This event is part of the pack of major jumping events in the Olympic Games, which also includes long jump, high jump and triple jump. Unlike the other field events which use the system of three attempts for each athlete, in this event, the athlete picks a height to start from and can continuously keep going with increasing heights until the athlete fails to clear a set height three times.
To play this event, both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk accessories are required. Prior to the event starting, the player can select a height between 5.50m up to 6.30m, which goes up in increments of 0.02m; simply use the control pad to choose the height and press the A button to select it.
As with the other jumping events, at the start the player can draw applause from the crowd by swinging both controllers towards each other in a clapping fashion. The next stage is to run quickly across the runway, by swinging the remote and Nunchuk alternately to fill up the speed gauge on the screen. The faster the player runs, the more momentum that will be built up which is critical for the jumping element of the event.
During speed lock, a coloured zone in orange and blue will appear on the ground, corresponding with the speed gauge. When the character approaches the end of the blue zone, swing down the remote to jump. At this point, instantly swing the remote and Nunchuk alternately for the character to plant the pole in and retain strong recoil. After planting the pole into position and releasing it, swing the Nunchuk upwards to give the character an extra twist and oomph in the jump.
After successfully clearing a height, the player can choose a higher one and the event continues until you fail a particular height three times in succession. Fouls can occur from failing to plant the pole in properly or if the bar tumbles down straight after the character clears it.
The pole vault event makes its return in the 3DS port of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, with the game using a highly simplified gameplay mechanic. The event plays with an emphasis on charging enough power into the pole, using just the circle pad on the 3DS system.
At the start of the event, the player can choose a height of the bar from 5.50m up to 6.30m (in increments of 0.05m). Unlike its previous incarnation, only one selected height is played and the opponents' heights are revealed after you select one, so it is better to opt for a large height.
After confirming the height, the character automatically starts working on planting the pole, by which point the player must move the circle pad diagonally downwards to the left and keep holding it. A power gauge will momentarily appear on screen indicating how much power you need to charge to clear the selected height (which works proportionally; the largest heights will require the most charge). The charge built up is indicated by the colour, which glows red towards the end.
After a second though, the gauge will vanish and it is now up to the player's guess whether enough charge has been built up to clear the bar. Release the circle pad once you think you have built up enough, and if you do the character will successfully clear the bar and the height will be recorded. Beware not to build up too much power beyond the gauge's limit, otherwise the whole process backfires.