To the surprise of very few, the several sports titles I have for my Odyssey² have not aged well. Take a look at any of my sports game reviews for the Atari 2600, (not Intellivision because those kind of rocked), Colecovision, Vectrex, hell….even next gen consoles like the Sega Master System, NES and Atari 7800, and you’ll find poor reviews, barely playable games filled with “at the time” related comments.
Without further ado…”at the time”, I’m sure Baseball, Computer Golf and Football compared favorably to their counterparts on the Atari VCS/2600 (e.g. Home Run and Atari Football were especially bad) but when comparing to Intellivision’s superior line up of sports titles, it was no competition. I actually like Odyssey’s Baseball better than Home Run but that doesn’t make it particularly enjoyable to play today. It’s a 2-player game, which was pretty standard back then but the look and playability is slightly better than Home Run. You can control the outfield players, there’s a white fence surrounding the outfield for home runs, you can control the position of a pitched ball mid-air but not the speed and you can steal bases whenever you want. I can’t recommend Baseball as an enjoyable title but I can say that if I had to play this or Home Run, I would pick Odyssey Baseball by a nose hair.
Computer Golf unfortunately, is a boring video game golf entry from the late 70s/early 80s that has questionable golf swing mechanics, plodding gameplay (you have to move your slow as molasses player around the course after each hit) and plain looking holes. Only interesting part is when your player hits into a tree, he starts waving his club around and making noise, which I can only assume is a barrage of curses at how mundane and difficult this game is.
As for Football, the Odyssey² version does some things right, such as allowing for multiple play calls on offense and defense, using the distinctive 8-position Odyssey controller along with the action button. There are two modes of play, collegiate and professional, which simply increases the speed of the players on screen. You have 4 downs to score a touchdown on each possession with no opportunities to get a first down. Impressively enough, you can punt and kick a field goal, which wasn’t a common option in football games of the era. This is another 2-player only title and unless your human opponent has no idea how to cover the one receiver available on each play, there will be lots of interceptions and lots of turnovers on downs. Yes, your QB can run the ball, but it’s not easy to get many yards before the computer controlled defense tackles you. Odyssey Football does a few things right and offers something that’s at least playable but only barely and only “at the time”.
Currently in my collection:
Baseball – game, manual, box D+
Computer Golf – game, manual, box D-
Football – game, manual, box D