Let me start this blog post by stating, I fucking hate the TV Sports games for the TurboGrafx-16. There were 3 abominations released in the early 90’s, all developed and distributed by NEC, and they all are horrible. Plagued with control and gameplay problems, the TV Sports games may look good and used digitized voices fairly well, which was not that common at the time, but play like they were programmed by demented, sports hating developers who have never played a sports title for the NES prior to making these games. None of the games were licensed by their respective professional leagues so you get generic names of teams such as “Ninjas”, “Zombies” and “Blizzards” or in the case of hockey, just the names of countries (I guess you’re playing in some sort of world tournament). That in and of itself is not a deal breaker at all as Baseball Stars proved for the NES. So what are the problems with the games? Where to begin?
TV Sports Basketball:
- Same button used to pass, shoot, call plays makes it difficult to understand what you’re going to do next when you hit the button.
- Pointless cut screen when going from backcourt to frontcourt, slows the game down tremendously.
- So hard to score, I’ve been playing video basketball for decades so I feel like I know how to play these types of games no matter which one I pop in the console I’m playing at the moment. I didn’t score a basket for an entire game and lost 45-5 scoring only on free throws. Even when I was in the paint and should have had an easy lay up or dunk, I clanked it.
- Free throw shooting mechanics are abysmal.
- Constant charging and other various fouls called, all fouls result in free throws regardless if you in act of shooting or in bonus (like there actually is a bonus or anything).
- Jumbled mass of players in the paint makes it difficult to know what you’re doing and your passes get stolen constantly.
- Computer blocks your shots relentlessly.
- Missed shots often go way up into the stands and off-screen.
- I have more gripes but I am tired of talking about this one.
TV Sports Football:
- Game starts abruptly with a kick off and you have no idea how that happened.
- Good luck completing a pass.
- If there isn’t an obvious opening in the offensive line, you will not be able to rush at all, you’re stuck behind a literal wall of players.
- Your computer defense is stupid as fuck, they will sometimes run away from the player with the ball.
- I hate this game and don’t even care to discuss why anymore. TV Sports Football had the misfortune of being the third of the TV Sports games I played consecutively so when I realized this was a jack-off of a game like the other two, I turned it off before half-time.
TV Sports Hockey:
- Who are you controlling? It’s not intuitive as you’d think you’re playing as the team with the number 1 over the player but I’m not entirely sure. Played an entire game without knowing for a fact which team I was controlling. I am pretty sure I was the team that lost 8-0.
- Constantly having to face off, like every 30 seconds of play.
- Passes don’t go where you expect more times than not.
- Face offs are boring and both you and computer act like they have no idea what they are doing.
- During every collision it sounds like the players are saying “boo”.
- I hated playing this game too, so annoyed I wasted 20 min on it.
In summary, I am pissed that I own these games. They came with a TurboGrafx-16 bundle that I mostly picked up for the Turbo Tap. Maybe I would like them more if I had the manuals and could understand my controls better, but that’s a shit excuse. I don’t have the manuals for most of my 8 and 16 bit sports titles and I can pick up and play those without any difficulty because they are intuitive and not programmed by imbeciles. When I sat down to play these three games in preparation for this blog post I got angry, very angry and wanted to toss these games in the trash for being such shit. Good graphics don’t mean anything at all without solid gameplay and controls which none of the three TV Sports games have in my opinion. It wouldn’t surprise me if readers chime in and tell me that they aren’t bad games and I don’t like them because I suck at them, which there is some truth to. However, I would challenge anyone to pick these up cold and have fun with them which isn’t a sign of a good game. My favorite part of any of these games, besides the moment I turn them off, is the TV Sports Hockey announcer and his blonde bowl cut and gap toothed smile. Another internet reviewer nailed it on the head when he called him “Lloyd Christmas” from Dumb and Dumber. That made me chuckle.
Currently in my collection:
TV Sports Basketball – game only F
TV Sports Football – game only F
TV Sports Hockey – game only F