10-Yard Fight (NES) Review


Video Review

Text Review

The Short


– The first American football simulator on the NES

– Was…simple? That’s a plus, right?

– Dive move when on defense turns your character into Superman

– Can be played two-player, on both offense and defense


– Incredibly boring

– Only really have two plays

– Characters move excruciatingly slow

– Receiver takes about two years to go across the line before a hike

– Graphics are ugly and there is no music

– Even two players, this game is boring and uninteresting

You’ll wish that said “Tecmo Super Bowl” pretty quickly

The Long

Ah, launch NES titles. There’s something sort of neat about them, how they helped lay the groundwork for an upcoming generation of games. Among this collection was a rather hefty collection of sports games (Golf, Tennis, Baseball, and 10-Yard Fight). There were also the “Black Box” collection of games, of which a fair number were sports games as well (Volleyball, Pro Wrestling, Soccer). With the NES quickly gaining steam, sports games broke off shortly after into the massive industry it is today. Just try and figure out how many baseball and golf games there are on the NES. I’ll give you a hint: a lot.

There were also a lot of football games, though nothing compares to the yearly installments of Maddon and NCAA EA pumps out. Most people probably remember the Tecmo Bowl games when thinking back on them, but before that Nintendo put out this little “gem” in it’s launch lineup: 10-Yard Fight.

And this review is going to be short, because this game is like Golf: absolutely dull.

Football. Wee.

Rather than future games when would be played on a horizontal field, 10-Yard Fight opts for a vertical one. It plays like standard American football: you hike the ball, then try to make progress towards the ten-yard line (hence the game’s title) to score a first down. Later, rinse, repeat until you reach the end of the field.

And I can’t believe I just explained how football freaking works. I must assume my readers are idiots.

Anyway, one of the best features about nearly every football video game in existence (and the sport itself) are the plays. Complex maneuvers that all the players know and attempt to use to juke out the other team and score more yards. Well, if you like that than too bad: 10-Yard Fight will have nothing of it. In fact, there is very little you actually do control in this game.

Yes, I’m padding the review by dodging the point. I’ll get to it now.

All you control in 10-Yard Fight is when the ball is hiked, and whether to pass it to your receiver, some other guy, or try to run with it (not a good idea). After that? Just hold up and maybe try to dodge. I guess.

Defense isn’t much better. You are given the option before the play to control one of two guys, and you don’t get to switch during play (so if you picked the wrong one, you are just boned). You do have an awesome flying dive that covers like six yards every time he does it, but if you miss you’ll go flying off into space like a moron.

The controls for both are cumbersome and tedious, and the “feedback” is non-existant. I didn’t really feel like I was making progress, and my characters are so small and move so slow it’s tedious to watch.


I’d say more but that’s pretty much it. The graphics, as you can see, somehow look worse than even Golf, and there is no music whatsoever. Kicking field goals is kind of fun, but since it never cuts to a more cinematic view even that is boring.

The game can also be played two-player, but why would you subject somebody else to this? My wife and I tried playing it and quit after the first touchdown (which, *cough*, she scored. Yeah…)

Regardless of your love or hatred of football games, one can agree: 10-Yard Fight is mediocre at the very best. I have to at least give it credit for following the basic gist of how football works (and offering the ability to play on defense, which the arcade version didn’t), but even as a forerunner this game is not very fun. Pick up a superior Tecmo offering instead.

One out of five stars. At least Golf will have somebody to hang out with, now.

Play this one instead. It’s much better.

Author: Nathan Major

Spirit Shark: Hammerhead. Retro game collector, true ginger, and SNES fanatic. Goal in life is to become Karnov from the NES game Karnov.

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