London 2012 draws heavy parallels with a sketch show. Though it's not particularly funny, awash with the usual self-seriousness that comes with rigorous officiating and athletes who can't afford to waste energy looking happy, it shares one key feature: it's the definition of hit-and-miss. Basically That Mitchell and Webb Look in lycra.
The group Sega's after, somewhat surprisingly, is actual gamers, not bleach-teethed families targeted by the shallow playability of Mario and Sonic's Olympic tie-in or your button-bashing little brother whose sugar-fuelled fingers smashed you at the Playstation's International Track & Field.
In fact, it's time to wheel out a well-worn (read: clichéd) phrase for the ages: easy to play, hard to master. Sega's taken real effort to make events both relatively simple, most rarely using more than two buttons, and deep enough to hold your attention.
They've certainly nailed any event where big men throw things long distances - discus, shotput, javelin. In the latter you'll continuously tap A for a run up - too much and you'll stumble, too little and your legs won't move - then draw back on the left stick before pushing it forward to throw, the straighter, the better.
Think an EA-powered Tiger Woods' analogue golf swing. Adding an extra challenge, an indicator counts down angles during the 'draw back' phase, and only unleashing the javelin at the right angle, after the right run-up, with the right thumbstick motion, will get the gold. Simple but challenging.
Trackside, things are equally involving. Running events are a matter of timing, tapping A (on 360) or X (on PS3) to keep a green meter within a bar then lunging over the line through a thumbstick finish, with longer races like the 400m bringing an extra dynamic in the form of stamina management (similar to Epona's carrot-and-whip method in Ocarina of Time). There's less to these events, but these short bursts of fun are the game's brightest moments.
Forty-five events seems a massive chunk of game until you realise half of them aren't any good. Again - hit and miss. For starters you can discount diving and all of gymnastics completely. They're nothing more than prompt-matching quick-time-events utterly divorced from flow or feeling.
Trampolinist goes up, and you prod a button and twiddle a nob until they come down, trying not to allow the commentator to wryly rip you to shreds with a "he's not going to impress the judges with that move".