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Computer Golf Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 30%
Computer Golf
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Computer Golf Computer Golf Computer Golf Computer Golf
  • Review Score:

  • D+
Hello, again, and welcome to Round 2 of the Defunct Games Golf Club. Just like last year, I will be reviewing 18 golf games on 18 different consoles. As I mentioned last year, the reasons I chose to review golf games (aside from golf being one of my favorite game genres) are two-fold. First, real golf can be problematic to play. Equipment is very expensive if you want to play well, green fees can be pricey even on public courses, weather is always a factor, and an average game can take two hours for just nine holes. Second, golf has a distinct advantage over many other sports in video game form. While sports like football or baseball are shackled by their strict set-ups and rules, limiting fantasy concepts, golf video games are open enough in their set-ups to allow many crazy ideas. Hell, last year, I covered a golf game that involved fighting ninjas and throwing shuriken down a dragon's throat! Round 2 will feature some of the best, worst, and weirdest games to revolve around hitting a ball toward a hole. Right now, let's start with the oldest.

The Magnavox Odyssey 2 came out right behind the Atari 2600 in North America. With tech that sits between the 2600 and the Intellivision in terms of capabilities and an integrated keyboard, the Odyssey 2 could have had a shot at success when it released in 1978. Unfortunately, it didn't have the licensed arcade hits that Atari had nor the sports licenses that Mattel snagged, leaving it in a distant third and vulnerable to the purge during the 1983 Video Game Crash. While it fought a losing battle in America, the Odyssey 2 did very well in Europe, providing a decent game library.

Computer Golf (Odyssey 2)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Computer Golf on the Odyssey 2 was the absolute first golf video game, beating Golf on the Atari 2600 by two years. Even so, it looked like Atari and Magnavox were playing from the same playbook. Both games have a lot of similarities. Both games provided nine boxy-looking holes. Both games gave players only one club and no stroke limits. Both games even play the same overall. While the holes are different between the two games, they still seem like twins.

There are some differences that Computer Golf has, and they are not all improvements. First, the stronger hardware provided sharper-looking characters and objects. The golfer even has a decent walk animation for the time. Computer Golf actually supported four players with shared controllers which was unheard of for the time. The sound, despite being basic beeping, is not as annoying as in the 2600 game. Unfortunately, the thing that killed Computer Golf were the out-of-control glitches. If the ball stops by a tree, expect to see the character spazzing out until you get away from the obstruction. Worse, every time that happens, a stroke gets added. In fact, I saw a crazy glitch when the ball got stuck in the scoreboard at the top of the screen (don't ask me how THAT happened). When I would try to hit the ball back onto the course, about ten strokes got added EVERY TIME MY CLUB HIT THE SCOREBOARD! The glitches are outright unfair. I can just imagine how enraged people might've been if they were playing this with friends back in 1978.

Computer Golf doesn't get as much of the leeway that I gave Golf on the 2600. While it is older and looks nicer than the Atari game, the glitches make it much more frustrating to play. In that sense, I can't even recommend it for its nostalgia value. While there are some Odyssey 2 games that may be worth seeking out for retro gamers, Computer Golf is a relic that should just stay buried in a bunker.
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