According to Atari Games, Cyberball is the “football of the future.” Which is good news if you’re looking for a future devoid of human players and filled with explosive footballs.
Throwing robots into the pigskin mix isn’t an entirely terrible idea; the concept sorta worked for Base Wars, did it not? Unlike Base Wars, where the robots fought each other on occasion, the robots of Cyberball don’t have any purpose other than to be robots.
As for the football element, well, you’ve played worse (John Elway’s Quarterback) and better (Tecmo Bowl, forever and always). Rather than focus on downs, you have to defuse the temperature of the explosive football by crossing the fifty yard line and/or touchdown, interception, etc. Does this change the game or bring football into the future? Not particularly. You still have to worry about typical offense (very difficult to run plays), defense (easier than offense), and other modern day football rules.
In the end, Cyberball is a standard football game coated in a hint of sci-fi. Atari shouldn’t have bothered. Throw in some large, gifted humans and make a football sim. EA’s been doing it for twenty-plus years and they get by ok.
PUBLISHER: Jaleco DEVELOPER: Atari Games (port by Tengen)
GENRE: Sports RELEASE DATE: 1992 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Amiga, ARC, C64, Amstrad CPC, GEN, ZX Spectrum