Sensible Golf

Title           Sensible Golf
Game Type       Sport
Players         1-72
Compatibility   All (with 1Mb Chip)
Submission      Steven Pearson

Computer golf can go 2 ways. Incredibly complicated or Stupidly simple.

I remember playing a golf game on a friends PC it had loads of courses
accurately modelled from real courses, loads of options and windows you could
open displaying various statistics the lie of the ball, phase of the moon. This
game missed nothing. To allow proper control of the flight of the ball you were
expected to draw the mouse back and push it forwards "like" a golf club! To take
a break from all this seriousness the game designers allowed you to play golf on
the Moon, With accurately modelled gravity, and a green at the top of a crater.
They didn't have a clue. Now some people may find this fun but not me, after
several hours struggling with the game my friends decided it could never be fun
either. It's problem was it was too complicated, way too complicated. If I
wanted all that hassle I'd go play proper golf.

On the other hand you can easily over simplify golf. Lets take it down to it's
bare basics

You can choose a club
You can Aim the ball
You can hit the ball, either properly, off to the left or off to the right.

And then you can putt the ball.

You can't get more basic than that, and that wouldn't be fun would it.

I argue that it would and in fact is.

Sensible Golf is a game of choosing a club. The computer makes a good guess
based on the distance to the hole but you can change it.
You can aim the ball the computer makes a good guess based on the direction of
the hole but you can change it, and even use a shrunken map to help you.

And then you can hit the ball you using a simple "swing-o-meter". A window opens
with a bar in it. You click once a blob moves up the bar you click on the
desired power (100% distance at the top, 50% distance in the middle) the blob
starts to move back down, you click on the "red" zone, a thwack, off flies the
ball, no wind to knock it off direction. All that counts is your aiming, choice
of club and reaction time for the power.

When the ball lands you get a new distance to the hole. the computer shows you
the lie of the ball via a picture. And you get to hit the ball again. Simplicity

Any golf game that was this simple would be stupid the twist is the courses.
They are no where near normal! they're plain insane. Sand traps are perfectly
placed so you either have to carefully temper your power to land short or take a
chance and whack the ball into next week and clear the trap.

The game tempts you with a shortcut to the hole if only you could clear those
tree's or that lake, half the time you'll fail but that other half, the time when
you pull off the perfect shot that bounces on the river bank and lands on the
green. Oh Yeah, that's fun, especially when your play-it-safe friend is another 2
shots short of the green, unless he risks a dodgy shot.

The greens are well balanced, sometimes a little luck is needed on landing on a
less lumpy bit of the green, but with a little practice it's very possible to
putt even across the most ridiculous green. You'd almost swear the game has a
sense of humour sometimes.

Sensible Golf will organise a competition with between 1 and 72 players, any
number of which may be computer. The most I've ever manged is about 5
human players and it can take a while waiting for your shot then. The game plays
brilliantly even as a 1 player game with no computer players because the courses
are such a challenge to figure out.

The courses do cause a problem sometimes for multiplayer games they are so
difficult that you can get yourself horrendously over par, whether you keep
landing the ball out of bounds or in the lake, or you get stuck on a green for 3
or 4 shots. I'd suggest not playing in Stroke-play mode but in Skins where the
winner of each hole wins cash, no record of Par and the game will Auto-Concede
so no waiting for those naff players to finally putt that ball. In the event of
a draw the cash is rolled over to the next match and nine times out of ten the
naff player flukes the hole and steals your cash.

This game strikes the perfect balance between simple and stupid. It's mad enough
to be fun, and it's very, very simple to play.

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