Too Much Free Time

Discussion and reviews of games for NES, Intellivision, DOS, and others.

Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category


Posted by Tracy Poff on April 19, 2014

Today, a look at a game I’ve just added to MobyGames: Archery by Brian Blankenship.


Archery is a very simple shooting game. A target descends along the right side of the screen, and you have to push the spacebar at the right moment to let fly your arrow, with the aim of hitting the target as near the center as possible.


You get three shots (in a row) from each of five different starting locations, and shots that hit closer to the center score more points. You can play alone (for high scores, one assumes), against another player, or against the computer.


Interestingly, if you play against the computer, the computer can get a high score, too. Embarrassingly, the computer seems to be rather better at this game than I am.

The author, Brian Blankenship, wrote this game in 1985. On December 31, 2013, he posted the BASIC source code to the game on SourceForge. He posted a few comments on abandonware sites around the net. Here’s what he had to say:

I am honored to find sites like this still showing this game from so long ago. I wrote this while bored, waiting to be laid off from a law firm that was splitting up. I was playing “Track and Field” occasionally at arcades, and could barely make it to the archery part, which inspired me to make this game.

Yes, it is very lame by today’s standards, and in hindsight I could have made a lot of improvements. I tinkered with it while it held my interest, and released it to a few BBS’s in the Indianapolis, IN area. Had no idea it would see somewhat large distribution.

Even if Archery is “lame by today’s standards”, I found it to be quite a fun (though simple) game. I imagine it’d be worth playing with a friend, at least for a few matches.

Posted in 1985, Action, Archery, Decent, DOS, Freeware, Full Review, Shooter | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

IFComp 2012: Kicker

Posted by Tracy Poff on November 6, 2012

Kicker by Pippin Barr is an entry in the 2012 ifcomp in which the player takes on the role of a kicker on an American football team.

(This post contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.)

This is another fairly on-rails game. The PC has a defined role to play in the game, so the player’s options are somewhat limited. You can choose to walk out on your team, but the game ends when you do. If you choose to play your role, you spend most of your time on the sidelines, occasionally interrupted when you’re needed on the field. Then, you run onto the field, give the signal, kick the ball, and once again run off the field. Your options there are pretty limited, too–you can’t actually do much other than what you’re supposed to. You can waste some time by failing to give a signal, or waiting around rather than kicking the ball, but eventually you have to either do what you’re supposed to or the game ends.

So, the only real options you have, as a player, are how you will spend your time while you’re on the sidelines. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot to do. You can watch the crowd, or watch the game, or try (and fail) to talk to the various NPCs. You can practice kicking. You can drink a cup of sports drink. You can stretch or jump or sigh. You can smell things. Ultimately, all this means that you can’t do much of anything. It’s pretty much a game about not having anything to do.

Some of the responses the game gives are funny, and there are quite a few of them. If you choose to inspect the crowd, for example, it might say “Right at the back of the stands you seem to see the figure of death, with cowl, scythe and all. Was that fancy dress or your imagination or what?” or “You see a guy clad only in a g-string shaped like a football helmet. How did he even get in?”, for example. It’s a nice detail.

There are a number of puzzleless games that let you fill time however you can in a constraining situation. Aisle by Sam Barlow is a great example, and Galatea by Emily Short is another. I suppose that Kicker was aiming to be this sort of game, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. Kicker seems to be about trying, and failing, to avoid boredom in a boring situation. The game is very competently done, but it just didn’t manage to keep my interest. If I could do more, or interact with the NPCs more, it could have been quite fun, but I think that would miss the point of the game.

Kicker is probably better, as an IF game, than The Test is Now READY, but I got bored with it more quickly. Overall, I figure Kicker, too, merits about a 5/10. Not enough fun to make me want to play it again, but not too bad.

Play time: 25 minutes for seven playthroughs.

Posted in 2012, American Football, Decent, Full Review, Interactive Fiction, Platform Independent | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

First Impressions: 10-Yard Fight

Posted by Tracy Poff on September 24, 2006

It’s an American football game. I don’t know the rules of the game, but, honestly, I doubt that matters for this game.

10-Yard Fight (U) [!]_01

We start the game running down the field, and quickly meet the opposing team:

10-Yard Fight (U) [!]_03

This scene repeats, with the referee running out every few seconds, since I’m tackled every time I move. I don’t think there are any controls except ‘throw ball before running’ and ‘run.’ Once I mastered this fiendishly clever control scheme, it was just a matter of seeing whether my patience or the field ran out first. It turns out that my patience won, so I got the joy of getting to the end–then starting again! Pathetic.

A little searching tells me that if I had been willing to spend a half hour playing this game, I’d have gotten to play defense as well as offense. Fortunately, everyone seems to agree that it’s be stupid to waste that much time on this one, so I’ll bow to the wisdom of the internets.

Verdict: Don’t play this one.

Posted in 1985, American Football, Bad, First Impressions, NES | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »