Video Game Thoughts: Golf

Golf was a 1984 sports game for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Nintendo. The game was a little too simple to enjoy for long, but it was fun while it lasted. I think there were only two courses, 18 holes each. The player could pick the club to use, the direction to hit, and how much power to give the shot. The greens had hills (shown with arrows to indicate gravity), but I think the fairways did not. It was all just flat. There were different grass cuts like fairway, rough, green. They also had water hazards and sand traps. It sounds complicated, but the game was pretty easy to play well. It didn’t have a sophisticated physics model, so the player could figure out a formula for success quickly.

I played this game a lot with my mom, but it wasn’t much fun by myself. We always laughed at the sound effects. The ball made a low or high pitch sound based on how far and how high it went. Short, high shots always sounded funny. The sound effects were not realistic at all. I guess the clubs being swung sounded all right, but the sound capabilities of the old NES weren’t that great.

I didn’t know at the time, but Nintendo ended up making a game for every sport on the NES. It was a good idea. Everyone has a favorite sport. They made a game for every taste. These days, it takes a lot more work to make a good sports game though. Nintendo just isn’t able to do that anymore. They occasionally make a Mario-themed sports game, but no one really considers Nintendo sports games to be the cream of the crop.

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