Saturday, August 26, 2006

Top Five Sports Video Game Countdown # 4

My Madden '07 playing has been curtailed lately due to a catastrophic injury I suffered when I burned my left thumb by inadvertently placing it on a piping hot George Foreman Grill. Burning your left thumb is the equivalent of a torn ACL when it comes to video game playing as its nearly impossible to control the direction of my players or effectively run the ball. So while recuperating I thought I would take the time to continue my countdown of the top 5 sports video game of all time. Continuing with...........

#4 PGA Tour Golf II Sega Genesis.

I know when I began this countdown I said I was only going to limit it to games from the major pro sports and not include fringe games dealing with beach volleyball, cliff diving, or martial arts tournaments being held in alternate universes, that being said I am going to include golf........grudgingly. Personally I hate golf.....loathe it. I've never been good at it and never cared enough about it to try to get better. The two things that hinder me the most while attempting to play golf are 1: a complete lack of coordination, and 2: an equally lacking sense of focus and concentration. My swing is an absolute nightmare to watch and my old roommate Mike, who owns/works at a golf course, has attempted to help me work on my swing in an attempt to help me embrace the game of golf but he usually quits in frustration after about five minutes. Even if I do get a halfway decent swing going, in the time between starting my backswing and making contact with the ball I'm already so bored with the game that I either top the ball/slice the hell out of it/or most commonly fail to make contact at all.

The only thing more boring then playing golf is watching it on television. 98% of professional golfers are 5'6 135 pound conservative, boring douchebags, the kind of people who would find Rick Reilly funny and would have no chance of playing any other sport with the possible exception of men's gymnastics or figure skating. The other 2% are foreigners ranging from the freakishly tall and boyish South Africans (Els, Goosen) to the obese and surly Englishmen (Montgomerie). So one might ask, if you hate golf so much how could you possibly enjoy a video game simulating golf? Because PGA Tour Golf II achieves the impossible, it actually makes the sport fun.

I was introduced to this game about ten years after it came out while playing it a friend of mines apartment. Like all games that make this list, the first time I played it quickly devolved into a 12 hour marathon that didn't end until after the sun had come up the next morning. The penultimate moment of that first marathon session was when my roommate Mike and friend Bill were wrapping up a 72 hole tournament, from which I had long been eliminated, and heading into the final hole tied. Mike had the honors and hit a full power shot down the middle of the fairway about 300 yards, which led to much bragging and yelling on Mike's part. Bill followed with a solid drive and they were both on the green in two shots facing long birdie putts. Mike lined up his putt from about 45 feet and places it within a few feet of the cup for an easy par and potential playoff. Bill then lined his putt up from about 42 feet out on a green that was going up and down and breaking right and left and stroked it. As soon as it left the putter you knew it was good and thats when Bill delivered this dagger to Mike's heart. With no change in emotion and in a voice calm enough to creep out Hannibal Lecter he said, "Drive for show, putt for dough." as the ball dropped into the cup on its final turn and as Mike sat there more stunned then Greg Norman at the 1997 Masters. Easily the greatest shit talking moment witnessed during my lifetime.

This game also gets major bonus points for helping get me through numerous classes while attending State thanks to the gift of emulation as well as featuring hints and tips on how to best approach the upcoming hole from horribly pixelated (?) images of golfers such as a confused looking Walrus named Craig Stadler a smug and satisfied Fred Couples and a completely irrelevant Tommy Armour III. They would always point out the most obvious things about the course such as, "watch out for the sandtraps to the right of the green" an area that encompassed nearly 3/4 of the screen, or "winds can make this whole tricky" as a hurricane force gale wind would be blowing across the course. The great gameplay and numerous other quirks are what makes PGA Tour Golf II the best golf game and # 4 sports game ever.

1 comment:

Big Al said...

Nice call... For the most part, I may be a luddite when it comes to video games, but I spent WAAAAY too many hours playing PGA II on the Genesis. I', still hoooked on golf games, as I find playing the Tiger Woods and Hot Shots PS@ games relaxing.

And don't diss golf too much, where else are you encouraged to drink and drive? I rarely would hit the course without a 6 pack on board...