Reviewed 1/06/01

If ever there was a completely 'no frills' videogame that still managed to be enjoyable, Golf is it. I believe it was a launch game in Japan, meaning that it even pre-dates Super Mario Bros. (the date on the title screen is 1984). Here we get to see an early example of the "Nintendo magic" at work, and once you get past all of the negatives, you find a really good game.

The reason Golf is described as "no frills" is easy to see. Theres no music, none at all, just a few basic sound effects. Furthermore, the screen is stationary and not a whole lot is going on at any one time. Not the most exciting game, but this is based on the sport of golf, so I think this is the right kind of approach.

Players can choose between 3 play settings, 1P and 2 seperate 2P games. There is only one course, 18 holes, but there is variance in wind conditions to keep your game from being played the exact same way every time. You have a large collection of clubs to use, three woods, eight irons and three specialty clubs. Basically, its just like real life Golf, with one exception; there is no rough. Knock your ball into the woods, even by one pixel, and its a hazard. This keeps things simple. Of course the only real goal in Golf (unless you are playing against someone) is to beat your high score, or in the case of this game, your low score.

The game follows the same formula as every other golf game there is (although, it was the first). Hitting the ball is done through a meter, an arrow starts off at the middle, it goes left and then all the way back. Press A once for power (the closer to the left, the more powerful) and again for accuracy (the closer to the middle, the more accurate). However, in Golf, there is a primitive directional system so you may not be able to aim where you want to hit the ball, you will have to try to hit it a bit left or right of the center. Even though I think Nintendo would have corrected this, this is what makes Golf so addictive to me. You're not trying for the same type of hit every single time. Putting is kept simple, as is the theme of the game. There is only ever one direction for the slope of the green, unlike in other NES golf games, where its all too often way too complicated to plot out a precise putt.

Graphically, things are again kept simple. Very choppy, and not even on par with games like Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. This may be the only area where the game is lacking, and its a good thing that it's the least important.

I forget who it was, but I heard someone once say "The reason the game golf is so popular is because it cannot be perfected". I think the same is true of the videogame, there is no way you'll ever play a perfect game, but you're compelled to try anyway. Does Golf ever get boring? I don't know the answer to that myself, as I'm still playing the game all the time. Maybe on a few occasions have I not had the will to start up a game, but few. Objectively thinking, I'd rate this game at about a 70, but remembering the feeling that I get when I sink a hole in one or unexpectedly make an eagle, thats enough to knock the score up another 20 points.

Graphics 5
Blocky, not even average by early-NES standards
The gameplay doesn't call for any graphical prowess
Sound 7
They do a real good job with the sound effects.

Music is non-applicable

Innovation 9
Every golf videogame that's come out since has used Golfs basic ideas
Gameplay 10
Impossible to master
Replay Value 10
I'm still playing all the time

Overall Score


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