News & ToursFebruary 25, 2012

Trending: Classic golf video games

A weekend trip to my parents has revealed more than one old video game system. Like most Americans growing up in the 1980s and '90s, my progression through gaming systems was as natural as puberty. And thanks to my parents' inability to throw away anything with any form of sentimental attachment, I can still take a stab at some of the greatest golf games to ever grace a video screen.

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I don't have to look far to to see the earliest incarnation of EA's Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf on PlayStation One--the last system I owned while still living with my folks. Far from the only golf game I lost countless hours to, I've decided to take a quick, non-comprehensive look back at some of my favorite classic golf video games. Everything noted here is pre-Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis (sorry Sonic-heads), starting with, hands-down, the best golf video game ever made.

Ninja Golf for the Atari 7800

It's ninja's playing golf, fighting between shots. Enough said.

Before Atari dominated the video game world, many companies took their turn trying to become the technological leader. One of the first post-Pong systems was the Odyssey. I was lucky enough to play on an original Odyssey system thanks to my dad holding on to his. It's the best thing since the Commodore 64.

Computer Golf! for Magnavox Odyssey 2

Around the same time as Atari came it's lesser-known contemporary (the Sega to it's Nintendo), Intellivision. This is the first video game system I ever owned, and it's weird, phone-like controllers with silver directional discs hold a special place in my heart. As does this game--one of the first ever licensed by the PGA.

PGA Golf for Mattel Intellivision

It could be argued that Atari started the modern video game revolution. At the very least it allows me to use cliche phrases like, "I remember when Atari did that 20-years ago." And for golf games, it all started with Mini Golf up until they perfected it with the aforementioned ninjas.

Various golf games for Atari

Which brings us to Nintendo, the pinnacle of the pre-64 bit gaming world. Because of it's long run as the leader of video game technology, there are too many examples to share. The original, of course, is NES Golf, which features a life-like Mario (possibly the only known human-like Mario depicted on NES?). The list is long, including many incarnations of Jack Nicklaus titles, which spawned off-shoots by Greg Norman and Lee Trevino, and quite possibly my favorite classic golf game of all-time, Bandai Golf Challenge Pebble Beach*.

Various golf games for Nintendo

*Bandai Golf Challenge Pebble Beach is my favorite, not because it was the first Pebble game, but because of the amazing music that plays throughout every...single...moment. Just try watching this without singing the theme repeatedly.

[*-- Derek Evers

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