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Computer Golf! Odyssey^2, 1978


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Computer Golf! Odyssey^2, 1978

 

Computer Golf! is the first golf game for a home videogame console. There are nine different holes and the game supports up to four players.I tried to hype this game up for my family over the weekend, but we didn't get to play. Today, however, both kids were home from school sick. I yelled "Who wants to play Computer Golf!?" and they both dutifully yelled "I do!"(I could've yelled "Who wants to step on puppies!" and I would've gotten the same response.)

 

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Players 1, 2, 3 and 4. If you can't tell, they are Mr. Blue, Ms. Pink, Yellow Dude and Purple Babe.

 

My kids just weren't up for this one. My son was grouchy and my daughter just wasn't able to make the fine adjustments to set up the golfer for each shot. My son got even more grouchy while waiting for his turn.

 

I learned that this is not a game to play with more than two people if everyone is playing it for the first time. The waiting can be painful. I can see this as a fun, four person, beer and pretzels game for ONE EVENING ONLY, provided proper training is provided for each player before an "official" game starts. If you're looking at Computer Golf! as a possible recurring event with tournaments and week-to-week record keeping, you might find that your friends' schedules are suddenly full on nights when they used to be dateless and playing videogames.

 

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Mr. Blue gazes at the final challenge.

 

For the record: I liked this game best as a single player event. I enjoyed trying to figure the best path around the trees to the cup and trying to find the best angle and power setting to take with my club. I still think I could beat my low score and will probably play again, but only with me.

 

There are a few interesting technical aspects, I think. Each playfield starts as an overhead view of the entire course, through which you must walk your golfer (alas, no golf carts) to the ball after each shot. When your ball does make it to the green, the playfield "zooms" in for a close up of the area immediately surrounding the green. That's pretty cool, to me, and I can't think of another game prior to Computer Golf! in the chronology that does anything remotely similar.

 

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Purple on the Green

 

I also think that having the nine different holes represents another "first" in home videogaming. I can't think of another game with nine different pre-designed playfields prior to this point in the chronology.

 

We noticed that you can get the ball into the hole even if you're not on the green yet. We learned this by accident, but were pretty impressed when it happened. This would seem to allow for getting a hole-in-one. Unfortunately, that feat looks only vaguely possible on one or two of the holes, and we couldn't do it.

 

There are trees that serve as obstacles, which can provoke the golfer to have a tantrum if the ball hits them. It is very nice to see a humorous touch. I can't say that I've seen that very often yet in other games.

 

Bottom line: Not bad as a single player game. Not great as a four player game, but not awful, either. If it is winter and your friends like to play golf, then this might make a fun evening, once.

 

One more game for the Odyssey^2 in 1978 and that's Math-a-magic! / Echo!

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Sounds like the Odyssey2 is shaping up to be a real contender, even though one of its carts (Bowling!/Basketball!) has shown the most obvious bug (5 players, anyone?)

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Funny how the 2600 Golf is very similar in graphics and game style (zooming into the green when the ball has reached it) - Yeah, granted there were a whole lot of limitations back then to making a game, and how many ways could you make a golf game, but the similarities are certainly noted..

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supercat said:
Sounds like the Odyssey2 is shaping up to be a real contender, even though one of its carts (Bowling!/Basketball!) has shown the most obvious bug (5 players, anyone?)

 

Yeah, I'm also starting to see why there are people who really have a place in their heart for this system. Because its lifespan was relatively short (discounting the recent homebrews), the number of carts for it small (50+ compared to, what 700 for the VCS?) and its design unique among consoles (keyboard) it just oozes a system ready to make anyone who had it feel nostalgic about it.

 

I'm still surprised that I easily spent another 60-90 minutes playing Golf, just to see if I could improve my score. It wasn't a chore either (though playing 4 player by oneself is a little draining. heh.). I did the same thing with Cosmic Conflict, to improve my score and see if I could generate a new message. For the 70s, I think I'll be saying I was most surprised by the Odyssey^2. (I thought the Bally would be the one to surprise me, but my issues with the controllers have left the experience wanting.).

Edited by Mezrabad
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Funny how the 2600 Golf is very similar in graphics and game style (zooming into the green when the ball has reached it) - Yeah, granted there were a whole lot of limitations back then to making a game, and how many ways could you make a golf game, but the similarities are certainly noted..

 

Yes, after playing this version of golf, (even though I'm no golfer) I'm curious to see those other versions. Atari has a miniature golf game that comes out in 1979 and another Golf game in 1980. I'm pretty sure Intellivision has one that includes selection of clubs, so I'm very curious to see that. I don't know what the Coleco or Emerson boxes have for golf, though.

 

Hey, I notice you're in Philadelphia, PA. I grew up in Upper Darby. You anywhere near there?

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Funny how the 2600 Golf is very similar in graphics and game style (zooming into the green when the ball has reached it) - Yeah, granted there were a whole lot of limitations back then to making a game, and how many ways could you make a golf game, but the similarities are certainly noted..

 

Yes, after playing this version of golf, (even though I'm no golfer) I'm curious to see those other versions. Atari has a miniature golf game that comes out in 1979 and another Golf game in 1980. I'm pretty sure Intellivision has one that includes selection of clubs, so I'm very curious to see that. I don't know what the Coleco or Emerson boxes have for golf, though.

 

Hey, I notice you're in Philadelphia, PA. I grew up in Upper Darby. You anywhere near there?

 

"Miniature Golf", albeit a fun game, is a lot different than "Golf" for the 2600, which seems very similar to what you described in this review, in graphics and game play - keep up the good work!

 

My dad graduated from Upper Darby - I graduated from Marple Newtown and currently living in Chester County :cool:

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Cool game, I liked it. Positioning the golfer to make the ball go in a certain direction was awkward several times, though. But necessary in such a basic game.

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