Golf. Is there a sport more appropriate for the video game format?
Yes, many. But that didn't stop some of golf's biggest legends from venturing into the medium in its fledgling stage. Here are several classics and the various ways they did not translate well into modern times.
Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf
Pictured: Not a lot going on here, but Nicklaus gives you a hearty “Nice shot!” upon hitting the start button. “Thanks,” you reply, feeling very supported. That Jack Nicklaus. Nice guy.
Watch as the golf course comes to life right before your eyes, loading horizontally, line by line. Or is that Nicklaus, creating the course out of pure will? The instruction manual doesn’t say anything about the game being a tribute to Nicklaus as adevious cyber-lord, so this could just be how the game loads. The truth is, we’ll never know.
In this era, there seemed to be 20 or 30 all-purpose noises used to indicate a variety of things. Driving the ball in this game includes a sound effect that I’m pretty sure I heard in another game when it was supposed to be a dog barking.
You can hit Augusta, Pebble Beach, Muirfield, among others and this explosion of several noises and colors even features a four player option which, yeah, sounds silly now, but that's the kind of game feature that used to bulge people's eyeballs out of their sockets. Seriously, you don't have to invite your friends over one at a time anymore; the challenge was having more than one friend. The modern version of this is getting screamed at by a racist preteen voice through a headset.
Fun fact on this one: People playing this on a Mac with 1 Mb of RAM didn't have sufficient enough memory to play as the female character option.
Lee Trevino’s Fighting Golf
Pictured: Trevino, blasting a ball into the air while some rowdy fan hurls a shovel full of dirt at him.
Modern science remains baffled as to why the word “fighting” is in the title of this game. There are no mid-hole fisticuffs, no innovative defense system being implemented in the sport, no fending off wave after wave of vicious, pixilated gophers.
Whatever you imagined this game entails, it doesn’t. Except for golf. It has that. It doesn't even technically have Lee Trevino, as he is disguised as a character named "Super Mex." For obvious reasons.
The music has a slower tempo, like the track that would play in the background as you stand on a beachside hole, clutching your putter and staring into the sunset over the ocean as the breeze blows through your hair, in a video game in 1988.
The tonal shift when you go to play a hole is distinct, as if it to say, "It sure was fun putzing around on the opening screen like that, thinking about all the great video golfing you're about to do. That'll be a fun memory to reflect on as this course and its four majestic colors causes great shame for your family."
Greg Norman’s Golf Power
Pictured: Dr. Seuss goes to Tron.
If you can get past the 15 seconds of the words “COURSE LOADING PLEASE WAIT” flashing on screen, maybe you'll be able to get some golf in. There is a rumor that eventually, after several minutes of loading, the game cuts to the course pro shaking his head and hanging a "CLOSED" sign on the pro shop door.
Teeing off sounds like a half a box of matches being shaken. A drive makes the same sound as a cartoon character’s smile fading to a frown. But who cares what sounds you're making when you're traveling to courses in U.S.A., Japan, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Australia, Hawaii, and more - all from the comfort of your '90s themed bedoom.
As for the music, do you have any friends who look for the worst-sounding noises to set as their ring tones so they can startle and irritate people? You should make sure those friends never find out about this game.
Norman's game has the distinction of being the first golf game to feature a "create a hole" mode, giving the player the same godlike powers Jack Nicklaus seems to have in his game. This seems to be a careless move by Virgin Games, who showed no concern with angering Nicklaus, the clearly superior being.