The NES’ first football game is as primitive as they come. And yet, if one squints at the pixelated lumps on-screen and grasps the controller a certain way, there is a curious joy in playing this supremely antiquated take on America’s favorite sport. Whether you choose the High School, College, Professional, or Super Athlete difficulties, gameplay is limited to running and the occasional throw or kick. Plays are nonexistent. There’s no NFL license so you won’t be picking the Chicago Bears or Denver Broncos. Your unnamed team runs to the opposite end of the field with the football. Maybe you score a touchdown, maybe you just fight for more yards. Either way, it’s simplicity itself. We won’t say that 10 Yard Fight is a good football game. In fact, 10 Yard Fight really only contains elements of football, not the complete football game itself. Still, considering its 1985 release and the fact that football games from previous consoles weren’t anyone’s idea of a good time, the NES could have done a lot worse.
10 Yard Fight was released for arcades in 1983 by Irem before being ported to the Famicom and the NES in 1985. An MSX version followed in 1986. Strangely, the game never saw a Virtual Console re-release on the Wii, 3DS, or Wii U (Nintendo and other devs ported all manner of early NES crap to the Virtual Console – why not 10 Yard Fight?). In 2018, however, a port of the arcade version released on PS4 and the Switch.
PUBLISHER: Nintendo DEVELOPER: Irem GENRE: Arcade Sports
RELEASE DATE: 08/30/85 – (JP), 10/18/1985 – (US), 12/06/1985 – (EU)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Arcade, MSX, Nintendo Switch (arcade version), PlayStation 4 (arcade version)