Footbag, which Americans seem to call "Hacky Sack" but most British players know it as "keepy upey". The sole aim is to bounce a ball using parts of your body, with different limb combinations being considered tricks. Flying Disk sounds exciting simply because it reminds me of 'Tron' but in actual fact this is really Frisby. You throw the disk to your partner, who needs to catch it. Amazingly though you play both the thrower and the catcher, as once the disk is in the air control shifts. Surfing is limited to trying to stay on a single wave. While you can launch into the air on your board to do tricks, you seem to get just as many points just staying on the water. Skating is perhaps better described as "Horizontal 'Frogger'". Through poor judgement someone has decided that they will skate along the most treacherous pavement in California. You skate from left to right avoiding rubbish, pavement cracks and piles of sand. Finally, BMX sees you playing a slightly more limited version of 'Excite Bike'. You progress along a hilly track attempting to stay upright while performing a handful of tricks. "Yup this is a simulation of the some of the daftest sports ever" Computer & Video Games Magazine once wrote. "The list of games reads like a list of overnight fads."
According to Retro Gamer magazine "the Mega Drive version [of ‘California Games’] is perhaps the best version with great graphics but easier gameplay." However it seems hard to recommend the Mega Drive version too enthusiastically when one of the six events is missing. According to reviewer Julian Rignall "the Frisbee event that appeared in other versions is missing - but since it was by far the weakest event, it's not a major issue." Game critic Frank O'Connor disagreed though saying this "excellent" event was only cut due to "memory restrictions, making room for the excellent graphics". O'Connor sadly isn't being sarcastic but he perhaps should have been. While admittedly the Mega Drive version is significantly more attractive than the C64 original, that hardly makes it that attractive a game. The characters, though sometimes large or screen, are terribly animated. The backgrounds look nice in stills but apart from waves they are static; beaches full of people frozen in time.