Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari Genre: Sports/Golf Released: 1980 Rating: 2.0
Atari 2600
Developer: Atari
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Sports/Golf
Released: 1980
Rating: 2.0

I would never suggest that it would be easy to create a golf game on the Atari 2600, but the system is definitely capable of a better offering than this. Golf isn’t a horrible game, but it could have been a lot better.

The developer did an admirable job of trying to re-create the feeling of playing golf. Each hole has a different layout, there are trees and sand traps blocking your way, and putting has a separate screen that zooms in on the green. The game also displays your total score, your score on the current hole, and the par for the current hole. For a VCS game, the holes don’t look that bad but they have the same blocky unimaginative graphics common to all first-party Atari games. The golfer looks like the Jolly Green Giant or Paul Bunyan standing taller than the trees holding his pixelated club.

The problem with Golf is the gameplay, and primarily with aiming your shot. There is no arrow to indicate which way your shot will go, so the only way to tell is by the golfers position relative to the ball, which can be a bit difficult to judge. It would have been better to not have a player figure at all, and instead just have an arrow or line that you could rotate around the ball and that would grow and shrink as you held the button down to indicate shot strength (or they could have just used a power meter at the bottom of the screen instead.)

With practice however, Golf gets better. The real question is whether or not it’s worth the time it takes to develop a proficiency with the game. It’s a shame that Activision never tried making a golf game for the 2600. Unfortunately, this is the only golf title on the system, which is mind boggling considering how many games were released for the VCS, so there isn’t any choice in the matter. This game is better than nothing, but just barely.

Buy Golf on GameGavel or Amazon.