ESPN Track and Field | Retro Video Game Review

In the early 2000s, Sony’s PlayStation 2 revolutionized the gaming industry, cementing its place in history as one of the most popular and successful gaming consoles of all time. With thousands of games released for the platform, the PS2 still maintains a cult following, especially in the retro gaming community. ESPN Track and Field, released in 2000, is one such game that has stood the test of time and continues to be a fan favorite. Developed by Konami, the game offers a unique sports experience involving track and field events, bringing with it a level of realism that other games of its time didn’t quite match. In this overview, we will delve into the world of ESPN Track and Field for the PlayStation 2, exploring its gameplay mechanics, graphics, sound design, replayability, and difficulty. Join us as we revisit this classic sports game and evaluate how it has aged over the years.

Gameplay Mechanics

ESPN Track and Field, originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2000, is a sports-based video game that follows a simple yet enjoyable premise — competing in a series of track and field events. The game’s mechanics and controls make it easy for players to jump right in and start playing, whether as a solo player or with friends.

The game features an array of game modes, including arcade, career, and multiplayer modes. It has a total of 11 events, including the 100 meters, 110-meter hurdles, and the long jump, among others. Players can select from a roster of characters or generate their custom personas, each having its unique strengths and weaknesses.

One of the game’s most significant strengths is its replayability. With its smooth controls and variety of game modes and events, including cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. ESPN Track and Field does not just provide a fun solo experience, but it also provides hours of fun with friends. However, the game’s main weakness is a lack of true-to-life realism that modern track and field games evoke, which may leave some hardcore players wanting more. Despite that, ESPN Track and Field is an excellent game for anyone looking for a straightforward, pick-up-and-play sports game with a bit of retro charm.

Graphics and Visuals

When ESPN Track and Field was released in 2000, the PlayStation 2 was still a relatively new console, and game developers were still experimenting with the platform’s technical capabilities. Notably, ESPN Track and Field boasted a graphical presentation that made the most of the PS2’s hardware. While modern audiences may view the game’s visuals as dated, it’s important to remember the context in which the game was released.

That being said, ESPN Track and Field’s character models, while animated, were blocky and lacked detail. Nevertheless, the game’s use of color was effective in presenting players with a bright and colorful world that was distinct from other sports games at the time. Furthermore, the game’s animations, particularly those that took place during events, convey a sense of speed and athleticism that feels satisfying to the player.

In comparison to modern games, ESPN Track and Field’s visuals may not hold up, but it’s important to remember that the game was a product of its time. The game’s visual presentation provides a glimpse of what game developers were capable of with the technology available to them in the early 2000s, providing an interesting contrast to today’s highly advanced games.

Story and Sound Design

When it comes to retro sports games like ESPN Track and Field for PlayStation 2, a significant aspect that contributes to the overall experience is the game’s story and sound design. In this section, we will explore how ESPN Track and Field fares in these areas.

Let’s start with the game’s story. As a sports game, ESPN Track and Field doesn’t offer a traditional narrative. Instead, it focuses on delivering an immersive and authentic sports experience. The game’s story revolves around the player’s journey to become a world-class track and field athlete. As players participate in different events, they unlock new characters and locations, fueling their journey towards success.

Now, let’s switch our attention to sound design. ESPN Track and Field’s sound effects and music play an integral role in enhancing the overall experience. The game includes several tracks that accurately capture the energy and excitement of a real-life track and field event. The sound effects, such as the starting gun, grunts, and cheers, are well-designed, and players feel as if they are in a stadium watching a real competition.

Overall, the game’s story and sound design are geared towards delivering an immersive and authentic sports experience. While the game doesn’t offer a traditional story mode, the journey towards becoming a world-class athlete is enough to keep the player engaged. The sound design is well-executed, contributing significantly to the game’s overall experience. Keep reading as we explore ESPN Track and Field’s replayability and difficulty in the next section.

Replayability and Difficulty

When it comes to sports video games, one of the essential factors that determine the game’s longevity is the level of difficulty and replayability. ESPN Track and Field has moderate difficulty in the beginning, but as you progress to the game’s more challenging modes, it becomes much harder, requiring a lot of skill, concentration, precision, and perseverance. The game’s difficulty goes up significantly in the latter stages, with the fastest time records being nearly impossible to beat.

Despite the game’s steep learning curve, ESPN Track and Field still has some replay value and retains some nostalgic charm. When you play it with friends or family, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and competitive spirit, making players want to come back for more. It’s the kind of game that still offers players with countless hours of entertainment for those who love the retro feel.

While the game doesn’t have too many unlockables or hidden features, there are still a few notable ones. For example, clearing each event on the championship mode will unlock new costumes for characters like the superhero and referee attire. You will also unlock various bonus stadiums and a jukebox where you can listen to the game’s music.

That said, ESPN Track and Field’s replayability and overall longevity are probably more suited to those looking to revisit a classic gem than newcomers looking for a new modern sports game. Although players may find harder difficulties to be a bit too challenging, it remains a game that is satisfying to play and can provide hours of fun for those who want to test their skills against friends or family.


After taking a thorough dive into ESPN Track and Field for PlayStation 2, we can confidently say that this retro sports title has both its strengths and weaknesses.

With engaging gameplay mechanics, players can enjoy the thrill of the Olympic Games from the comfort of their own home. The variety in game modes and events offers hours of fun for players looking to test their abilities in different areas. Visually, the game is colorful and upbeat, though not without some dated models and environments. The sound design is appropriately themed, though it can grow repetitive over extended play sessions.

Despite its flaws, ESPN Track and Field for PlayStation 2 is a worthwhile experience. Its level of challenge is engaging, and its replayability still holds up after all these years. On a scale of 1 to 10, we award the game a solid 7.

For retro gaming enthusiasts and sports fans alike, ESPN Track and Field offers a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Its dated visuals and sound design may not hold up to newer releases, but its engaging gameplay and challenge make it a title worth revisiting.


  1. What is ESPN Track and Field?

    ESPN Track and Field is a retro video game released for the PlayStation 2 in 2000 that allows players to compete in various track and field events.

  2. What are the different game modes?

    There are three main game modes: Exhibition, Championship, and Decathlon. Exhibition allows players to practice individual events. Championship has players compete in a full meet against other computer-controlled athletes. Decathlon is a challenge to complete all 10 track and field events.

  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the gameplay?

    The strengths of the gameplay include its simplicity and accessibility. The weaknesses include some imprecise controls and a lack of depth in certain events.

  4. What is the overall story of the game?

    There is no overarching story in ESPN Track and Field. The game is purely focused on sports gameplay.

  5. What is the game’s replayability and difficulty?

    The game’s difficulty can be adjusted, and while some events may pose a challenge, it generally is not too difficult overall. As for replayability, some may find it enjoyable to compete for high scores or complete all the events in Decathlon mode. However, it may not have enough depth to retain players’ interest for an extended period of time.

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