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Back in 1985, Irem released this game, which has the distinguished honor of being the very first football game for the NES. It fit in with the simplistic, arcade versions of every popular sport that the Big N was pushing out during the console's early year, despite not simply being named "Football." Of course, then it would have to be "American Football," which wouldn't make such a great title.
10-Yard Fight is outdated, clunky, repetitious and not true to the game, but for some reason I kind of like it. At the very least, I recommend it as a curiosity piece. It’s one of the easiest titles to find at used game stores and rarely fetches more that a dollar. Just don’t confuse my endorsement of it on the basis of retro charm with the notion that I would rank it above the countless other football games that come closer to the real experience. There are too many things wrong with 10-Yard Fight to give it a good score. All I’m saying is that if you’re a football fan and want to test your mettle against one of the earliest simulations outside of the old electric football games, this is a cheap way to go back in time to an age before Madden.
10-Yard Fight was relevant at one time. It was, after all, one of the first football games on NES (if not the first). However, even within the system's life cycle, the genre evolved so much that this particular game is now redundant. By 1991, we youngsters had Tecmo Super Bowl and its customizable playbook, exchangeable players, smarter computer opponents, and solid mechanics to keep us company. Very few of us even entertained the possibility of playing 10-Yard Fight after that point. If nothing else, the game's lack of standout characteristics saw to that…
10-Yard Fight is a terribly outdated football game that combines the shallow gameplay of an arcade title with the sluggish pace of a simulation. The tiny players move like snails, and the vertical field scrolls in a jerky manner. Before each play, a receiver goes "in motion", but it takes him forever to run down the line. In addition to that slow-ass receiver, your quarterback has two other players that run on each side of him. The only advantage to this dumb-looking formation is how it lets you pull off the old "flea flicker" play. You only control one guy on defense, but the overly effective "dive" move lets you to soar through the air like Superman! 10-Yard Fight's sound and graphics are poor, but I might have been able to overlook them had the gameplay not been so marginal.
I'd have to say that writing this review on 10-Yard Fight was one of my most agonizing experiences. I felt no interest, no muse, no creativity, nothing as I wrote these words of mine. There can only be one reason and one reason alone, it's a game so unnoteworthy I'm not sure why I even bothered reviewing it because I doubt anyone would want to play it after I've bashed most of it into oblivion. Had I not had this weird urge to complete the NES section in alphabetical order, I probably would have tried to pretend this was never released and hoped no one cared. It deserves to be placed into the pits of video game history footnotes with the likes of Mouse Trap for the 2600. Never heard of it? Good.