CGRundertow BASEBALL / 10-YARD FIGHT for NES Video Game Review

One of the driving forces behind video games is the emulation
of sports. Real-world sports that the people who play video games probably don’t play.
And so, on every system, there’s a litany of athletic competitions, from baseball and
football to the more eclectic sports like wrestling and bull-riding. We’ve all played
one at one point or another, even if we’re loathe to admit it. I spent more than my fair
share of childhood schooling all my chums at RBI Baseball and Tecmo Bowl, two of the
most iconic sports titles of the NES era. But since I’m on a launch-title kick, I’m
not going to talk about those. I’m going to talk about what came before: Baseball and
10-Yard Fight. We’ll start on the diamond, because I’m
a Pirates fan and disappointment and baseball often go hand in hand. In this, Nintendo’s
official Baseball title for the NES, the mechanical difficulties are often insurmountable. As
sports simulations go, it’s among the slower-paced, which doesn’t help the fact that it’s
an already slow sport. But when each pitch the computer throws is preceded by three failed
pick-off attempts, it’ll make you question the strategy of having runners on the bases.
Which is silly anyway, because I’m not entirely sure you can successfully steal bases. If
nothing else, you can get your revenge simply by throwing the ball around after the play
is made; the game doesn’t reset until the ball stands still, so you can confirm and
reconfirm that the runner is safe as many times as need be. Not to mention that the
control is horrible, especially when fielding, and that your outfielders move even slower
than Barry Bonds in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, and I didn’t think that was possible. I
mean, glaciers look at footage of that game and feel self-confident. But I’m not bitter. No, let’s move on to a sport that I can
actually enjoy. 10-Yard Fight is a weird name for a game we all know and love: Good ol’
‘Merkin Fubbl. Or handegg as you condescending foreigners call it. Point is, the first-ever
American Football video game was made, not by anyone in the states, but by Irem in Japan
as an arcade game. Complete with high-scores and everything. In the arcade version, you
only played offense; the entire goal was to score a touchdown, which would allow you to
pass through to the next stage, soup endorsement deals, and public scandal in a New York City
nightclub. For the NES port, though, a strange new concept was introduced: Defense! Yes,
you have your choice of all of two units of your nine-man team, so your opponent doesn’t
know which end of the line your non-stupid non-AI rusher is coming from. That said, the
entire field moves relative to the guy with the ball, so it’s not unusual for your defender
to dive to make the play, miss, and inexplicably roll five yards down field. But football, more than baseball, is known
for exciting plays. And even in this stripped-down, somewhat low-rent version, you can’t just
help shouting as… oh, he breaks around the outside, and he’s got nothing but open field
I had a bit of a slashback. OH SEE WHAT I DID THERE. The best are RBI Baseball and Tecmo Bowl.
That much we know for a fact. But not every game that preceded them was horrible. Just
some of them. 10-Yard Fight at least deserves a bit of attention for being the first game
to recreate the rush of charging down the field, making a beeline for the pylon… oh

11 thoughts on “CGRundertow BASEBALL / 10-YARD FIGHT for NES Video Game Review

  1. I almost got 10 Yard Fight for $.99 or so from eStarland, but it looked like a slightly better version of Real Sports Football for the 2600 which didn't look great. Play Action Football is a game I played and looked better than 10 Yard Fight. As far as Baseball goes, it's way worse than the Gameboy version.

  2. I heard the Barry Bonds reference, so as a Braves fan, let me rub it in your face.


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