This is the fourth in a series of essays on things to feed your golf addiction in the off-season: Play A Golf Video Game
Play a Golf Video Game
If it’s too cold to get out on the course, playing a golf video game can be a pleasant afternoon’s diversion and a way to feed your addiction.
I experienced my first golf video game on an Apple II circa 1984. The screen was green and black, and the graphics primitive, but the mechanics not far off from many games today. There was a small bar at the bottom of the screen, and at the top a player’s eye view of the course. To swing, you hit the space bar, and watched a status meter race across the gauge. You hit the space bar again when it a mark at the far end, and a final time when it swept back to a mark on the near side. It was all about timing. If you hit the space bar before the status meter reached the top, your shot would be weak; hit it after the top mark, and you would overswing. Hitting the space bar before the bottom mark caused a slice; after, a hook. Once the ball was struck, the view shifted to an overhead showing where the shot flew.
Since that first game, I’ve owned and played dozens of others, including a hand-held lcd game, several PC based games, Playstation, Game Cube and Wii, on my cell phone and now on my BlackBerry. I’ve had games that featured Jack, Arnie, Vijay and Tiger.
For most of the games, the basic play mechanism has remained the same—timing the status meter. More recent games, however, have incorporated mouse movement into the control. I don’t like those as much.
My Favorite Golf Video Game
The golf video game that’s been the most fun is the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 Wii game. Like all Wii games, it features a motion sensing mechanism. You actually swing the controller like a club to make the ball go on the screen. It’s part simulation, part game. The game aspect involves earning “upgrades” such as better outfits, equipment and access to improved courses.
I like it, but frankly, I’m not very good. Thing One, the teenager, kicks my butt.
A close second was an Accolade Jack Nicklaus PC game that had a very neat course editor. I spent more time designing courses than playing them.
Another game that I really liked was Sid Meier’s SimGolf. In that one, you began with a plot of land and a pile of money and started constructing golf holes. Like all of the “Sim” games, it was all about management of assets, as you developed your backwater course into a fabulous golf resort. You could play on the course you developed, but game play was very simplistic.
In more recent years, I’ve enjoyed Tiger Woods golf on my tablet and phone. Unfortunately, an EA golf game for the phone now seems to have disappeared.
Golf games are only going to get more realistic. There are a number on the market that use real clubs and sensors to detect the clubface positions. But those, I think, stray too far to the simulation side of the continuum to be considered a game.
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