10-Yard Fight [NES]

Wikipedia claims that 10-Yard Fight was the first slightly realistic American football game ever released. Well, they got one word right. “Slightly”. That’s the key word. Because apart from the whole run-the-ball-over-the-line mechanism, there really isn’t any similarities to American football at all.

When you’re on the offence, there’s three choices. You can either run as the quarterback, pass the ball to one of two running backs, or pass it to the sole wide receiver. 90% of the time, a pass to the wide receiver will be intercepted, so that kind of knocks that option out. Conveniently for the defense, no matter whether you or the computer are in possession, the defence will always run a tiny bit faster than the offence – just enough to piss you off if you’ve just made a break.

Bottom left corner, facing left. There's the fucker.

Oh, and another thing. When you’re defending, before at least half of the plays, the wide receiver of the computer team runs from one side of his team to the other, in a process that takes about fifteen seconds each time and is accompanied by the sounds of baby elephants being tortured, which I think were supposed to be footfalls. Do they realise that this is played on a grass surface? Footsteps on a grass surface really aren’t loud enough to require any sort of sound effect, even if you could actually make it sound like footsteps instead of the poor, tortured cries of elephant calves.

I found this game way too easy. And the text that we get to see (not much of it) is hilarious. I played two games. At the beginning of each, I was instructed to “Select your opponent’s skill level!!”. All in caps, of course. For my first game, I chose the easiest difficulty, “High School Team”, as I know of games that are crippling and unforgiving (eg Contra). After winning, I was shown this delightful winning screen:

Your are on your way!!!!!!!

Classic Engrish, as was the norm for NES titles of the time. I was interested about what I would see if I beat the game on Super Bowl difficulty, so I gave it ago, and beat it with a lot more ease than I expected. And do you know what my reward was?

Exactly the same thing. Yep, Im am still on my way to the Super Bowl, even after defeating it.

Brain meltingly boring and dull, 10-Yard Fight is not a game worth playing. One of the most disappointing moments of my life – beating Super Bowl to get the same congratulations as beating High School. Fuck you, Irem.


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