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Nintendo takes its game to the gridiron with NES Play Action Football. While Nintendo did not get the NFL license for this one, it did secure the license of the NFL Player's Association, so the 8 teams to choose from (all named after the appropriate NFL cities) are all stocked up with real pro players from the 1989 season. You can even substitute second-stringers for the "skill" positions (QB, RB, WR, TE, and FS/SS) when your starters get tired.

Play perspective is very unusual: top-down slightly modified with a three-quarters tilt behind the offense, and the scrolling is diagonal, from the bottom left to upper right of the screen. Each team has 12 passing and 12 running plays on offense, and the option to reverse play designs effectively gives you a total of 48 potential plays to run. The defense has 8 cover plays and 8 blitzes to select from. The kicking and punting games are handled with a fairly typical directional arrow/power meter system.

Games are divided into four 15-minute (accelerated real-time) quarters. There are no penalties, but referees do appear onscreen to signal touchdowns/field goals, take measurements on short yardage plays, and shout "First Down!" (in audio) whenever a team moves the chains. Team stats are displayed on a summary screen after every quarter of play. Highest scoring team wins, which in playoffs mode means moving on to the next round--and an eventual shot at winning it all in the Power Bowl!


NES Play Action Football NES Playing National Anthem
NES Play Action Football NES Team Select
NES Play Action Football NES Kicking a field goal
NES Play Action Football Game Boy He passed the ball.

Promo Images

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Alternate Titles

  • "Play Action Football" -- Game Boy Title

User Reviews

First down! NES PCGamer77 (3001)
The lost football classic NES *Legion* (138)

Critic Reviews

ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Game Boy Apr, 1991 9.6 out of 12 80
Play Time Game Boy Oct, 1991 80 out of 100 80
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Game Boy Jul 30, 2005 7 out of 10 70
Nintendo Power Magazine NES Sep, 1989 3.5 out of 5 70
VideoGame Game Boy Jul, 1991 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
All Game Guide NES 1998 2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars 50
Mean Machines Game Boy Dec, 1990 43 out of 100 43
GameSpot Wii Dec 06, 2007 4 out of 10 40
Nintendo Life Wii Sep 11, 2007 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 30
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Game Boy Jul 30, 2005 2 out of 10 20


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Contributed to by PCGamer77 (3001) and gamewarrior (5060)