Golf Game Boy cartridge
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Since the beginning of home computing, golf games have been there. Today we’ll be taking a look at Nintendo Golf, a game that has surprised me.

Golf title screen
Check out that title screen

Gameplay

Viewed from the top down, Golf is a incredibly simple looking game. Two courses are provided for you to play through (Japan and USA) and both feature 18 holes. As expected, you have a good selection of clubs (14 in total) to choose from, each with their specific use case. I will say that I got through both courses pretty easily with 4, maybe 5 clubs. Each course has its own selection of hazards (water, sand etc) mixed with ever changing wind. Everything you want of a golf game is here when you think about it.

Hitting the B button lets you see the map and then the layout of the hole, an absolute necessity. Change your club using up and down then left and right to aim, it’s that simple. Finally, pressing A puts you in to ‘hit mode’. The typical power bar appears and you need to time your button pushes to the required power before landing it on the perfect hit spot.

Course overview
Course overview

If you’re emulating this, might I suggest you head to this link to see the manual. This will let you see the max distances of each club making the game a little bit easier.

Golf: Check out those ranges, all wrong compared to modern clubs!
Check out those ranges, all wrong compared to modern clubs!

Putting really impressed me. Again, we’re in a top down view but this time the putting green shows us inclines and directions. With a little practice, you learn exactly how much these affect your putt and you’ll be getting Par and under on the score. On a sidenote – this is exactly how putting should be done in a game.

Golf has an excellent putting system
Golf has an excellent putting system

Before I forget, you can save your progress if playing single player. Just hit ‘select’ and choose yes and you’re safe to power down your Game Boy.

Graphics

There isn’t much to say here, the game is incredibly simplistic. There is nothing mind blowing but that is part of it’s charm. Where other golf games try to go pseudo-3D, this one stays simple and it just works. You can tell terrain apart, you know where you’re hitting and nothing is confusing. Thanks to the basic style, it runs smoothly.

Sound

There are very few sound effects in the game, it is golf after all so what do you want? Music plays through out the game, a single track that isn’t particularly special. Hitting the ball gets the typical slide whistle sound effect and each terrain has it’s own landing sound.

Could it be better? Probably. Does it need to be? Not really.

Final thoughts on Golf on the Game Boy

I enjoyed this far more than I expected to. I’ve got a soft spot for a good golf game and having one that’s so simple and portable is a joy. I’d love to have more than 36 holes but with the changing hazards, the game experience changes enough each play through. Yes, sound is lacking but you’re not playing this for the sound.

Find the game on eBay here.

Find more reviews here.

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By Tom

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