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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

In 1984 Epyx Sent A Commodore 64 Copy Of Summer Games To The Soviets, Who Couldn't Play It Because They Only Had Ataris

Thirty years ago, we didn’t have fancy PS4s to drool over. No, we had to type in things like “LOAD”*”,8,1 to play games, and those games were real. One of the best, of course, was Epyx’s Summer Games, which let you take part in such Olympic competitions as swimming, diving, sprinting, and gymnastics as a representative of nations like France, Canada, and the USSR—complete with eight-bit national anthems.

Alas, the Soviets boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, which sadly is a strike against the otherwise hyper-realness of Summer Games. As we learn in this fascinating feature over at RIA Novosti, the Soviet boycott came too late for Epyx to remove them from the game, but the company sent the USSR embassy in Washington a Commodore 64 copy of the game so they might be able to participate, at least virtually.

So Epyx wrapped up several copies of “Summer Games” for the Commodore and dropped it in the mail with a wry letter telling Soviet diplomats that here was their chance to compete in the Olympics.

To Botch and Katz’s shock, a reply arrived a week later.

The Soviet Embassy said it was grateful for the discs, but that there was one small problem.


That problem? The Soviets were diehard Atari players and didn’t have a C64. Epyx quickly rushed off copies of the Atari version, but sadly they never heard back about whether the Reds liked the game or not. Maybe they were offended by Epyx using The Internationale as the USSR national anthem instead of the correct song.


Timothy Burke is formerly Deadspin's Video Director.

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