contestants could theoretically light up cigarettes and still win the gold.

By contrast, if Michael Phelps smoked before or during swims, he would lose big, because swimming is physically demanding. You see what I mean?

Anyway, let’s talk about this video game. There’s been no buzz for “London 2012 Olympics.” I didn’t even know it existed. It just showed up in front of my face the other day.

Historically speaking, games based on the Olympics usually range from terrible to hardly enjoyable. Rarely, they’re good enough to rank as decent diversions for short bursts of time.

“London 2012 Olympics” is mostly hardly enjoyable, and not enough of a decent, short diversion.

You get 45 minisports from weightlifting to gymnastics, table tennis and so on. You portray USA or other nations. The events are just too basic to hold my attention for long.

During skeet shooting, I aim a gun at a disc and pull the trigger. It’s moderately challenging, because I never know which angled routes those skeet will fly.

During cycling races, I press one button rapidly to go fast. It’s easy to win.

With swimming, I master well-timed thumb stick-pushing to maximize strokes. I’m not great at this swimming, and it’s dull.

I enjoy high diving tricks, even though they’re easy. I basically just watch my diver, while I press a few time-event buttons when the game prompts me to.

You get the drift. This is a series of blah events, easy-to-moderately challenging. The art visuals are quite unimpressively detailed, although nicely stylized.

This probably would have been a fun phone-app game. But on the Xbox 360 or the PS 3, it feels underdressed and underclassed. Perhaps “London 2012 Olympics” would be more fun after the Olympics start on July 27. I dunno.

I am pleased the voice-over narrators are staid Brits, and not archetypical America-rah-rah international-sports announcers. You know what I’m talking about.

In fact, comedian Greg Proops, on his June 29 podcast, told a funny joke about how – if America had played and lost in the recent soccer European Championship – the news would have been reported here like this:

“Other Countries’ Fascism Dictates America’s Loss – Brave Americans Finish 24th in Rigged Tournament.”

“Go to America and watch the Olympics,” Proops said. “It (the announcing) is always like that: ‘Well, the winner was some bug eater from an island nation. But finishing in 34th was a brave American child!’ ”

That’s right, America. Get ready for broadcasting of the summer Olympics. It will be prideful. (And notice how some “sports” could be won by cigarette smokers. It’s shocking, I tell ya.)

(“London 2012 Olympics” by Sega retails for $50 for Xbox 360 and PS 3 – Plays dull. Looks dull. Moderately easy. Rated “E.” One out of four stars.)

Contact Doug Elfman at
He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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