Take on the NES Library

An 8-bit Extravaganza!

#102 – Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular

I like good alliteration, and I like this game too.

Where’s the rest of the title?

To Beat: Score 10,000 points in the Total Game Mode
To Complete: Score 15,000 points in the Total Game Mode
What I Did: Scored 16,460 points
Played: 10/9/18
Difficulty: 2/10
My Difficulty: 2/10
My Video: Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular Longplay

Today we have a sports game that doesn’t feel like one. I remember one time when I was browsing through game lots on eBay. I was looking into one where the seller highlighted that there were all good games in the lot and no sports titles. Just about the first game I saw in there was this Snoopy game. I just rolled my eyes and said, “oh come on, the word sports is right there in the title!” Sports games have this negative stigma with them, particularly in collector mindsets for older systems. Games like this will blur the lines and somehow avoid all that negativity. I can see why Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular would fit that mold with its cartoon events that don’t always make sense but are pretty fun to play.

Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular was released on the NES in April 1990 in North America only. Kemco both developed and published the game. This is another game with an interesting background. It is a loose port of the game Alternative World Games created by Gremlin Graphics in 1987 for Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad CPC. Kemco adapted the game for the Famicom in September 1988. In Japan, they had the licensing rights for Disney, so they made Donald Duck the main character and named the game Donald Duck. Capcom held the rights for making Disney games in the US, so when Kemco brought the game over, they licensed the Peanuts characters and changed the game into Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular.

Try to keep up, Spike.

The game is an Olympic-style contest. These are Snoopy’s International Games consisting of six different events: Sack Race, Boot Throwing, Pogo, Overboard, Pile of Pizza, and River Jump. You can play the game with either one or two players. Should you choose two-player mode, two events are simultaneous play and the rest are alternating play. The games are set in Italy and Greece so you have nice architectural backdrops to go along with the silly games. You can play events individually for fun or practice, but the main mode is the Total Game mode where you play all six events in a row. In this mode, you want to break the world record of 10,000 points to win 1st place and beat the game.

The Sack Race takes place on a city street. You control Snoopy and either the second player or computer controls his brother, Spike. You begin waiting behind the starting line waiting for a balloon to pop to signal the start of the race. Press and release the A button to jump forward. Just tapping A will only perform a tiny hop. You’ll have to learn the rhythm to go as fast as possible. Use the D-pad to adjust your position on the street. There are manholes littered around the course that open at random, and if you get caught up in one you will trip and fall behind. You can’t interfere with your opponent at all, so you only need to worry about the manholes. If one player falls too far behind, Woodstock will push that player up to close the gap so that both characters remain on screen. You have 50 seconds to reach the end of the course. In the Total Game mode, you earn 40 points for every second remaining on the timer, minus some points if you need a Woodstock push.


In the Boot Throwing competition, you want to throw your boot as far as possible. Begin by pressing Down, then rotate your thumb around the D-pad in a counter-clockwise motion. It turns out you only need to alternate between pressing Down and Right, but doing the rotation helps greatly. This will wind up your throw, and then you press A to let it loose. With good timing you will throw it far ahead, but you can also throw it straight up, straight into the ground, or even backwards for no distance. On a forward throw, Woodstock will go out and tell you how far you threw. You get two separate throws. The best throw I could do was 30 feet which was worth 500 points. The scoring is prorated for shorter distances, and both throws are scored separately and added together for the event.

The Pogo event is a simple obstacle course. Press Right to move Snoopy forward and press and hold A to bounce high. Snoopy will do small bounces automatically. He also cannot move backward. There are four tall walls of equal height that Snoopy must jump over to get all the points. If you crash into the wall, the event ends right there. This event takes a lot of practice to get the timing and button presses right. For the Total Game mode, each wall cleared is worth 250 points.

Looks like I will just barely clear the wall.

