TV Sports: Football
was created by the unfairly talented Cinemaware studio in Los Angeles, California. Directly influenced and inspired by nearby Hollywood and the like, their titles are typically remembered for being very movie-like.
In TV Sports: Football
, and the entire TV Sports series, they altered their approach for sports by making players feel as if the game they were playing was an actual TV show. The effect had mixed results, but it is undeniable that at least the first time experienced, it is pretty fun (and sometimes funny). For serious sports fans, it may have felt a bit contrived. But for average gamers, it was part of what made these games unique and special.
From a simulation standpoint, TV Sports is a bit thin. The playbook is pretty limited, although the combinations of plays can allow for a decent mix. And again, for average players this could be viewed as enough.
It’s worth remembering that in 1988, the graphics for TV Sports: Football
was nothing short of spectacular. It’s hard to remind ourselves that this game entered markets during the 8-bit era. The level of detail is simply jaw-dropping. Every now and then, the game even featured speech synthesis.
As a comparison, the original Madden NFL also hit stores in the summer of 1988. It had a deeper playbook but an overly complicated interface. it wasn’t until a few years later before they worked out the kinks and delivered a continuously phenomenal experience (especially 2-player mode, which this game did well also).
TV Sports: Football
, right out of the gate, at least delivered on having a very playable game for most anyone.
The cut scenes are simply incredible. Whether you like them or can’t stand them breaking into the action, visually they are gorgeous spectacles to behold even if they are often trying to be rather silly. (Take a gander at one of the random ads that shows up in the screenshots below - one promotes a drive-thru wedding and divorce service, for just a flavor of the interspersed attitude.)
The game doesn’t feature any official league or personality licenses. As a result, some serious NFL fans probably chuckled at some of the kitsch, and marveled at the graphics, but might have been less than impressed with the lack of NFL teams (although the cities represented at the time were accurate) and use of fictional player names. Compound that with a less than deep playbook, and what remained was a really fun arcade-style football game. An arcade game that looked good enough to actually be in an arcade.
Do the disk loads to watch a field goal get a little old? After a while, sure, but they still sparkle with artistic brilliance. Check out a review from the July 1989 Amiga World below for another take.
Original Review by Amiga World Magazine
July 1989 Issue
TV Sports: Football
By Bob Ryan
Played against another person or the computer, TV Sports: Football
puts you in charge of a football team for a single game or for an entire season.
The playing field scrolls up or down to accommodate the action by 22 animated players, one of which you control with the joystick. On the offense, you always control the man with the ball. When on defense, you choose the man you want to control. You can identify who has the ball (and the defensive player you control) because the player's uniform blinks in two colors. The players and the field are very nicely rendered and accompanied by bone crunching sound effects.
You set up your team in one of four basic formations (I-formation, pro-set, shotgun, or kick when on offense; 4-3, 3-4, 6-1, or (i-1 Key when on defense), and then choose one of four basic plays available for each formation. Although the actual number of plays is fairly limited, the variations are numerous.
Although not as detailed a simulation as Gridiron!
(Bethesda Softworks), TV Sports: Football
is a nice blend of strategy and arcade elements. 1 enjoyed playing against a friend most; the computer player was very poor at detect ing my play-calling patterns.
The most fun is playing a season. After you choose your team from the 28 available, the computer sets up a schedule and begins play. The computer decides the outcome of games where both teams are computer controlled, and keeps standings and statistics. Human-controlled teams play out their games in full.
The major problem with TV Sports: Football
are the TV elements—stupid full-screen pictures of the crowd, coaches, or cheerleaders—that the program sometimes shoves in front of you after a score. They add nothing to the atmosphere of the game and take exasperatingly long to load. I can't understand why the company went so far out of its way to interrupt the flow of a good game. As with commercials, the best solution is to ignore them and raid the kitchen during breaks in the action. ($49.95)
Back of the box:
Strap on your helmet and get ready for a pro football simulation that looks exactly like a Sunday network broadcast. TV Sports: Football features amazing graphics and animation; real arcade action on offense and defense; individual and team statistics; and a 28 team, 16 game schedule with post season playoffs!
"SO REAL IT...SWEATS!"
- Create a league with up to 28 human controlled franchises
- All teams have different offensive and defensive tendencies
- Play it as an arcade game or coach it from the sidelines
- Play alone, against a friend, or with a friend against the computer
- Includes "pushbutton statistics" to view the top performers in the league