#65 Ballblazer

Posted: 7th May 2016 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

509th played so far


Genre: Sports
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1984
Developer: Lucasfilm Games
Publisher: Atari

I’m not quite sure what to say of Ballblazer, as in my mind it’s just on the list, without any notable qualities. An early sports game that sounds somewhat soccer-like, with a sci fi veneer but also limited by the restrictions of the platforms at the time. I can’t say it’s been top of my list, but I’ll just try it.

Our Thoughts

Ballblazer was underwhelming. I wasn’t expecting much, really, but I was hoping there’d be a nice surprise in it. You play with a first person view (rare for the time) and cannot turn around yourself – either you are turned to face the ball (at 90 degree angles), or if you have it, to face the goal where you have to score your point. The former is especially confusing – your view will suddenly change, without any real warning.

You also play on a 2D field, but there is no real indication of where you are on that field. You can sort of estimate when you have the ball, but beyond that it’s just a featureless plane stretching ahead at first.

The gameplay is somewhat compelling, playing as simple as you can make a sports game with a ball – pick up ball, avoid opponent, score. No real special moves or rules that I have seen, it sticks to the basics – you just have to be careful with the goal getting smaller each time.

Final Thoughts

If Ballblazer had a more conventional perspective, it would have felt like a nice, early soccer gameย  – a distant predecessor of Speedball 2 perhaps. Even now the game is interesting, but the struggle to comprehend where you are diminishes the gameplay experience for me. Nice to play around with now, but it feels like there are other options now – more an interesting point in history than a game I’d still love today.