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Football - The Atari Times


Touchdown! and the Cowboys win the Super Bowl!
by Brendan Onfrichuk

August 20, 2007
When I first played Atari 2600 one of the titles I played if not the first one I played was Football. Just like all of the other sports games available for the 2600 early on, what it lacks in complexity and realism it makes up for in simple-minded fun. Me and my brother can still be found playing game after game of Football on the 2600. After Mattel released more realistic sports games on their Intellivision Atari decided to release a line of RealSports cartridges but I always preferred the original sports games over them. I wouldn't give RealSports Football more than a second up against this classic.


You know what happens when you take the game of football and reduce it to it's most simplistic form? This. But that is a good thing, I have never enjoyed a football game before or after this one. You start by selecting 1 of 2 plays, huddled or spread out. depending on how quick you are with stick either one works well but I choose huddled because my brother always chooses spread and I run in between his men and down the field. Using the difficulty switches you can handicap one of the players. A makes you slow and B makes you fast. You can also move just the quarterback and rush instead of throwing the ball. This works really well to psyche somebody out occasionally. When your QB throws the ball you can curve it in the air and make it land in your receiver's hands. While I question the physics behind this It does make for some fun maneuvers and i probably due to there being no AI and the receiver can't move himself in front of the ball. My only single-solitary problem with this game is that it is only two player. This is a very unusual thing now or back then. But it is this classic gameplay that will keep you coming back for more again and again as long as you have somebody to play with.


I wont lie to you, the graphics are butt ugly. Every single player looks like Strong Mad and moves like those old electric Football games. The flicker helps reinforce that statement because it s worse than the ghost flicker in Pac-Man. The score board at the top of the screen uses a bunch of lines to make each number and there are no goal posts. None of that matters though, most of the first 2600 titles pale in comparison to the rest of the library and this game is good fun regardless.


When you play you here a static noise that sounds a bit like a cheering crowd. Throwing and catching the ball makes an appropriate noise and a little diddy plays when you score a touch down. Overall not bad but good enough sound for the game. Just nothing spectacular.


Perfectly simple. While some controls are overly complex for games this one is perfect. You move the stick to move your QB and press the button to throw the ball. Then control moves over to the receiver. If you want to return to controlling the QB you can by holding down the button.


If you have a friend and some time to kill pick this game up. It is the most fun you will ever have playing a football game. But if you don't have any friends then you will have to settle with RealSports Football which simply pales in comparison. In which case do yourself a favor and start socializing around the office and then pick up a copy of this. You won't be sorry.


(c) Atari

No, there's no title screen!
Apparently you need another player...
System: 2600
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Sports
Graphics Score: 50%
Sound & Music Score: 75%
Gameplay Score: 80%
Control Score: 100%

Final Score: 100%

Reader Comments for Football

Ugh... by Greg George on 2014-02-10 22:43:30
Football on Atari just never works. RealSports Football wasn't that great either. I guess Super Football is pretty good though. Who spent a lot of time playing this version?!
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