4th & Inches

Datafile

Company: Accolade
Year: 1987
Platform: Commodore 64
Controller: Keyboard or Joystick.

Foreword

1987, sports videogames have been better year by year, but the ones of American Football got a bit behind when compared to other sports. Particulary baseball. The company Accolade designs one where besides the traditioanl action at the field, some stategic features were added by choosing formations and plays.

Taking as template a model where the videoplayer chooses the formation either with keyboard or joystick; and then controlling the action with the joystick, the videogame was very interesting. That control schema was already proven a big success by the same designing team.

Game

Expecting the rival play, trying to stop it.

The videogame is a simulation between two teams, the blue team All-Star, and the red one Champs. There is no big difference between one or another, being the most remarkable changes the color of the uniform, and the names of the players. But every virtual footballer has different skills. The game allows to make substitutions, or even position changes. Consider that putting a quarterback has an offensive lineman can have consequences.

The videoplayer can choose a formation deffensive or offensive. In some cases you have to navigate through a few levels, like first choosing a Shotgun or Pro formation. Then if 2 receivers or runners are used, and finally when controlling the quarterback, according to the chosen play, give the ball to the runner or trying a pass. When deffending, there is a similar process. Just like real American Football, it’s really hard to predict the offensive movements, although with enough time, you can distinguish formations.

The cheer after scoring a touchdown… really, it was not too hard.

In passing formations, either deffense or offense, there comes a little problem. When the receiver is out of the screen. Being a trailblazing game, the developers opted to redraw all the screen instead of smooth scrolling. The latter used in some games like 10-Yard Fight. This sudden change, can be a bit disorienting at first, but when defending it’s worse, because it’s hard to see if the deffensive player controlled by the videoplayer is near the intended rival receiver.

In those years, the two point conversion was not common in pro american football, so after scoring a touchdown you go for the extra point. Which of course, can be failed. The Field Goal is an option available at every time.

Other Plataforms

DOS Computers

Pitts is ready to stop the rival attack.

The videogame is successful enough to justify porting it in 1988 to other computers at the time. DOS oriented computers were slowly gaining popularity, which also come with improving their hardware capabilities. Which in turn, allowed the plataform to be considered more and more, as a videogame plataform.

Being in that transition, usually the looks of many videogames for DOS computers varied according to the video hardware used. Sometimes the game used all the colors available, sometimes only 4. If you want to know how it looked like with only 4 colors, press here. In my particular opinion, the color palette used works really well with this particular videogame.

The control schema is identical to the one for Commodore 64. Consider that if you play with the keyboard, instead of using a joystick, the key used to select plays is Keypad-0, not Enter.

Apple II GS

The dude with dark uniform is NOT the referee.

The same year, ports for more powerful computers were available. One of those ports was for the most advanced computer (at the time) of the company Apple.

The most notorious change are the sound and graphics (after all, that means GS, Graphics and Sound) and you can appreciate it in the following image.

But, one “remarkable” feature of the game, the not-so-smoth scroll when the ovoid advances thru the field due to pass or kick, still remains. That was disappointing, because this computer is powerful enough to deal with that.

Commodore Amiga

Choose the best play, or else…

It was logic, that if the Apple II GS had its port of this game, the computer heir of the Commodore 64 glories, also had it. Just like expected, featured an awesome improvement in graphics and sound.

Keeping the simple control schema of the previous version was a right move. But not fixing the not-so-smooth scroll wasn’t. Just like the port for Apple II GS.

And that was, at least to me, unacceptable. Keep in mind that the Amiga computer showed that it was perfectibly able to handle that, as seen in other videogame.

Note: if you like to play the Amiga port in an emulator, consider these hints:

  1. We recommend specify in the emulator, the A500 model.
  2. Select the option of using mouse when the videogame asks.

Others

The videogame was also adapted for the Apple Macintosh.

EstadioRetro

Informatic guy and fan of retro videogaming. Mexican and spanish. I like to drink good coffee. My favorite sport is baseball, but I like to watch others.

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