ABC Monday Night Football
No better than most video football games and a lot worse than the best, ABC Monday Night Football is a below-average football fare. Data East has made the game authentic to the TV show, but not very authentic to what happens on the field.
Once you get past the familiar trappings of the show (the energetic theme song, the clashing helmets, and a close-up of Frank Gifford), you realize that there isn't much realism here. Without an official NFL license, MNF can offer only generic players from an almost-real league, which is quite a comedown if you like having Steve Young dodge Reggie White to complete a pass to Jerry Ricc. Plus, when you play teams with similar colors (as when "Buffalo" tackles "New Jersey"), the players have identical uniforms, making it hard to differentiate teammates from opponents. Also weakening the realism are the limited number of plays, the 13- week season, "speedy" receivers who get tackled from behind, and a final Super Monday Night Football game, whatever that is.
Still, this game doesn't get blown out of the stadium. There are some decent graphics, such as a rotating field, nice forward- scrolling action on pass plays, and tackles that send players airborne. Choppiness spoils the mood, though. Likewise, the sounds are inconsistent, ranging from nifty quips from the Giffer ("Whoa Nellie! Touchdown!") to a dull hum from the crowd.
- On offense, have your QB take his time passing so his receivers can get downfield.
- When you're playing defense and you're close to your target, hit Button Y to send the ball carrier airborne.
Worst of all, the game play is pretty weak. Although you can create your own teams, your players are slow and unresponsive. At least it's an easy game to play, so novices can get some enjoyment out of it.
In this day and age of five- player Madden football with passing windows, real players, and high-impact action, ABC Monday Night Football plays like yesterday's game.
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- Manufacturer: DATA EAST
Machine: Commodora 64
- Graphics 7
- Playability 8
- Overall 8
While there have been no shortage of football simulations for computerists, new versions of gridiron combat are generally sold on the basis of frills and graphics. It sometimes seems as if American users are more interested in the quality of the halftime show than how well the game executes on-field action. It has, in fact, been the curse of football simulations that the most realistic games are often extremely difficult to play. The more accurate the simulation, the more difficult it is to control a team of 11 men simultaneously moving and interacting with 11 enemy players, all intimately involved in the action.
Scott Orr has been pursuing the perfect football simulation for almost a decade. He pioneered the genre with Starbowl Football (Gamestar) in 1981, then fine-tuned the concept with On-Field Football (Gamestar) a few years later. He attempted an on-the-field visual presentation in GFL Championship Football (Gamestar) and now has made his definitive statement on the subject (at least for this year) with ABC Monday Night Football. Designed by Orr (under his own Season Ticket imprint) and developed by Michael Knox and Troy Lyndon's Park Place Production team, ABC MNF offers users, in addition to the obligatory bells and whistles, a brilliant new game interface that both simplifies and sophisticates the playing process.
This isn't to give short shrift to the bells and whistles, which are duly impressive, especially the software-based speech synthesis on the IBM PC version we tested. When MNF's Frank Gifford appears, for example, we hear his familiar voice welcoming us to the proceedings. When a flag is thrown, a whistle blows and the appropriate official appears in a pop-up window to announce the nature of the infraction. Injuries are announced in similar fashion.
The graphics employ what has become the standard view point in modern pigskin simulations: the players are seen from above and behind while the field itself is seen in straight top-down perspective. This mixing of perspectives has a disturbing, if subtle, effect. While the players are in realistic perspective and are animated as if they are moving into the screen, the field and worse, the ball move up and down. There are some other difficulties as well. The switch in camera views from the quarterback to a potential receiver is so abrupt that the user may not be aware it has even occurred.
ABC MNF offers a wide range of player options, including playmaker, quarter length, team modification, interface and new quit-and-save game commands. Available plays appear in two sets (offense and defense) of three windows. Moving the joystick or arrow keys changes the available sets.
Where ABC MNF shines, however, is in the intelligence of its interface. Here's how it works: when the ball is snapped, the quarterback is under the offensive coach's direct joystick/keyboard/keypad control. A series of helmet icons appear in a horizontal strip along the bottom of the screen, representing the halfback, fullback, left wideout, tight end and right wideout (in that order). Pressing the joystick button (or keyboard command key) allows the user to cycle through those icons in order to select a receiver. The logic of this system is almost flawless: the time required to cycle from one receiver to another represents the amount of time that player would require to run their pass pattern and get open. There is just one exception: why is the tight end sandwiched between the left wide receiver and right wide receiver when he should precede both of them? Not only does this seem incorrect in terms of the tight end, but it makes hitting the right wide receiver considerably more difficult than hitting the left flanker, since the user must cycle through not one, but two additional icons.
