Olympic Summer Games was the 16-bit edition of the official video game of the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games (the 32-bit/PC version being Olympic Games: Atlanta 1996). It followed the failure of Winter Olympics: Lillehammer 94 and was the last "Olympic" video game released for 16-bit consoles (Sega's Mega Drive/Genesis and Nintendo's SNES and Nintendo's Game Boy.
It follows the already common button mashing techniques of previous (and future) games, with the usual exceptions.
It has 10 events (three more than Olympic Gold), but only two aren't based on track and field events, and unlike Winter Olympics, there are no major differences between each event on different platforms.
Graphics are considered to be either worse or only slightly better overall than those of Olympic Gold. While each nation (for a total of 28) has its own colour set, it was the only redeeming feature. The isometric view on most events meant that most times only grass was visible, and although some backgrounds were animated, on some a few sprites were out of proportion with others; the athlete in the pole vault looks too short when compared to the background objects while in the high jump the opposite occurs (and also looks smaller after the jump). The lack of competitive events outside the "Olympic stadium" also does not help to reduce the poor impression of the graphics, as it makes the game even more repetitive.
As in the previous titles, there are three difficulty levels and both Olympics and mini-olympics (here called custom game) modes; however, the points table was removed, and the only way to compare results is by the medals' table. In the sprinting events, there are two qualifying rounds, and only the winner (out of only four competitors) pass to the next round. On long jump, triple jump, discus and javelin each player has three attempts; the best 10 progress to the final and have three extra attempts. The best result overall wins. In high jump and pole vault there aren't qualifying rounds, the players jump in turns until missing three consecutive jumps.
The difficulty levels are terribly uneven. While in the high jump they can break the olympic record in easy and miss the 5.80 m barrier at hard, in skeet at easy, top computer players hit 3, in normal 4 and in hard 5. This also leads at an incredibly long medal-awarding ceremony, with four or five competitors in the bronze or silver medal. It's impossible to break the records on archery and skeet events, as the best possible result in skeet is 25 (5x5, the equivalent of only one perfect day) while the record is set on 200 points, and archery with a possible result of 180 (6 arrows in 3 rounds) and 338 points as the record. The remaining records are perfectly possible to be beaten by expert players. The lack of EEPROM saving (which was already common in 1996) means the records are not logged inside the game, and as soon as the console is unplugged (rather than just reset), the default records return.
Olympic Gold: Barcelona '92
|Official video game of the Summer Olympics|
| Succeeded by|
Winter Olympics: Lillehammer '94
|Official video game of the Olympics|
| Succeeded by|
Nagano Winter Olympics '98