Golf

Year: 1985
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Sports – Golf

I have never actually played the sport of golf. I’d like to try sometime – I understand that playing golf is a prerequisite for a career requiring any degree of PR – but I just haven’t ever had the opportunity. I once hit a golf ball with a golf club and, in an impressive feat of pure beginners luck, hit the post I was told to aim for.

But I’m skeptical of video games that try to take an already relaxing and generally unathletic* activity and turn it into a relaxing and generally unathletic game experience.

*Hate mail in 3… 2… 1…
Now the basic controls of golf games were established on PC well before the Nintendo ever considered having a golf game – you push the button, wait for the level of power you want, then push the button again to finish your swing. Of course, to avoid slicing, you then have to push the button again to stop at the right time. You aim right and left and use up and down to change clubs. Simple.I know that the vast majority of people will dismiss this game out of hand. “Golf? No thanks!” they’ll say aloud, possibly to their cats. I am, however, reluctant to simply declare a game worthless and move on – that’s just not how I roll.

I think that it’s a pretty significant oversight to remove the ability to aim precisely from a game that revolves, in part, around precisely aiming. Perhaps that’s just me, but I like to be able to win when a game presents conditions for winning. Just saying.Now, here’s where the trouble comes in: in this golf game, you can’t aim precisely until you’re putting. At first, I presumed that the game was automatically choosing the optimum angle for me – “hit it perfectly in this direction, and you’ll sink it.” No. No it was not. I hit it all kinds of perfect and ended right next to the cup on numerous occasions.

What could possibly be simpler?

See that screen cap at the left? Do you notice where that arrow is pointing? If I could put it just a bit further left, I could land it on that island on the left, but the only further it’ll go in that direction aims directly into than bunker. To the right, I can shoot exactly straight ahead, which doesn’t optimize the amount of island I could hit. See that little almost-bay right there? That’s where my ball will go on a perfect shot.

John’s Rating: I give this a 2.0 out of 5.0, but I want to reiterate that I didn’t rate this down because I think that golf games are inherently unfun (although, those on Nintendo might prove to be) but because I think that THIS golf game is genuinely flawed. On a side note: for those of you who have played Wii Sports Golf, you may well note than a number of the layouts used in this game were recycled for those purposes. I guess everything that’s old is new again.

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