Button bashing: the virtual Olympic sport

Olympic Flame

If video games were an Olympic sport – and let’s be clear, they aren’t – then button bashing would have to be the blue ribbon event. After all, it’s well established as the equivalent of sprinting 100m.

Sadly, the noble sport of button bashing is dying. Nintendo dealt the first serious blow with Wii Sports, and its fancy actually moving your hand controls. Microsoft didn’t help matters with Kinect. Sony’s efforts – EyeToy and Move – inflicted less permanent damage, so good on them for that.

But playing the aptly named London 2012 – Official Mobile Game recently reminded me how fine a pursuit button bashing is. And that’s using a touchscreen – which, given its obvious lack of buttons, isn’t ideally suited to the activity.

It brought back many happy memories of button-bashing on the Master System II – much better suited, with its chunky controller and big spongy buttons – and games like Olympic Gold and World Games. Smashing stuff.

It also reminded me of the experimentation which went into establishing the best button bashing technique. Here’s what I learned as a child. (A Wii remote is the closest thing to a Master System II controller to hand. Sorry.)

Button Bashing: One-Handed Two-Finger Tap One-Handed Two-Finger Tap

A rookie technique. No doubt some people managed to perfect it, but why make life so difficult for yourself?

Button Bashing: Two-Handed Two-Finger Tap Two-Handed Two-Finger Tap

The obvious first variation to try. Still not trying hard enough for my liking though.

Button Bashing: The Pivot The Pivot

My personal favourite. Only possible on a controller, since it requires rattling the entire unit back and forth between your thumbs – so no good on a joystick or arcade machine. But it always worked a treat for me.

Button Bashing: The Rub The Rub

Moving something backwards and forwards rapidly over the buttons is apparently quite a common technique. I’m not sure that many people settled on my dad’s solution though: using a battery. More common is a bit of fabric over a thumb or fingers – far less likely to ruin the bloody controller.

But I repeat: not an Olympic sport

Olympic video gaming is quite rightly unlikely – but you never know.

Olympic motorsport is an equally incongruous idea, but that was an ‘unofficial’ Olympic sport in 1900, when the internal combustion engine was not long established.

Competitive gaming is still young, and already there have been ridiculous attempts at gaining some form of Olympic recognition. Please. God. No.

But on the plus side, I reckon Team GB would stand a damned good chance in button bashing.


Jake has been here since the beginning, with hundreds of reviews and countless other guff to his name. These days, not so consistent.

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1 Comment

  • This is why the Olympics game on the iPhone is rubbish – can’t smash buttons on a virtual screen (well, technically I suppose you could, very briefly…).

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