Overboard is a two-player pushing game. You are on a boat in a canal, and as Snoopy you try and push Spike off the boat. Use the D-pad to walk around and tap the A button quickly to push. This is kind of a button masher, at least in my experience. The boat also rocks side to side, which from your view is in and out of the screen. You can use Up and Down on the D-pad to favor either side of the boat, and you want to be on the high side of the boat as much as possible. You can get knocked off the back of the boat or fall off the sides in the middle of the boat if you don’t adjust your position. You are trying to push Spike off the right side of the boat. The scoring in this game is a little different. If you fall then you get no points. The base score is 1000 points, and you lose 20 points for every second of the match, rounded up. For example, if you win in five seconds, take 100 points off the base score for a total of 900 points for the event.

Spike is having a rough day.

The Pile of Pizza event asks you to carefully carry a large stack of pizzas across the finish line. Similar to the Sack Race, you press and release Right on the D-pad to move forward. You can hold right to keep walking, but you are going to drop a bunch of pizzas. If you walk too fast or too erratically, the stack will shake enough to drop pizzas. This is a tortoise and the hare situation where slow and steady wins the race. Tap out Right a little at a time to inch forward and keep your pizza stack nice and tall. Your stack is displayed as ten pizzas high, however the game counts each one as two pizzas for a total of twenty pizzas. This game has another interesting scoring setup. You get 80 seconds to complete the event, but you can get a perfect score of 1000 by carrying all pizzas past the finish line with at least 20 seconds remaining. You lose points for every second taken beyond 20 seconds remaining, and you also lose points proportionally to every pizza dropped.

The River Jump is straightforward. This is kind of like a pole vaulting event, only you are using the pole to jump over a river instead of clearing the high bar. Press A rapidly to run. When you get to the river, press B to stick your pole in the water. This is an all or nothing event. You get 1000 points if you make it across and nothing if you don’t. This event seems to give people a lot of trouble, and the reason is the manual doesn’t make it clear exactly how this event works. What you are supposed to do is press A quickly to run, then press and hold B at the river’s edge for a while before letting go of the button to dismount. When you learn the timing, it becomes the easiest event.

No leaning for this tower.

In the Total Game mode, when all events are completed, the scores are added together to give you a sub total. The scoring screen has a field called Clear Point which starts at 2000 points. If your total is more than that, you get to compete in the same six events again. If your cumulative score after two rounds is more than 5000, you get to do all the events again the third time around. Your final score is the sum of the score in all six events played three times.

I spent a week in 2017 playing Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular for the NintendoAge contest. I managed a score of 16,930 and placed 4th that week. I could have sworn I’ve played this game for points before that, but it didn’t show up in the contests before then and I’m pretty sure I didn’t play it on my own. In a different contest year, I won a copy of this game and that’s the copy I kept for my collection. It’s slightly less than common but one I’ve owned a couple copies off. It sells for around $8 or so.

It’s not as tough as it seems.

I think this is a game that many players could do well enough to beat after a couple hours of practice. The events are all small and you can practice them quickly to get the hang of them. If you are pretty good at about half of the events, that can earn you enough points to clear the game. When you beat the game, you get a medal depending on your score. Just beating the game gets you the bronze medal. You need at least, I believe, 12,500 points to get the silver medal and 15,000 points to get the gold medal. While optional, I knew I wanted to get 15,000 again. It took me about half a dozen tries to get a run I was happy with. I struggled with the timing on the Pogo event and Boot Throwing was inconsistent. I’ve never been great at Overboard either. Most of my attempts would have ended in the 13K-16K range. I didn’t want to just barely get 15K, rather I wanted a run with few mistakes. I’m happy with my longplay video with a score of 16,460. The only thing keeping me from 17K were some bad boot throws. It’s possible to get over 18K by playing near perfectly on all events.

Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular delivers all that the title describes. The graphics are nice and Snoopy is a good fit for the game, even though that wasn’t how it was imagined originally. The music is decent as well. The controls all work like they are supposed to. A mini-game compilation may not appeal to everyone, but as these kinds of games go I think this is a good one. There is a good variety of events and they all perform well with no obvious glitches or exploits. The only downside is that it’s a short game and there’s not much lasting appeal beyond beating the game. It’s a fun game to try out, but maybe not one you need to own unless you are a collector.

#102 – Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular

#102 – Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular (16,460 points)

Posted In: Finished

Leave a Reply