This interface idea is somewhat less successful in defensive terms, since logically there should not be a delay in assigning control over one defensive player as opposed to another. The icons should cycle much more quickly on defense, since it's extremely difficult to reassign control on the fly. Even with these problems, however, the play experience on defense is still satisfying.
On offense, however, ABC MNF offers a solid presentation and at least one break- through idea that significantly improves the play experience. Once again, Scott Orr proves that no one has a better handle on simulating on-the-gridiron action than he does.
- Manufacturer: DATA EAST
Data East has taken their ties to the TV show to computer screens with their game of the same name, but the arcades will see this gridiron action brought to the pinball table as well. The game offers high-tech play, including stereo play-by-play by Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf, in addition to a disappearing ramp and goal posts for kicking field goals.
- Machine: SNES;
- Manufacturer: Data East;
Football fans know to put other Monday night plans on hold during pigskin season, tuning in weekly to watch Gifford and crew in action. Now Data East has licensed "ABC Monday Night Football" for its new SNES simulation. But the video game can't sustain the action of the real event.
Monday Night Football starts out well enough, with great theme music and animated football helmets slamming into each other. But it goes downhill quicker than that "agony of defeat" skier on another ABC show.
You can choose from a one- or two-player (competitive) game and either preseason or regular season play. You can create your own team or pick one from a fictitious league with pseudo-versions of NDL teams. The game play is sort of like Tecmo Bowl with a John Madden perspective: You have four running and four passing plays, and you choose one at each down whether you're on offense or defense.
There are also special "power plays" (one running, one passing) for each half. When you select a power play, a cinema screen comes up with two meters representing your ball carrier and defender. By rapidly pressing the B button, you increase the speed of your ball carrier and outrun the defender. Interesting... but poorly executed. The computer player speeds up so quickly that it's impossible to catch him without a turbo feature on your controller.
In general, you don't feel like you're actually coaching a team when running offense or defense. Offensively, it's all or nothing: You either get a big gain or lose big yardage, with no eight-yard pass completions or four-yard runs up the middle. And computer defenders don't cover your pass receivers - they knock them down and hold them! Monday Night Football also has extremely limited artificial intelligence, so the same plays can be successfully run over and over again.
Unfortunately, Data East hasn't taken advantage of its extremely recognizable license. Sure, you can hear Frank Gifford's golden voice and see his digitized mug, but the voice use is extremely limited, and the few cinema screens are poor. The absence of a players'-association or NFL license is the final nail in its coffin. With high-powered competition from all fronts, Monday Night Football should be punted back to where it came from.
- # of players: 1 or 2-players
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Available: December 1993
- Theme: Sport
If you have ever wanted to be a part of Monday Night football on TV, then get ready for Data East's ABC Monday Night Football. That's right sports fans, you can now enjoy ABC Monday Night Football any night of the week. The hard-hitting graphics and play-by-play sound brings every grunt and groan of the game to life. You get all 28 teams and a massive pro-designed playbook, which you can change around to your liking. Another great feature is the power play feature. Zoom in tight on the action and still be a part of the game play, or review it all on instant replay. Frank Gifford calls every down and gives half time stats to show you how well you are doing in the game. So catch all the bone-crushing fast action you see on ABC's Monday Night Football anytime.
A brand new football game is on its way. Just like on TV, you can experience the thrills and spills of the real thing. Tremendous scaling effects are predominant throughout, from the simple toss of the coin to the kickoff. The graphics are very crisp, and the players are quite detailed. If you are an armchair quarterback, this game is for you.
Ready; set; hike. Gear up for ABC Monday Night Football – an American football computerized game named after the television broadcast. This sporting game’s platforms include PC (DOS), Amiga, Commodore 64, and Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems. As a development of Park Place Productions, it has an ESRB rating so everyone can play. Since it never obtained an NFL or NFLPA license, the football game does not use actual team names; however, it is full of life-like characters on teams with real city names. This game includes features such as AFB Voice synthesis technology, the ability to change receivers quickly, throw plays at the Quarter Back, a choice of 10 possible plays to run, the ability to choose from numerous football teams, and the ability to toss a coin to decide who defends and who receives. Licensed by ABC Sports, this animated entertainment is for one or two players.