Most gamers back in the early 1980s were stuck with sub-par sports games for the most part. The few sports arcade games were awful. Even the giant of home gaming systems at the time, the Atari 2600, had sports games with blocky graphics and weak play. The best of the lot was probably provided by the Intellivision console, but the games for that systems weren’t the strongest, either.
Then in 1983 the Japanese company Irem released the arcade game called 10-Yard Fight.
10-Yard Fight was not the greatest game of all time, not by any means. But it was one of the first arcade games in which the gameplay was actually somewhat like the real sport it was based upon, in this case being American football.
There was actually a time limit to the game. There were even halves. The player could play at different levels, from high school to college to pro to playoffs to Super Bowl levels. Also, the player got to control the offense. And while there weren’t actually different plays to run, the player could control the quarterback by having him run the ball, pass the ball or toss off the ball.
I know, I know. It doesn’t sound like much. But believe it or not, this was a giant step in sports games, especially football video games.
This game proved popular enough, however, that in 1985 it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). And the truth is, the NES version is actually better than the arcade version.
How is that possible?
One major change was that players could actually play the defense as well as the offense. This was a huge addition to the game. It also didn’t hurt that the graphics for the NES 10-Yard Fight were as solid as those of the arcade game, and it included all the sounds and gameplay that came with the original.
So, for a game that was never a massive hit at the arcades or in home gaming, 10-Yard Fight had a lot going for it, and it holds its place in video game history. If you’re a collector of retro games, especially NES games, you might want to give this one a try.