A gamers’ guide to the best golfing games of all time and Mini Putt
Sports simulation games have been a popular genre of gaming enthusiasts for years allowing players to step out of their regular lives and into the shoes of their favorite football hero, hit a tennis ball across the Wimbledon stadium courts at over 100 Mph or shred down a snow covered hill in an X-Games snowboarding competition. The sports games of today have come a long way since their humble beginnings back in the 70’s with blocky graphics and simple addictive game play; newer titles now offer cutting edge realistic graphics combined with true to life game-play and even interactive action seen on consoles like Nintendo’s Wii.
Of all the different sub-genres of sport simulation games, surprisingly it’s the golfing titles that have evolved the most and become one of the most enjoyed and sought after style of video game available today. In fact you’ll find a wide variety of micro-genres offered under the golfing game heading including realistic professional golfing, pro tournament golfing, obstacle styled crazy golf, mini putt golfing, character golf such as Mario or Rayman golf and even a long list of unclassifiable forms of golfing games such as urban city golf or outlaw golf. To give you a clearer picture of just how much this unique genre of game has changed in its short history, here are some of the most popular titles put out on various home consoles.
Golf (1978) – This is believed to be the first ever golf simulation game and simply titled golf, it was released on the Atari. It included a 9-hole 36 par course made up of highly pixilated graphics, single screens, a bird’s eye view and simple controls that allowed players to choose the direction and power of the shot. In the years following this game inspired releases on various other consoles, all offering similar game-play and the exact same title.
Mini Putt (1986) – Designed for those who weren’t big golfing fans but loved putting, Mini Putt was designed by Accolade for the NES/Super NES; it offered lots of fun and addictive levels, a simple yet colorful 2-D bird’s eye view and straight-forward controls. Mini Putt also allowed up to 4 players at one time and a selection of 4 different difficulty levels.
Zany Golf (1988) – Originally designed by EA for the Apple 2 computers it was later released onto various games consoles in 1990. This classic title was a step up from straight miniature golf adding clever obstacles, such as spinning windmills, bridges and loops the loops to appeal to a wider audience of gamers. It also offered a uniquely new 3-D perspective giving the game-play a more realistic edge and allowed up to 4 players at one time.
Mario Golf (1999) – Designed by Nintendo for the N64 console this colorful and fun title included all the characters from the previous Mario Brothers games to compete against each other in a golfing tournament; including Yoshi, Wario, Princess Peach and Luigi. It offered changeable player perspectives, various game modes and realistic golfing game play, similar to those seen in more serious golf titles.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour (1998) – The 98 version was released by EA for the PS1 and catered to more serious golf game enthusiasts, offering replica professional course backdrops, a range of complex control option allowing for precision game-play and a variety of different pro characters to choose from. This successful title went on to spawn re-release versions each year and still continues to this day.
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