Track & Field introduced a button-mashing style of gameplay in which the player must press a button as fast as possible, and their in-game character interacts with the environment accordingly. This style of gameplay is still used today by many popular titles. The arcade release accommodated up to four players at once. The NES version (arguably the most popular) was designed for only two players. Track & Field has received graphical and sound updates, leaderboards, online play, and additional events since its initial release in 1983. The Atari 2600 version included a specialized controller, mimicking the arcade input.
In the arcade version of Track & Field, players had two "run" buttons and one "action" button. The run buttons were used to increase the speed of the character on-screen, while the action button was used to do things like initiate a jump or adjust the angle of a javelin throw. The NES version (possibly due to hardware limitations) had only one run button.
- 100 Meter Dash
- 110 Meter Hurdles
- Hammer Throw
- High Jump
- Javelin Throw
- Long Jump
In each event, there is a qualifying time or level that the player must achieve to advance to the next event; failing to qualify (in one heat for running events or three tries in the other events) ends the game. Events that were later added to Track & Field after the arcade release include: 100-meter freestyle, skeet shooting, vault, archery, triple jump, weight lifting, and pole vault.
Xbox Live Arcade
A slightly enhanced version of Track & Field was released for XBLA in 2007. It includes full Xbox Live support (ranked and player matches) and in-depth leaderboards.
The Track & Field Legacy
Over the years, Konami released several games featuring gameplay from the same vein as the original:
- Konami '88 (1988) (Arcade)
- Track & Field II (1988) (NES)
- Track & Field (1992) (Game Boy)
- International Track & Field (1996) (PS)
- Hyper Athlete (1996) (Arcade)
- Nagano Winter Olympics '98 (1998) (N64, PS)
- International Track & Field 2000 (1999) (N64, PS, GBC)
- ESPN International Track & Field (2000) (DC, PS2, GBC)
- Track and Field (2007) (Xbox Live Arcade)
- New International Track & Field (2008) (NDS)
- The 1984 March of Dimes International Konami/Centuri Track & Field Challenge was the largest video game tournament in history, with over a million contestants, including 800,000 in the US and 200,000 in Japan. The top 3 players from each country formed teams, with the finale taking place in Japan; the US team won the tournament.