NES Play Action Football Review - Screenshot 1 of 2

Coming quite late in the life of the NES - 1990 to be exact - Play Action Football was Nintendo's attempt at creating a realistic gridiron game for their aging, yet still popular console.

The diagonal viewpoint is 'fake 3D' which looks a little pathetic by today's standards but was pretty impressive back then. At least it looks better than most American Football games available on the machine! Sound is also impressive, with some scratchy-sounding sampled speech thrown into the mix. These clips are hilariously bad in terms of quality but they're better than nothing. All in all, you can tell this was a last-generation title for the machine as it shows many technological advancements over older NES games. Little graphical touches like players getting medical attention and cheerleaders stuttling their stuff add to the authentic feel of the game.

NES Play Action Football Review - Screenshot 2 of 2

Sadly, all this presentation is sadly undone when the game actually starts. Although the controls are nice and responsive the game moves very slowly. The difficulty seems to swing from one extreme to the other - sometimes you can score touchdowns with relative ease; other times the CPU player takes down your quarterback before you even have time to breathe.

As you might expect Play Action Football is much more fun when playing against another human being, but it's still not quite as good as Tecmo Football and isn't even fit to lace the boots of John Madden Football on the Megadrive/Genesis (still the best American Football sim in my humble opinion, even after all these years).


I'm sure many of you have fond memories of playing this game back in the early 90's, and the magic of nostalgia will probably encourage you to download the VC version. However, everyone else should probably avoid this unless you've experienced Tecmo Football and want some more football action.